Sleeping Beauty
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Film information

Directed by

  • Clyde Geronimi (supervising)
  • Les Clark
  • Eric Larson
  • Wolfgang Reitherman

Produced by

  • Walt Disney

Written by

  • Erdman Penner (adaptation)
  • Joe Rinaldi
  • Winston Hibler
  • Bill Peet
  • Ted Sears
  • Ralph Wright
  • Milt Banta
  • Charles Perrault (original fairy tale)

Music by

  • Jack Lawrence


Walt Disney Pictures

Distributed by

Buena Vista Distribution

Release Date(s)

January 29, 1959




$8.5 million USD

Sleeping Beauty is the 1959 full length animated feature production from Walt Disney Studios. It is the third film to feature and official Disney princess.


When Maleficent curses Princess Aurora at birth, the three good fairies hide her, but the faintest hops is that, "with true love's kiss, the spell shall break."

Princess Aurora is named after the Roman goddess of the dawn "because she fills her father and mother's lives with sunshine." While still an infant, She is betrothed to the equally-young Prince Phillip (their parents want to unite their respective kingdoms under a marriage between Aurora and Phillip). At her christening, the good fairies Flora (dressed in red), Fauna (in green) and Merryweather (in blue) arrive to bless her. Flora gives her the gift of beauty, which is described in a song as "gold of sunshine in her hair" and "lips that shame the red, red rose." Fauna gives her the gift of song. At this point, Maleficent, the film's villain and mistress of all evil, appears on the scene. Claiming to be upset at not being invited to Aurora's christening ceremony, she curses the princess to die when she pricks her finger on a spinning wheel's spindle before the sun sets on her sixteenth birthday. Fortunately, Merryweather has not yet blessed Aurora, so she uses her blessing to change Maleficent's curse, so Aurora will not die when she pricks her finger; instead, she will sleep until she is awakened by True Love's Kiss. Knowing Maleficent is extremely powerful and will stop at nothing to see her curse fulfilled, the three good fairies take Aurora to live with them in the woods, where they can keep her safe from any harm until she turns sixteen and the curse is made void. To fully protect her, they even change her name to Briar Rose to conceal her true identity.

Rose grows into a very beautiful woman, with sunshine golden blonde hair, rose-red lips, violet eyes, and a beautiful singing voice. She is raised in a cottage in the forest by the three fairies, whom she believes are her aunts. One day, while out picking berries, she sings to entertain her animal friends; her angelic voice gains the attention of Prince Phillip, who had grown into a handsome young man and is out riding in the woods. When they meet, they instantly fall in love. Realizing that she has to return home, Aurora flees from Phillip without ever learning his name. Despite promising to meet him again, she is unable to return, as her "aunts" choose that time to reveal the truth of her birth to her and to tell her that she is betrothed to a prince named Phillip. They then take Rose to her parents.

Meanwhile, Phillip returns home telling his father about a peasant girl he met and wishes to marry in spite of his prearranged marriage to Princess Aurora. King Hubert tries to convince Phillip to marry the princess instead of a peasant girl, but fails.

The good fairies and Aurora return to the castle. Unfortunately, Maleficent uses her magic to lure Aurora away from her chambers and up into the tallest tower of the castle, where a spinning wheel awaits her. Fascinated by the wheel, she touches the spindle, pricking her finger. As had been foretold by the curse, Aurora is put under a sleeping spell. The good fairies place Aurora on her bed with a red rose in her hand, and cause a deep sleep to fall over the entire kingdom until they can find a way to break the curse. They realize the answer is Phillip, but he has been kidnapped by Maleficent to prevent him from kissing Aurora and waking her up. The three good fairies sneak into Maleficent's lair, aid the prince in escaping and explain to him the story of Maleficent's curse. Armed with a magic sword and shield, Phillip battles Maleficent when the sorceress turns herself into a gigantic fire-breathing dragon. He flings the sword, plunging it into the dragon's heart and killing her. Phillip climbs into Aurora's chamber, and removes the curse with a kiss.

As the film ends, the two royals arrive at the ballroom, where Aurora is happily reunited with her parents. Then, Aurora dances together with Phillip, happy to each learn that their betrothed and their beloved are one and the same.


