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Western Animation / Sleeping Beauty

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"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 Charles Perrault's fairy tale with a number of elements from Peter Tchaikovsky's ballet, including the title, Sleeping Beauty, the entire musical score, as well as the princess's name, Aurora. 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).


Don Bluth was an assistant animator for the film as his very first professional animation gig.

This film features in the Kingdom Hearts series from Square Enix — 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 Kingdom Hearts: 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 Perspective Flip version of this film.


The film contains examples of:

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  • Actionized Adaptation: There's an action-packed climax where Maleficent turns into a dragon and battles the prince, in contrast to the story where he awakens Aurora without trouble.
  • Adaptation Origin Connection: The prince in the fairy tale had no connection to the princess - given the hundred year time gap. In this version he's her betrothed, as the curse is only in effect for one night.
  • Adaptational Karma: Maleficent meets her death at the hands of Prince Phillip; her original fairy-tale counterpart simply disappeared from the story after delivering her curse and was never seen to be punished.
  • 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 devil stand-in and takes a more active role in the plot.
  • Adoptive Name Change: Beauty's name was originally Aurora, but when the fairies adopt her, they rename her Briar Rose. Eventually, though, she gets her name changed back to Aurora.
  • Adult Fear: Aurora brings this out in her parents and foster parents.
    • When Maleficent announces the curse, the queen immediately grabs Aurora in a protective gesture, feeble against Maleficent's exit and the doom that will arrive in sixteen years.
    • The narrator notes that Stefan and Leah watched sadly as their only child disappeared into the night with the three fairies, and didn't see Aurora again for sixteen years, only hoping that the ladies would keep her safe.
    • When the fairies realize they forgot the fireplace and left "Rose" alone long enough for Maleficent to hypnotize her, they ask, "Why did we leave her alone?!"
    • The fairies have a similar reaction when they find Phillip's hat at the cottage, and realize that Maleficent has captured him. Though she's more powerful, they immediately go to his rescue.
  • Advertised Extra: Poor Aurora. The movie is named after her and she is barely even in it, and has a total of eighteen lines of dialogue.
  • Alcohol Hic: The jester that gets badly drunk on wine and passes out under the table, hiccups the whole time.
  • 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 '50s (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.
    • A recipe called for one teaspoon, which wasn't even a unit of measurement until the 1600s.
  • Argument of Contradictions: The fairies argue over the color of Aurora's dress. Flora wants pink, Merryweather wants blue, and they repeatedly use their magic to change the color.
  • The Artifact: Flora's idea to hide Aurora by turning her into a flower is a leftover from when the Three Good Fairies had powers specifically associated with their names. Flora was to have powers related to flowers and plants, Fauna had animal-associated powers, and Merryweather's powers were tied to the weather. This was cut for time.
  • Award-Bait Song: "Once Upon A Dream"
  • Badass Normal: Prince Phillip is just a regular prince who ends up defeating the Mistress of All Evil, albeit with help from the Three Good Fairies.
  • Beautiful Singing Voice Sleeping Beauty has scenes where Princess Aurora sings to (and dances with) Woodland Creatures, but her Beautiful Singing Voice is Enforced as the "gift of song" was one of the three gifts given to her by her Fairy Godmothers at birth.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: The fairies in the climax end up taking down Maleficent. They free Phillip from the lady's castle, give him a shield and sword to defend himself, and cover his escape by transforming the deadly weapons aimed at him into harmless flowers and bubbles. Flora, the one who told Merryweather that their magic can only be used for good, casts the spell that allows Phillip to slay Maleficent once and for all with the sword.
  • 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.
  • Cape Snag: Prince Philip's cape gets caught in the branches of Maleficent's forest of thorns. Merryweather alerts the faeries to this and they use their magic to free his cape from the thorny branches without a single tear.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Maleficent, the Mistress of All Evil.
  • Changeling Fantasy: Subverted. 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 is revealed to be smarter than the rest of Maleficent's goons.
