Beauty and the Beast (French: La Belle et la Bête) is a romantic fantasy story. Although it draws on elements from folklore and mythology, the modern Beauty and the Beast story was created by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve, an 18th-century French writer. Villeneuve's version of the tale is a novel-length story of fifteen chapters aimed primarily at an adult audience. It was first published in 1740 as part of the anthology La Jeune Américaine et les contes marins (The Young American and Marine Tales). Another French writer, Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont, rewrote the tale as a short story for children that was first published in the 1756 anthology Magasin des enfants (Children's Collection). Beaumont's version of the story soon became more popular than Villeneuve's. Beaumont's version of the story was the first one to be translated into languages other than French. It remains the basis for most retellings and adaptations of the story to this day. There is no acknowledgment in Magasin des enfants that a longer version of Beauty and the Beast had originally been written by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneueve. Consequently, Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont is sometimes incorrectly credited as the creator of the Beauty and the Beast story.
The story's plot is set in motion when the youngest daughter of a merchant who has fallen on hard times asks him to bring her back a rose when he returns from a business trip. On his way home, the merchant gets caught in a storm. He takes refuge in a castle where, although no people can be seen, the merchant is provided with everything he wants as if by magic. Before leaving the castle, the merchant sees a rose tree and cuts a branch from it. An ugly monster known as the Beast, who is the owner of the castle, then appears. The Beast is angry with the merchant for having taken some of his roses. He tells the man that he will be killed as punishment for his theft, unless he can persuade one of his daughters to die in his place. The merchant's youngest daughter, known as Beauty, agrees to take her father's place and travels with him to the Beast's castle. Instead of killing the young woman, the Beast tries to make Beauty feel at home and happy in his castle. He also repeatedly asks her if she will marry him. Beauty initially refuses. The Beast is not only ugly but is also lacking in intelligence. Nevertheless, Beauty soon finds out that the Beast is essentially good and gradually realizes that she has fallen in love with him.
Beauty and the Beast has been retold and adapted to other media numerous times. The first film based on the story was released in 1899 and the most recent one was released in 2017.
Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont's version
A wealthy merchant has three sons and three daughters. All three of his daughters are beautiful but his youngest one is exceptionally so. As a child, she earns the nickname Beauty. The name sticks . As a result, her two older sisters become very jealous of her. Beauty enjoys staying at home and reading. For that reason, she is mocked by her two older sisters, who spend most of their time going to the theater and to parties. Beauty's two older sisters become very proud because of their father's wealth. They avoid contact with other merchant's daughters and seek the company of aristocrats. They hope to marry dukes or counts. There is no shortage of men who want to marry Beauty's two sisters and Beauty herself. Whenever someone proposes marriage to Beauty, she replies that she is very flattered but believes that she is too young to get married and wants to stay with her father for a few more years.
The merchant suddenly falls on hard times and loses almost his entire fortune. He is forced to move to a small house in the country. Not wanting to leave the town, Beauty's two older sisters decide that it is time to get married. To their surprise, the two proud young women find that none of their wealthy suitors want to marry them when they are no longer rich. As a result, all of the merchant's children move with him to the country, In the country, the merchant and his three sons work in the field. Beauty soon adapts to her new life. She gets up at four o'clock each morning, cleans the house and prepares meals for her family. Even though she is very tired after working all day, she still reads and plays the harpsichord in the evening. Beauty's sisters, however, never do any work. They get up at ten o'clock each morning and spend most of the day going for walks. They continue to mock their hard-working sister.
A year after moving to the country, the merchant receives a letter which informs him that a ship carrying merchandise for him is due to arrive. The merchant's two older daughters are delighted by the news and believe that they are about to become rich again. When their father is about to leave to meet the ship, they ask him to bring back clothes, accessories and all kinds of trinkets for them. The merchant asks Beauty if she would like a present too. Beauty is certain that, after selling all his merchandise, her father will not have enough money to buy all the gifts that her sisters want. Not wanting to make her sisters look bad by asking for nothing, however, she asks for a rose.