After many childless years, King Stefan and Queen Leah happily welcome the birth of their daughter, the Princess Aurora. They proclaim a holiday for their subjects to pay homage to the princess, and at the gathering for her christening she is betrothed to Prince Phillip, the young son of Stefan's friend King Hubert, so that their kingdoms will be united.

Among the guests are three good fairies called Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather, who have come to bless the child with gifts, beauty and song. Before Merryweather is able to give her blessing, the evil fairy Maleficent appears, only to be told she was unwanted. Maleficent turns to leave, but when Queen Leah asks if she's offended, the evil fairy curses the princess, proclaiming that Aurora will grow in grace and beauty, but before the sun sets on her sixteenth birthday, she will prick her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel and die. Merryweather uses her blessing to alter the curse so that instead of dying, Aurora will sleep until she is awakened by true love's kiss. King Stefan, still fearful for his daughter's life, orders all spinning wheels in the kingdom to be burned. The fairies don't believe that will be enough to keep Aurora safe, and so they spirit baby Aurora away to a woodcutter's cottage in the forest until the day of her sixteenth birthday.

Years later, Aurora, renamed Briar Rose, has grown into a beautiful teenage girl. On the day of her sixteenth birthday, the three fairies ask Rose to gather berries in the forest so they can prepare a surprise party for her. While singing in the forest, Rose attracts the attention of Prince Phillip, now a handsome young man. They instantly fall in love, unaware of being betrothed years ago. Rose asks Phillip to come to her cottage that evening.

While she is out, Flora and Merryweather argue about the color of Aurora's ball gown. They fight, attracting the attention of Maleficent's raven and revealing the location of Aurora. Back at home, the fairies tell Aurora the truth about her heritage, and she can't meet him again. Heartbroken, she leaves the room. Meanwhile, Phillip tells his father of a peasant girl he met and wishes to marry in spite of his prearranged marriage to Princess Aurora. King Hubert fails to convince him otherwise, leaving Hubert in equal disappointment.

The fairies take Aurora back to the castle. Maleficent then appears and magically lures Aurora away from the fairies and tricks the princess into touching an enchanted spinning wheel. Aurora pricks her finger, completing the curse. The good fairies place Aurora on a bed in the highest tower and place a powerful spell on all the people in the kingdom, causing them to fall in a deep sleep until the spell on their princess is broken. From King Hubert's conversation with King Stefan, the fairies realize that Prince Phillip is the man with whom Aurora has fallen in love. However, he is kidnapped by Maleficent. She shows Phillip the peasant girl he fell in love with is the now-sleeping princess. She tells him she plans to keep him locked away until he's an old man on the verge of death, then release him to meet his love, who won't have aged a single day.

The fairies find and release the prince, arming him with the magical Sword of Truth and the Shield of Virtue. Maleficent tries to stop Phillip with thorns but fails. She then transforms into a gigantic dragon to battle the prince herself. Ultimately, Phillip throws the sword, blessed by the fairies' magic, directly into Maleficent's heart, causing her to fall to her death.

Phillip awakens Aurora with a kiss, breaking the spell and wakes everyone in the palace. The royal couple descends to the ballroom, where Aurora is happily reunited with her parents. Flora and Merryweather resume their argument over the color of Aurora's dress, even changing its color as Aurora wears it while dancing with Phillip. Princess Aurora and Prince Phillip live happily ever after.



For a full transcript of Sleeping Beauty, click here.

