It's more like Nightmare Fuel, but the Queen's transformation is, for some fans, considered to be a fine piece of work, probably because of the effects that the animation creates. Effects which, at the time, were nothing short of miraculous.
When the Queen transforms herself into the hideous peddler. It was a huge challenge for the animators to not only depict her changing, but to show how she felt as she did. The result has served as pure terror for generations of kids, but it's also a truly awesome One-Winged Angel moment, and it shows just how evil she is - as suggested by Hans Conreid's Magic Mirror in the Disneyland TV show's "Our Unsung Villains" episode, she may be a Vain Sorceress, but her hatred for Snow is enough to trump even her vanity for a time ("just so you wouldn't get bored with this story"; the theme of the special was how villains are underappreciated for the conflict they provide that makes good drama). (Runner-up: her gleefully watching Snow succumb to the poisoned apple.)
Preceded by probably the most awesome and dramatic reading of a potion recipe since Macbeth:
Queen: "Mummy dust, to make me old. To shroud my clothes, the black of night. To age my voice, an old hag's cackle. To whiten my hair, a scream of fright. A blast of wind to fan my hate! A thunderbolt to mix it well! Now begin thy magic spell."
The sheer fact that The Queen breaks from her Evil Gloating to have a moment of lament, ensuring her spell has no overlooked detail. Sure she hand waves it when she discovers it, but still a chilling calculating side for one of Disney's first villains.
The whole movie qualifies. At the time it was made a feature-length animated film was nothing short of miraculous. The fact that Walt and Co. made such a stunning and enjoyable one was an outcome no one planned on. "Disney's Folly" indeed!
Expanding upon this; yes, Disney had Mickey and various other successes prior of course but this was the film that paved the foundations for what we know now as Disney the film studio. Heck, it borders on being that literally as the profits from this film are what built the very studio in Burbank that's still its headquarters today.
Also attending the premiere was Clark Gable of Gone With The Wind fame, who was said to have been moved to tears of joy upon the film's conclusion.
Snow White and the animals cleaning the Dwarfs' filthy house. She doesn't know who owns the house but she takes it upon herself to do something good for them.
An unsung lesson the film teaches is tolerance. The movie was made in the 1930s and set even earlier, but not once is Snow White prejudiced or frightened of the Dwarfs. She treats them as men and equals, and asks that they be blessed for being kind to her in return.
Adding onto that notice that despite the Unfortunate Implications of Snow White essentially volunteering her services as a housemaid at the beginning, the Dwarfs give her equal say around the house, they follow her directions and compromise their usual (less than sanitary) lifestyle for her. Again, this was made in the 1930s, and yet shows an impressive display of Values Resonance, and what's more even demonstrates it doesn't have to be through the need of being an Action Girl or tom boy. We all depend on each other at times.
It's also resonant for the time: the Great Depression was occurring at that moment and Snow White volunteering her domestic services was reflective of how people were able to procure shelter and services without much money (a chicken or some fresh eggs qualified as payment for some services) and perhaps reflected how many people often shared a living space with people they weren't related to (boarding houses).
The dwarfs chasing the witch through the forest and up the mountain. And Grumpy's the one leading the charge!
The witch's response? Push a giant boulder down onto them. She would have succeeding in killing Snow White and the dwarfs if not for a random bolt of lightning.
The execution is equally epic. The dwarfs frantically arrive just in time to see her sneaking out of the house and chase after her enraged. She eventually makes her way up to the cliff, her terror towards her doomed position slowly turning into venomous fury ("Trapped...the meddling fools!...I'LL CRUSH YOUR BONES!!!"). Refusing to be taken out by a bunch of Not So Weak dwarfs, she begins to dislodge a nearby boulder, turning the tableson them, laughing manically in triumph until she is struck down by fate itself with an ear piercing scream and seemingly crushed by her own devices. Extra points for the shots of the vultures, gleefully awaiting to make a meal out of the fallen side throughout. The Disney Villain Death would be used in excess throughout the years, but this was the first and perhaps most climatic exit of them all.
The Prince's kiss awakening Snow White.
The ultimate Offscreen Moment of Awesome. When Walt Disney had set his mind to the idea of doing a full-length animated feature based on a popular fairy story, he called in all of his senior staff for a late-night meeting. Essentially, he explained that the feature length would allow them to do the story justice in ways that a short never could. He then proceeded to act out, all by himself, the story of Snow White as he wanted to see it on film. The performance was so electrifying that before he was finished, all of the skeptical animators and storymen were on board, wanting to make this movie a reality. If you were to ever ask any of the old Disney staff about it, they'd tell you that while the movie was magnificent, well, you should have seen it the way Walt did it.
A 14-year-old girl who was chased out of her home by her only family, who had just tried having her murdered, into a forest of pure Nightmare Fuel with no food or friends and nowhere to go. She was ashamed of the fact that she was noticeably upset instead of keeping up her normally cheerful demeanor. She apologizes to the animals and it's only after she's comforted them with a song that she worries about herself. Snow White acts incredibly badass about the whole horrible situation.
The huntsman sparing Snow White's life. He knows he will face the consequences if he doesn't go through with it but when he sees her scared face, he drops the knife and warns her about the Queen. That took guts.
In a deleted scene, Snow White, seeing Grumpy and Doc getting into a fight over whether or not she stays, decides to leave, declaring that she'll find shelter elsewhere and that she's not afraid of the dark woods at night, not even "the goblins". In that one scene, she displays courage, sass, autonomy and shrewdness. An unexpected example of Silk Hiding Steel.
The whole film itself was one for Walt Disney and his studio. Everybody thought it would be a huge flop and bankrupt the studio since cartoons were just a novelty at best. There had been a few features during the Silent Era, but nothing as ambitious as this. The film proved that feature-length animation was viable for theatrical release and audience all over the world adored it.
"Snow White" managed to become the highest-grossing picture of all time until it was dethroned a year later by Gone with the Wind.
It became one of the first 25 films to ever be put in the National Film Registry in 1989. The film was that iconic.