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A 1990 short film from Disney loosely adapting Mark Twain's The Prince and the Pauper, starring Mickey Mouse as both the prince and the pauper. It was shown in theatres with The Rescuers Down Under. Notably, it was the final Disney animated short to use hand-painted cels.

The film served as the setting of the final level of the video game Mickey Mania.


Tropes used by the film:

  • Adaptational Intelligence: The Prince here isn't so dumb as to just claim he's royalty to everyone while wearing Mickey's rags, as he was in the book. He shows Mickey that he has a ring with the royal crest that proves his identity and will use it in case of an emergency. It helps quell a riot that Pete's guards start, and gets Goofy to believe him.
  • Adaptational Karma: Benevolent example; Mickey, Goofy and Donald help the prince when Pete tries to kill him. Rather than let Mickey and Goofy leave with a token of thanks, they've all become Fire-Forged Friends and the end narration confirms that the Prince made them part of his court.
  • Adaptational Nice Guy:
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    • Mickey doesn't gain Hal's Acquired Situational Narcissism from living the royal life. Suffering a Humiliation Conga with the lessons helped with that. The most he does is play-fence with the statues, which the Prince was doing anyway, and immediately wants to find the real Prince when the king dies.
    • Donald is nowhere near as hot-tempered as he is in previous canon material. While he gets mad at the prince, he doesn't end up in a Hulking rage.
  • And I'm the Queen of Sheba: When the Prince divulges his identity to a coachman, he sarcastically says "And I'm the Queen Mother!"
  • And Your Little Dog, Too!: After the king's death, Pete confronts Mickey, having figured out that he's not the prince, and orders him to do whatever he says. To make sure Mickey cooperates, Pete shows him that he and his guards have captured Pluto. They have Pluto tied and chained up with a pile of sticks at his feet, so apparently they were going to burn him at the stake. This doesn't stop the guards from giving these silly grins when they show Pluto tied up.
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  • Animals Not to Scale: The owl is human height, and the weasels are about four to five feet tall, much bigger than normal sized owls and weasels respectively.
  • Awesome Moment of Crowning: The Prince, once he finally manages to make it back to the throne room in time for the ceremony. Mickey was about to be the subject of one in spite of his protests, so he was quite happy to have it interrupted.
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Donald hugs the prince in relief when he sees the latter tossed into the dungeons. It's implied he figured out the switch and was worried that the prince was killed by the guards.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: Against all odds, Goofy is scary with an executioner's ax. He knocks out the guard with the keys by accident with it, which buys time for him and Donald to figure out which one will open their jail cell before they're caught.
  • Big Bad: Pete, Captain of the Guard.
  • Big Damn Heroes: The Prince makes a dramatic entrance just as Mickey seems done for. Pluto also saves the Prince from Pete when he has him cornered.
  • British Stuffiness: Horace as the prince's teacher.
  • Butt Biter: Pluto, to Pete in the climax.
  • By the Lights of Their Eyes: When Donald and the Prince are put in the dungeon.
  • The Cameo: Clarabelle as a peasant woman.
  • Cassandra Truth: Mickey tries to protest that switching places isn't a good idea, but the Prince doesn't listen. Guess how well it goes.
  • Character Development: The Prince in this version starts off as a bit of spoiled snob who torments his valet for fun and runs off to slum it as a peasant, even after being told that his father is gravely ill. However, after witnessing the captain of the guard's corruption and abuse of power (stealing food from peasants) and learning that his father died when he wasn't there to say good bye, he becomes much more kind, noble, and determined to right the wrongs he's witnessed. That means he realizes he has to return to the palace and become coronated.
  • Chandelier Swing: The prince does one when he first confronts Pete. Donald and Goofy also do this when they arrive moments later.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • The prince's ring. He uses it to prove to the royal guards that he is the prince and stop the riot they try to instigate.
    • Dog in this case; Pluto waited faithfully by the palace knowing that the mouse in Mickey's clothes was not his master. This allowed Pete to capture Pluto and use him as a hostage against Mickey. Unfortunately, Pete made the mistake of having Pluto at the coronation; the dog seizes the opportunity to get free and save both the prince and his Mickey by biting Pete in the butt. This allows the prince to gain an advantage in the fight. When the owl with the crown gets confused, Pluto happily licks Mickey, who is relieved his dog is safe.
  • Chekhov's Skill: The prince is established as someone who fences for fun. He actually manages to fight thanks to practicing with the knights' armor.
  • The Comically Serious: Horace is the Prince's stuffy and stoic teacher, whose monotone voice and inability to realize that the Prince is the one causing trouble rather than Donald is hilarious.