  • Color-Coded 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.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Maleficent's minions spend 16 years looking for a baby instead of a growing woman.
  • Cool Horse: Samson.
  • Covers Always Lie: The "Black Diamond" VHS and Laserdisc depicted a scene on the cover in which Philip is about to wake a pink-clad Aurora while Maleficent rages on the staircase to a room above. However, major plot points are that the event takes place (i) at a moment when Aurora's dress is blue instead of pink, (ii) after Maleficent is dead, and (iii) in the "topmost tower" of the castle. On top of the film itself being in the Pan and Scan format.
  • Cuffs Off, Rub Wrists: Prince Phillip does this when the good fairies release him.
  • Dance of Romance: Aurora meets Phillip in the woods when he sneaks up behind her and joins in on her "I Want" Song.
  • Dark Reprise, a variant:
    • First, Flora gives Aurora the Gift of Beauty, with passages sung by the Chorus:
      Gold of sunshine in her hair, lips that shame the red red rose,...
    • After Aurora pricks her finger and is sound asleep, the three fairies are putting everyone in the palace to sleep. The background chorus sings the "Sleeping Beauty Song", with the same words.
    • Later, as a villainous Triumphant Reprise, Maleficent recites essentially the same poetry to the Prince as he's chained in the dungeon.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: Downplayed but when Aurora finds out she's a princess, she also finds out she has to marry a prince she's been betrothed to since birth. And there's nothing she can do about it. She gets lucky it turns out to be a Perfectly Arranged Marriage.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Granted, Phillip has help from Flora's magic, but he still takes down Maleficent in One-Winged Angel dragon form with one toss of his sword.
  • Disney Princess: Of them all, 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.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: Aurora goes barefoot while venturing out into the forest.
  • Dragons Versus Knights: Prince Phillip is never actually stated to be a knight, but he wields a Knightly Sword and Shield provided by the three fairies. To stop him from rescuing Princess Aurora, the evil Maleficent transforms herself into a fire-breathing dragon. Phillip successfully kills Maleficent with the fairies' help.
  • Dramatic Irony: Prince Phillip 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 of this, since they themselves are royalty. But the audience knows that they are both royalty and have been betrothed; not only can they be together, but they will be together.
  • Dramatic Thunder: When Maleficent is around, there's almost always thunder and lightning, to the point where it gets to be like a Hair-Trigger Sound Effect.
  • Dub Name Change: In the Polish dub, Fauna's name is Hortesja and Merryweather's name is Niezabudka ("Unforgettable").
    • In the Finnish dub, Merryweather's name became Ilomieli ('happy mind'). Maleficent's name became Pahatar (Paha means 'evil' and -tar is a feminine suffix).
    • In the Spanish dub, used both in Spain and Latin America, Merryweather's name became Primavera (Spring).
    • In the Swedish dub, Merryweather's name became Magdalena, while Fauna's name became Fina.
  • 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 seems as if 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 and kill her directly.
  • Edible Bludgeon: A brief scene Played for Laughs has an offended and mildly drunk King Hubert try to attack his best friend 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, and they make amends.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: The fairies discuss this about Maleficent, how she doesn't understand kindness or love. This leads to Flora's Eureka Moment, where she says Maleficent wouldn't anticipate the three fairies raising Aurora as their own in the woods, without magic, all to protect her. It almost works; Maleficent fails to find Aurora until the young lady's sixteenth birthday.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • Diablo looks shocked when Maleficent zaps her minions after they failed to find Aurora.
  • Everybody Cries: The good fairies are left in tears after Aurora is put into a deep sleep.
  • Evil Is Petty: Fauna claims that Maleficent always ruined Flora's flowers, by sending the frost apparently.
  • Evil Tower of Ominousness: Maleficent's domain, the Forbidden Mountain.
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!:
    • As Flora puts King Hubert to sleep, he starts muttering about Phillip going off into the woods to meet a peasant girl. Alarmed, Flora starts questioning him, and realizes right then that Phillip was the boy that Rose met. She tells Merryweather and Fauna that they have to get back to the cottage, only to arrive there too late.