Due to a legal dispute, the merchant ends up not being able to claim any of the merchandise on the ship after all. He leaves the town just as poor as he was when he arrived. On the way home, he has to pass through a forest where he gets lost. A snowstorm starts and the merchant can hear wolves howling. He suddenly sees light coming from a castle. He decides to head towards it. There he finds an empty stable with oats for his horse. Inside the castle, the merchant sees no people. In a large room, however, he finds a fire and a table laden with food that is set for one person. The merchant waits for the owner of the castle to return for some time. He eventually gives in to his hunger and helps himself to food and wine. Afterwards, the merchant finds a room with a good bed and spends the night there. When the merchant wakes up the following morning, he finds that the snow has gone and sees that the clothes he took off the night before have been replaced by new ones. Going into the room where he ate the night before, the merchant finds a cup of hot chocolate. The merchant concludes that the castle must belong to a good fairy who has taken pity on him. On the way to the stable to collect his horse, the merchant passes beneath a rose tree. Remembering his promise to bring back a rose for Beauty, the merchant cuts a branch with several roses on it from the tree.
At that moment, the merchant hears a terrible noise and a horrible-looking Beast appears. Calling the merchant ungrateful, the Beast points out that he saved the man's life by allowing him to spend the night in the castle. The Beast adds that, for stealing his roses, the one thing that the Beast loves above all other things in the world, the merchant must die. Begging for his life, the merchant says that he meant no harm and simply wanted to get a present for one of his daughters. On hearing these words, the Beast says that he will allow the merchant to live on the condition that one of his daughters agrees to die in his place. The merchant is told that, if none of his daughters agree to die instead of him, he is to return to the Beast's castle after three months to be killed. The merchant has no intention of persuading one of his daughters to die in his place. He is, however, glad to be given the opportunity to say good-bye to his family. The Beast then tells the merchant to return to the room where he spent the night. There he will find an empty trunk that he can fill with anything he likes that will be sent on to his house. In the room, the merchant finds a large amount of gold coins that he puts in the trunk.
When he returns home, the merchant gives the branch of roses to Beauty and tells his children what has happened to him. The merchant's three sons say nobody need die because they will find the Beast and kill him. The merchant says that will not be possible because the Beast obviously has great magical powers. Beauty's two older sisters angrily accuse her of bringing about her father's death and ask why she is not crying about the man's impending death like they are. Beauty replies that she is not crying because her father is not going to die for the reason that she will die in his place. The merchant tries to dissuade Beauty. She replies that she would rather be devoured by the Beast than die of sadness after her father dies. She tells her father that he will not be able to stop her from accompanying him to the Beast's castle.
Later that evening, the merchant finds the trunk that he filled with gold coins at the foot of his bed. He knows that his two older daughters would want to go back to town if they knew they were rich again. The merchant wants to stay in the country. For that reason, he decides not to tell most of his children about the trunk. He does, however, tell Beauty about it.
Beauty and her father leave together for the Beast's castle. The merchant's horse leads them straight there. In the castle, they find a meal prepared for them. The Beast appears and asks Beauty if she came of her own free will. She replies that she did. The Beast tells Beauty and her father to go to bed. He adds that the merchant will have to leave the following morning and not come back. In her dreams, Beauty sees a beautiful woman who tells her that she has done a very good deed by agreeing to take her father's place and coming to the castle.
Although she is frightened because she expects to be killed soon, Beauty explores the castle the following morning and cannot help admiring it. She finds a door with the words "Beauty's apartment" written on it. Beyond the door, she finds a beautiful room with a large bookcase full of books, a harpsichord and sheet music. Beauty takes a book from the bookcase. When she opens it, she sees a message written in gold letters which tells her that she is the queen and mistress of the house and that whatever she desires will be given to her. Beauty says to herself that the only thing she wants is to see her father again. Beauty then looks in a mirror and sees a vision of her father returning home. She also sees her sisters and realizes that, although they are trying to look sad, they are really happy in the belief that Beauty is dead. At noon, Beauty finds a lunch prepared for her. She hears music while she eats, although she does not see any musicians.
