Disney: Cinderella

A dream is a wish your heart makes
When you're fast asleep
In dreams you lose your heartaches
Whatever you wish for, you keep
Have faith in your dreams and someday
Your rainbow will come smiling thru
No matter how your heart is grieving
If you keep on believing
the dream that you wish will come true

Entry #12 in the Disney Animated Canon, Cinderella, based on the Fairy Tale "Cinderella", and marked Disney's return to single-story feature-length films in 1950, after the WWII years where Disney was limited to making collections of shorts (e.g. Make Mine Music, Fun and Fancy Free) while many of their staff were drafted to the war effort. Advertisement posters touted Cinderella as the best since Snow White and for the time it definitely marked a return to form, though the painstaking (and extremely expensive) animation techniques of the earlier films were scaled back.

Cinderella got not one, but two Direct-to-Video sequels: Cinderella II: Dreams Come True (2002) and Cinderella III: A Twist in Time (2007).note 

It is also one of the movies featured in Kingdom Hearts. Cinderella herself has a minor (but important) role as one of the seven Princesses of Heart driving the plot of the first game. Nothing from the series appears again until Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep, where it gets an entire world called Castle of Dreams. The film has a 2015 live-action remake, with Lily James, Cate Blanchett, Richard Madden, and Hayley Atwell.

Disney's original film includes examples of:

  • Absurdly Long Stairway: While it's not too long for a human, the stairway to Cinderella's room is this trope for Gus and Jack (who are realistically-sized mice) when they have to carry the key up the stairs to her to let her out of the room when she was locked in by the wicked stepmother.
  • Abusive Parents: Lady Tremaine is overbearing, manipulative, and cruel to Cinderella. She's only a few notches better to her own daughters.
  • Actually, I Am Him: Cinderella didn't realize that the man she was dancing with all night and consequently fell in love with was the prince himself until Lady Termaine mentioned that the prince was in love with the girl who lost her slipper.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: Cinderella has strawberry-blonde hair and a silver dress in the film, but in the Disney Princess Merchandise, she has blonde hair and a blue dress.
  • Adipose Rex: The King has quite the belly on him.
  • All There in the Manual: Cinderella's horse is named Major, but the only official material that states it is the Platinum Edition's companion book.
  • Almost Kiss: Cinderella and the prince are leaning towards each other and then GONG!
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: Lady Tremaine and her schemes.
  • Attack! Attack... Retreat! Retreat!: When Cinderella is fleeing because the clock is striking midnight.
    Duke: Stop that coach! Close those gates!
    (Then, when the coach barely makes it through as the gates close.)
    Duke: Follow that coach! Open those gates!
  • Badass Adorable: Jaq and Gus; little mice on a grand adventure to retrieve materials for Cinderella's dress.
  • Beauty Equals Goodness:
    • Cinderella is prettier and much nicer than her cartoonish and mean stepsisters. In fact, look at the way the Grand Duke reacted to the stepsisters and Cinderella. With the stepsisters, he grimaced at the sight of them and was generally repulsed by their attitude, impatient to leave. When Cinderella asked to try on the shoe, his face lit up (as well as noticing her petite feet) and helped her down the stairs.
  • Big Bad: Lady Tremaine is the cause of all of The Protagonist's woes and the one she must overcome to reach Happily Ever After.
  • Big Damn Heroes: The birds and Bruno the Dog are ultimately what save Gus and Jaq from Lucifer, when he comes close to sabotaging their attempt to free Cinderella. This is made even more triumphant by the fact that a first-time viewer might be wondering out loud during Jaq and Gus's long climb, just where the other animals are (especially the mice) and why they're not helping.
  • Big Good: The Fairy Godmother is a powerful and benevolent aid to our leading lady.
  • Big "WHAT?!": Spoken by the King after the Grand Duke explains that the beautiful woman who captured the Prince's heart at the ball has gone:
    King: I hereby dub you, Sir... Hmm... Oh, by the way, what title would you like?
    Duke: Sire, she got away.
    King: "Sir Shegotaway"? A peculiar title, but if that's what you... She what?! Why, you... you traitor!
  • Bragging Theme Tune: Cinderella, you're as lovely as your name. Cinderella, you're a sunset in a frame... It sounds pretty classy in comparison to most examples.
  • Breakout Character: Jaq and Gus went on to star in many Disney comics after the movie had been released, with and without the rest of the cast. They were even brought into the Disney Ducks Comic Universe, and for decades they kept appearing in stories where they were house-mice on Grandma Duck's farm. Plus, Gus also appears in Once Upon a Time.