    • Earlier, Flora thought of turning Aurora into a flower so she wouldn't get her finger pricked. The other fairies thought it was a good idea until Merryweather pointed out Maleficent will just send a frost storm, just For the Evulz since she might not even know. Plus, they realize Maleficent will expect them to do something like that.
  • The Faceless: Aurora's face is never shown as a baby.
  • Failed a Spot Check: The Three Fairies try their darnedest to cover up their magic within the cottage and do close every door and window and cover up every nook and cranny, but end up overlooking one very obvious place: fireplace. This might be justified as Maleficent's curse in action. Doubles as Foreshadowing when Maleficent lures Aurora away through the fireplace.
  • The Fair Folk: Though often cited as a witch, Maleficent is actually a fairy.
  • Fairy Devilmother: While Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather collectively act like the typical "Fairy Godmother" to Aurora, Maleficent represents this trope. Whereas Flora and Fauna place blessings on the infant princess, Maleficent, both to spite the king and queen for not inviting her and For the Evulz, curses the princess with a magical death. Because she is so powerful, Merryweather had to waste her blessing simply dulling the curse to magical sleep.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: Maleficent; when Prince Phillip slays her as a dragon, her bloody wound is shown in full view on screen.
  • Fascinating Eyebrow: Aurora's left eyebrow is raised as she follows the light up the stairs.
  • Fat and Skinny: Hubert and Stefan, respectively.
  • Faux Death: Maleficent intended for 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.
  • Feminist Fantasy: The Trope Codifier as far as Disney examples go. The villain Maleficent is a Lady of Black Magic and refers to herself as the Mistress of All Evil. She's notably stronger, more powerful, and much smarter than the typical Disney villain. So effective is she that she's effectively won by the end of the second act. On the heroes' side, the three Good Fairies drive the plot. They hide the princess from Maleficent for years and create the counterspell to save her. When Prince Phillip is captured, the fairies are the ones that rescue him and provide him with the tools necessary to stop Maleficent. Unshaved Mouse noted how unusual even today it is for a film to feature three female Main Characters who don't provide Fanservice, pass The Bechdel Test, and don't end up as someone's love interest.
  • Fire, Ice, Lightning: Part of Maleficent's power set.
    • Fire: Teleports with the use of flames and transforms into a fire-breathing dragon later on.
    • Lightning: Hurls bolts to punish her goons after they fail to find Aurora, summons more to attack Phillip during his escape and uses lightning bolts to conjure the forest of thorns.
    • Ice: Though not portrayed onscreen, Merryweather mentions that she can "send a frost".
  • Foregone Conclusion: From the title alone, we know that Maleficent's (modified) curse will take effect. But since the focus is on the good fairies and their sixteen-year effort to prevent this, the drama is preserved (especially since they almost succeed).
  • Forgot About Her Powers: The fairies attempt to physically force down a wall/partition to get to an entranced Aurora before suddenly remembering they have wands and can magic it away. Justified as they spent 16 years without magic before then.
  • Forgotten First Meeting: Perfectly understandable, since Aurora was a newborn at the time. Phillip (being a few years older) might remember the occasion, but he wouldn't recognize her.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • The skeptical look young Phillip gives his future bride in her cradle foreshadows how he feels about marrying for politics when he's grown.
    • When Flora turns Fauna and Merryweather into dotty old ladies, she gives Merryweather pink clothing. Merryweather angrily magics her outfit blue.
    • Maleficent's dragon form appears as part of a blink-and-you'll-miss-it page decoration right before the scene where she zaps her minions, and well before she transforms.
  • 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 within sixteen years, so her parents, and presumably Aurora, would live with the haunting dread of that unfortunate fate that will befall her. There is also her plan to torment Phillip by locking him up for a hundred years and only then releasing him to wake Aurora so that she'll remain sixteen and he'll be an old man. Neither Phillip nor his father had done anything to her.