At dinnertime, the Beast returns. He asks Beauty if he can watch her eat. Beauty says that he can do as he pleases because he is the master of the castle. The Beast says that is not true. Beauty is the mistress of the castle and he will leave if that is what she wants. The Beast asks Beauty if she finds him ugly. Beauty honestly replies that she does, although she also thinks that he is good. The Beast says that is true but adds that, in addition to being ugly, he also lacks intelligence and wit. Beauty says that cannot be entirely true because genuine fools never worry about lacking intelligence or wit. The Beast asks Beauty if she will marry him. Although she is frightened of making him angry, Beauty tells the Beast that she will not. The Beast sighs heavily and then leaves.
Beauty spends three months in the castle. The Beast comes to see her at nine o'clock each evening when she eats dinner. Beauty becomes used to the Beast and no longer finds him ugly. She also finds that he has many good qualities. She soon begins to look forward to his nightly visits. Each evening, the Beast asks Beauty if she will marry him. Each time, she replies that she will not. Eventually, Beauty says that she is sorry to make the Beast sad by saying that she will not marry him. She adds that she will, however, always be his friend and says that he should be content with that.
The Beast asks Beauty if she will promise to stay with him always. Beauty feels uncomfortable when she hears this because she has seen in her magic mirror how sad her father is without her. Her two sisters have now married and her brothers have joined the army, leaving the merchant alone. Beauty says that she will die of sadness if she does not visit her father again. Beauty is told that she can go back to visit her father. The Beast tells her to come back to him after eight days, otherwise he will die of sadness. He tells Beauty that, when she wants to return to the Beast's castle, she simply needs to put a ring on a table before she goes to bed.
When she wakes up the following morning, Beauty finds herself in her father's house. The merchant is overcome with joy when he sees his daughter again. Beauty also finds that a trunk full of beautiful clothes has magically accompanied her to her father's house. Beauty wants to give the clothes to her sisters as presents. Her father tells her that the Beast would want Beauty to keep the clothes for herself.
Beauty is also reunited with her sisters. She finds out that they are both very unhappy in their marriages. One of them has married a very handsome man. Unfortunately, he thinks of nothing but maintaining his own good looks and neglects his wife. Beauty's other sister has married a highly intelligent and witty man. Unfortunately, he only uses his intelligence and wit to make other people suffer. His wife suffers more from his sharp tongue than anyone else. The two sisters are overcome with jealousy when they see Beauty happier than they are and looking like a princess in her new clothes. They decide to make her stay for more than eight days, believing that would draw the Beast's anger down on her.
When the time comes for Beauty to leave, her two sisters pretend to be incredibly sad. Beauty agrees to spend another eight days with her father. Two nights later, Beauty has a dream in which she sees the garden of the Beast's castle. The Beast is lying on the ground, almost dead. When Beauty wakes up, she feels very guilty over the way she has treated the Beast. Although the Beast is not handsome, intelligent or witty, he is kind, thoughtful and virtuous. Beauty decides that she could be happier with him than her sisters are with either of their husbands. Beauty puts her ring on a table and goes back to bed immediately. She wakes up again and finds herself back at the Beast's castle.
Beauty looks all over the castle but cannot find the Beast. Remembering her dream, Beauty goes out to the garden. She finds the Beast lying on the ground. He appears to be dead but Beauty finds that his heart is still beating. She gives him some water from an irrigation channel. The Beast regains consciousness. He says that he decided to starve himself to death when it appeared that Beauty would not come back. He says that he will die happy now that he has seen Beauty again. Realizing that what she feels for the Beast is stronger than friendship, Beauty tells the Beast that he will not die and that he will live to be her husband.
Lights then go on in the castle, fireworks go off and music is heard. It appears as if a party is being held. The Beast disappears and a handsome prince appears in his place. Beauty asks the prince where the Beast is. The prince replies that he was the Beast. An evil fairy cast a spell on him which forced him to remain as a Beast until a beautiful woman agreed to marry him. A condition of the spell was that the Beast was forbidden from revealing his true intelligence and wit and would have to win the beautiful woman over using nothing but his good nature and kindness.