  • Darker and Edgier:
    • The original novel is a satire about royalty, with Hal and Edward each learning that one's life is not easier than the other and they prefer being back in their proper clothes. In the Disney version, the captain of the guards is taking advantage of the king's illness to be a tyrant in his name and locks up the real prince to hide witnesses about the switch.
    • This interpretation of Pete is an abusive captain of the guard who sullies the king's reputation by doing acts of extreme abuse of power under his name and made a Sadistic Choice to Mickey that he'd kill Pluto if he didn't become a Puppet King. When the Prince exposes Pete's scheme for all to see, Pete seemingly surrenders gracefully — then viciously attacks the Prince when he lets his guard down, basically trying to flat-out murder him. He would likely have succeeded if Pluto hadn't intervened and given Pete even better than he got.
    • Also a sad death scene of the possibly kind king who can't even tell the difference between Mickey and his own son as he was dying, Mickey plays along for the sake of making him die happily.
  • Dark Reprise: The weasel guards sing an altered version of the Mickey Mouse March to better fit Pete as they drive back to the castle in a coach.
  • Decomposite Character: Mickey's different personalities are divided amongst the titular characters—Pauper Mickey is a meek Nice Guy, while the Prince is a naughty, but good-hearted action hero.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: Pete realizes that if word gets out that he manhandled the Prince, whom he mistook for peasant Mickey, he'll lose his job at best and at worst be tried for treason. It's actually against the laws at the time to lay a finger on royalty, especially if you are in their employ.
  • Dirty Coward: Pete. He throws his weight around and hides behind his men. Once he's backed into a corner, he's actually quite the pushover.
  • Disney Villain Death: How Pete and the weasels presumably meet their end after getting entangled in a rolling chandelier that rolls out a window. They could've survived the fall, only to be imprisoned later on.
  • The Dog Bites Back:
  • Doesn't Know Their Own Child: Played for Drama. The king has been ill for so long that he's delirious, which allowed Pete to take advantage of the power vacuum. When Mickey is summoned to talk to him, the king can't tell that his "son" is an impostor.
  • Dying Candle: As the king of England brings Mickey, who he thinks is his son, to his room in his final moments, he makes Mickey promise to be a just and wise ruler. Mickey, unable to bring himself to tell the truth, promises as the candle goes out.
  • Exact Words: Mickey tries to Take a Third Option near the finale by invoking the law that since he's the prince, and every order the prince gives must be obeyed and tries to have Pete arrested. It doesn't work, but thankfully at that moment, the real prince shows up.
  • Everyone Has Standards:
    • Mickey refuses to be crowned king knowing that he's not the real prince. He stalls for time during the ceremony and happily gives the mantle to the Prince when the latter proves his identity.
    • Donald hates the prince for pulling pranks on him and being a brat. Even he, however, thinks that it's wrong of Pete to use an impostor. Thus, he and Goofy help as best as they can to thwart Pete's coup at the coronation.
  • Evil Laugh: Pete does a deep, bellowing laugh a few times, while the weasels have more high-pitched cackles. Most notable is the scene where they take the Prince to the dungeon, and Pete and the weasels all laugh together.
  • Fake King: Pete's plan with Mickey. Essentially, Pete holds Mickey's dog Pluto hostage, threatening to kill Pluto if Mickey doesn't do whatever Pete wants.
  • Fat Bastard: Guess. A hint: It's the fat corrupt captain of the guard.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: The Prince at first tries to get away from Goofy, not knowing he is Mickey's best friend. Then Goofy gives him a place to stay, and listens when the Prince shows his ring. When the Prince is captured, Goofy shows up to rescue him and Donald. Mickey also does his best to help the prince during the coronation fight against Pete, and hugs him in relief when the villain is defeated. By the end, they're all members of the new King's court.
  • Furry Confusion: Aside from Pluto and Goofy, the featurette shows Horace Horsecollar and normal horses.
  • Furry Ear Dissonance: Horace Horsecollar has ears like cows ears in this featurette.
  • Glad I Thought of It: According to the Prince, that phrase and "Guards, seize him!" is all you need to fake it as a ruler. It turns out he was wrong when Mickey tries it to save his dog and avoid being crowned king.
  • Good Smoking, Evil Smoking: Only the Big Bad, Pete, is smoking. None of the good characters smoke and neither do Pete's weasel henchmen.
  • Goofy Print Underwear: Sported by both Pete and Goofy.
