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Beauty and the Beast (1991)

The most beautiful love story ever told

Rating: 8/10

Running Time: 84 minutes

UK Certificate: U


For many, this is still considered the crowning glory of Disney’s animated back catalogue. Upon its release in 1991, it was even nominated for the Best Picture Oscar. Personally, having watched it several times, I’m still not sure it’s THAT good. But it’s certainly got more than enough big sing-along numbers, fairytale enchantment and token morality to fill anyone’s recommended daily allowance.

We’re all familiar with the story. An old crone – who, typically, turns out to be a young sorceress – turns a Prince into an ugly man-beast as punishment for being spoiled, selfish, unkind and having a rubbish hairstyle. Unless he can love and be loved before the last petal of a magical rose falls, he’ll be doomed to beastliness for all time. A bit like Keith Chegwin.

Step forward beautiful intruder Belle, who arrives at the monster’s place looking for her missing dad. Before this mystery guest can say ‘Dear God you’re ugly’, he’s imprisoned her in the castle never to see her pop again – so we can add ‘knows how to treat the ladies’ to his list of character traits mentioned above, then.

Of course, it’s not really giving anything away to say that the pair of them somehow fall in love – though, given that she’s a prisoner and he’s got a face like a bag of spanners, they keep the dates to a minimum. And don’t get her started on the amount of hair left in the plughole every morning.

It’s all good fun, particularly the scenes involving burly bodybuilder Gaston, the wicked yet entertaining village dolt. It’s ‘Be Our Guest’, the big production ballroom number featuring a candlestick on lead vocals, that tends to take the plaudits, but it’s Gaston’s early song that always gets me chortling.

It’s a little sickly in places, but kids will lap it up and there’s never a dull moment. If Disney’s your thing, this is a must-have for your collection.

It's Got: Some of the best pre-Pixar animation you’ll find.

It Needs: A haircut.

DVD Extras A ‘making of’ feature, the story behind the story from ‘Cinderella’ to ‘The Lion King’, Maurices invention workshop game, break the spell game, 2 music videos featuring Celine Dion & Peabo Bryson, karaoke sing-along track. DVD Extras Rating: 8/10


Not perfect, but good family entertainment with a few laughs and plenty of lovey-doveyness along the way.