  • France: The film's setting, though it was not mentioned or explicitly said in the film. The reason is because of the castle's archiecture being based off of many French castles, as well as the Neuwachstein Castle in Germany. Another evidence are the french words like 'Troubadour' and 'En Guarde' in the christening scene and where Stefan and Hubert's arguement, respectively, the names Phillip (originally Greek and German) Aurora (originally Latin), Stefan (originally Greek), and Fauna being partially French, Tchiakovsky's redention of the French royal anthem (Vive Henry IV) by George Bruns (the score adaptor), the Fleur De Lis banners, and the most important evidence is Artist Evyind Earle's artwork and style background were based off of a French gothic mansuscript by the Limbourg Brothers, as well as other French tapestries.
  • 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 Is Not Soft: Parodied with Merryweather, who deals in Brutal Honesty and constantly lunges at Maleficent. The fairies' magic can only be used for good and to bring joy, but Merryweather still manages to turn Maleficent's crow into stone. But when you consider it, she did make someone happy by doing it: herself.
  • 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", which wasn't then the very minor curse word it is today.

  • HA HA HA—No: Maleficent does this when she discovers that her minions have spent sixteen years looking for Aurora in "all the cradles" in the kingdom.
    Maleficent: Cradle? [speaks to Diablo sweetly] Did you hear that, my pet? All this time, they've been looking for a baby!
    [she laughs heartily, and her minions join in, until...]
    [starts zapping them with her staff]
  • Hand Gagging: Flora shushes the other fairies this way. A goon also does this to Phillip for a second.
  • The Hedge of Thorns: Maleficent raises a forest of thorny plants around Stefan's castle to stop Phillip.
  • Hell Is That Noise: The music you hear when Maleficent hypnotizes Aurora. If you listen carefully, it's actually singing "Aurora...". The voice calling out even changes from language to language.
  • Heroic Mime: Phillip is completely silent for the second half of the movie, which focuses on him.
  • Heroic Willpower: Aurora briefly resists Maleficent's spell when Merryweather shouts at her to not touch anything. Maleficent has to order her to touch it.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard:
    • Due to Maleficent casting the curse, Princess Aurora is taken into hiding as a baby. For the next sixteen years, Maleficent makes herself fret and orders her minions to find the princess, saying that she's a disappointment to the forces of evil if she can't fulfill the curse. It's her own fault for not sleeping peacefully at night.
    • Averted for the climax. 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.
  • Horns of Villainy: Maleficent's headdress features a pair of large curved horns; whether or not they're just decorative or real isn't revealed, although Maleficent being an evil fairy makes them being real likely.
  • Horsing Around: The Prince's horse Samson, until the climactic scene, is very stubborn and has to be bribed by carrots to do his master's bidding, but bungles it and charges straight into a puddle.
    Phillip: [irritably] No carrots.
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick: Diablo the crow. He finds Aurora in one day and successfully sounds the alarm when the fairies bust Phillip out of Maleficent's prison. Averted with the rest of her minions.
  • 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.
  • Internal Reveal: Maleficent reveals to Prince Phillip that the "peasant girl" he fell in love with is Princess Aurora. Likewise, Aurora must have learned upon waking up that the "stranger" she fell in love with is Prince Phillip.
  • 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.
  • Law of Inverse Fertility: Narrowly averted for King Stefan and Queen Leah. The opening narration remarks that "For many years, they had longed for a child, and finally their wish was granted." It's part of why it was so devastating to them to have to surrender her to the fairies; she was the only child they were ever able to have.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: Not once, but thrice, Merryweather tries to outright attack Maleficent, even when she's a dragon, and has to be held back by Flora.
  • Leitmotif: Maleficent has a creepy, foreboding one on oboe that is heard almost whenever she is onscreen, with the last note on a trumpet.
  • Lethal Chef: Fauna when baking a cake, despite following the recipe to the tee. Her problem is that she is Literal-Minded about things like "fold in two eggs". Fortunately, she's much more adept when cooking with magic, since all she has to do is tell the ingredients to "follow what it says here the book".
