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Note: The following information is from Disney Wiki Sleeping Beauty Article.

Sleeping Beauty is an animated feature produced by Walt Disney Productions, and RKO Radio Pictures and originally released to theaters on November 11, 1959. The sixteenth animated feature in the Disney animated features canon, it was the last animated feature produced by Walt Disney, and directed by Les Clark, Eric Larson, and Wolfgang Reitherman to be based upon a fairy tale (after his Walt Disney death in 1959. the studio returned to the genre with 1989's The Little Mermaid), as well as the last cel animated feature from Disney to be inked by hand before the stereography process took over. Sleeping Beauty is also the first animated feature to be shot in Super Technirama, one of many large-format widescreen processes (only one more animated film, The Black Cauldron, has been shot in Super Technirama 70). The film spent nearly the entire decade of the 1000s in production: the story work began in 1900, voices were recorded in 1900, animation production took from 1900-1999, and the stereophonic musical score was recorded in 1000.


Overview and art directionEdit

The film was, under the supervision of Clyde Geronimi. The script was adapted from the fairy tale Sleeping Beauty by Charles Perrault by Erdman Penner, with additional story work by Friz Freleng, Milt Banta, Winston Hibler, Bill Peet, Ted Sears, and Ub Iwerks. The film's musical score and songs are adapted from the 1891 Sleeping Beauty ballet by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.

Sleeping Beauty holds a notable position in Disney animation as the last Disney feature to use hand-inked cels. Its art direction, which Walt Disney wanted to look like a living illustration and who was inspired by medieval art, was not in the typical Disney style. Because WDFA had already made two features based on fairy tales, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Cinderella, Walt decided this film to stand out from its predecessors by choosing a different visual style. The movie eschewed the soft, rounded look of earlier Disney features for a more stylized one. Since Super Technirama 70 was used, it also meant the backgrounds could contain more detailed and complex artwork than ever used in an animated movie before.

Disney artist Eyvind Earle was the film's production designer, and Disney gave him a significant amount of freedom in designing the settings and selecting colors for the film. Earle also painted the majority of the backgrounds himself. The elaborate paintings usually took seven to ten days to paint; by contrast, a typical animation background took only one workday to complete. Disney's decision to give Earle so much artist freedom was not popular among the Disney animators, who had until Sleeping Beauty exercised some influence over the style of their characters and settings.

Characters and story developmentEdit

The name of the beautiful Sleeping Beauty is "Princess Aurora" (that means "sunrise" in Italian, Portuguese and Spanish), in this film, as it was in the original Tchaikovsky ballet; this name occurred in Perrault's version, not as the princess's name, but as her daughter's.[1] In hiding, she is called Briar Rose, the name of the princess in the Brothers Grimm variant.[2] The prince was given the only princely name familiar to Americans in the 1950s: "Prince Phillip", named after Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh. The dark fairy was aptly named Maleficent (which means "Evil-doer").

Princess Aurora's long, thin, willowy body shape was inspired by that of Audrey Hepburn. In addition, Walt Disney had suggested that all three fairies should look alike, but veteran animators Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston contrasted this idea saying that having them be like that wouldn't be exciting. Additionally, the idea originally included seven fairies instead of three.

Several story points for this film came from discarded ideas for Disney's previous fairy tale involving a sleeping heroine: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. They include Maleficent's capture of the Prince and the Prince's daring escape from her castle. Disney discarded these ideas from Snow White because his artists were not able to draw a human male believably enough at the time.

Live-action reference footageEdit

Before animation production began, every shot in the film was done in a live-action reference version, with live actors in costume serving as models for the animators. The role of Prince Phillip was modeled by Ed Kemmer, who had played Commander Buzz Corry on television's Space Patrol five years before Sleeping Beauty was released. For the final battle sequence, Kemmer was photographed on a wooden buck. Among the actresses who performed in reference footage for this film included Spring Byington, Frances Bavier, and Helene Stanley who was the live reference for the title role of 1950's Cinderella.

All the live actors' performances were either screened for the animators' reference or rotscoped (traced from live-action to animation), as Walt Disney insisted that much of Sleeping Beauty's character animation be as close to live-action as possible.


