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 through
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 was based on Charles Perrault's 1697 telling of 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 studio's 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.
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.
"A Trope Is A Wish Your Heart Makes":
- Absurdly Long Stairway: While it's not too long for a human, the stairway to Cinderella's room is this trope for Gus and Jaq (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. Gus actually faints when, after climbing up one set of stairs, he and Jaq have to navigate around another.
- Abusive Parents: Lady Tremaine is overbearing, manipulative, and cruel to Cinderella and seems to do so purely out of spite and jealousy. 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 Tremaine mentioned that the prince was in love with the girl who lost her slipper.
- Adaptation Dye-Job: In most of the tie-in merchandise. Cinderella has strawberry-blonde hair and a silver dress◊ in the film, but in the Disney Princess Merchandise, she has light blonde hair and a blue dress.◊
- Adaptation Expansion:
- Cinderella is given a collection of mice and bird friends she has made who occasionally help her with her chores and help facilitate the happy ending.
- There's a Hope Spot where Cinderella's animal friends sew her a dress to wear to the ball out of the stepsisters' old cast-offs. But the sisters rip the dress up, and Cinderella's despair at that is what calls the Fairy Godmother.
- Attention is drawn to Cinderella still keeping the glass slippers after the spell wears off. Lady Tremaine breaks the one the Grand Duke brought to prevent her from trying it on, but Cinderella then reveals she has the other slipper.
- Cinderella losing her slipper as she runs from the ball is turned into one of her Character Tics - she loses a shoe elsewhere in the film.
- Adipose Rex: The King has quite the belly on him.
- Air Quotes: Cinderella does one with a subtle pause after hearing Drizella's terrible singing, along with a knowing gaze to Jaq and Gus:Cinderella: Maybe I should interrupt the, uh "music lesson"! (Jaq and Gus stifle laughs)
- 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!
- An Aesop: Never stop believing in your dreams. One day, they will come true if you keep your hopes high.
- Anti-Interference Lock Up: Cinderella getting locked in her room by her Wicked Stepmother just as the Grand Duke arrives to check the glass slipper, as she's aware Cinderella was the girl from the ball and doesn't want her to be with the prince. With the help of Gus and Jacques, Cinderella manages to escape just in time to prove she's the girl they're looking for, to her stepmother's horror.
- 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.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Cinderella treats Lucifer with disdain but protects him from Bruno, more so for her dog's sake so he won't get put on the street. She also tries to find good in Lucifer, as she does in her friends. In the climax, when Lucifer is holding Gus and the key to her room hostage while she's locked up, Cinderella realizes the mice and birds don't stand a chance against the cat. She shouts at them to get Bruno, who has been raring for this chance for years. Considering that Bruno scares Lucifer into falling out the tower window, Cinderella was not playing around.
- 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:
- Bigger Is Better: Everything in the King's palace is bigger than he is. His hallways are huge, his room is huge, his bed is huge, and his portraits are enormous.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Lady Tremaine was like this when she married Cinderella's father; after her father died, the facade dropped and Tremaine started treating Cinderella poorly out of spite.
- Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: The three daughters, Cinderella being the blonde, Drizella the brunette, and Anastasia the redhead.
- 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.
- Break the Cutie: Cinderella tries to stay positive and graceful despite witnessing her father's death at a young age, having to work day and night for family that won't even give her a morning greeting, and seeing her desires crushed. Case in point: she merely wants to go to the ball for a night out, and her stepfamily racks up the abuse Up to Eleven with Exact Words and Loophole Abuse to ensure that she won't go. It says a lot that what finally makes her cry is not being overworked so that she has no time to make a dress, but having a dress to wear to the ball. . . and getting it ripped to shreds while she's wearing it.
- Broken Aesop: Downplayed. 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 worth noting, though, that shortly after manifesting herself, when Cinderella is at her lowest point the fairy godmother points out the importance of having even the smallest speck of faith.Fairy Godmother: If you'd lost all your faith, I couldn'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.