Differences between the movie and original Fairy Tale

  • The princess is apparently never named in the original fairy tale.
  • Seven fairies found in the realm are invited to be the princess' godmothers at the christening and bestow their gifts at the banquet back at the castle.
  • The uninvited eighth fairy (who was long thought to be dead or enchanted) declares that the princess will prick her finger on a spindle and die from the wound.
  • The seventh fairy undoes the result of her aged kinswoman's gift that the princess will fall into a deep sleep that will last a hundred years and be awoken by a king's son.
  • Nevertheless, the king forbids, on pain of death, that spindles and spinning wheels be kept in the house, not burned.
  • It is one day after the 15th or 16th year that the princess pricks her finger on the spindle.
  • It is on the floor of the tower that the princess swoons onto after taking hold of the old serving woman's spindle and is later placed upon a gold and silver embroidered bed in the castle's finest apartment.
  • The seventh fairy is summoned and casts a spell of sleep over the castle, except the king and queen, who sadly depart.
  • Her magic also brings forth a forest of trees big and small with interlacing brambles and thorns that shield the castle (the towers are still seen but from a distance) and to safeguard the princess.
  • After a hundred years, a king's son who was from another family awakens the sleeping princess (though he only kneels by her side).
  • The castle awakens and the prince and princess are married in the castle chapel.
  • After being secretly married, the princess bore two children: a girl, L'Aurore (Dawn in English; Aurora in Latin) and a boy, Le Jour (Day).
  • The prince had a mother who hated the princess. The mother was an ogress who loved to eat small children. She sent the young Queen and the children to a house secluded in the woods and directed her cook to cook the three of them. The cook was humane and told the mother that a goat was the young girl, a sheep was the young boy.
  • After finding out that the cook had lied and the princess and her children were safe, the ogress prepared a tub to cook them in. After the prince caught his mother, she threw herself into the tub and was fully consumed, and everyone else lived happily ever after.



  • When Maleficent reveals Aurora's body to the good fairies, Aurora is drawn to appear as if her neck was broken. In later shots, her neck is stable.
  • Briar Rose is another name given to Sleeping Beauty and appears in the German version of the story.
  • Instead of a certain day, Maleficent's curse has a 16-year time period to be fulfilled.
  • Although there are no blatantly comical characters in the movie (like the mice in Cinderella) the parents of the Princess Aurora and Prince Phillip serve as mild comic relief. Including parents in the film was also an unusual addition.
  • Aurora is one of the seven Princesses of Heart in the popular Square Enix game Kingdom Hearts, and Maleficent is a villain in all three Kingdom Hearts games. The good fairies appear in Kingdom Hearts II, giving Sora new clothes.
  • Aurora's mother, the queen as a character, has no name credited to her. The only version of the story which gives her a name is a 1993 adaptation by A.L. Singer, where she is named Queen Leah.
  • The movie was quite similar to Rich Animation Studio's animated film "The Swan Princess", which had a princess cursed by a sorcerer (just like Maleficent cursed Aurora). In the end, the princess died temporarily (like Aurora fell into a deep sleep) and a prince saved her by killing the sorcerer, whom had turned into a huge bat (just like Maleficent morphed into a dragon and Prince Phillip killed her and saved the princess with "True Love's Kiss").
  • The cookies the fairies eat with tea are shaped like Mickey Mouse's head and ears.
  • Second only to Dumbo (who didn't speak at all), this Disney title character has very few lines of actual dialogue throughout the entire film. In fact, Aurora says nothing at all in the film's second half, even after being awakened from the sleeping spell.
  • The musical score throughout the film was provided by the Berlin Symphony Orchestra.
  • The complex and detailed background paintings, most of them done by Frank Armitage and Eyvind Earle usually took seven to ten times longer to paint than average, which takes about a workday to complete. As opposed to having the backgrounds be designed to match the characters, Sleeping Beauty's characters were designed to match the backgrounds.
  • Sleeping Beauty is the only Disney movie with square trees.
  • The moment where Aurora pricks her finger is referenced in the Nightwish song FantasMic, with the lyrics "Maleficent's fury /The spindle so luring".
  • Upon release, the scene where Prince Phillip encounters the dragon was thought too intense for children.
  • The original concept for Sleeping Beauty began in 1950 (after having animated two other princess fairy tales). Work on the film was delayed because Walt's attention was turned to the building of Disneyland.
  • Walt Disney had originally envisioned Sleeping Beauty as his masterpiece.
  • Because Sleeping Beauty was such a box office disappointment, Disney focused more on live-action films for two years (there were ten before Disney released another animated feature - 101 Dalmatians. The style of animation in this film was radically different possibly because Sleeping Beauty had been such a failure).
  • The royal couple dances a waltz during the forest scene, and at the end of the film. However, the film takes place in the 14th century, and the waltz was not invented until the 18th century.
  • The Queen is unnamed in the film, but her name was revealed to be Leah in the Princess Treasury book.

Sleeping Beauty

Films: Sleeping Beauty

Characters: Aurora | Prince Phillip | Maleficent | Diablo | King Stefan | Queen Leah | King Hubert | Merryweather | Flora | Fauna | Dawn | Day

Songs Once Upon a Dream | I Wonder