Beauty finds that all of her family are in the castle's great hall. A good fairy is also there. She is the same beautiful woman that Beauty saw in her dream on her first night in the Beast's castle. She congratulates Beauty on choosing a kind husband rather than a handsome, intelligent or witty one. The fairy tells Beauty that she will now have a husband who is handsome, kind, intelligent and witty. The fairy adds that she hopes that becoming queen will not change Beauty's character. Turning to Beauty's two sisters, the fairy says that she has seen the evil that is in their hearts. As punishment, they will be turned into statues but will keep their memories and their intelligence. They will stand outside Beauty's palace and witness how happy she is. They will only return to normal once they truly recognize their faults, something that the good fairy thinks is unlikely to ever happen.
Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneeuve's version
Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve's original 1740 novel-length version of Beauty and the Beast includes many details that are omitted from Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont's 1753 short story adaptation of the tale.
A major difference is that, in Villeneuve's version, the Beast does not ask Beauty if she will marry him each evening. Instead, he asks her if she will sleep with him. When Beauty finds the Beast close to death, she agrees to sleep with him and to marry him too. That evening, the Beast sleeps beside Beauty, although there is no reference to any physical contact taking place between them. As she has done every night since she arrived in the Beast's castle, Beauty dreams about a handsome man. Beauty has fallen in love with the man that she sees in her dreams. When she wakes up the following morning, Beauty finds the same man lying next to her.
After the Beast becomes human once more, his backstory is revealed. He had been a prince whose father had died when he was very young. The army of a neighboring king then invaded the kingdom. The queen, the prince's mother, was forced to go off to war. She left her son in the care of a fairy who turned out to be evil. When the prince reached young manhood, the fairy tried to seduce him. When he rejected her advances, she transformed him into the Beast.
The prince's mother does not want her son to marry a merchant's daughter. The good fairy then reveals that Beauty is really a princess. She is the daughter of a king and another fairy. The wicked fairy wanted to marry Beauty's father and attempted to murder the baby girl. For her protection, the good fairy took Beauty away. She overheard a merchant say that his youngest daughter was seriously ill. The fairy discovered that, unknown to the merchant, his baby daughter had already died. The fairy took the dead girl away and left Beauty in her place. The merchant only finds out the truth about Beauty's origins when he goes to attend her wedding.
The story of Beauty and the Beast has some similarities to that of Cupid and Psyche. Although the earliest known written version of the story comes from the Latin-language work The Golden Ass (Asinus aureus), written by the north African writer Apuleius in the 2nd century CE, images of Eros and Psyche together date back to the 4th century BCE.
In Apuleius' version of the story, Psyche is a very beautiful princess. The goddess Venus becomes offended when rumors begin to spread that Psyche is Venus' illegitimate daughter or Venus incarnate. Venus tells her son Cupid, who makes people fall in love by firing darts at them, to make Psyche fall in love with something hideous. Cupid accidentally scratches himself with his dart and falls in love with Psyche himself. Psyche's two sisters, who are less beautiful than she is, marry. Psyche does not find a husband. Her father hears a prophecy that she is to marry a monster. He leaves her on top of a mountain to die. The West Wind carries Psyche away to a beautiful palace. There she finds food that serves itself to her and hears music from an invisible lyre. Cupid comes to Psyche in the palace and becomes her lover. He remains, however, completely invisible to Psyche for some time. The West Wind carries Psyche's two sisters over to visit her. They are jealous of the luxury in which Psyche lives and warn her that her invisible lover may be a monster. When Psyche eventually sees the god's true form, he has to flee from her. Psyche goes off in pursuit of him. After Psyche wanders extensively and completes many tasks set by Venus and the other gods, Jupiter eventually declares that she is worthy of marrying Cupid.
Beauty and the Beast has some similarities to the short story "The Pig King" ("Il Re Porco"), which appears in the anthology The Facetious Nights of Straparola (Le piacevoli notti) that was written by the Italian writer Giovanni Francesco Straparola and first published between 1550 and 1555. In "The Pig King", a queen gives birth to a son who has many good qualities but who looks like a pig and enjoys wallowing in mud. A fairy declares that the prince is destined to remain in the form of a pig until after he has married three times.
Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve's tale of Beauty and the Beast may have been inspired by the real life story of the Spaniard Pedro González, who is better known by the Latin version of his name Petrus Gonsalvus. Born on the island of Tenerife in the Canary Islands in 1537, Gonsalvus suffered from hypertrichosis, a condition which caused his face and much of his body to be completely covered in thick hair. In 1547, he was brought to the court of King Henry II of France. He later moved to the court of Margaret of Parma, the regent of the Netherlands. It was while he was in the Netherlands that Gonsalvus married a Frenchwoman known as Catherine who was considered to be a great beauty. Petrus Gonsalvus and Catherine had seven children. four of those children also suffered from hypertrichosis. Although Gonsalvus lived the life of a nobleman, he and his hairy children were not considered fully human by most of their contemporaries. Gonsalvus eventually settled in Italy. The date of his death is unknown. He disappears from the record after 1617.
The German fairy tale "The Singing, Springing Lark" (German: Das singende springende Löweneckerchen), included in the collection of German folktales compiled by the Brothers Grimm, has some similarities to Beauty and the Beast. Changes made to the text in some English translations of the story further accentuate those similarities. The story has even been published in English under the title "Beauty and the Beast" on occasions or published with a subtitle such as "a Beauty and the Beast story from the Brothers Grimm".
The Russian author Sergey Aksakov adapted Beauty and the Beast as the short story "The Scarlet Flower" (Russian: Аленький цветочек). It was first published in 1858 as an appendix to Aksakov's novel Childhood Years of Grandson Bagrov.
The plot of "The Scarlet Flower" does not differ greatly from that of Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont's short story version of "Beauty and the Beast". There are, however, several differences between the details of the two stories. In "The Scarlet Flower", the merchant remains rich throughout the story and has no serious financial difficulties. The merchant has three daughters, there is no reference to him having any sons. His youngest daughter is given the name Natsenka (a pet name for Anastasia). Before the merchant leaves on business, he asks his daughters what presents they would like him to bring back for them. The eldest daughter asks for a golden crown that cannot be destroyed by fire or rusted by water. The second daughter asks for a magic mirror that will allow her to see all the beauty in the world. Natsenka asks for a little scarlet flower that is more beautiful than any other in the world. Although he knows that they will be difficult to obtain, the merchant knows where the magical gold crown and mirror can be found. He does not, however, know where a beautiful scarlet flower can be found and fears disappointing Natsenka. When the merchant and the people he is traveling with are attacked by bandits, he takes refuge in a forest. There, he finds the scarlet flower in the garden of the Beast's palace. Although the Beast initially threatens to kill the merchant, he does not say that one of his daughters has to die in the man's place. The Beast only says that one of the merchant's daughters needs to come to his castle and be his companion. When Natsenka goes to live at the Beast's palace, the scarlet flower flies out of her hand and reattaches itself to its stem. For some time, Natsenka does not see or hear the Beast. He communicates with her by making words of fire magically appear on the white marble walls of his palace. He does this because he believes that the sound of his voice would be terrible to Natsenka. Natsenka asks the Beast to speak to her. He does so but does not show himself. After Natsenka becomes used to the Beast's horrible voice, she asks to see him. He is described as looking like a combination of a bear, a camel, a horse, a boar, an eagle and an owl. Natsenka wants to visit her father after she has a dream in which she sees he is seriously ill. Natsenka is told that she can only stay with her father for three days and that the Beast will die if she returns later than that. It is only when Natsenka returns home that her two sisters become jealous of her for the first time. Not wanting Natsenka to return to the life of luxury she enjoys at the Beast's palace, her sisters turn all the clocks in the house back so that she does not know when the end of the third day has come. Natsenka unknowingly returns late to the Beast's palace. She is surprised to find him lying unconscious next to the scarlet flower. After the Beast is transformed back into a prince, he says that he had been the Beast for thirty years. Eleven young women had come to live in his palace before Natsenka. None of them fell in love with him because they failed to see the kindness in his heart.
