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Disney: Sleeping Beauty
"From this slumber, you shall wake, when True Love's Kiss, the spell shall break."

In ageless sleep, she finds repose...

Entry #16 of the Disney Animated Canon, Disney made the Fairy Tale "Sleeping Beauty" into a movie in 1959, based loosely on the Brothers Grimm's version, "Briar Rose", though the title comes from Perrault's "La Belle au bois dormant" ("The Sleeping Beauty in the Wood"). By a bit of contortion, they manage to come up with a reason for calling the heroine both Aurora and Briar Rose (the French and German versions of her name rendered into English).

Having already adapted two similar Fairy Tales, the biggest challenge story-wise was how to make the plot different without recycling too many elements. Walt wanted the story to be more streamlined, focusing on the central plot about the two lovers without the numerous side plots involving minor characters like dwarves or mice. Technically, the final film is rather streamlined with one major plot... because the animators had so much fun fleshing out the Three Good Fairies that the film completely unintentionally became a Perspective Flip about the efforts of three heroines to rescue the sleeping beauty and her prince from an evil fairy. If Walt's original plan had been followed, the fairies would have been Single Minded Triplets with no distinctive personalities (quite ironic, as it was Walt Disney himself who pushed for the dwarfs in Snow White to have distinct personalities).

This film features in the Kingdom Hearts series — Maleficent takes the role of the leader of the Disney Villains and serves as a primary antagonist in the first game, and Aurora appears as one of the Princesses of Heart. The fairies appear as a One-Scene Wonder in Kingdom Hearts II, and the prequel Birth by Sleep introduces an entire world themed after the movie, with Prince Phillip serving as a party member during part of the game.

In 2014, Disney brought out Maleficent, a live-action Twice Told Tale version of this film.


The film contains examples of:

  • Adaptational Villainy: Yeah, sure, the Old Fairy was pretty evil in the original version, but she was pretty tame compared to Maleficent, who acts as the stand-in.
  • All There in the Script: Maleficent's raven, Diablo, is never actually named in the movie.
  • Anachronism Stew:
    • During the forest scene and the finale, Aurora and Phillip dance the waltz. But the film takes place in the 14th century, and the waltz wasn't invented until the 18th century.
    • Aurora's princess dress follows the high fashion standards of The Fifties (which focused on shape and smoothness over loads of decoration), compared to rest of the outfits in the movie (although even those have varying degrees of Hollywood Costuming).
    • While fireworks did exist in the 14th century, it would be a couple more centuries before they became conventional for celebrations.
  • Argument of Contradictions: The fairies argue over the color of Aurora's dress. Flora wants pink, but Merryweather wants blue and they repeatedly use their magic to change the color.
  • Badass Normal: Prince Phillip.
  • Big Bad: Maleficent. Her angry whims are the reason Aurora must be hidden and the basis of the movie.
  • Bound and Gagged: Phillip is ambushed by Maleficent's goons.
  • Changeling Fantasy: Subverted hard. Aurora is horrified to discover she is the long lost princess and has to pack up and move to the castle with the King and Queen, and never see that cute guy in the forest again, and marry some total stranger, and on top of it all her aunts, her only family, aren't related to her at all and aren't even human!
  • Clever Crows: Maleficent's pet raven Diablo who is revealed to be smarter than the rest of Maleficent's goons.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Maleficent's minions spent 16 years looking for a baby instead of a growing woman.
  • Cool Horse: Samson.
  • Could Have Avoided This Plot: If Stefan had invited Maleficent to come to the party, she presumably would not have cursed Aurora. (Of course, there was no guarantee she wouldn't have done something worse; it's rather easy to discern the reason why nobody would invite someone like her.)
  • Creepy Crows: Maleficent's pet raven Diablo who is revealed to be smarter than the rest of Maleficent's goons.
  • Cut Song:
  • Dance of Romance: Aurora meets Phillip in the woods when he sneaks up behind her and joins in on her "I Want" Song.
