Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is Walt Disney's very first full-length movie released in 1937. It is the first film to feature a Disney Princess. 24 June 2002
An ornately decorated book, filmed in live-action, sets the scene: the Queen, who cares only for being the fairest one of all, is jealous of the beauty of her stepdaughter Snow White. She dresses the princess in rags and forces her to become a maid in her castle. Every morning, she consults her Magic Mirror, asking the spirit within who is the fairest of all. The Magic Mirror tells her that she is the fairest, and for a while she is content.
The Wishing Well
One morning, the Mirror tells the Queen that there is a maiden fairer than she: Snow White. Meanwhile, Snow White is in the courtyard, singing I'm Wishing to herself as she works. The Prince, riding by the castle, hears her voice and is enchanted by it. He climbs over the castle wall, unseen by Snow White, who is singing to her reflection at the bottom of the wishing well, which is in the middle of the courtyard. The Prince joins in the singing, taking Snow White by surprise; she runs indoors, but when he pleads for her to return she comes to the balcony and listens as he sings One Song to her. Unseen by both, the Queen watches from her window high above. Infuriated at Snow White's beauty (and perhaps jealous for the Prince's affections), she closes the curtains. The Prince blows Snow White a kiss before leaving.
The Flight through the Forest
The Queen summons Humbert the Huntsman, whom she orders to take Snow White to a secluded glade in the forest and, there, kill her; she demands the girl's heart as proof. The Huntsman is reluctant to do so, but is bound by his orders; he takes Snow White deep into the forest, where he lets her gather wildflowers. As Snow White helps a baby bird find its parents, the Huntsman unsheaths his dagger and advances on the princess. When Snow White sees him approaching, she screams; however, Humbert is unable to fulfill his orders and, shaking, drops his dagger. Taking pity on Snow White, he begs her for forgiveness and, warning her of the Queen's intentions, pleads that she run far away. As Snow White flees through the forest, her fear manifests itself in what she sees around her; eventually she falls to the ground in fright. She is befriended by the animals of the forest; she sings With A Smile And A Song and asks them if they know of a place she can stay.
The Cottage of the Seven Dwarfs
The animals lead her to the Cottage of the Seven Dwarfs, which she finds empty and dirty. Thinking that cleaning the house may persuade the cottage's owners to let her stay, Snow White and the animals clean the cottage and its contents while singing Whistle While You Work. The seven dwarfs, meanwhile, are working in their mine, digging for diamonds. When it is time for them to go home for the day, they march through the forest, singing Heigh Ho. After cleaning the house, Snow White falls asleep on several of the dwarfs' beds. When the dwarfs see light coming from the cottage, they approach cautiously, thinking that a monster has taken up residence in their home. They search the ground floor of the house, but are afraid to go upstairs. After an unsuccessful attempt by Dopey to chase the 'monster' down, all seven dwarfs venture upstairs to discover Snow White asleep. She wakes up and guesses the name of each dwarf. They allow her to stay (though Grumpy is reluctant). Snow White remembers that she has left soup downstairs and rushes downstairs to prepare it, ordering the dwarfs to wash while they wait. The dwarfs proceed outside to a trough, where all but Grumpy wash themselves; the six other dwarfs later wash Grumpy, dumping him into the trough when supper is ready.
The Heart of a Pig
That evening, Grimhilde once again consults the Magic Mirror, who tells her that Snow White still lives; the Huntsman has given her a pig's heart. Furious, She descends a spiral staircase, entering her dungeon, where she resolves to do away with the princess herself. She used a potion to transform herself from a young queen to an old and ugly witch-like peddler - a disguise to deceive Snow White. She then decides to use a Poisoned Apple to send Snow White into the Sleeping Death (a magically-induced coma). At the cottage, the dwarfs perform The Silly Song to entertain Snow White. She then sings Some Day My Prince Will Come (referring to her romance with the Prince) before sending them up to bed; however, Doc orders the dwarfs to sleep downstairs, allowing Snow White to sleep in their beds upstairs. Meanwhile, the Witch prepares the poisoned apple and, dismissing the possibility that Snow White may be revived by 'love's first kiss' (the only cure for the Sleeping Death), gleefully proclaims that Snow White will appear dead and will be 'buried alive'. She leaves the castle and makes her way to the dwarfs' cottage, kicking the skeleton of a long-deceased prisoner on the way out.