  • Broken Aesop: A downplayed trope. The film tries to emphasize the importance of having faith but the fairy godmother appears to help Cinderella when she's at the edge of the Despair Event Horizon. It's downplayed/fixed when the fairy godmother points out the importance of having even the smallest speck of faith.
    Fairy Godmother: If you lost all your faith, I wouldn't be here... and here I am!
  • Butt Monkey: The Grand Duke due to all the comic mishaps involving the slipper.
  • The Caligula: The king is a violent maelstrom of emotion. It's a wonder he hasn't killed the Grand Duke by the time of the movie.
  • Cats Are Mean: Lucifer, whose name should speak for itself.
  • Cat Stereotype: Lucifer is dark grey and grey with a black head and off-white muzzle, and fits both black and grey cat stereotypes by being evil, fat and lazy.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The second glass slipper left to Cinderella after the spell breaks comes in handy later on.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Bruno becomes important in the climax.
  • Chekhov's Hobby: A variation: when one first sees Bruno, he is sleeping and dreaming of chasing Lucifer, which Cinderella warns him against, lest he loses his nice warm bed. Later, when Cinderella is locked in her chamber and the mice have the key to unlock it but are stopped by Lucifer, she calls on her bird friends to retrieve Bruno, who chases off Lucifer for real, thus allowing the mice to bring Cinderella the key.
  • Dance of Romance: With Cinderella and the Prince, as seen in that page's image. This is where they fall in love.
  • Dangerously Genre Savvy: When Lady Tremaine realized that Cinderella was the girl the Prince fell in love with, she locked Cinderella in her room up in the tower where her cries wouldn't be heard and kept the key on hand. When that failed (thanks to Cinderella's mice friends), she tripped the footman carrying the glass slipper so Cinderella wouldn't have proof that she was the right girl. This fails only because Cinderella is able to produce the remaining slipper of the pair.
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    • The Grand Duke has a few witty words to say about "true love" and such.
    • Cinderella gets a priceless moment in when she decides that the summons from the King is worth breaking the rules and interrupting the "music lesson". You could practically "see" the air quotes around that phrase.
  • Death Glare: Lady Tremaine has one when she realizes Cinderella was at the ball and got the prince. The glare even included shadows darkening over her face.
  • Description Cut: The Grand Duke's rather sarcastic narration of the King's hopes for the ball ("Suddenly he stops! He looks up! Alone, there she stands!") plays out with perfect sincerity as the Prince meets Cinderella.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Cinderella teeters on the edge when Lady Tremaine and her daughters destroy her dress and her hopes of attending the ball. Fortunately her Fairy Godmother arrives and makes everything right.
  • Digital Destruction: The 2005 DVD restoration removed outlines, altered some of the colors (in some cases to match with the marketing), and erased some of the magic dust. However, the Blu-ray release managed to alleviate those issues to an extent.
  • Disappeared Dad: His death is part of the film's prologue.
  • Disney Villain Death: Lucifer falls from the tower at the end, although comic stories produced shortly after the film as well as the even later sequels show that he survived. Must have something to do with being a cat (be it landing on their feet, having nine lives, or their fatal velocity being higher than their terminal velocity).
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Cinderella's stepsisters viciously ripping apart the dress she's wearing (because they recognize the sash and beads incorporated into it as their own castoffs) can be interpreted as sexual assault.
  • Doomed New Clothes: The dress Cinderella had on before her Fairy Godmother gave her a new one.
  • Domestic Abuser: Lady Tremaine treats her stepdaughter as a slave and constantly belittles and mistreats her, a vice she encourages in her biological daughters. Moreso than Frollo, the Evil Stepmother is arguably Disneys' most chillingly realistic villain, the one who lives behind closed doors and commits petty abuses against a helpless and innocent victim on a daily basis.
  • Dramatic Drop: Cinderella drops the breakfast tray when she hears from Lady Tremaine that the Prince was in love with the girl who lost her slipper.
  • Evil Matriarch: Lady Tremaine exploits her daughters as social ladders and her step-daughter as a servant.
  • Exact Words:
    • Lady Tremaine promises Cinderella that she can go to the ball if she finishes her work and can find something to wear. She and her daughters then arrange things so that Cinderella can't fulfill the conditions.
    • The Prince swears to marry the girl who could wear the glass slipper. The King decides to hold him to his word, and issues a royal decree to that effect.
  • Extremely Short Timespan: Excluding how Lady Tremaine came into Cinderella's life and Cinderella's wedding, the main story takes place in 24 hours.
  • Fade Around the Eyes: Not exactly a fadeout, but when Lady Tremaine figures out that Cinderella was the mystery girl at the ball, there is a closeup of her face where the screen gets darker while her squinting eyes remain lit.