  • Grass Is Greener: Both Prince Mickey and Pauper Mickey. With that said, Pauper Mickey immediately realizes that switching places is a bad idea; he was just thinking what it would be like to be out of the cold with regular meals. The Prince is the one who realizes the slum life is not all that cracked up to be.
  • He Who Must Not Be Seen: The king, although one can imagine his appearance based on solely how his hand (in shadow) appears to be gloved just like both Pauper!- and Prince!Mickey.
  • Humiliation Conga: Pete and his henchmen. Firstly the real prince shows up just as Mickey is about to be crowned, outing Pete as a treasonous would-be usurper, then a battle ensues where Pete and his whole freaking guard get their butts handed to them by Mickey, Donald, Goofy and Pluto, as well as the Prince. Pete tries to pull an I Surrender, Suckers move on the Prince, but only with short-lived success. And if that wasn't humiliating enough, Pete endures an incredibly embarrassing moment in front of the whole court and exits by being caught up in a chandelier and crashing through a stained glass window, his frilly underwear still on show.
  • The Hyena: The weasel mooks laugh a lot, especially when attacking.
  • Identical Stranger: As per the original The Prince and the Pauper, the Prince and the Pauper are both Mickey Mouse.
  • I Have Your Wife: Pete captures Pluto and tells Mickey to do exactly as he says, or the dog gets it. Mickey at first plays along but realizes he can't be crowned king and tries to stall for time at the coronation.
  • I Surrender, Suckers: Pete does this to the Prince when the latter confronts him. He admits defeat and asks the Prince spare him, after which Pete bows down before him, saying, "Your Majesty is too kind...". But the Prince (and not Pete) is standing on a rug, which Pete then pulls out under the Prince's feet, and then viciously goes on the attack.
  • Intermission: Not in the movie proper, but in the film's theatrical release with The Rescuers Down Under, a 10 minute intermission started during this film's end credits to allow people to get up and take care of business before The Rescuers Down Under started, as shown here.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: The Prince in this version starts off as a bit of a snobby brat who torments his valet for fun and runs off to slum it as a peasant at the first opportunity, but he does have a good heart, since he's horrified to see Pete rough-handle a random peasant from his classroom window, and later when he sees the guards steal from peasants. He grows out of the "jerk" part later.
  • Karmic Jackpot: Despite being peasants who only knew him for a day, Mickey and Goofy do what they can to help the real prince during the coronation. Donald does the same, despite not liking how the prince treats him because he thinks it's wrong that Pete is placing an impostor on the throne. As a reward, the prince makes him part of their court as trusted advisors and ensures that they will never starve or be mistreated again.
  • King Incognito: In this version, The Prince is smart enough to take along his royal ring as identification when necessary.
  • Kitchen Sink Included: Among many other weapons thrown at The Prince, Donald and Goofy in the dungeon, a kitchen sink is also included.
  • Knight of Cerebus: This film's version of Pete is significantly darker than other interpretations, being a corrupt captain of the guard who takes advantage of his dying ruler's ailment by raiding and pillaging the kingdom to his heart's desire while making everyone think he is doing it under orders from the king himself, thereby ruining the monarch's reputation in the eyes of his citizens. To add to that, after realizing the prince has traded places with an identical-looking commoner (Mickey), he decides to blackmail Mickey into becoming a Puppet King by threatening Pluto's life while (presumably) planning to execute the real prince to ensure nobody will believe Mickey is not the true heir to the throne. And when the prince arrives to expose Pete, Pete flat-out tries to murder him in full view of everyone else.
  • Lessons in Sophistication: The Prince is first seen sitting through a boring trigonometry lesson, passing the time playing tricks on his assistant Donald. When he trades places with Mickey, the latter has to endure the various lessons set for the Prince, all of which he fails miserably.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!:
    • The prince in the climax. Up to that point, he was a goofy prankster that only cared about having fun. Then he finds out Pete was going to use Mickey to usurp him and gets angry on seeing the guards threaten the disguised mouse. The Prince pulls out his sword, reveals himself, and shows he is a capable fencer. While Pete is better in terms of experience, the prince uses his prankster attitude to gain an advantage.
    • Goofy of all people pulls this. When the Prince gets imprisoned in the dungeon, Goofy disguises himself as the executioner, knocks out the guard who has the keys, and busts the prisoners out. Then he and Donald storm the coronation and free Pluto (by accident), which allows the Prince to get an edge over the guard.
  • Let No Crisis Go to Waste: Pete is a master at this. He finds out from the guards that a mouse with the royal crest stopped a riot, which makes him realize the peasant claiming to be the Prince wasn't lying. Except, he tossed the Prince out, which means he's in trouble for manhandling royalty. Pete doesn't panic, however; he logically concludes that only the Prince and the guards know about this manhandling, so they only have to tie up one loose end. As an added bonus, he has an impostor at hand who can be easily persuaded to do Pete's bidding, thanks to a certain dog who's been waiting outside the palace...