  • Disney Princess: Aurora is the one with the least involvement in her own story.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Why the curse on the princess? Because Maleficent got snubbed an invite to the party.
  • Dramatic Irony: Prince Philip and Aurora meet each other in the forest and each assumes the other is a peasant. Both express drama over not being able to be with the other because they themselves are royalty - and they assume the other is a peasant. But the audience knows that they are both royalty and have been betrothed, so of course they can be together.
  • Dude, She's Like in a Coma: Most famous example, along with Snow White. Justified, though, since Merryweather outright states that a kiss is the only way to break the spell. It sort of seems like Aurora and Prince Phillip met before as a way to act against this trope and to justify their love to a degree because the original fairy tale didn't.
  • Drunken Song: SKUMPS! (When the kings wake up from the sleeping spell, King Stefan blames it on the wine. No "Frothy Mugs of Water" here!)
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: The villainess is too smart to be Hoist By Her Own Petard, so in an unusual twist for a Disney film, the hero has to actually confront her directly.
  • Edible Bludgeon: A brief scene played for laughs has an offended and mildly drunk King Hubert tries to attack his host King Stefan with a very large fish. However, since the fish isn't frozen it goes all floppy in a few hits against a metal serving tray used as an improvised shield. The absurdity of the situation makes them engage in some tension-lifting laughter.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Diablo looks shocked when Maleficent zaps her minions after they failed to find Aurora.
  • Evil Tower of Ominousness: Maleficent's domain, the Forbidden Mountain.
  • Failed a Spot Check: The Three Fairies just try their darnedest to cover up their magic within the cottage and do cover up every nook and cranny... except the fireplace. This might be justified as Maleficent's curse in action.
  • The Fair Folk: Though often cited as a witch, Maleficent is actually a fairy.
  • Fat and Skinny: Hubert and Stefan, respectively.
  • Faux Death: Maleficent intended Aurora to actually die upon pricking her finger on a spindle of a spinning wheel. Fortunately, Merryweather was about to bring her gift to Aurora when Maleficent interrupted, so Merryweather was able to amend it with this trope.
  • Forgotten First Meeting: Perfectly understandable, since Aurora was a newborn then. Phillip might remember the occasion, but he wouldn't recognize her.
  • Foreshadowing: When Flora turns Fauna and Merryweather into dotty old ladies, she turns Merryweather's clothes pink. Merryweather angrily magics them back blue.
  • For the Evulz: Why does Maleficent want to kill Aurora? Not being invited to a party is merely her "justification." To add to that, she doesn't kill her then and there. She declares her death to come in sixteen years, so her parents, and presumably Aurora, would live with the haunting dread of that unfortunate fate that will befall her.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Aurora. So much that her animal friends steal a cape, hat, and boots and form a scarecrow prince to cheer her up.
  • Girl in the Tower: The last third of the film.
  • Girl of My Dreams: If you take "Once Upon a Dream" at its word.
  • Good Colors, Evil Colors: In a strange twist, black is not strictly an evil color here. Sure, Maleficent wears it and has black horns and a black bird for a pet - but King Stefan has a black mustache and beard (and is generally more sympathetic than his white-haired counterpart, King Hubert), and black is also a prominent color in Briar Rose's peasant garb (of course, this could be to more dramatically accentuate her blonde hair). If there is a color more or less consistently associated with evil here, it is chartreuse (yellowish-green).
  • Gorgeous Period Dress: Save for Aurora's "new look" dress, this trope is there for most of the characters.
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!: Averted; Maleficent is allowed to say "hell".
  • The Hedge of Thorns: Maleficent causes thorns to grow around Stefan's castle to stop Phillip.
  • Heroic Mime: Phillip is completely silent for the second half of the movie, which focuses on him.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Averted. Notable in that this is a Disney movie, which are usually the kings of this trope. The fairies had to interfere in order to defeat Maleficent, because she is so powerful and clever that even at her most arrogant, she is brutally effective.