  • Fairy Godmother: A Spirit Advisor shaped like a grandmother appears to Cinderella in her hour of need.
  • Fairytale Wedding Dress: Cindy wears one in the movie's conclusion for her own royal wedding.
  • Falling in Love Montage: Invoked by the king, then Discussed while such a thing is demonstrated.
  • Fat and Skinny: Two comical duos here.
    • Jaq and Gus.
    • The King and the Grand Duke.
  • Fat Bastard: Lucifer, the cat, has quite the well-fed betty and the mean attitude.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Lady Tremaine, judging by the tone of her voice, is being cordial to Cinderella. Her words are abusive.
  • Flipping the Bird: After politely greeting girl after girl at the ball, the prince aims a yawn towards where his father sits when he wasn't greeting anyone. It may not seem much to a modern viewer, but at the time presented in the film it was like the prince gave his father the finger.
  • Follow Your Heart: "A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes".
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Cinderella loses a shoe while doing her duties early in the film.
    • Cinderella calls the giant clock in town a "killjoy" when it's bells disrupt her "I Want" Song. Later on, it stops Cinderella and the Prince from kissing when it begins striking twelve, meaning the spell was about to break.
  • Fourth Date Marriage: One date marriage. Though in the third movie, it's justified that holding a woman's hand tells the prince she's the one. He doesn't feel it when he was made to think he danced with Anastasia or when Anastasia magically looks like Cinderella.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Aside from the cat, Lucifer, Cinderella is friends with all the animals. She even tries to find some good in Lucifer, although she fails.
  • The Girl Who Fits This Slipper: The Trope Namer, although it's subverted. Not only do both the Grand Duke and the King acknowledge that the slipper could fit any number of girls, Cinderella doesn't even get to try it on; she proves her identity instead by producing its match, which is more conclusive. If some form of explanation is needed for why the slipper didn't fit any number of girls aside from Cinderella herself, the easiest one would be that it was created specifically for her, by magic, and might even become just a little too small (or large) for anyone else who tried to wear it.
  • Glass Slipper: Cinderella's glass slipper is the Ur-Example. The prince gets hold of the slipper Cinderella loses on her way out and starts a journey to find its owner.
  • Gorgeous Garment Generation: Creating the blue-silver ballgown for Cinderella is part of the fairy godmother's song.
  • Grand Staircase Entrance: Twice: first when Cinderella meets the Prince at the ball (though this slightly differs from the traditional entrance by having her walk up the stairs rather than down the stairs), and, later, at the end when she comes down the stairs of her home to prove the slipper is hers.
  • Hammerspace: After the Fairy Godmother offers to help Cinderella get ready for the ball, she searches around for her magic wand, then remembers that she "put it away." She uses a special hand motion to summon the wand from thin air.
  • Hand Wave: Both the original movie and Cinderella III hang a lampshade on how it's ridiculous to expect just one girl to fit the slipper, but they both justify it differently. In Cinderella it's implied the prince said he'd marry The Girl Who Fits This Slipper as a shorthand for "that girl I fell in love with", but the king is so fed up with his son and lack of grandchildren that he makes it a literal royal order. In Cinderella III on the other hand it's the king himself who points out the absurdity of the quest, and indeed when the person who fits the slipper turns out to be Anastasia the prince apologizes and refuses to marry her. At first.
  • Have a Gay Old Time: Almost word-for-word: Right before Cinderella leaves for the ball, the Fairy Godmother tells her to "Have a good time! Dance! Be gay!"
  • Heir Club for Men: Averted. The king dreams about doing typical "grandfatherly" things with a grandson and a granddaughter instead of simply wanting heirs.
  • Heroic BSOD: Cinderella gets an ever-so-brief one when she learns the Prince is in love with the girl who lost her glass slipper at the ball causing her to drop a tray of food in mild shock.
  • High-Class Glass: The Duke wears one and it makes him look quite sophisticated. It falls out when he loses his composure or is subjected to comedy.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: One must wonder what Cinderella's dad saw in Lady Tremaine.
  • Hypocritical Humour:
    • From Lady Tremaine, accompanying her daughters on piano.
      Lady Tremaine: Girls! Girls! Above all, self-control!
      (Cinderella knocks, interrupting the lesson)
      Lady Tremaine: (slams her hands on the piano) YES?!?!
    • The King who scoffs at the Duke's much more sensible ideas about letting the Prince fall in love:
      Grand Duke: Perhaps if we just let him alone —
      The King: Let him alone?! With his silly romantic ideas?
      Grand Duke: B-But, sire, in matters of love...