- Cats Hate Water: An Implied Trope. Lucifer is happy to hear Lady Tremaine listing off chores for Cinderella... until she finishes with, "see that Lucifer gets his bath."
- 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. Though he does get up when Cinderella orders him to, for breakfast; most cats are not that obedient.
- Chekhov's Gag:
- Cinderella's Running Gag of losing her shoes leads her to leaving one behind at the ball.
- Lucifer trapping Gus under a tea cup nearly stops Cinderella from being able to try on the slipper.
- Chekhov's Gun:
- The Duke's monocle. It allows him to identify Cinderella when she comes down the stairs, since he uses the monocle to examine her feet.
- 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 lose 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.
- Chekhov's Skill: Cinderella having to walk up and down several flights of stairs a day, usually with breakfast items and laundry, allows her to outrun the Duke and the prince despite wearing a heavy ballgown and glass slippers that come off her feet.
- Clark Kenting: Nothing hides Cinderella's identity when she's in the gown, but it's both justified and averted; Lady Tremaine and the sisters believe there is something familiar about her but can't get a close look. Lady Tremaine did leave her behind with a torn dress and she's wearing a whole new 'do and a gown fit for a princess - "A fairy helped her out" is not going to be her first conclusion.
- The Duke realizes who Cinderella is when she comes down the stairs, since her face and gait are identical to the girl who ran away from him and the prince.
- Color-Coded Eyes: Lady Tremaine and Lucifer, the two main villains for Cinderella and the mice, both have very bright green eyes.
- Crashing Dreams: At one point, the King dreams about playing piggyback with his future grandchildren. It ends when the grandson hits him over the head with his scepter, which is actually the Grand Duke knocking on his bedroom door.
- Cut Lex Luthor a Check: Subverted. Lady Tremaine doesn't see that presenting three girls eligible for marriage to the prince would be more sensible than merely presenting two, Gold Digger as she is, especially when as Cinderella and the Duke point out, all the eligible girls in the Kingdom were ordered to attend.note
- Playing the long game would have been a riskier bet for Lady Tremaine. Even if she thought ahead and recognised that the Prince would want to marry in about 10 years and that the three girls would be the right age, she would have known that no matter how charming her stepdaughter was, that wouldn't guarantee that she'd be able to marry the family into royalty. Whereas making her into the family slave provided free labour (along with being a convenient way to degrade her stepdaughter.) But that also made it likely that if Cindy did get to marry the prince, she'd tell Lady Tremaine and the stepsisters to eff off, leaving them with no royal perks AND no free labour. So she had a vested interest in keeping Cindy from getting near the Prince.
- Dance of Romance: With Cinderella and the Prince. This is where they fall in love.
- Dark Reprise: Subverted. After the dress-ripping scene, a more somber instrumental of "A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes" starts playing, symbolizing the Despair Event Horizon staring Cinderella right in the face. However, it's during that instrumental that the Fairy Godmother starts to manifest herself before Cinderella's faith could be totally extinguished.
- Deadpan Snarker:
- The Grand Duke has a few witty words to say about "true love" and such.
- Cinderella 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 by Adaptation: Also doubles as Adaptational Heroism to a degree. Cinderella's father was alive in the original tale and in most retellings, merely being too much of a Henpecked Husband to object to the abuse his daughter received at the hands of his new wife.
- 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.
- Determinator: Cinderella is always optimistic and remains positive despite her negative situation, and she never gives up on her dreams to one day have an ideal life and enjoy living. When her stepsisters ruin her dress, the Fairy Godmother explains that if she'd lost all her faith she couldn't be here to help he dreams come true.
- Didn't Think This Through:
- The mice swiping the stepsisters' discarded apparel for use on Cinderella's dress ended up backfiring bigtime when Lady Tremaine shows this to her furious daughters.
- Lady Tremaine tripped the footman, resulting in breaking the glass slipper, so Cinderella couldn't try it on and prove that she's the girl the Prince danced with, but she did not expect her stepdaughter to have kept the second glass slipper.