  • Letterbox: Three clips from this movie — Aurora singing in the forest, Phillip escaping Maleficent's dungeon, and Aurora and Phillip 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, which was released alongside a widescreen Laserdisc. This presented the movie in the 2.35:1 aspect ratio used for 35mm engagements.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: The fairies when they rescue Phillip. Do not underestimate the power of turning deadly arrows into flowers and boiling oil into rainbows. Flora helps Phillip deliver the killing blow.
  • Little "No": Maleficent says this twice, first when she notices Diablo is permanently turned to stone and sees Phillip making his escape. She does it again when she notices that Phillip has cut through the thorns she made, thus triggering her Villainous Breakdown.
  • Loophole Abuse:
    • Subverted when Stefan orders all the spinning wheels in the kingdom burned since Maleficent's curse forms a new spindle for Aurora on which to prick her finger. Lampshaded by Flora as she watches the bonfires.
    • Discussed when Flora suggests turning Aurora into a flower since a flower doesn't have fingers to prick. Merryweather points out that Maleficent would anticipate something like that and send a frost to kill the flower-Aurora.
  • 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."
  • Mama Bear: The fairies as a whole act this way towards "Rose". Merryweather is ready to tear apart Maleficent for threatening the baby Aurora, and you can tell Flora would want the former to have it even as she's holding Merryweather back. They decide, for Rose's sake, to talk to Stefan and convince him to call off the Arranged Marriage to Phillip. When Maleficent kidnaps Phillip, Flora gains a look of Tranquil Fury and says that they are rescuing him, no questions asked. Merryweather turns Diablo to stone so he won't thwart their escape. Note that Flora makes the sword that eventually kills Maleficent, and casts the spell to ensure that it kills her.
  • Mass "Oh, Crap!": The fairies in the castle when, after leaving Aurora alone for a few minutes to give her some time to cry, they hear Maleficent's voice and find "Rose" missing. "Why did we leave her alone?!" indeed.
  • 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.
    • Possibly unintentional, but Phillip means "friend of horses" in Greek. Consider his relationship with Samson.
    • Maleficent means "working or productive of harm or evil."
    • The fairies' names were this originally, as they were going to have powers tied to a specific element — Flora with plants, Fauna with animals, and Merryweather with the weather.
  • The Middle Ages: "After all, this is the 14th century."
  • A Minor Kidroduction: The film opens up with Aurora's christening as a baby with a young Prince Phillip showing up to meet his future wife.
  • Misplaced Retribution: Maleficent places a curse on the baby princess, who has done nothing, to punish her parents. Although as she is the only heir, it would cause quite some trouble for the kingdom.
  • 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 few Disney female leads 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. This one is pretty justified since the fairies were intending to make it by hand from materials they had in the cottage.
  • 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.
  • Morality Pet: Of all her servants, Maleficent treats Diablo rather kindly, and is visibly upset by his Taken for Granite demise. Justified as he is a Hypercompetent Sidekick.
  • Mum Looks Like a Sister: 16-year-old Aurora looks like her mother's slightly shorter, slightly finer-featured twin.
  • Mythology Gag: A dark one, where Maleficent plans to imprison Prince Phillip for 100 years before setting the elderly prince free. In the original tale, the princess and her kingdom were asleep for 100 years until a prince found the kingdom.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast:
  • Natural Spotlight: On Aurora before she is woken up.
  • Never Say "Die": Averted.
    • "Now Sword of Truth, fly swift and sure, that evil die and good endure!"
    • "But...before the sun sets on her sixteenth birthday, she shall prick her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel...and die!"
  • 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.
    • Merryweather's impulsiveness worsens the situation on more than one occasion. As well as the aforementioned 'argument' with Flora over the dress's color (though this is also equally Flora's fault), she outright tells Maleficent that she wasn't wanted at the christening, possibly leading to the curse. She also tries to attack Maleficent when she insults Prince Phillip and has to be pulled back by Flora (which alerts Diablo the raven to their presence).