A 42-minute animated cartoon based on "The Scarlet Flower' was made by Soyuzfilm in the Soviet Union and released in 1952.
The award-winning 2007 fantasy novel Beastly by the American author Alex Finn is a modernized retelling of Beauty and the Beast set in New York City. The novel's protagonist is a teenage boy named Kyle who is handsome and popular and comes from a rich family. Kyle is transformed into a beast after he plays a cruel practical joke on a girl in his class named Kendra. Unknown to Kyle, Kendra is really a witch. Kendra gives Kyle two years to break the spell by finding a girl that he truly loves and who loves him in return. If he fails to do that, he will remain a beast forever.
A movie adaptation of Beastly, starring Alex Pettyfer as Kyle and Vanessa Hudges as Lindy (the Beauty character) was released in the United States in 2011.
The opera Zémire et Azor, written by the Belgian composer André Grétry with libretto by the French writer Jean-François Marmontel, is an adaptation of Beauty and the Beast in which Azor is the name of the Beast and Zémire is the equivalent character to Beauty. The opera was first performed in Paris on November 9, 1771. It was performed at the Russian imperial court in 1774 and before the Swedish royal court in 1778. Its first performance in Britain was at the King's Theatre in London in 1779. The opera continued to be regularly performed in France until 1821. It is, however, rarely staged today.
One of the most highly regarded and influential adaptations of the Beauty and the Beast story is the 1946 French film version directed by the poet and filmmaker Jean Cocteau. The movie stars Josette Day as Belle (as the Beauty character is referred to both in the original French version of the film and in its English subtitles) and Jean Marais as the Beat and Avenanr, a friend of Belle's brother Ludovic and a suitor of Belle.
The film is based on Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont's short story version of the tale. It remains largely faithful to its source material, although Beaumont's story is somewhat altered and expanded upon in the movie. When Belle's father the merchant leaves the Beast's castle, he is not given a trunk full of gold, as he is in Beaumont's tale. Consequently, his family remains in poverty which is made worse by debts run up by his son Ludovic. The Beast does, however, give the merchant a white horse named Magnificent which has the magical ability to carry its riders wherever they want to go. Without her father's approval or knowledge, Belle travels alone to the Beast's castle on the back of Magnificent so that she can die in her father's place. On arrival, Belle finds that the Beast's enchanted castle contains furniture that has the magical ability to talk to her. It is strongly implied that the Beast spends most of his time hunting wild animals for food. Belle tells the Beast that she wants to visit her father because she has seen in her magic mirror that the man is dying. Before he lets Belle leave, the Beast gives her a golden key that unlocks the door to a building called Diana's Pavilion. The Beast explains that the building contains his true, non-magical, treasure. The Beast says that he will die if Belle does not return to him after a week and that she will then inherit his treasure. He gives Belle the key to show how much he trusts her. After Belle returns to her father's house through the means of a magical glove, it is Avenant who comes up with the idea of persuading her to stay for longer than a week. Avenant hopes then to be able to take the treasure from the dead or weakened Beast and to share it with Belle's family. Belle's sisters steal the golden key from her. They do not, however, know where the Beast lives. The horse Magnificent returns, carrying Belle's magic mirror with it. Belle's sisters give her the mirror. Avenant and Ludovic travel to the Beast's castle on Magnificent's back. In her magic mirror, Belle sees that the Beast is dying. She returns to his castle shortly before Avenant and Ludovic arrive there. Although they have the key to Diana's Pavilion, Avenat and Ludovic suspect that the door might be booby trapped. Avenant breaks into the building through a skylight. An enchanted statue of the Roman goddess Diana fires an arrow at Avenant, who transforms into a beast before he dies. The Beast then turns into a prince who looks just like Avenant.