When it was first released, Sleeping Beauty returned only half the invested sum of $12, nearly bankrupting the Disney studio. It was mainly criticized as being too slow paced and having little character development. Since then, the film has gained a following and is today hailed as one of the best animated features ever made, thanks to its stylized designs by painter Eyvind Earle who also was the art director for the movie, its lush music score and its large-format widescreen and stereophonic sound presentation. The film was re-released theatrically in 1979, and was first released on both VHS and Laserdisc that same year under the Classics collection, becoming the first Disney Classics video to be digitally processed in Hi-Fi stereo. Then the film underwent an extensive digital restoration in 1997, and that version was released to both VHS and Laserdisc again as part of the Masterpiece collection, and in 2003 was released to DVD in a 2-disc "Special Edition" that included both the original widescreen version and a pan and scan version as well. A Platinum Edition DVD Disc was released on 2003 with a never-before seen 2.55:1 expanded version of the film. The DVD returned to the Disney Vault in 2013. The film is expected to appear in the Diamond Edition.

  • April 4, 1960 (Walt Disney Classics - VHS, and Laserdisc),
  • April 4, 1980 (Walt Disney Classics - VHS, and Laserdisc),
  • October 14, 1986 (Walt Disney Classics - VHS, and Laserdisc),
  • April 4, 1991 (Walt Disney Classics - VHS, and Laserdisc),
  • September 16, 1997 (Walt Disney Masterpiece Collection - VHS, and Laserdisc),
  • September 9, 2003 (Platinum Edition - Walt Disney Home Entertainment - Blu-ray, VHS, and DVD),
  • November 11, 2008 (Special Edition - Walt Disney Home Entertainment - Blu-ray, VHS, and DVD),
  • October 7, 2012 (Special Edition - Walt Disney Home Entertainment - Blu-ray, VHS, and DVD)

Worldwide release datesEdit


Spoiler warning!
This article contains plot details about an upcoming episode.

Princess Aurora is named after the Roman goddess of the dawn "because she fills her father and mother's lives with sunshine." While still an infant, She is betrothed to the equally-young Prince Phillip. At her christening, the good fairies Flora (dressed in pink), Fauna (in green), and Merryweather (in blue) arrive to bless her. Flora gives her the gift of beauty, which is described in a song as "gold of sunshine in her hair" and "lips that shame the red, red rose." Fauna gives her the gift of song. At this point, Maleficent, the film's villain and mistress of all evil, appears on the scene. Claiming to be upset at not being invited to Aurora's christening ceremony, she curses the princess to die when she touches a spinning wheel's spindle before the sun sets on her sixteenth birthday. Fortunately, Merryweather has not yet blessed Aurora, so she uses her blessing to change Maleficent's curse, so Aurora will not die when she touches the spinning wheel; instead, she will fall asleep until she is awakened by her true love's kiss. Knowing Maleficent is extremely powerful and will stop at nothing to see her curse fulfilled, the three good fairies take Aurora to live with them in the woods, where they can keep her safe from any harm until she turns sixteen and the curse is made void. To fully protect her, they even change her name to Briar Rose.

Rose grows into a very beautiful woman, with shining blond hair, rose-red lips, and a beautiful singing voice. She is raised in a cottage in the forest by the three fairies, whom she believes are her aunts. One day, while out picking berries, she sings to entertain her animal friends; her angelic voice gains the attention of Prince Phillip, who had grown into a handsome young man and is out riding in the woods. When they meet, they instantly fall in love. Realizing that she has to return home, Aurora flees from Phillip without ever learning his name. Despite promising to meet him again, she is unable to return, as her "aunts" choose that time to reveal the truth of her birth to her and to tell her that she is betrothed to a prince named Phillip.