- Digital Destruction: The 2005 DVD restoration removed outlines, altered all of the colors and even backgrounds (in some cases out of carelessness, in others to match with the marketing), and erased a lot of the magic dust. Later releases still have this problem.
- The Dinnermobile: Cinderella has the Fairy Godmother turn a pumpkin into a horse-drawn coach... but despite the transformation, it still looks exactly like a ginormous blinged-out white pumpkin sitting on a chassis.
- 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).
- Disproportionate Retribution: The King threatens the Grand Duke with execution by decapitation should the prince fail to find the girl who ran out on him.
- 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.
- Domestic Abuse: 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 Disney's 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.
- Doomed New Clothes: The dress Cinderella had on, before her Fairy Godmother gave her a new one, gets torn apart by the stepsisters, as they used items belonging to them (that they seemed to not care about until that point).
- Double Take:
- Lucifer does one when trying to identify a teacup holding Gus, and realizing that he picked up the correct one a second too late.
- The Duke does one when Cinderella waves "Goodbye!" to him and he waves back before realizing that she's leaving the prince without a bride, and the Duke to his doom.
- 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.
- Dramatic Shattering: Right before the servant can bring the glass slipper to Cinderella to try it on, Lady Tremaine attempts to prevent it from happening by tripping the servant and causing the slipper to dramatically smash on the floor. But just as the Grand Duke is starting to break down in despair over the broken slipper, Cinderella reveals that she saved the other slipper, much to Lady Tremaine's horror.
- Dreadful Musician: When Lady Tremaine is practicing music with Drizella and Anastasia, Drizella is shown to be a rather unpleasant singer, but not for lack of trying—she's on key and everything—but her voice is just so nasally, that it makes an otherwise pleasant song rather grating sounding, especially compared to how Cinderella is shown singing it not a few moments later. Lucifer is so revolted at the singing, that he covers his head under a pillow and then leaves the room altogether.
- Earn Your Happy Ending:
- After spending life as a servant, with any chance at happiness squandered by her step-family, Cinderella finally escapes her abusive home, regains her social status as an upper-class lady, marries a man for his kindness, finds true happiness, and lives Happily Ever After. Her animal friends also come to live at the palace, mice and all.
- For the Duke, being a Beleaguered Assistant to the King and his head at stake for finding the prince a wife, he finally gets a bone after finding the right girl, and being able to prove it with the slipper she saved.
- Eek, a Mouse!!: Unlike Cinderella, Anastasia and Drizella seem to really hate mice, and will scream in terror at the sight of one.
- Everything's Better with Sparkles: The first Disney film to use this trope. The dress is made by magic sparkles, and the heart on the glass slippers glitters with sparkles.
- Evil Eyebrows: Lady Tremaine, especially when she has something up her sleeve.
- Evil Is Petty: Lady Tremaine abuses Cinderella and uses her as a servant for no given reason, even though having three Gold Diggers would be more profitable than having two and Cinderella would also have an obligation to help her after marrying up. This is shown most prominently in the moments when Cinderella points out she has a right to go to the ball, and when Lady Tremaine realizes Cinderella was the girl the prince loved: instead of either outright telling her "yes" or "no," on the first occasion Tremaine creates a Hope Spot by invoking Exact Words to make Cinderella think she has a chance to go, while planning for the opposite. This leads to Cinderella going on her own later, in fact stealing the spotlight from Anastasia and Drizella by accident when they present themselves to the prince. As for the second scenario, Lady Tremaine has a girl that the prince wants to marry, who is related to her by marriage . . . and locks her up, despite having a potential golden ticket to the royal family, because she wants the prince to marry one of her girls. She also breaks the slipper in view of the Duke despite being caught violating a royal decree, and having lost at that point.