The American composer Phillip Glass adapted Jean Cocteau's film Beauty and the Beast as an opera. The opera is intended to be performed while the film is being screened (without sound) on a large screen behind the singers. The singers' voices are supposed to correspond exactly to the movements of the lips of the actors on screen. The first performance of the opera was at the Teatro de la Maestranza in Seville, Spain on June 4, 1994. The part of Belle was originally sung by the American mezzo-soprano Janice Felty. Recent DVD releases of Cocteau's Beauty and the Beast have offered viewers the choice of either hearing the original soundtrack or Phillip Glass's opera while watching the movie.
The feature-length animated film Beauty and the Beast from Walt Disney Pictures was released in 1991. It is an adaptation of Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont's version of the tale and was also influenced by Jean Cocteau's 1946 film version of the story.
In the Disney film, a young prince refuses to give an old beggar woman shelter for the night in his castle in exchange for a rose. The old woman is really a powerful enchantress. She punishes the prince for his beastly behavior by transforming him into the Beast. All of the prince's servants are also put under a spell that changes them into living furniture. The prince is told that he will remain as the Beast forever unless he learns to love another who loves him in return before the last petal falls off the enchantress's rose on his 21st birthday. Ten years later, an elderly inventor named Maurice comes to the Beast's castle by accident after getting lost while returning from the local fair. Although Maurice is welcomed by some of the castle's living furniture, the Beast imprisons him when he discovers his presence. Maurice's daughter Belle, his only child who is shunned by most of the village because her love of books is considered strange, is led to the Beast's castle by her father's horse. She offers to remain as the Beast's prisoner instead of her father. It is after the Beast is wounded by wolves while protecting Belle in the woods near his castle that the two begin to develop feelings for each other. Gaston, a vain huntsman who wants to marry Belle, learns of the existence of the Beast and also realizes that Belle loves the creature. Gaston persuades the other villagers that the Beast is a man-eating monster. The villagers attack the Beast's castle. Gaston fights and mortally wounds the Beast. Belle professes her love for the dying Beast as the last petal falls from the enchantress's rose. The Beast is returned to life and to his true human form. All of his servants also take on their true human forms again and the gloomy castle is magically restored to its former glory.
Disney's 1991 Beauty and the Beast was a commercial success. Having been made on a budget of US$25,000,000, it earned over US$350,000,000 at the box office worldwide in the first year of its release. The movie was also overwhelmingly well received by critics and won multiple awards. It won the Academy Awards for Best Original Score and Best Original Song. It became the first animated film to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture.
The Disney film spawned three direct-to-video sequels, Beauty and the Best - The Enchanted Christmas (1997), Belle's Magical World (1998) and Belle's Tales of Friendship (1999), and a live-action TV series, Sing Me a Story with Belle, which originally aired in the United States in syndication between September 8, 1995 and March 1, 1997.
Beauty and the Beast became the first Disney animated cartoon to be adapted as a stage musical. The musical was first performed at the Music Hall in Houston, Texas on November 29, 1993. It opened on Broadway at the Palace Theater on April 18, 1994. The Broadway production ran for a decade and won a Tony Award for Best Costume Design. The first performance in London's West End was at the Dominion Theatre on April 29, 1997. The musical has now been performed in more than thirty countries and has been seen by over 35 million people.
A live-action remake of the Disney animated cartoon, directed by Bill Condon and starring the British actors Emma Watson as Belle and Dan Stevens as the Beast, was released in the United States on March 17, 2017.
Other film adaptations of Beauty and the Beast include:
- Beauty and the Beast (France 1899), a silent film, the first screen adaptation of the story, directed by Charles and Émile Pathé.
- Beauty and the Beast (USA 1962), directed by Edward Cahn, starring Joyce Taylor and Mark Damon, the first English-language film adaptation of the story and the first one to be made in color.
- Panna a netvor (Czechoslovakia 1978), directed by Juraj Herz, starring Vlastimil Harapes and Zdena Studenková, a horror film in which the Beast is depicted as a bird-like creature.
- Beauty and the Beast (Israel/United States 1987), directed by Eugene Marner, starring Rebecca de Mornay as Beauty and John Savage as the Beast, a musical version that was released direct-to-video as part of the Cannon Movie Tales series.