  • Let Them Die Happy: When Mickey is summoned to meet him, the dying king can't tell the difference between Mickey and his own son and tells the boy whom he thinks is his son to rule justly and wisely. Mickey can't bring himself to tell him the truth and plays along for the sake of making him die happy.
  • Loophole Abuse: Mickey tries to Take a Third Option during the Prince's coronation, to avoid being wrongfully crowned or becoming Pete's Puppet King, by invoking how the Prince's every order must be obeyed. He then tries to have Pete arrested, but unfortunately for him, the guards are loyal to the captain, not him.
  • Mooks: Pete has an army of weasel soldiers, who are lifted from The Adventures Of Ichabod And Mr Toad.
  • Mythology Gag: While Captain Pete and his gang of weasel soldiers pass by Mickey and Goofy in the beginning of the film (which Pluto chases due to the sausages hanging off the carriage), the weasel soldiers sing praise to Pete to the theme tune of the The Mickey Mouse Club.
  • Morton's Fork: Mickey faces one after the good king dies. He can be Pete's Puppet King and let him terrorize the kingdom unchecked, or refuse and see his beloved dog Pluto killed. He tries to Take a Third Option, but thankfully the real prince shows up soon anyway.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: The Prince whispers "Father" when he learns that the king has died. He looks out of Mickey and Goofy's slums with a Thousand-Yard Stare, realizing that if he had stayed in the palace as Mickey had suggested, he would have been there. This makes him determined to prove to Goofy that he is the prince and they need to return to the palace.
  • Named by the Adaptation: Inverted. In the original novel, the King and the Prince are Henry VIII and the future Edward VI respectively. Here, both come with No Name Given. Furthermore, the King is described as "a wise and good king", which is a bit of a Historical Hero Upgrade assuming he is still Henry VIII which is not for sure.
  • Near-Villain Victory: In the climactic sword fight between the Prince and Pete, the latter corners the former and knocks the sword out of his hand and is then about to deliver the coup de grace when Pluto rushes up and bites Pete in the rear.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: At the coronation, the real Prince shows up to save Mickey and outs the Captain as a traitor. Pete starts going I Can Explain, so the Prince waits to hear his reasons, not wanting to be a Royal Brat anymore. He could talk his way out of it or try and turn the crowd against the incoming king. Instead, Pete pulls the rug from under the prince's feet and goes after him with a sword. This reveals to the entire crowd that Pete is a traitor and none help him or his guards when Donald and Goofy join the fray. It also means that Mickey is given a silent pardon for impersonating the Prince since he helped save him, making Pete's plan moot.
  • Nice to the Waiter: The prince starts as a Spoiled Brat who deals with boredom by tormenting his valet Donald. Horace explicitly tells of the prince for this, saying he needs to be kinder. With that said, the prince stops the captain from bullying Mickey, who only came onto the palace grounds to find Pluto and is quite civil to the "peasant". While exploring the streets in Mickey's clothes, the prince gets righteously furious on seeing how the guards are stealing food in the king's name and eventually realizes he needs to return to the palace to stop these abuses. He even makes up with Donald in the dungeons, implicitly apologizing for mistreating him, and makes the trio part of his royal court.
  • Non Sequitur, *Thud*: After Goofy accidentally maces a weasel on the head, he kisses him on the nose and babbles, "Thank you, I had a lovely evening..." before fainting.
  • Not So Stoic: The one time Horace's collected demeanor ever breaks is when the Prince continues to provoke Donald, causing him to fire a projectile that hits Horace in the buttocks. Without missing a beat, he reprimands Donald in his usual proper manner, only snapping when Donald protests. He then tells the Prince to behave himself and gets on with the lesson right where he left off.
  • Out-of-Character Alert:
    • When a peasant in rags is tossed out of the palace, Pluto goes to greet his master. He gets bewildered when "Mickey" starts kissing him and saying "I'm free!" Goofy is similarly bewildered that his best friend doesn't remember his name and tries to get away from him; even so, it takes the prince showing his ring to convince Goofy he is not Mickey. Meanwhile, Pluto waits at the palace, fearing the worst for his master. You may be able to fool Goofy but you cannot fool a dog like Pluto.
    • Donald starts noticing that "the prince" is behaving during his lessons rather than tormenting him. At first, he starts giggling at how inept Mickey is but eventually figures it out; it's implied that is why he is tossed into the dungeons since he could identify which mouse was which.
