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12 Facts You Never Knew About ‘Beauty and the Beast’

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A Tale as Old as Time

Hailed as “the finest animated movie ever made,” Disney changed the game forever when they released Beauty and the Beast in 1991.

Telling the tale as old as time of finding true love on the inside and not judging a book by its cover, the simple and satisfying fairytale introduced us to some of Disney’s most famous characters and songs of all time, adding momentum and acclaim to what’s come to be known as the Disney Renaissance.

Famous for presenting audiences with Belle, an intellectual and feminist leading lady, and for making the plot about more than just a damsel in distress meeting a prince, Beauty and the Beast has captured audiences’ hearts for decades with its charm, romance, comedy, and music.

Now, with the release of the first teaser trailer for Disney’s upcoming 2017 live-action adaptation of the musical, a new generation of fans will fall in love all over again.

It might be one of your favorite films, but how much do you know about Beauty and the Beast, really?

beauty and the beast belle and beast

Credit: Walt Disney Pictures/ Photofest

Be our guest and check out these fun facts!

Years in the Making


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Walt Disney had wanted to adapt Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont’s fairytale “Beauty and the Beast” into a movie as far back as the 1930s, following the success of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, but the project was constantly tabled for being too hard.

In the 1980s, British animator Richard Purdum was hired to make the film, which stayed truer to the original fairytale and contained no music. Following The Little Mermaid, Disney opted to turn Beauty and the Beast into a Broadway-style musical movie instead.

Belle’s Inspiration

beauty and the beast facts katharine hepburn

Credit: RKO Radio Pictures/ Photofest

Belle was modeled after Katharine Hepburn’s character Jo March in Little Women (1933), a deliberate feminist, in response to criticism of how Disney treated female characters. Her looks were modeled after actresses Vivien Leigh, Audrey Hepburn, and Judy Garland.

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