- She had a very obvious reason for using Cinderella as a slave - it provided free labour. This is why slavery has been so rampant throughout history and continues to be today. Lady Tremaine likely did want to degrade Cinderella due to her own vendetta, but her method also resulted in a cushy deal for her and her daughters for about 10 years. This also means that she had a logical reason for not wanting Cindy to have a chance with the Prince - most people aren't going to want to share their shiny perks with people who have treated them like garbage for 10 years, so Lady Tremaine knew that if the Prince married Cindy, she and her daughters could kiss both their social climbing opportunity and their free labour goodbye.
- Evil Matriarch: Lady Tremaine exploits her daughters as social ladders and her step-daughter as a servant.
- Exact Words:
- Pointed out by Cinderella, that she has the right to go to the ball since by the King's decree all "eligible girls" have to go. It becomes a Meaningful Echo when the Duke says it to Tremaine after seeing Cinderella come down in a rush to try on the slipper and Tremaine dismisses Cinderella as an "imaginative child".
- 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 can wear the glass slipper. The King decides to hold him to his word, not caring if the slipper winds up fitting a completely different girl, and issues a royal decree to that effect.
- Excessive Evil Eyeshadow: Lady Tremaine's heavy eyeshadow helps bring out her bright green eyes.
- 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 belly and the mean attitude.
- Faux Affably Evil: Lady Tremaine, judging by the tone of her voice, acts cordially to Cinderella on the surface. Her words are abusive, however.
- Flipping the Bird: After politely greeting girl after girl at the ball, the prince aims a yawn towards where his father sits when he isn'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".
- Forcibly Formed Physique: While Jaq and Gus are gathering materials in the stepsisters' bedroom, Lucifer chases them into a square hole in the wall moulding and gets his snout stuck in it. When he pulls himself out, his snout is briefly cube-shaped.
- 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.
- Genre Deconstruction: The King wants his son to get married, despite the prince not being interested in any noblewomen or girls for that matter and wanting to stay single for a bit. He thinks that inviting a ball with all the eligible ladies in the kingdom will solve the problem, using his porcelain bookends to demonstrate. The Duke advises him to no avail that love doesn't work like it does in fairy tales, and the Prince will cotton on and refuse to play along. Sure enough, the Duke is initially proven right; while the Prince bows to all of the women at the ball, he's bored and rolling his eyes. In fact, he even shoots a Death Glare at his father while yawning. It takes Cinderella, wandering in and getting lost, to catch the Prince's eye; chivalry takes over boredom and he goes to greet her. What's more, she didn't know he was the prince, mistaking him for one of the nobles, and he's astonished that she didn't realize who he was when she has to leave at midnight. The prince fell for Cinderella because she liked him for who he was, and that she had no ulterior Gold Digger motive.
- 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 Duke gets hold of the slipper Cinderella loses on her way out and starts a journey to find its owner.
- Gold Digger:
- This is why Tremaine married Cinderella's father, since soon after his death she and her daughters squandered the family fortune. She's encouraging her girls to marry royalty so as to keep up those spending habits.
- The prince treats all of the girls at the ball like this, when they come to bow to him, knowing that his father wants him to marry and have grandkids and the girls would be marrying up in social status by settling down with him. In fact, the main reason he goes to Cinderella is that he sees her wandering around in the shadows, lost, and goes to help her. During the time they spent dancing, she didn't even know he was the prince, which contributed to why he fell "madly in love with her".
- 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.
- Hard Truth Aesop:
- Sometimes you need a dream in your life to cope with terrible things happening because dreams are the one thing that you can control. When Cinderella tries to simply attempt to have a night out and enjoy herself, her stepfamily sabotages every step out of spite and jealousy. It takes her friends' help and a fairy godmother to finish he jounrey.
- As Cinderella tells Bruno, sometimes you have to get along with people (or cats) that you dislike for the sake of your safety and comfort. Lady Tremaine would kick out Bruno if she ever caught him chasing Lucifer, so Cinderella has to be the bad guy and send him outside to doze in the sun when the two are fighting, while apologizing to Bruno that it has to be this way.