The Poisoned Apple
As the dwarfs leave for the mine the next morning, Snow White kisses each dwarf on the forehead; though Grumpy initially resists, Snow White's kiss sends him into a love-struck stupor. He warns her not to let any strangers into the house. After the dwarfs have left the cottage, the Witch takes Snow White by surprise and offers her the poisoned apple, which Snow White is about to bite until the forest animals, sensing danger, try to attack the Witch. This causes Snow White to take pity on the old woman and take her into the cottage for a glass of water. The animals rush to the mine, and tell the dwarfs of the danger. The dwarfs eventually realize what is happening and, led by Grumpy, hurry back to the cottage. The Witch persuades Snow White to take a bite from the apple by telling her that it is a "wishing apple"; after biting the fruit, the Snow White falls into a deep sleep, and the Witch cackles in triumph, proclaiming she's now the fairest in the land. The dwarfs arrive and chase the Witch, eventually cornering her on a rocky cliff, where she attempts to crush them with a boulder but is sent over the cliff by a bolt of lightning. She is devoured (offscreen) by two vultures.
Snow White is Revived
The dwarfs and animals mourn Snow White, but find her to be so beautiful, even in "death", that they place her in a gold and glass coffin in a peaceful glade in the forest and watch over her. The Prince arrives on the scene after searching far and wide and hearing of Snow White's deep sleep, and after singing a reprise of One Song, he kisses Snow White, awakening her. The dwarfs dance with joy, as Snow White bids farewell to them and rides into the sunset with the Prince, to live happily ever after.
- Snow White (Adriana Caselotti)
- The Evil Queen (Lucille La Verne)
- Prince Ferdinand (Harry Stockwell)
- Happy (Otis Harlan)
- Dopey (Eddie Collins)
- Doc (Roy Atwell)
- Sneezy (Billy Gilbert)
- Sleepy (Pinto Colvig)
- Bashful (Scotty Mattraw)
- Grumpy (Pinto Colvig)
- Humbert the Huntsman (Stuart Buchanan)
- Magic Mirror (Moroni Olsen)
- Birds (Purv Pullen)
- Chipmunk (Eddie Collins)
- Squirrel (Eddie Collins)
Differences from the Original Fairy Tale
- Snow White's biological parents appear at the beginning of the story.
- Snow White is only seven years old during most of the story when she is declared "the fairest one of all" and the Queen sends the huntsman to kill her. Because of the marketing to children Disney increased her age to fourteen to soften the story.
- The Queen is more malice in the story than in the film. In the original story after the huntsman brings back the heart, liver, and lungs of a boar, the Queen, thinking them be Snow White's own organs, has them made into a stew which she eats with cannibalistic relish.
- In the film, it was the Huntsman who told Snow White to run into the forest after finding himself unable to kill her. In the original story, Snow White was the one who pleaded to the Huntsman to run away into the forest. And thinking that she won't make it, the Huntsman lets her go, and kills a wild boar, replacing Snow White's organs.
- Snow White does not have any animal friends.
- The dwarfs are much gruffer toward Snow White at first, but they grow to love her and they let her into their home.
- The Queen does not transform into a peddler woman, but merely paints her face.
- In between the huntsman and the poisoned apple, the Queen first tries to kill Snow White by lacing her up so tightly that she couldn't breathe. After that fails, she tries to drug her with a poisoned hair comb. When that also fails, she finally sends Snow White into a deep sleep with the poisoned apple.
- Snow White sleeps in the glass coffin for many years and she grows into a young woman all that while, whereas in the film, she sleeps for almost a year.
- The prince buys the coffin from the dwarfs and they help him carry it back to his castle. But one of them trips and Snow White, the poisoned apple now dislodged from her throat, sits up alive and well.
- The Queen attends the wedding of the prince and she sees that the bride is Snow White. Her feet are then forcibly placed into iron slippers that had been sitting on red hot coals and she dances until she drops down dead.
- I'm Wishing/One Song
- With a Smile and a Song
- Whistle While You Work
- Buddle-Uddle-Um-Dum (Dwarfs' Washing Song)
- The Silly Song
- Someday My Prince Will Come
- Music In Your Soup (unused)
- Your Never To Old To Be Young (unused)
For a full transcript of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, click here.
- This was Disney's first full-length motion picture.
- A version with live actors based on the film, titled Snow White: The Fairest of Them All and starring Kristin Kreuk was made in 2002.
- Upon seeing the film, Russian director Sergei Eisenstein called it the greatest ever made.
- The song "Someday My Prince Will Come" has become a jazz standard that has been performed by numerous artists, including Buddy Rich, Oscar Peterson, and Miles Davis.
- The movie was chosen by the American Film Institute as the number one animated film of all-time in 2008.
- In 1979 the film inspired a stage musical. It premiered at Radio City Musical Hall and starred Broadway stage veteran Anne Francine as The Queen and then-unknown Mary Jo Salerno as Snow White. It was directed and staged by Frank Wagner and produced Robert Jani and it is known for saving Radio City Musical Hall from closing down. In 1980, it was taped and broadcast on HBO as "Snow White Live".
- Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is one of the few classical Disney movies to not have a sequel, possibly due to the fact that there is no story to be continued.