- Beauty and the Beast (South Africa 2005), also known as Blood of Beasts, a version set in Viking times, directed by David Lister, starring Jane March as Freya (the Beauty character) and David Dukas as the Beast.
- Beauty and the Beast (Australia 2009), also known as Beauty and the Beast: A Dark Tale, directed by David Lister, starring Estella Warren as Belle and Victor Parascos as the Beast, a low-budget version that was released direct-to-video.
- The Beautiful Beast (USA 2013), directed by Bryan Carza, starring Shona Kay and Brad Johnson, a modernized loose adaptation of the story.
- Beauty and the Beast (France/Germany 2014), directed by Christophe Gans, starring Léa Sydoux as Belle de Beaufremont and Vincent Cassel as the Beast.
The first episode of the American children's anthology television series Shirley Temple's Storybook is an adaptation of Beauty and the Beast. The episode was first broadcast on NBC on January 12, 1958. Beauty and the Beast was adapted as a 74-minute British-American TV movie starring George C. Scott as the Beast and Trish Van Devere as Belle. The film was first shown on American television as an episode of the long-running anthology series Hallmark Hall of Fame. It originally aired on NBC on December 3, 1976. The fourteenth episode of the American TV series Faerie Tale Theater is an adaptation of Beauty and the Beast. The episode, which stars Susan Sarandon as Beauty and Klaus Kinski as the Beast, first aired on the Showtime channel on August 13, 1984. The eleventh episode of the American animated TV series Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child is an adaptation of Beauty and the Beast. The episode features the voices of Vanessa L. Williams as Beauty and Gregory Hines as the Beast. It originally aired on HBO on May 21, 1995. Beauty and the Beast was adapted as the third episode of the second season of the Japanese anime series Grimm's Classic Fairy Tales (Japanese: グリム名作劇場; Gurimu Meisaku Gekijō). The episode, which was originally titled "The Story of the Summer Garden and the Winter Garden", (Japanese: 夏の庭と冬の庭の話; Natsu no Niwa to Fuyu no Niwa no Hanashi), was first shown on TV Asahi in Japan on October 16, 1988.
The American fantasy crime drama TV series Beauty and the Beast originally aired on CBS between October 2, 1987 and August 4, 1990. In the first two seasons, the series focuses on the relationship between Catherine (the "Beauty" character, played by Linda Hamilton), an Assistant District Attorney in New York City, and Vincent (played by Ron Perlman), a lion-faced man-beat who lives beneath the city. Although Catherine falls in love with Vincent because of his inner beauty, Vincent does not transform into a handsome man after she does so. Linda Hamilton left the series after its second season. Her character was killed off and was replaced in the final season by Diana Bennett (played by Jo Anderson) a criminal profiler investigating Catherine's murder.
Another American TV series called Beauty & the Beast, very loosely inspired by the 1987 series, has been airing on The CW Television Network since October 11, 2012. It stars the Canadian actress Kristin Kreuk as Catherine (the "Beauty" character) and New Zealand actor Jay Ryan as Vincent (the "Beast" character).
- Sound files of public domain audiobooks of short story versions of "Beauty and the Beast":
- "The Frog King"
- The Nutcracker and the Mouse King
- "Riquet with the Tuft"
- "Snow-White and Rose-Red"
- ↑ The young woman's real name is not revealed in Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont's version of the story. In the original French text, she is always referred to by the nickname "la Belle", which means "the Beauty". In English-language translations and adaptation's of the story, the character is usually referred to as Beauty. She is called Bella in the 1894 retelling of the story by the Australian-born author Joseph Jacobs.
- ↑ In spite of the series' name, episodes of the Japanese anime series Grimm's Classic Fairy Tales are not necessarily based on stories that are included in the anthology of German fairy tales compiled by the Brothers Grimm.
- Versions of "Beauty and the Beast" in French and English on Wikisource.
- Free public domain French-language audiobook of Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve's Beauty and the Beast from LibriVox.
- Beauty and the Beast on Sur la Lune Fairy Tales.com.
- Text of Sergey Aksakov's "The Scarlet Flower" in Russian on Wikisource.