Anastasia is a 1997 American animated musical fantasy adventure film directed and produced by the former Walt Disney Animation Studios directors, Don Bluth and Gary Goldman in association with Fox Animation Studios, distributed by 20th Century Fox. It stars the voices of Meg Ryan, John Cusack, Kelsey Grammer, Hank Azaria, Christopher Lloyd and Angela Lansbury.
The film is a loose adaptation of the legend of Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna of Russia, which claims that she, in fact, escaped the execution of her family. It's basic plot centers around an eighteen-year-old amnesiac orphan named Anya who, in hopes of finding some trace of her family, sides with con men who wish to take advantage of her likeness to the Grand Duchess; thus the film shares its plot with Fox's prior film from 1956, which, in turn, was based on the 1955 play by Marcelle Maurette.
The film was met with criticism by some historians to its fantastical retelling of the life of the Grand Duchess, though it enjoyed a positive reception from many critics, though the historical inaccuracies were panned. From a $50 million budget, Anastasia grossed $139,804,348 worldwide, making it the most profitable film from Don Bluth and Fox Animation Studios to date. It received nominations for several awards, including for Best Original Song ("Journey to the Past") and Best Original Musical or Comedy Score at the 70th Academy Awards. The success of Anastasia spawned various adaptations of the film into other media, including a direct-to-video spin-off film, a computer game, books, toys and a stage musical, which premiered in 2016.
n 1916, Tsar Nicholas II hosts a ball at the Catherine Palace to celebrate the Romanov tricentennial. His mother, the Dowager Empress Marie Feodorovna, is visiting from Paris, France and gives a music box and a necklace inscribed with the words “Together in Paris” as parting gifts to her youngest granddaughter, 8-year-old Grand Duchess Anastasia. The ball is suddenly interrupted by the sorcerer Grigori Rasputin, the former royal adviser to the Romanovs until he was banished for treason. Seeking revenge, Rasputin sold his soul in exchange for an unholy reliquary, which he uses to place a curse on the Romanov family, sparking the Russian Revolution. During the siege of the palace, only Marie and Anastasia are able to escape with the aid of 10-year-old servant boy Dimitri, who shows them a secret passageway in Anastasia's bedroom. Rasputin confronts the two royals outside on a frozen river, only to fall through the ice and drown. The pair manage to reach a moving train, but only Marie climbs aboard while Anastasia falls, hitting her head on the platform and suffering amnesia.
Ten years later, Russia is under communist rule and Marie has publicly offered 10 million rubles for the safe return of her granddaughter. Dimitri and his friend/partner-in-crime Vladimir search for an Anastasia look-alike to bring to Paris so they can collect the reward. Elsewhere, Anastasia — now 18 years old and using the name "Anya" — leaves the rural orphanage where she grew up, still suffering from amnesia. Accompanied by a stray puppy she names "Pooka", she decides to head to Saint Petersburg, inspired by the passage on the necklace she still has, but finds she is unable to leave Russia without an exit visa. An old woman advises her to see Dimitri at the abandoned palace, where he and Vladimir have made residence; there, the two men are impressed by her resemblance to the "real" Anastasia, and decide to take her with them to Paris.
Bartok, Rasputin's albino bat minion, is nearby and notices his master's dormant reliquary suddenly revived by Anastasia's presence; it drags him to limbo, where Rasputin survives. Enraged to hear that Anastasia escaped the curse, Rasputin sends his demonic minions from the reliquary to kill her; despite two attempts, the trio manage to (unwittingly) foil him, forcing Rasputin and Bartok to travel back to the surface.
The trio eventually reach Paris and go to meet Marie, who has given up the search after being tricked by numerous impostors. Despite this, Marie's cousin Sophie quizzes Anastasia to confirm her identity. Though Anastasia offers every answer taught to her, Dimitri finally realizes she is the real Anastasia when she (without being taught to) vaguely recollects how he had saved her ten years prior. Sophie, also convinced, arranges a meeting with Marie at the Palais Garnier Opera house. There, Dimitri tries to establish an introduction but Marie refuses, having already heard of Dimitri's initial scheme to con her. Anastasia overhears the conversation and angrily leaves. Dimitri kidnaps Marie and takes her to see Anastasia, who regains her memories as they converse. Convincing the empress of her identity, the two are joyfully reunited.
Marie offers Dimitri the reward money the next day, recognizing him as the servant boy who saved them; to her surprise, he refuses it and leaves for Russia. At Anastasia's return celebration, Marie informs her of Dimitri's gesture, leaving Anastasia torn between staying or going with him. Pooka suddenly runs off; Anastasia chases him to the Pont Alexandre III, where she is trapped and attacked by Rasputin. Dimitri returns to save her, but is soon injured and knocked unconscious. In the struggle, Anastasia manages to get hold of Rasputin's reliquary and crush it under her foot; Rasputin disintegrates and dies.
In the aftermath, Dimitri and Anastasia reconcile; they elope, and Anastasia sends a farewell letter to Marie and Sophie, promising to return one day. The couple are then seen kissing on a riverboat. Bartok shares a kiss with a female bat before bidding the audience farewell.
- Due to Disney's acquisition to 20th Century Fox, Anastasia will be the second Disney Princess movie after Pocahontas to be based off a real story, despite it's fictionalization of the film.