- Hate Sink: Lady Tremaine is a despicable Abusive Parent and Social Climber who is cruel and petty in every scene she's in. It says a lot that a lady with no magical powers, evil henchmen, servants, or ambitions beyond social-climbing manages to be one of the vilest characters in the entire Disney canon based on her personality alone.
- Hats Off to the Dead: The mice draw straws (actually, their own tails) to see who has to distract Lucifer while the others get breakfast. Jacques gets picked, and the others take off their hats to show they think it's a guaranteed death sentence.
- 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!"
- Heal the Cutie: One of the most iconic examples. After all Cinderella has to go through, her Fairy Godmother finally gives her the chance to meet her Prince Charming and live Happily Ever After.
- "Hell, Yes!" Moment: The Duke is about to leave the Tremaine household when a young lady appears at the top of the stairs, begging to try on the slipper. He takes a look and gives a giant grin, especially when confirming with his monocle that she is the same girl that danced with the prince. Her change of outfit and hairstyle did not fool the Duke at all, especially when examining her feet. He gets another one when Lady Tremaine smashes the slipper he has, and Cinderella reveals she has the other one— proving both that it fits her and that she was the girl that night.
- 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.
- Heroic Canines, Villainous Felines: Bruno the dog is loyal and on the side of good and Lucifer (the name should speak for itself) the cat is mean and on the side of evil, being Lady Tremaine's Right-Hand Cat. This movie also features Nice Mice, most notably Jaq and Gus, who help Cinderella out and whom the cat likes to chase.
- Hidden Depths: Cinderella knows how to make over clothes, or at least keeps several books on the subject out of her relatives' reach. She also has enough material in her small living quarters to makeover a gown, as the mice learn when they finish it.
- 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.
- Hollywood Costuming: A deliberate example. While other characters' style is fairly accurate for roughly the mid-19th Century, Cinderella's outfits reflect the changes that were occurring in fashion in the 1940s. Her initial look has her with a shorter dress and hair worn down but with some body, as was in style during World War II. When she puts on her mother's dress, it is pink and has a bow in front like designs of Elsa Schiaparelli, whose style gave way to the "New Look" of Christian Dior; the latter is reflected in the long, full, wasp-waisted gown that the Fairy Godmother gives Cinderella, the "Dior" look being completed by Cinderella having her hair up.
- Hollywood Tone-Deaf: The stepsisters cannot hold a tune to save their lives. Cinderella on the other hand...
- Honor Before Reason: Even though the Duke did get a close look at the girl who danced with the prince, he follows the king's orders to try it on every woman who was at the ball. He's visibly relieved on seeing Cinderella and recognizing her.
- 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) So, we're arranging the conditions.
- From Lady Tremaine, accompanying her daughters on piano.
- I Gave My Word: Her exact word. The word in this case is "if".
- I Just Want to Be Normal: Why Cinderella wants to go to the ball; she spends all her time working and slaving, and wants one night out of fun, to be able to dress up and dance like a girl of her class ought to do. Meeting the prince was an added bonus, since she didn't even know she had danced with a prince.
- I Kiss Your Hand: The prince does this when he first meets Cinderella. Quite charming, isn't it?
- Intentional Mess Making: Cinderella is downstairs washing the floors while her step-sisters practice their singing, leading to the song "Sing Sweet Nightingale". Unfortunately, the song ends when she notices Lucifer intentionally tracking more dirt around.
- 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's whole motivation for throwing the ball is so he can find a suitable wife for the prince, which will hopefully lead to grandchildren. While having more heirs to the throne is obviously important, it seems like the king really just wants to be a grandfather, since he's later shown dreaming about playing horsey with a granddaughter and grandson.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!
- "I Want" Song: "A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes" is Cinderella's, where she expresses a desire for her dreams to come true.
- Impact Silhouette: When the King throws his crown out the window, it leaves a shape of the crown in the glass.
- Impossibly Tacky Clothes: Downplayed, but Cinderella admits that her mother's gown is a few years out of date. She wants to make it over for the ball based on a drawing in her sewing book.
