Sleeping Beauty (1959): A Timeless Fairytale Masterpiece


Once upon a time, in a kingdom far, far away, there lived a beautiful princess named Aurora. This is the enchanting tale of Sleeping Beauty, a timeless fairytale brought to life in Disney’s 1959 animated masterpiece.

Sleeping Beauty, based on the classic fairytale by Charles Perrault, was released by Walt Disney Productions in 1959. Directed by Clyde Geronimi, it is the 16th film in Disney’s animated feature film series. With its stunning animation, memorable characters, and captivating storyline, Sleeping Beauty has stood the test of time, enchanting audiences for generations.


The story revolves around Princess Aurora, who is cursed by the evil fairy Maleficent. On her sixteenth birthday, Aurora is destined to prick her finger on a spinning wheel and fall into a deep sleep, only to be awakened by true love’s kiss. To protect her, the three good fairies, Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather, raise Aurora in a secluded cottage in the forest under the name Briar Rose, unaware of her true identity.

Despite their efforts, Maleficent eventually discovers Aurora’s hiding place and lures her into pricking her finger on the dreaded spinning wheel. The curse takes effect, and Aurora falls into a deep sleep. The three fairies quickly place Aurora on a bed in the highest tower of the castle, where she will remain until true love awakens her.

Meanwhile, Maleficent casts a spell over the entire kingdom, sending everyone into a deep sleep as well. Only Prince Phillip, a young man from a neighboring kingdom, is immune to the spell. Upon hearing the story of the sleeping princess, Prince Phillip sets out to awaken her with true love’s kiss.

With the help of the three good fairies, Prince Phillip battles his way through Maleficent’s forest domain and reaches the castle. He ascends the tower and finds Aurora sleeping peacefully. Prince Phillip leans down and kisses her, breaking the spell. Aurora awakens, and the two fall in love instantly.

With the curse broken, the kingdom awakens as well. Prince Phillip and Aurora are married, and they live happily ever after.

Visual Masterpiece

The amazing animation in Sleeping Beauty is one of its most impressive features. It was the first Disney movie to be produced in Technirama, a widescreen format that enhanced visual depth and richness. The elaborate medieval tapestries served as the inspiration for the painters, who created a distinctive and visually striking style.

The attention to detail is evident in every frame, from the elaborate backgrounds to the delicate movements of the characters. The film’s climax, where Prince Phillip battles Maleficent in her dragon form, is a standout example of the film’s artistic brilliance. The vibrant colors, intricate designs, and fluid animation make this scene a true spectacle to behold.

Memorable Characters

Sleeping Beauty introduced audiences to a cast of unforgettable characters, each with their own distinct personalities. Princess Aurora, with her flowing blonde hair and graceful demeanor, embodies the epitome of a fairytale princess. Prince Phillip, her charming and courageous suitor, became the ideal prince charming for many young viewers.

However, it is the antagonist, Maleficent, who steals the show. With her menacing presence, wicked sense of humor, and iconic horned headdress, Maleficent has become one of Disney’s most iconic villains. Her animated portrayal set the standard for future Disney villains, and she remains a fan-favorite to this day.

Musical Magic

As with many Disney classics, Sleeping Beauty features a memorable musical score. The film incorporates Tchaikovsky’s iconic music from the ballet, providing a classical backdrop to the fairytale world. The songs, composed by George Bruns and Tom Adair, add an extra layer of enchantment to the story.

The most famous song from the film is “Once Upon a Dream,” a beautiful duet between Aurora and Prince Phillip. This melodic and romantic piece captures the essence of true love and has become an enduring symbol of the film.

Other notable songs include “I Wonder,” “Something There,” and “Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo.” These songs, with their catchy tunes and heartwarming lyrics, have become beloved classics in their own right.

Legacy and Influence

When Sleeping Beauty was first released, it did not immediately succeed at the box office. However, it has developed a devoted fan base over time and is now regarded as a classic in the Disney animated canon. The portrayal of princesses in later Disney movies is one area where the movie's effect may be noticed.

Due to her popularity, Maleficent received her own live-action movie in 2014, further solidifying her position as one of Disney's most ruthless villains. Additionally, Disney products and media have included Aurora and Prince Phillip.

A Deeper Dive into the Film


Sleeping Beauty explores a number of timeless themes, including:

  • True love: The film celebrates the power of true love to conquer all. Aurora and Prince Phillip fall in love at first sight, and their love is strong enough to break Maleficent's curse.

  • Good vs. evil: The film pits the forces of good against the forces of evil, represented by Maleficent. In the end, good triumphs over evil, and the kingdom is saved.

  • Selflessness: The three good fairies and Prince Phillip are all willing to put themselves in danger to help Aurora. They demonstrate the importance of selfless love and sacrifice.

  • Inner beauty: Aurora is a beautiful young woman, both inside and out. Her inner beauty is what ultimately attracts Prince Phillip to her, and it is also what helps her to break Maleficent's curse.

  • Following your dreams: Aurora dreams of a life beyond the forest cottage, and she eventually achieves her dream with the help of the three good fairies. The film teaches us the importance of following our dreams and never giving up on them.

Cultural Significance

Sleeping Beauty has had a profound impact on popular culture. The film's iconic imagery, such as Aurora's pink dress and Maleficent's dragon form, have become ingrained in our collective consciousness. The film's music is also well-known and beloved, and the songs "Once Upon a Dream" and "Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo" have become classics in their own right.

Sleeping Beauty has also been referenced and reinterpreted countless times in popular culture. For example, the musical "Into the Woods" combines Sleeping Beauty's story with other classic fairy tales, and the TV show "Once Upon a Time" gives Sleeping Beauty a modern twist.

Sleeping Beauty's enduring popularity is a testament to the film's timeless appeal and its ability to continue captivating new generations. The film's message of hope, love, and perseverance is one that resonates with audiences of all ages.

Sleeping Beauty in the Disney Universe

The Disney universe includes an essential place for Sleeping Beauty. The movie helped establish the bar for Disney animation in the 1950s and 1960s as one of the first Disney movies to be made in Technirama.

Characters from Sleeping Beauty have also appeared in other Disney productions. For instance, characters like Maleficent, Prince Phillip, and Aurora have all appeared in the Kingdom Hearts video game series. As well as Tangled and Maleficent, other Disney movies like Sleeping Beauty have references to it.

Sleeping Beauty's presence in the Disney universe is a testament to the film's enduring popularity and its importance to the Disney brand.


The timeless fairytale masterpiece Sleeping Beauty (1959) has mesmerized audiences for decades. The film still holds the attention of new audiences due to its amazing animation, enduring characters, and compelling plot.

The ageless themes, cultural relevance, and inclusion in the Disney universe of Sleeping Beauty all add to its enduring influence. The movie serves as a reminder of the beauty of traditional fairytales, the strength of true love, and the necessity of pursuing your aspirations.