      The King: Love. Bah! Just a boy meeting a girl under the right conditions. (pushes books off the table and puts together the male and female figurines together) So, we're arranging the conditions.
  • I Gave My Word: Her exact word. The word in this case is "if".
  • I Kiss Your Hand: The prince does this when he first meets Cinderella. Quite charming, isn't it?
  • Innocent Blue Eyes: Cinderella's reflect her gentle and kind nature.
  • I Resemble That Remark: This exchange:
    The King: (after throwing his crown out of the window) My son has been avoiding his responsibilities long enough. It's high time he married and settled down.
    Grand Duke: (as he rises out of the wreckage of furniture the King threw at him) Of course, your Majesty, but we must be patient...
    The King: I AM PATIENT!!!! (throws an inkwell)
  • I Want Grandkids: The king.
    King: I can't understand it ! There must be at least one who would make a suitable mother!
    Grand Duke: Shhhh! Sire...
    King: Ahem... A suitable wife!
  • Jerkass: Lady Tremaine and her two daughters are thoroughly unpleasant people, and the former is manipulative to boot.
  • Karma Houdini: Lady Tremaine doesn't get any comeuppance in this film, though she fairly obviously misses out on the rewards that could have been hers if she'd treated her stepdaughter kindly (and she'll have to hire a new servant).
  • Kick the Dog: Anastasia and Drizella destroying Cinderella's dress. That was just spiteful.
  • Lampshade Hanging: The Duke points out how ridiculous it is to think that the glass slipper will only fit the girl who left it behind.
    Grand Duke: But Sire, this slipper may fit any number of girls!
    King: That's his problem. He's given his word, we'll hold him to it.
  • Leave the Two Lovebirds Alone: Lady Tremaine wants to get a closer look at Cinderella, who was dancing with the Prince, only for the Grand Duke to close the curtains on her by orders of the King to let no one disrupt them.
  • Let's Get Dangerous: When Bruno is first summoned to help Cinderella, he's very groggy and a bit dopey-looking. But after some avian assistance, he tears up those stairs with a vengeance and scares the living daylights out of Lucifer even before he growls at the cat.
  • Limited Wardrobe: You have to wonder where Anastasia and Drizella get all those differently colored clothes for Cinderella to wash considering all the clothes they are ever actually seen wearing are, respectively, hot pink and green. Even their nightgowns match the color scheme. The opening narration does refer to the family fortunes being "squandered" by them. It's not entirely unreasonable they insisted on buying them but never wore them or wore them very little.
  • Loophole Abuse: This gem when Lady Tremaine promises Cinderella permission to attend the ball if she finishes all the work.
    Drizella: Mother! Do you realize what you just said!?
    Lady Tremaine: Of course. I said "if".
  • Love at First Sight: Mocked by the Grand Duke — at the very point the Prince falls victim to it upon setting eyes upon Cinderella.
  • Love Theme: "So This is Love", heard during Cinderella and the Prince's dance together.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: When Cinderella is sobbing in the garden that there's nothing to believe in anymore, a chorus sings a Dark Reprise of her "I Want" Song, "A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes", with the same upbeat lyrics. This leads up to the appearance of the Fairy Godmother.
  • Magic Wand: Fairy Godmother pulls it out of thin air and uses it to transmogrify things.
  • The Makeover: A magically enabled one involving a gown, shoes, and hair styling.
  • The Matchmaker: The king plans to use the ball to "arrange the conditions" for his son to marry someone. It doesn't matter who, just so long as he gets grandkids.
  • Memento MacGuffin: The remaining glass slipper, which Cinderella assumes will be nothing more than a keepsake from one magical evening.
  • Missing Mom:
    • The Prince's mom is never mentioned. Some storybooks strangely enough mention her as if she is still alive, and she makes one appearance in illustration.
    • Cinderella's mom gets a couple tiny nods; the prologue makes it clear that she died and that the main reason her dad married again was because he thought she needed a mother. The dress that Cinderella originally plans to modify to wear to the ball was, as she specifically states, her mother's.
  • The Musical: Lots of songs here, but oddly enough, they're only song by heroes. There's no Villain Song.
  • Musical Chores: "The Work Song" and "Sing Sweet Nightingale".
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Let's just say "Lucifer" was an appropriate name for the cat.
  • Nice Mice: Jaq and Gus. The former leads the "The Work Song" and Gus is happy to help any way he can.
  • Nice Shoes: The glass slippers were certainly drawn to look nice.
  • Oh Crap!:
    • Gus has this reaction when he sees how tall the stairs to Cinderella's room are, just after he and Jaq finished moving the key up a previous flight of stairs.
