Why do you love Beauty and the Beast? This fairy-tale-turned-Disney film has become one of the studio’s most enduring classics, often ranking with The Lion King and Aladdin as one of the best Disney films of all time. The film won overwhelming praise from critics and audiences alike, and even became the first animated film to be nominated for an Oscar.
Unlike the characters featured in previous Disney films, Beauty and the Beast starred a new and progressive type of heroine in its protagonist, Belle. She still remains a role model for young girls, with her fierce independence, her love of books, and her hunger for adventure. Her character alone is reason enough to justify why Beauty and the Beast is the best.
With its amazing music and compelling story, Beauty and the Beast is sure to continue enchanting viewers and will remain one of the best Disney cartoons of all time. Read through this list, and vote up the reasons why Beauty and the Beast rules.
Belle Is More Progressive Than Former Disney Heroines
Unlike some of her predecessors, one of Belle’s defining characteristics is her intelligence. She’s an avid book reader, visiting her local library regularly and wanting to check out books she’s already read twice. She’s also not a damsel in distress – sure, she needs saving once or twice, but she also does her fair share of rescuing. Belle actively chooses to take her father’s place as the Beast’s captive, and she chases after the Beast when he’s threatened by Gaston. Perhaps most importantly, even though she finds love, romance and marriage aren’t first and foremost on her to-do list - what she wants more than anything is adventure.
Audiences might have Hollywood actress Katharine Hepburn to thank for Belle’s characterization. The film’s writer, Linda Woolverton, cited Hepburn as her inspiration for the character. She compared Hepburn’s portrayal of Jo in Little Women to Belle, saying both were “strong, active women who loved to read - and wanted more than life was offering them.”
Gaston Is A Modern And Unsettling Villain
Gaston seems harmless at first: the typical bro who’s more into himself than anything or anyone else. But he becomes far more frightening once he rallies the villagers to go and kill the Beast. Suddenly, the same characters who were cheerfully singing "Bonjour!" at the start of the film are now brandishing pitchforks and chanting “Kill the Beast!” He capitalizes on the villagers' fear of anything different and gets a group of bakers and small-town merchants hyped for murder.
He’s also incredibly misogynistic, telling Belle, "It’s not right for a woman to read. Soon she starts getting ideas and thinking." Prior to this film, all of the villains in Disney princess movies were women, including Ursula, Maleficent, and The Evil Queen. Beauty and the Beast was the first princess film to have a male villain, and given its progressive heroine, Gaston seems like a fitting antagonist.
The Prologue Is Gorgeous
The first two minutes of Beauty and the Beast are spellbinding. The haunting music sends chills down the spine as, like the pictures in a storybook, vibrantly colored stained-glass windows tell how the Beast met his miserable fate. The narration sets the tone for the film and the use of stained glass makes it feel like the tale is truly as old as time.
It’s A Movie For Book Lovers
This movie has books galore and champions and romanticizes reading. Throughout the film, Belle constantly has her nose in a book, a fact that her neighbors tease her for. In one of the most memorable scenes in the film, the Beast gives her the gift that can truly win her heart: an entire library. What book lover hasn’t dreamed of owning a collection that massive?
That Ballroom Scene Is Epic
The ballroom scene is memorable for a reason. From the enchanting music performed by Angela Lansbury to the breathtaking animation, it’s a triumph in filmmaking. It’s also incredibly sweet, as Belle and the Beast share their first dance and begin to see how they fit together. Like Lumière and company, you find yourself cheering on the happy couple.
It’s A Tale Of Redemption
The Beast’s personal struggle to become a better person is every bit as compelling as the romance narrative within the film. Here’s a character who’s grown to hate himself and repeatedly externalizes that hate by snapping at those around him, primarily those who care for him most. Through the help of Belle and his friends, he finally lets go of all of his hate and learns to love again - not only others, but himself, too.
The Bromance Between Cogsworth And Lumière Is Perfect
The friendship/rivalry between stodgy clock Cogsworth and dashing candelabra Lumière added much needed humor to the often dark story. Undoubtedly, their endless bickering over the years kept each other going. Everyone needs a friend to keep them in check, and these two did just that.
The Film Champions Individuality
In this town, being different is not celebrated. Belle is considered weird because she reads, but the villagers tolerate her because she’s pretty. Her father, Maurice, is considered a crackpot because he tries to invent tools that will make life easier for him and his fellow villagers. The Beast is thought to be dangerous because of his appearance. Despite being "different," these characters are the heroes of the film. The story champions enduring life lessons about tolerance and celebrating uniqueness.