- Innocent Blue Eyes: Cinderella's eyes represent her hopeful, optimistic nature and genuine kindness.
- Jerkass: Lady Tremaine and her two daughters are thoroughly unpleasant people, and the former is manipulative to boot. The stepsisters destroy Cinderella's dress because she "stole" their beads and sash to make it, conveniently ignoring that they had thrown away those trimmings mere hours before.
- Karma Houdini: Lady Tremaine doesn't get any onscreen 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). The Duke certainly will remember her as someone who tried to violate a royal decree in his presence and broke the glass slipper that would identify the prince's mystery girl.
- 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 disturb them.
- Let's Get Dangerous!:
- A tiny one for the Duke: when Cinderella manages to leave the ball at midnight, he mobilizes a batallion of riders to get after the coach to fetch her back. He only fails because the magic wears off, and Cinderella in her torn dress has the sense to get off the road and hide in the darkness.
- 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.
- Looking a Miffed Animal in the Mouth: The mice have to gather corn quickly before Lucifer goes after them. But Gus gets too greedy and gathers more kernels than he can carry, which not only delays him, but attracts Lucifer's attention. By the time he has found a way to carry his haul safely, he walks right into Lucifer's face; the cat growls, his throat completely filling up the screen.
- 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".
- Lost in Imitation: Many a Cinderella shout-outs will feature the heroine donning a ballgown and hairstyle inspired by this version. And many of them will often involve a blue dress, which actually comes from the merchandise rather than the actual film. The dress is white in the film, but is usually colored blue in associated artwork.
- Love at First Sight: Mocked by the Grand Duke — at the very point the Prince falls victim to it upon setting eyes upon Cinderella.
- Loves My Alter Ego: A variant; Lady Tremaine starts to say that the girl dancing with the prince is "very lovely . . ." up until she gets a glimpse and has a sneaking suspicion. Before she can verify it, though, the Duke closes the curtains on Cinderella and the prince so they can get some alone time.
- 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.
- Mass "Oh, Crap!": Lady Tremaine and her daughters when Cinderella comes down the stairs right before the Duke leaves.
- 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.
- Micro Monarchy: At least the narration refers to the setting as "a tiny kingdom, peaceful, prosperous, and rich in romance and tradition." This kingdom seems to have a French vibe, so it's probably a (presumably fictional) Francophone country. Also, the entire country seems to consist of the city where Cinderella lives. That's about all we can say for sure about the country where this takes place.
- A Minor Kidroduction: Cinderella, Anastasia, and Drizella are seen as children in the prologue. Bruno is also seen as a puppy.
- 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.
- Mouth Full of Smokes: When the King is celebrating that the Prince has found a maiden he loves and smoking a cigar, he invites the Grand Duke to join in the celebration by stuffing a whole bunch of cigars in his mouth!
- Mundane Luxury: For Cinderella, a few extra minutes in bed because it allows her to dream, and "they can't order me to stop dreaming".
- The Musical: Lots of songs here, but oddly enough, they're only sung by heroes. There's no Villain Song.
- Musical Chores: "The Work Song" and "Sing Sweet Nightingale".
- Naïve Everygirl: Cinderella. Despite her suffering at the hands of her stepmother and stepsisters, she keeps up a positive attitude, daydreams often, and longs for a happier, more romantic life.
- 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.
- Nice to the Waiter: Inverted; "servant" Cinderella waves goodbye to the "noble" Duke before leaving the ball at midnight. He returns the favor by allowing her to try on the slipper in the climax.
- Oh, Crap!:
- Jaq gets this when he inadvertently picks himself to distract Lucifer so that the mice can get breakfast.
- Gus has this reaction when Lucifer catches him in the open; Jaq has it at the same time.
- 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.
- The Duke when Lady Tremaine trips his servant, which leads to the slipper shattering.
- Lady Tremaine when Cinderella reveals the other glass slipper to the Duke.
- Only Sane Man:
- In the Tremaine household, Cinderella is most definitely the only person who can see the absurdity in being ordered around day and night.