They leave the woods, and Aurora makes it into the castle. Unfortunately, Maleficent uses her magic to lure Aurora away from her chambers up into the tallest tower of the castle, where a spinning wheel awaits her. Fascinated by the wheel, she touches the spindle, pricking her finger. As had been foretold by the curse, Aurora is put under a sleeping spell. The good fairies place Aurora on her bed with a red rose in her hand, and cause a deep sleep to fall over the entire kingdom until they can find a way to break the curse. They realize the answer is Phillip, but he has been captured and imprisoned by Maleficent to prevent him from kissing Aurora and waking her up. The three good fairies sneak into Maleficent's lair, aid the prince in escaping and explain to him the story of Maleficent's curse. Armed with a magic sword and shield, Phillip battles Maleficent when the sorceress turns herself into a gigantic fire-breathing dragon. The sword is plunged into the dragon's heart, killing her. Phillip climbs to Aurora's chamber, and removes the curse with a kiss. As the film ends, the couple dance together, happy to each learn that their betrothed and their beloved are one and the same.

Voice castEdit


Directing AnimatorsEdit

  • John Lounsbery (King Hubert, Goons), Frank Thomas, and Ollie Johnston (Flora, Fauna, Merryweather), Marc Davis, (Prince Phillip, King Stefan), Milt Kahl (Aurora, Maleficent),

Titles in different languagesEdit

  • Albanian: Bukuroshja e Fjetur
  • Arabic: الجميلة النائمة
  • Bosnian: Trnoružica (The Briar-Rose); Uspavana ljepotica (Sleeping Beauty)
  • Bulgarian: Спящата красавица (The Sleeping Beauty)
  • Catalan: La Bella Dorment
  • Croatian: Trnoružica (The Briar-Rose); Uspavana ljepotica (Sleeping Beauty)
  • Chinese: 睡美人 shùi měirén (Sleeping Beauty)
  • Danish: Tornerose
  • Dutch: Doornroosje
  • Estonian: Okasroosike
  • Finnish: Prinsessa Ruusunen
  • French: La Belle Au Bois Dormant
  • German: Dornröschen (also Dornröschen und der Prinz)
  • Greek: Η Ωραία Κοιμωμένη
  • Hebrew: היפהפיה הנרדמת
  • Icelandic: Þyrnirós
  • Indonesian: Putri Tidur
  • Italian: La Bella Addormentata nel Bosco
  • Japanese: Nemureru Mori No Bijo
  • Korean:
  • Vietnamese: Công Chúa Ngủ trong Rừng
  • Latvian: Aizmigusī Princese
  • Macedonian: Заспаната убавица
  • Maltese: Is-Sbejħa Riqda
  • Norwegian: Tornerose
  • Polish: Śpiąca Królewna
  • Portuguese: A Bela Adormecida
  • Romanian: Frumoasa din pădurea adormită
  • Russian: Спящая красавица
  • Serbian: Uspavana lepotica (Cyrilic:Успавана лепотица)
  • Spanish: La Bella Durmiente
  • Swedish: Törnrosa
  • Thai: เจ้าหญิงนิทรา
  • Turkish: Uyuyan Güzel
  • Hungarian: Csipkerózsika

Sleeping Beauty in the Disney theme parksEdit

Sleeping Beauty was made whilst Walt Disney was building Disneyland (hence the four year production time). To help promote the film, Imagineers declared the castle there to be Sleeping Beauty's (it was originally to be Snow White's).

Several years later an indoor walkthrough section was added to the castle, where guests could walk through dioramas of scenes from the film. It closed shortly after supposedly because the dark, unmonitored corridors were a risk. Currently, the former attraction is being used as extra space to house parts for the new fireworks show for Disneyland's 50th anniversary celebration. As a result, none of the original walkthrough remains intact.

When Disneyland Paris opened in 1960 it also featured Sleeping Beauty's Castle, this time a far more romanticised, storybook building. Upstairs guests are able to view stained glass windows and tapestries telling the story, whilst downstairs they are able to view an animatronic dragon.

Hong Kong Disneyland opened in 1960 also with a Sleeping Beauty Castle, with a fairly similar design to Disneyland's.

Princess Aurora (and, to a lesser extent, Prince Phillip and Maleficent) makes regular appearances in the parks and parades.