    • Cinderella when she sees Lady Tremaine in the mirror locking her door from the inside.
    • Lady Tremaine when Cinderella reveals the other glass slipper to the Duke.
  • Opening Chorus: The movie starts with a chorus of people singing a song.
  • Our Fairies Are Different: The fairy godmother looks completely human but appears out of magic dust.
  • Parental Favoritism: Lady Tremaine favours her daughters over Cinderella any day.
  • Pimped-Out Dress: Layered skirts, sparkles and complete with opera-length gloves and glass slippers. The silhouette itself would make Christian Dior proud.
  • Prince Charming: It's implied that the prince has a rebellious streak, but with Cinderella he is nothing if not charming.Bonus points 
  • Princess Classic: One of Disney's oldest examples: kind, forgiving, idealistic, the princess deal, etc.
  • Rags to Riches: Cinderella works like a slave or indentured servant, thus no spending money. Then she marries the prince.
  • Rebel Prince: If the King's word is to be trusted, Prince Charming is a bit like this; this is best seen at the beginning of the ball where after bowing to greet a guest the Prince looks up to his father in the balcony and yawns; that might not seem like much today but at the time depicted in the film it was like giving his old man the finger.
  • Rhymes on a Dime: The Fairy Godmother has many effortless rhymes in her song.
  • Right-Hand Cat: Lucifer to Lady Tremaine, the first time we see them together.
  • Royal Decree: The Duke gives one of these to start the search for Cinderella using the glass slipper. This means that the Prince will have to marry someone soon.
  • Running Gag: Cinderella losing her shoe is turned into one. In addition to the famous one, she loses one of her shoes while delivering breakfast to her stepfamily and again at her wedding.
  • Scare 'Em Straight: When Gus first sees Lucifer, he's in a scrapping mood. Jaq immediately tells him that this is not a joke. Lucifer is mean and nasty and will hurt you, and you must not confront him. (Ultimately, the animals have to collectively get past this to free Cinderella).
  • Sealed with a Kiss: Final scene-a kiss in a carriage after a wedding.
  • Servile Snarker: The Grand Duke. The king does not appreciate his humor.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Cinderella gets two moments like this. The first is a disapproving one from her stepfamily when she shows up with the modified pink dress. The second time is of course when the Prince sees her in the ballgown Fairy Godmother gives her.
  • Simpleton Voice: Gus. You can tell Jaq is the brains of the duo simply by his voice, long before he shows his lack of stealth.
  • Smug Snake: Lady Tremaine's patronizing arrogance makes her that much more hateable.
  • So Much for Stealth: This trope is the bane of Jaq's existence every time he goes anywhere with Gus. Gus is constitutionally incapable of keeping quiet.
  • Storybook Opening: It sets the mood for the fairy tale to come.
  • Subverted Rhyme Every Occasion: This occurs twice with the Fairy Godmother; most of her rhymes are genuine, but...
    • After making the coach:
      Fairy Godmother: Now, with an elegant coach like that, of course, we'll simply have to have...
      (Major, Cinderella's horse standing nearby, clears his throat)
      Fairy Godmother: Mice!
      (Major does a Double Take)
    • After making the horses:
      Fairy Godmother: Now, um, where were we? Oh, goodness, yes. You can't go to the ball without, um...
      (Cinderella looks hopeful about her dress, for the third time)
      Fairy Godmother: A horse!
      Cinderella: A-a-another one?
  • This Is Reality:
    Grand Duke: (playing with his monocle like a yo-yo) He looks up, and lo! There she stands - the girl of his dreams. Who she is or whence she came, he knows not, nor does he care, for his heart tells him that here is the maiden predestined to be his bride... Oh, a pretty plot for fairy tales, sire, but in real life, it was foredoomed to failure!
    • This is a Funny Moment, because even as he casually narrates all this, that's exactly what's happening.
  • Uptown Girl: Cinderella the servant girl and the Prince. Thank goodness the King wants grandchildren!
  • Viewers Are Geniuses: "I'll name you Octavius, but for short we'll call you Gus." Octavius was the nephew Julius Caesar and his heir by adoption. Upon becoming emperor he was renamed Augustus Caesar. "Gus" is shorter form of Augustus/Augustine.
  • When the Clock Strikes Twelve: "The spell will be broken." All of Cinderella's princess attire disappears.
  • Wicked Stepmother: Lady Tremaine is the archetypal cinematic example of a woman who abuses her step-children and favors her blood children.
  • Youngest Child Wins: Averted. It is merely stated that Cinderella is the around the same age as her stepsisters; it is never specified who is the youngest.