- With the royalty, the Duke tries his best to be reasonable, but he has to cater to the king's whims.
- Only Six Faces: All the "eligible girls" at the ball (besides Cinderella, Drizella and Anastasia) look exactly the same minus the dress.
- Opening Chorus: The movie starts with a chorus of people singing a song.
- OOC Is Serious Business:
- Anastasia and Drizella are shocked when their mother gives permission for Cinderella to attend the ball, "if" she finishes her chores and has a dress to wear. They go to her, asking if she's all right and knows what she said. Lady Tremaine chuckles and said she also said "if", telling them in no uncertain terms that she has plans to not honor the agreement.
- Cinderella is normally attentive to her chores and does them diligently. Lady Tremaine is shocked when Cinderella drops a breakfast tray. It was because Cinderella realized she had danced with the prince the night before.
- Our Fairies Are Different: The fairy godmother looks completely human but appears out of magic dust.
- Parental Favoritism: Lady Tremaine favours her own daughters over Cinderella any day.
- Pet Gets the Keys: When Lady Tremaine locks Cinderella in her room during the Duke's visit, Gus and Jaq steal the key from Tremaine's pocket and bring it to Cinderella to get her out.
- Pimped-Out Dress: Layered skirts, sparkles and complete with opera-length gloves and glass slippers. The silhouette itself would make Christian Dior proud.
- The Pollyanna: Cinderella's attitude is to remain positive in spite of the hardship she suffers. It's shown that she's still bothered by how her stepfamily treat her, but she does her best to remain cheerful.
- 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.
- Proud Papa Passes Out the Cigars: When the Grand Duke tries to inform the King that Cinderella ran away from the ball, the King believes that his son has made the decision to wed her already and, unable to wait for his grandchildren to come, stuffs the Duke's face with cigars ("Got to practice passing these out"!).
- 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.
- Ripping Off the String of Pearls: The sequence where the ugly stepsisters ruin Cinderella's first gown is kicked off when Drizella wrenches a string of blue beads off Cinderella's neck. Not quite pearls, but the the overall effect is similar — Anastasia and Drizella proceed to rip the terrified Cinderella's dress to shreds just as their coach is arriving. They exit, and a wide shot shows Cinderella in aftermath of their attack: clutching the remains of her ragged dress, staring in disbelief at the scraps of torn fabric and loose beads at her feet.
- 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.
- Also, every time the stepsisters do some kind of harm to Cinderella, Gus Gus attempts to give them a piece of his mind, but Jaq holds him back each time.
- 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. Gus finds this out the hard way when Lucifer catches him out in the open without breaking a sweat. 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.
- Sidekick Song: "The Work Song", the song the mice sing as they design Cinderella's new dress. Although, the sheet music indicates it was initially written for Cinderella to sing:"Cinderella, Cinderella"All I hear is "Cinderella"From the moment that I get upTill shades of night are callingThere isn't any letupThey're always calling, calling"Go up into the atticThen go down into the cellarYou can do them both together, Cinderella!"
- Silent Snarker:
- Lucifer makes a few priceless expressions when Cinderella admits she can't think of anything good about him, and when the stepsisters get Cinderella in trouble after Drizella finds Gus in her teapot.
- The Prince also does the same when bowing to all the girls who attend the ball, at one point shooting a You Have GOT to Be Kidding Me! expression at his father while yawning. He rolls his eyes when Anastasia and Drizella present themselves.
- Silk Hiding Steel: Cinderella was born of the upper class, and she loses none of her noble grace and maturity when facing the movie's events. She reminds Anastasia and Drizella that she has the right to go to the ball because the King decreed that "all eligible girls" must attend, despite having a mountain of chores and no gown to wear.
- 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.
- Simple, yet Opulent: Cinderella's magic-made dress is quite impressive, but not that lavish. It's a similar case with her wedding dress.
- 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. Which makes their stealing the key to free Cinderella all the more awesome, since Tremaine didn't notice two mice pickpocketing her or hiding in the tea set.