  • Hollywood Kiss: Princess Aurora and Prince Phillip at the end of the film when they're dancing in the clouds.
  • Hollywood Costuming: The movie is explicitly stated to take place in the 14th century, yet Aurora's dress has a neckline like dresses in the decade when the movie was made. Her mother's gown is more period accurate.
  • Horsing Around: The Prince's horse who, until the climactic scene, was very stubborn and had to be bribed by carrots to do his master's bidding, and the horse bungles it and charges straight into a puddle.
  • Hypnotize the Princess: When the glowing green orb appears in Aurora's bedroom as she cries, the light makes her suddenly stiffen and look up. Her eyes are glazed, and she stands up very fluidly, following the orb single-mindedly. When the fairies call out to her to not touch anything, it momentarily breaks the spell, before Maleficent's voice lulls her back in, and she touches the spinning wheel's spindle.
  • Instant Awesome, Just Add Dragons: Maleficent's final form in the movie.
  • Inter-Class Romance: It's set up to be this, but it turns out that the beautiful peasant girl Phillip sees in the forest is the princess to whom he's betrothed.
  • Irony: As Phillip says: "Now father, you're living in the past! This is the 14th century!"
  • "I Want" Song: "I Wonder", in which Aurora ponders why "each little bird has a someone to sing to" and hoping someone will bring a love song to her.
  • Letterbox: Three clips from this movie — Aurora singing in the forest, Philip escaping Maleficent's dungeon, and Aurora and Philip waltzing-became the first pieces of footage to air on TV in widescreen, when shown in the Walt Disney Presents episode "The Peter Tchaikovsky Story". However, they played trimmed to 1.82:1. Additionally, in 1997, Sleeping Beauty became one of the lucky few Disney movies to get a widescreen VHS. This presented the movie in the 2.35:1 aspect ratio used for 35mm engagements.
  • Love at First Note: Technically they met as a baby and a little boy, but as far as either of them knew, this was their first meeting.
  • Love at First Sight: The prince and princess actually meet before the Dude, She's Like in a Coma True Love's Kiss in this version, but the only time they spend together is singing a song and dancing in a forest. (Technically, they "met" when they were young. Aurora was just a baby; Phillip wasn't older than 4 or 5, but they don't realize it until the end.) The lovers Hand Wave this by claiming they met "once upon a dream."
  • Meaningful Name: Inverted. The princess is named Aurora (Latin for "dawn"), and then Flora gifts her with "hair of sunshine gold" to match her name.
  • The Middle Ages: "After all, this is the 14th century."
  • Misplaced Retribution: Maleficent places a curse on the baby princess, who has done nothing, to punish her parents.
  • Missing Mom: Phillip's mother is never seen or mentioned, and presumably is dead prior to the movie. Averted by Aurora, who is one of the only Disney protagonists whose parents are both alive for the entire film.
  • Modest Royalty: Speaking objectively, Aurora's gown is one of the most understated of all the Disney dresses. It's quite simple compared to the gowns of the courtiers (and her mother), as well.
  • Moment Killer: Aurora tells her animal friends that she met a prince, but their informal date got cut short when she woke up and realized it was All Just a Dream.
  • Names to Run Away From Really Fast:
  • Natural Spotlight: On Aurora before she is woken up.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: The fairies stopped up every nook and cranny except for the fireplace when they perform magic for the first time in years. Then Flora and Merryweather get into a magical dispute over the color of Aurora's dress. Guess how Maleficent discovers the whereabouts of Aurora. Missing the fireplace is how Maleficent manages to get a hold of Aurora a second time, too: by enchanting it to open up into a stairwell and hypnotizing her into pricking her finger.
  • Never Say "Die": Averted.
    • "Thou Sword of Truth, fly swift and sure, that evil DIE and good endure!"
    • "She (Aurora) shall prick her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel and DIE!"