  • Out-Gambitted: During the coronation, Mickey faces a Morton's Fork: Agree to be Pete's Puppet King or see his beloved dog Pluto killed. He tries to Take a Third Option by invoking the law's Exact Words that a prince's every order must be obeyed, and tries to order Pete arrested. Unfortunately for him, the guards already know about the switch; Pete puts a stop to this by ordering the guards to seize him instead by outing Mickey as an impostor. (Thankfully for Mickey, the real prince shows up that exact moment.)
  • Pig Man: A fat pig is briefly shown working as a coachman and enforcer for Pete.
  • Prince and Pauper: A loose adaptation of the original Mark Twain story.
  • Private Tutor: The prince is introduced receiving instruction on Trigonometry from the chamberlain (Horace), who seems to handle the prince's education as well, and bored out of his mind. The prince begins to amuse himself by tormenting Donald Duck.
  • Reality Ensues: The prince challenges Pete to a swordfight to save Mickey in the climax. He was established to be practicing with stationary knight statues. While the prince is competent, Pete has years of experience and a propensity to fight dirty. He soon has the prince on the ropes until the prince fights dirty in turn.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure:
    • Horace proves to be this; he's not oblivious to the Prince being a prankster. When the Prince goads Donald into shooting the professor with a spitball, Horace shoos Donald out of the classroom but listens when the duck says that the prince started it. Horace then tells off the Prince for being immature and that he needs to act like proper royalty. He may be oblivious but he's not stupid.
    • After his experience, the prince is determined to become one. He is angry about the guards stealing food from the commoners, who are starving, and how they are bullies. The Prince tells Goofy he needs to return to the palace and rule as a proper king.
  • Rodents of Unusual Size: Played straight with Mickey (as usual) and the prince, but averted with a female peasant mouse that shows up for a few seconds of one scene.
  • Seize Them!: One of the two phrases the Prince tells Mickey to use while pretending to be prince. Later, Mickey uses it on Pete, only for Pete to turn it around.
    Mickey: The Captain is an insolent scoundrel! Guards, seize him!
    Pete: Seize him! He's an impostor!
  • Spanner in the Works: If the Prince hadn't decided to make the switch with an Identical Stranger, he wouldn't have seen Pete's guards robbing the peasants of food. It also makes him determined to take Pete down on realizing how corrupt the Captain is.
  • Spit Take: A semi-wild take done by Pete's weasel lackey right after Pete realizes the Mickey that he threw out was actually the Prince.
  • Spoiled Brat: Prince Mickey is shown to be a bit of one, often tormenting his valet Donald Duck for amusement and switching places with a very nervous Mickey out of snobbish boredom. He gets better after seeing the injustices in the real world.
  • Spot the Impostor:
    • Pluto can tell which one is his master Mickey. This is how he identifies the real Mickey in the climax to clear up the misunderstanding.
    • It's implied that Donald figured out that Mickey wasn't the prince after seeing him suffer through the lessons. Why else is he in the dungeons and threatened with execution?
  • Suddenly Speaking: Horace has actual dialogue for the first time here (not counting comic appearances).
  • Take a Third Option: Mickey tries this during the coronation. Faced with either being Pete's Puppet King or seeing his beloved dog Pluto killed, Mickey tries to invoke the law's Exact Words that the prince's every order must be obeyed, and orders the guards to seize Pete. Unfortunately for him, a) the guards are loyal to Pete rather than the Prince, b) Pete instantly outs him as an impostor. Thankfully for Mickey, the Prince pulls a Big Damn Heroes.
  • Token Human: The trumpeters.
  • Took a Level in Badass: The film has what is probably one of the most sinister and least bumbling incarnations of Pete ever.
  • To the Tune of...: Mickey and Goofy's song about living like a king is sung to the tune of "La Donna e Mobile" from Rigoletto.
  • Undying Loyalty: Pluto waits by the palace for the whole day, realizing that Mickey is still inside. Unfortunately, this allows Pete to grab him and use him as a hostage.
  • Villainous Glutton: In one scene, Pete is shown messily chowing down on food and drinks stolen from the peasants.
  • Wicked Weasel: They appear as Pete's henchmen. However, they're not as evil as the ones who hunt a certain rabbit, only as evil as the ones who swindle a certain toad into trading the deed to his estate for a stolen motorcar.
  • Yellow Eyes of Sneakiness:
    • The weasel mooks all have yellow sclerae.
    • Pete's sclerae also gain a yellowish tint in a few scenes, such as when he confronts and threatens Mickey after the king's death.

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