'Beauty and the Beast': Revisiting the Animated Classic

As a precursor to the much-anticipated live-action adaptation of 'Beauty and the Beast,' starring Emma Watson, we look at some fun behind-the-scenes trivia about the 1991 animated feature.
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Beauty and the Beast Animated Movie 1991

'Beauty and the Beast,' 1991.

The marketing machine is in full swing for this live-action Beauty and the Beast, starring Emma Watson as Belle and Dan Stevens (of Downton Abbey fame) as the Beast. With an A-list ensemble cast — which includes Kevin Kline, Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci, and Emma Thompson — along with CGI that will make you second guess the livelihood of your clocks, candlesticks and teacups, this iteration of the timeless tale is sure to bring in high expectations and high numbers in the box office.

In honor of its endeavor (no pressure, guys!), we look at some of the hard work and historical facts that made the 1991 animated feature an instant classic.

- On two separate occasions, Walt Disney tried to make a film adaption of Beauty and the Beast. His first attempt was in the 1930s and then later in the 1950s, but the challenges to take the story to the big screen were too daunting for writers.

- Belle was modeled to be in her 20s, making her the oldest Disney princess.

- The Beast was inspired by a multiple of wild animals: a gorilla (for its brow), buffalo (for its head), lion (for its mane), boar (for its tusks), bear (for its body) and wolf (for its legs and tail).

- A crew of 600 Disney artists and animators worked on Beauty and the Beast for four years.

- Belle is the only character in the village to wear blue, a symbol of her being different.

- Angela Lansbury (Mrs. Potts) nailed the film's theme song "Beauty and the Beast" in just one take.

- In the original story, Gaston was supposed to have survived his fall from the castle only to be killed by wolves. When that idea was changed, it was later used for Scar's demise in The Lion King.

- To keep costs down, animators used Princess Aurora and Prince Phillip's dance sequence in Sleeping Beauty for Belle and the Beast's memorable dance scene.

- Paige O'Hara, the voice of Belle, actually shed real tears when she recorded the Beast's death scene.

- In 1992 Beauty and the Beast was the only animated film to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture — an achievement it held until the animated film Up was nominated in 2010.

- Beauty and the Beast influenced the Oscars to create a Best Animated Feature category in 2001.

- Among its many accomplishments, Beauty and the Beast also became the first animated feature to make over $100 million at the box office.