  • No Body Left Behind: Dragon!Maleficent falls down a cliff. When the sword is shown again, it is stabbing only a cloak.
  • No Name Given: Aurora's mother. Her father is King Stefan, but her mother is only ever referred to as "the Queen". (Disney fans generally call her Leah after a name given to her in one of the children's books written about the movie.) Not only is the character never given a name in the film, but the Disney archives for some reason have absolutely no record of the name of the actress who provided the Queen's voice! (It's currently guessed that Verna Felton, the voice of Flora, provided her voice as well.)
  • Non-Human Sidekick: Prince Phillip has a horse, Maleficent has her raven familiar Diablo, Aurora has various miscellaneous woodland creatures. Also, Maleficent's goons.
  • No Song for the Wicked: Maleficent's Villain Song may have been cut, but she still gets to (prematurely) gloat over her victory in a creepy, low-key Villain Poem.
  • Obviously Evil: Maleficent. Just look at all the evil tropes she's associated with (Evil Eyebrows, Evil Tower of Ominousness, High Collar of Doom, Lean and Mean, etc.). Her very name has "mal" (evil) in it.
  • Oh, Crap:
    • Phillip's horse has this reaction (with whinnying accompaniment) at one point during the battle with Maleficent (before the fairies bail him out).
    • Phillip looks horrified after Maleficent's One-Winged Angel transformation.
  • One-Winged Angel: Maleficent's dragon form, the current Page Image.
  • One-Woman Wail: The infamous Aaauroooraaa calling during Maleficent's evil spell on Aurora.
  • Our Fairies Are Different: Flora, Fauna, Merryweather and (especially) Maleficent.
  • Perfectly Arranged Marriage: Aurora and Phillip do come to really like each other despite the engagement.
  • Pink Product Ploy: In some countries, the 2014 Blu-Ray re-release of Sleeping Beauty has a cover showing Aurora in her peasant dress. However, the American cover shows her in pink and sparkles.
  • Power Trio:
    • Superego - Flora
    • Ego - Fauna
    • Id - Merryweather
  • Precision F-Strike: "Now shall you deal with me, O prince, and all the powers of Hell!" How much of a precision strike was this? The next time anyone said that word in a Disney animated production was thirty five years later... In the weekday afternoon slot, in the pilot episode of Gargoyles.
  • Princess Classic: Flora's and Fauna's gifts (and possibly Merryweather's had she not been interrupted) were even related to this trope.
  • Princesses Prefer Pink: Played with. Aurora never chooses her own gown, but Flora and Merryweather fight over what color it should be.
  • Public Domain Soundtrack: Much of the soundtrack of the movie is the music to Tchaikovsky's ballet of Sleeping Beauty. The song "Once Upon a Dream" was adding lyrics to the Waltz.
  • Purple Eyes: Aurora has violet eyes, which are meant to symbolize rare beauty along with her sunshine golden hair and rose red lips that were given to her by the gift of beauty. She's the only Disney Princess with an abnormal eye color.
  • Putting a Hand Over His Mouth: Flora shushes the other fairies this way. A goon also does this to Phillip for a second.
  • Remaster: In 1997, this became Disney's second movie to undergo a digital restoration, the first being Snow White. Another restoration, performed in preparation for the 2008 Blu-Ray debut and DVD rerelease, went back to the original camera negatives, making the picture appear 16% wider than in the movie's theatrical premiere.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: The prince, although the fairies do most of the work.
  • Running Gag: Flora and Merryweather's bickering over Aurora's dress being pink or blue, which happens in all three acts of the movie.
  • Satellite Love Interest: Both Prince Phillip and Princess Aurora are static non-characters. Phillip does try to get out of the mold, but fails as the fairies still end up as the more interesting ones. The fact that he actually has a first name still demonstrates that he has much more character development than the princes in Cinderella and Snow White.
  • Scaled Up: Maleficent turns into a dragon.