- Stay in the Kitchen: Inverted. Jaq and Gus are enthusiastic about helping make Cinderella's dress, but get told to leave the stitching to the girl mice and instead go off and fetch some accessories.
- Stock Sound Effects: The King and Duke falling off the chandelier uses Goofy's "Ya-hoo-hoo-hooey!" scream.
- 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?
- After making the coach:
- Suddenly Shouting: During the bedroom scene, Lady Tremaine goes from quietly listing off household items to loudly snapping orders to clean and wash them. It's the variation between her cold tone and shouts of anger that elevate the scene to horrifying.
- Sudden Soundtrack Stop: Except for a few stings for punctuation, most Lady Tremaine's introduction (where she gives Cinderella a list of chores for the day) is almost completely silent, emphasizing that she's not a villain to be taken lightly.
- 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!
- Those Two Guys:
- Jaq and Gus, the most prominent of the mice characters. Once Cinderella rescues Gus, they're always seen together and do everything together.
- Also, the King and the Grand Duke. Both decide the prince's future together.
- Throat-Slitting Gesture: When the King gives the Grand Duke the task of making sure Cinderella doesn't leave the ball before the Prince has proposed to her, he uses this gesture to indicate the price of failure.
- Tragic Keepsake: Downplayed, but the pink dress that Cinderella wanted to make over belonged to her mother, and she spins around with it after taking it out of a chest. It's a few years out of fashion, but she merely wants to touch it up with some sewing ideas.
- Tranquil Fury:
- One of Cinderella's virtues. After Drizella accuses her of putting a mouse in the breakfast teacup, Cinderella doesn't care that Tremaine will burden her with punishment work; she merely forces Lucifer to free Gus, whom he's trapping, and lectures him. When the sisters mock her for wanting to go to the ball, she points out that she has the right to go, and in fact the king has ordered it.
- The Duke on seeing that Lady Tremaine hid a girl from him in the house, whose manner, face and feet match the description of the girl he saw dancing with the prince, only has to say one sentence in response to her trying to dismiss Cinderella: "Madame, my orders were every girl".
- Trick Dialogue: The Grand Duke seems to tell the king that the girl who the prince danced with has disappeared, then he is revealed to be practicing before a mirror.
- True Blue Femininity: Cinderella is introduced wearing a blue nightgown, and is portrayed as having a blue dress in the merchandise (even though it was silver in this film). She is a kind and graceful lady. Her similarly heroic Fairy Godmother wears a blue dress too.
- Uptown Girl: Cinderella the servant girl and the Prince, though in all fairness Cinderella comes from an upper-class family. 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 of Julius Caesar and his heir by adoption. Upon becoming emperor he was renamed Augustus Caesar. "Gus" is shorter form of Augustus/Augustine.
- Vile Villain, Laughable Lackey: Lady Tremaine is never Played for Laughs, unlike her awkward daughters and slapstick-prone cat.
- We Need a Distraction: When Lucifer is blocking the door, Jaq comes up with the idea to have one of the mice get his attention while the others get breakfast. Unfortunately, when using their tails to choose who would do it, Jaq ends up picking his own tail. While Gus shakes his hand in congratulations, they other mice feel for Jaq.
- 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.
- Word Salad Lyrics: "Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo" is 25% intelligible, and the rest of its lyrics are nonsensical gibberish. Justified, since most of it consists of magic words.Salagadoola mechicka boola
Put them together and what have you got
Salagadoola mechicka boola
It'll do magic, believe it or not
Yes, salagadoola means
But the thing mabob that does the job
Salagadoola menchicka boola
Put them together and what have you got?
- You Have GOT to Be Kidding Me!: The Prince while bowing to the various girls at the ball makes Silent Snarker expressions that reflect this sentiment, including one directed to his father. The Prince knew very well what his father wanted him to do.
- Youngest Child Wins: Averted. It's stated that Anastasia and Drizella are "just Cinderella's age".