    • Arguably, the three fairies’ original plan of outlasting the curse by keeping Aurora under Maleficent’s radar might have worked if Merryweather hadn’t insisted on using magic for Aurora’s birthday celebration or at the very least, didn’t pick a fight with Flora over the color of Aurora’s dress. Then again, if the events of the film hadn’t been sent in motion and Prince Phillip never slayed Maleficent in the dragon form, Maleficent may have continued to terrorize the royal family and been especially driven since her original curse failed.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: Maleficent is the one who tells Phillip that not only is Aurora the same peasant girl he fell in love with, but exactly where she is.
  • No Body Left Behind: Dragon!Maleficent falls down a cliff. When the sword is shown again, it is stabbing only a cloak.
  • Non-Human Sidekick: Prince Phillip has a horse named Samson, Maleficent has her raven familiar Diablo, and Aurora has various miscellaneous woodland creatures. Also, Maleficent's goons; it's never clarified exactly what they are, but they're definitely not human.
  • No Ontological Inertia: Zigzagged; Maleficent's death causes the thorns she summoned earlier to disappear, but does not undo the curse put on Aurora; Phillip still has to kiss her.
  • 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 with which she's associated (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.
    • Phillip (again) when the door of the cottage closes and Maleficent's goons jump him.
    • Flora, when she realized the "stranger" Aurora meet in the woods was Prince Phillip, and whom Aurora asked to visit at the cabin.
    • When Maleficent says she's going to give Aurora a gift, the three fairies immediately try to shield her, knowing what kind of "gifts" Maleficent is likely to give.
  • One-Winged Angel: Maleficent's dragon form.
  • One-Woman Wail: The infamous Aaauroooraaa calling during Maleficent's evil spell on Aurora.
  • Our Fairies Are Different:
    • The three good fairies have the appearance of short elderly women. They have wings but cannot fly without shrinking to the size of insects, and their wands appear to be the source of their magic.
    • Maleficent, though technically a fairy, is closer to an Evil Sorceress. However, she also has a magic wand that takes the form of a Magic Staff, and she also changes size (and form) when she wants to fly.
  • Owls Ask "Who?": When Briar Rose talks to her animal friends, the owl naturally goes "hoo?", which she takes as a question.
  • Papa Wolf: The minute Maleficent casts the curse, Stefan orders his guards to seize her. Though they're as helpless as he is to stop Maleficent from leaving, he still does all that he can to protect his daughter, from burning all the kingdom's spindles to agreeing with the fairies to send Aurora into hiding.
  • Parental Substitute: Aurora as Rose calls the three fairies her aunts. She treats them as her parents, even planning to introduce Phillip to them since she's in love. Merryweather starts to cry as she serves as a mannequin for Flora's sewing because she remembers how Aurora was once a little baby, their baby, and now she's going to become a princess again. The fairies all lament that her sixteenth birthday came so soon.
  • Perfectly Arranged Marriage: Aurora and Phillip do come to really like each other despite the engagement. Of course, that was before they find out who they really are.
  • 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
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: In order to allow Aurora and Prince Phillip to meet and form a relationship prior to the kiss, the film had to drop the original tale's one-hundred-year time frame of Aurora and the kingdom's sleep-induced state, as Phillip could not possibly have been alive by then.
  • 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.
  • Pre-Violence Laughter: Maleficent has just learned that her minions haven't found Aurora because they've been looking for a baby for sixteen years, and breaks out laughing. The minions start laughing as well until she suddenly turns angry and fires lightning bolts at them from her staff.
  • Princess Classic: Flora and Fauna's gifts were even related to this trope. Merryweather's might have been as well, had she not been interrupted; we never learn what her gift would have been.
  • Princesses Prefer Pink: Played with. Aurora never chooses her own gown, but Flora and Merryweather fight over what color it should be.
  • Princess Protagonist: Princess Aurora, who is cursed by an evil fairy, and then rescued by a handsome prince, is nominally the heroine, although the movie focuses more on her fairy godmothers.