  • Scenery Porn: It was made in the Super Technirama 70 widescreen process, and the filmmakers were up to the challenge of filling the space, and so had the backgrounds painted in exquisite detail by artist Eyvind Earle. This trope and Everything's Better with Princesses are likely the reasons it was the first cel-animated Disney title to get a Blu-Ray Disc release.
  • Shipper on Deck: The forest animals really want Aurora and Philip to be together.
  • Sickly Green Glow: Maleficent has green eyes and a green orb atop her staff. Her flames are also green. In the 1997 restoration and a few other incarnations, her skin is green, although a very pale green—mostly due to coloring errors, since her skin was supposed to be white.
  • Simple Yet Opulent: Most of the dresses in this movie, even Aurora's dress, lack enough trimmings to qualify as a Pimped-Out Dress, but that doesn't mean they aren't extremely fancy regardless.
  • Slasher Smile: Maleficent has a sharp-toothed one in her dragon form.
  • Sorcerous Overlord: Maleficent, who's either an Evil Sorceress or one of The Fair Folk. She seems to rule over a dark land adjacent to the human kingdoms from her ominous castle, populated only by her monstrous and incredibly dumb minions.
  • Spell Blade: How the fairies give Prince Phillip a Sword of Truth and a Shield of Virtue to fight Maleficent. They even add an extra incantation before the final blow.
  • Spit Take: King Hubert does one when King Stefan points out that the wedding to Phillip may come as quite a shock to Aurora.
  • Spot of Tea: The Three Fairies have one as they make their plans.
  • Storybook Opening: The last true princess one till Enchanted came out.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: Aurora bears a strong resemblance to her mother.
  • Supernatural Aid: The fairies give Prince Phillip a Sword of Truth and a Shield of Virtue to fight Maleficent. They even add an extra incantation before the final blow.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: It is Maleficent's much smarter raven who finds Aurora, rather than her obviously idiotic mooks. They spend sixteen years looking "in every cradle" — for a princess they imagine to still be an infant. They didn't appear to have even searched the forest, despite claiming to have done so.
  • Taken for Granite: Merryweather turns the raven into a conveniently placed gargoyle.
  • This Cannot Be!: A note-perfect example, complete with a Villainous Breakdown and subsequent One-Winged Angel transformation, with a touch of Precision F-Strike thrown in, when Maleficent sees Prince Phillip managing to break through the thorns surrounding the castle she made and almost make it to Princess Aurora.
    Maleficent: No! It cannot be! (teleports over and cuts him) Now you shall deal with me, O Prince... AND ALL THE POWERS OF HELL!!!
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: One of the most iconic instances of the trope when Flora enchants it to kill Maleficent. Justified by the spell Flora cast on it to fly straight and hit exactly where it counted.
  • To the Pain: This is pretty much Maleficent's whole schtick. She's probably powerful enough to have glassed the whole kingdom when they didn't invite her to that christening, but she decided to curse the infant princess to die sixteen years later purely in order to inflict a long drawn-out torture on the king and queen. Maleficent's most evil moment in the film is when she explains to a captured Prince Phillip exactly how she's going to ensure that he doesn't get a happy ending. Killing him outright would've been kinder.
  • True Blue Femininity: Aurora's gown is blue for most of the movie, including the kissing scene, as this trope was more popular than Princesses Prefer Pink at the time.
  • True Love's Kiss: This appears in many Disney movies, but this particular kiss is the Trope Namer.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Maleficent breaks down further and further as she sees Prince Phillip escaping to the castle and tries at every turn to stop him. What little sanity remaining during this scene is completely spent when she sees that he had cut through the thorns she had made to stop him and she cries, "It cannot be!"
  • White Stallion: Prince Phillip races in to rescue the princess on his white horse.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: Fauna.
    Fauna: Perhaps if we reason with her...
    Flora: Reason?!
    Merryweather: With Maleficent?!
    Fauna: Well, she can't be all bad.
    Flora: Oh, yes, she can!

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