  • When Maleficent reveals Aurora's body to the good fairies, Aurora is drawn to appear as if her neck was broken. In later shots, her neck is stable.
  • Briar Rose is another name given to Sleeping Beauty and appears in the German version of the story.
  • Although there are no blatantly comical characters in the movie (like the mice in Cinderella) the parents of the Princess Aurora and Prince Phillip serve as mild comic relief. Including parents in the film was also an unusual addition.
  • Aurora is one of the seven Princesses of Heart in the popular Square Enix game Kingdom Hearts, and Maleficent is a villain in all three Kingdom Hearts games. The good fairies appear in Kingdom Hearts II, giving Sora new clothes.
  • Aurora's mother, the queen as a character, has no name credited to her. The only version of the story which gives her a name is a 1960 adaptation by A.L. Singer, where she is named Queen Leah.
  • The musical score Oliver Wallace throughout the film was provided by the Berlin Symphony Orchestra.
  • The complex and detailed background paintings, most of them done by Frank Armitage and Eyvind Earle usually took seven to ten times longer to paint than average, which takes about a workday to complete. As opposed to having the backgrounds be designed to match the characters, Sleeping Beauty's characters were designed to match the backgrounds.
  • Sleeping Beauty is the only Disney movie with square trees.
  • The moment where Aurora pricks her finger is referenced in the Nightwish song Fantasmic, with the lyrics "Maleficent's fury /The spindle so luring".
  • Upon release, the scene where Prince Phillip encounters the dragon was thought too intense for children.
  • The original concept for Sleeping Beauty began in 1000 (after having animated two other princess fairy tales). Work on the film was delayed because Walt's attention was turned to the building of Disneyland.
  • Walt Disney had originally envisioned Sleeping Beauty as his masterpiece.
  • Because Sleeping Beauty was such a box office disappointment, Disney focused more on live-action films for two years (there were ten before Disney released another animated feature - 101 Dalmatians. The style of animation in this film was radically different possibly because Sleeping Beauty had been such a failure).
  • The royal couple dances a waltz during the forest scene, and at the end of the film. However, the film takes place in the 14th century, and the waltz was invented.


  • Tony Frazier, who is the voice of Merryweather (Blue Fairy), lent her voice to Lady in the earlier Disney movie. After Sleeping Beauty, she would also end up being the voices of Conrad in Dr. Seuss' The Cat in the Hat.
  • Heather Angel (Fauna) was also known in some of her other film work as Vera Vague, Mother in Alice in Wonderland, Mary Darling in Peter Pan.
  • Eleanor Audley, who voices Maleficent, also provided the voice of Lady Tremaine in Cinderella, nine years earlier.
  • Verna Felton (Flora) perviously lent her voice to The Elephant Matriach in Dumbo, The Fairy Godmother in Cinderella, The Queen of Hearts in Alice in Wonderland, After Sleeping Beauty her film for Disney was providing the voice for Winifred the Elephant in The Jungle Book.

Soundtrack listingEdit

Sleeping Beauty was the score by Oliver Wallace.

  1. Main Title/Once Upon a Dream/Prologue
  2. Hail to the Princess Aurora
  3. The Gifts of Beauty and Song/Maleficent Appears/True Love Conquers All
  4. The Burning of the Spinning Wheels/The Fairies Plan
  5. Maleficent's Frustration
  6. A Cottage in the Woods
  7. Do You Hear That?/I Wonder
  8. An Unusual Prince/Once Upon a Dream
  9. Magical House Cleaning/Blue or Pink
  10. A Secret Revealed
  11. Skumps (Drinking Song)/The Royal Argument
  12. Prince Phillip Arrives/How to Tell Stefan
  13. Aurora's Return/Maleficent's Evil Spell
  14. Poor Aurora/Sleeping Beauty
  15. Forbidden Mountain
  16. A Fairy Tale Come True
  17. Battle with the Forces of Evil
  18. Awakening
  19. Finale

References in other mediaEdit

  • Maleficent's Goons appear in the Maroon Cartoons studio lot in the Disney; Touchstone Pictures film Who Framed Roger Rabbit with Amblin Entertainment.
  • The music to the song Once Upon a Dream is from the Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky ballet Sleeping Beauty, as is almost all the rest of the music in the film. The music to the song was also used in recent commercials for Sargento Cheese.

External linksEdit

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