  • Public Domain Soundtrack:
    • Much of the soundtrack of the movie is the music to Tchaikovsky's ballet of Sleeping Beauty.
    • Most famously, the song "Once Upon a Dream" was adding lyrics to the Waltz from Act I. An unedited excerpt of Tchaikovsky's actual waltz (which varies considerably in the second half from "Once Upon a Dream") can be heard just before Fauna says "I just love happy endings."
    • The opening chorus, "Hail to the Princess Aurora", is the opening march from Act I with lyrics.
    • The music that accompanies the three fairies flying through the forest is Aurora's "Vertigo dance" from the Act I finale after she pricks her finger on the spindle.note 
    • Prince Phillip's fight against Maleficent is set to the music from the Act I finale as Carabosse, Maleficent's counterpart in the ballet, is attacked by Aurora's four suitors.
    • The creepy chorus when Maleficent lures away the princess is from the Act III pas de deux between Puss-in-Boots and the White Cat. It's a funny scene in the original, with the minor-key oboe figures suggesting not "Aurora" but "Miaou".
  • Refuge in Audacity: This is why Maleficent doesn't anticipate that the three fairies would storm her castle to rescue Phillip. After all, good fairies only do good magic, and they failed at protecting Aurora? Why would they think they can stop her? By the time she cottons onto their plan, they've already sprung Phillip and are on their way out the door.
  • 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.
  • RevengeSVP: Probably the most famous example of the trope: Maleficent casts the spell in retribution to not being invited to a party, setting off the plot.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Prince Phillip is the one who defeats Maleficent and wakes Aurora, although the fairies give him invaluable assistance.
  • Running Gag: Flora and Merryweather's bickering over Aurora's dress being pink or blue, which happens in all three acts of the movie.
  • 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 is likely the reason it was the first cel-animated Disney title to get a Blu-Ray Disc release.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: On realizing that Aurora won't be happy in an Arranged Marriage when she loves someone else, Flora and Merryweather talk and agree to tell her father about the change in circumstances. Unfortunately, before they can, Flora hears Maleficent's spell.
  • She's All Grown Up: Lampshaded by Maleficent when her minions spend sixteen years looking for a baby and instructs Diablo to find a beautiful maiden in her teens. All three good fairies have a moment of sadness when they consider that the girl they've raised and loved as a daughter is about to be Princess Aurora and not their Briar Rose.
  • Shipper on Deck: The forest animals really want Aurora and Phillip to be together.
  • Shout-Out: Prince Phillip was named after the most prominent prince in the popular imagination of the day: Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.
  • 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.
  • Silence Is Golden: Phillip and Aurora have no lines in the second half of the movie. In fact, few characters have any dialogue except Maleficent and the fairies.
  • 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 the Sword of Truth and 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.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: Despite the movie being centered on Aurora, the fairies take up most of the focus and do most of the work.
  • Spot of Tea: The Three Fairies have one as they make their plans.
  • Stating the Simple Solution:
    • Stefan's first large decree after Maleficent curses his daughter is to burn all the kingdom's spinning wheels, invoking Loophole Abuse. It doesn't work since when the curse activates, Maleficent simply creates a new one out of thin air.
    • Fauna over A Spot Of Tea suggests reasoning with Maleficent since she cast the curse out of feeling slighted, and that Maleficent "can't be all bad". Flora and Merryweather shoot that plan down since Maleficent won't listen to reason and she is definitely all bad.
  • Storybook Opening: The last true princess one till Enchanted came out.
  • Stock Sound Effect:
  • Strong Family Resemblance: Aurora bears a strong resemblance to her mother.
  • Supernatural Aid: The fairies give Prince Phillip the Sword of Truth and Shield of Virtue to fight Maleficent. They even add an extra incantation before the final blow.
  • Surprisingly Happy Ending: For Aurora. After her initial heartbreak that she has to leave the man of her dreams and take on the role of princess, he turns out to be the prince to whom she was already engaged and her true love. (It's happy for Phillip too, but he had a little more warning).
  • 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. She zaps them with her staff in response, and they clear out with all haste.
      Maleficent: [sitting down in her throne] Oh, they're hopeless. A disgrace to the forces of evil.
    • Merryweather feels this way when Flora and Fauna are trying in vain to make a dress and bake a cake, while she must stand there and be the dummy. Her expression and mannerisms say everything.
  • Sympathy for the Devil: Fauna expresses that Maleficent can't be all that bad and that she must not be very happy.
  • 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 off] Now shall you deal with me, O Prince... AND ALL THE POWERS OF HELL!!!
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: Phillip slays the dragon by throwing his sword into her heart. Justified in that it was an enchanted sword further blessed by the magic of the good fairies.
  • To the Pain: This is 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.
  • Tomboyish Name: Downplayed, but Merryweather is actually a boys' name in tradition (it's what Merry is usually short for). Merryweather is the most tomboyish of the fairies, at least with her no-nonsense attitude and dislike of pink.
  • 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. In-universe, Merryweather insisted on it over Flora's objections, and they get into an Edit War over the color.
  • True Love's Kiss: This appears in many Disney movies, but this particular kiss is the Trope Namer.
  • Underestimating Badassery: Maleficent had no idea that Aurora's three fairy godmothers would be able to bring about her downfall, hence why she only did Evil Gloating about their precious princess while heading off to capture Phillip.
  • Uptown Boy: It's set up to be an inter-class romance, but it turns out that the beautiful peasant girl Phillip sees in the forest is the princess to whom he's betrothed.

  • Vile Villain, Laughable Lackey: Zig-zagged. Maleficent is considered one of the most (if not the most) dangerous villains in all of Disney Animated Canon, and her lackeys go different ways:
    • The Goons don't understand that babies grow up, so they've been looking for the infant Aurora for 16 years.
    • Her pet raven Diablo averts this by having almost no comedic moments and proving to be Maleficent's most capable minion.
  • 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!"
  • The Weird Sisters: The three good fairies Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather attend princess Aurora's baptismal celebration to confer blessings on Aurora, and later take Aurora in their care in order to protect her from Maleficent's curse.
  • Were Dragon: Maleficent. Near the end of the movie, she turns from her humanoid form into a huge fire-breathing dragon. Though even in her humanoid form she already resembled one, such as possessing horns, scales, and a cape that resembled wings, and shooting fire at her minions when she's angry.
  • Wham Shot:
    • Maleficent revealing the comatose "precious princess" to the fairies.
      Maleficent: You poor, simple fools, thinking you could defeat me. ME, the Mistress of all evil! Well, here's your precious princess!
    • Maleficent standing in the shadows of the cottage as her minions ambush Phillip.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Most of Aurora's animal friends disappear when the owl, a cardinal, a blue jay, a squirrel and two rabbits dress up in a prince to dance with her. And only those 6 remain with Aurora and Phillip until she had to return to the cottage.
  • White Stallion: Prince Phillip races in to rescue the princess on his white horse.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?:
    • Why not just kill the baby at the christening for revenge on her parents? Because Maleficent would rather deliver a "gift": a sleeping death for when the little girl becomes sixteen.
    • Justified for why Maleficent doesn't kill Phillip. He needs to be alive to fulfill Merryweather's part of the Curse Escape Clause. So instead she'll keep him alive, for as long as possible, and only then release him.
    • Defied by Merryweather when Diablo sounds the alarm as the fairies bust Phillip out of prison. She chases the crow until she can get a clear shot and turns him into stone.
  • 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!
  • You Can't Thwart Stage One: Not for lack of trying; Stefan orders all of the spinning wheels in the kingdom burned, and the fairies take "Rose" into hiding to protect her. Maleficent still manages to find the princess and compel her to touch the spindle.


Video Example(s):


Sleeping Beauty

Maleficent magically draws Aurora to her to make her prick her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel.

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Example of:

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