Cinderella is the twelfth animated feature in the Disney animated features canon. It was produced by Walt Disney, and released to theaters on February 15, 1950 by RKO Radio Pictures. In the film, a young girl abused by her stepmother and stepsisters is still able to go the ball and win her prince with the help of a pumpkin, half a dozen mice, and a fairy godmother. The evil stepmother Lady Tremaine and her malevolent cat Lucifer make foils for Cinderella and her allies in this musical version of the fairy tale. The film was directed by Clyde Geronomi, Hamilton Luske and Wilfred Jackson, adapted from the fairy tale "Cinderella", drawing primarily from the version by Charles Perrault. Songs were written by Mack David, Jerry Livingston, and Al Hoffman. Songs in the film include "A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes", "Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo", "So This is Love", "Sing Sweet Nightingale", and "Cinderella".
In a faraway land there is a small kingdom, where Cinderella is the much-loved only child of a widowed aristocrat. Deciding that his beloved daughter still needs a mother's care, Cinderella's father remarries to Lady Tremaine, a seemingly proud woman with two daughters, Anastasia and Drizella. After the untimely death of Cinderella's father, Lady Tremaine's true nature is revealed: cruel, tyrant, and shares her daughters' jealous of Cinderella's beauty. They took over the estate and forced Cinderella into servitude in her own château.
An Undeserved Life of Misery
Ten years later, Cinderella remained a kind woman and befriends the animals living in the barn and many of the mice and birds who live in and around the château. Cinderella's best friend, however, is the mice's leader, Jaq. A newcoming mouse has been captured by Lady Tremaine, Cinderella and the mice free it, and name him Gus, short for Octavian.
Later on, Cinderella attends her daily duties, such as feeding the chickens, horse, and waking Lucifer the spoiled cat for breakfast. However, he has become an obstacle for a peaceful life among the mice, who often have to fight for escape. At certain occasions, Lucifer frames Bruno the bloodhound, and when a breakfast plan goes horribly wrong, Jaq is barely able to save Gus from Lucifer, but at a high cost: he hides under the tea cup on Anastasia's breakfast tray, and Cinderella is accused by Lady Tremaine of playing "vicious practical jokes", and punished by being given more chores to do. This amused Lucifer until one of these chores included giving him a bath.
At the royal palace, the King is anxious about his son and is eager to see him happily settled down. The King and the Grand Duke organize a matchmaking ball as an honorary for Prince Charming in an effort to find a suitable wife, with EVERY eligible maiden in the kingdom requested to attend. When the invitation to the ball arrives, Cinderella implores her stepmother if she can attend, since she too is an eligible maiden. Lady Tremaine agrees, provided if Cinderella finishes her chores. But she does say the word "if" in a strange way... The stepfamily impedes this by giving her extra chores. Her animal friends, led by Jaq and Gus, refashion a gown that belonged to Cinderella's mother. Just before departing, Lady Tremaine complements Cinderella's gown, subtly pointing out the beads and sash. Angered by the apparent theft of the discarded items, the stepsisters rip the gown into rags, forcing Cinderella to remain behind while her stepfamily leaves for the royal ball.
While Cinderella cries, her Fairy Godmother appears (presumably a friend of her father's spirit), and equips Cinderella with everything she needs (a pumpkin into a coach, the mice into horses, Bruno into a footman, and an old horse into a coachman) with her prized spell, "Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo". Gratefully waving to her godmother, Cinderella, in her shining blue gown and glass slippers, Cinderella departs for the ball after the godmother warns her that the spell will break at the stroke of midnight, meaning that her dress and everything else will change back to the way they were.
At the ball, the Prince rejects every single girl, much to the King and Duke's dismay. But when his eyes fall on Cinderella, he falls for her. Excited beyond control, the King goes to sleep, asking the Duke to see to their privacy. The two fall in love and dance wonderfully alone throughout the castle grounds till the clock starts to chime midnight. Without knowing her name, Cinderella flees to her carriage and away from the castle, dropping one of her glass slippers. After the Duke tells the King of the trouble, narrowly avoids execution they commence a search party for Cinderella with the slipper as their only clue (courtesy of Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo, they remain after the spell, and Cinderella keeps the one she has).
The Search for the Second Slipper
The next morning, the King issues a royal proclamation that the Duke will visit every house in the kingdom to find the girl who fits the glass slipper, so that she can be wed to the Prince. When this news reaches the château, the stepfamily prepare for the Duke's arrival. Cinderella, hearing the news, completely loses her mind in an enamored fantasy and begins dreamily humming the song from the palace ball the previous night. Upon realizing that Cinderella is the girl who danced with the Prince, Lady Tremaine locks Cinderella up to her attic bedroom, ensuring that the Duke will not find her.
But Jaq and Gus don't give up. When the Duke arrives, they sneak downstairs and manage to steal the key from an occupied Lady Tremaine's pocket while the Duke tries the slipper on the stepsisters—a process which, in their stubbornness, they make take a very long time, conveniently for the mice. Jaq and Gus eventually make it, but Lucifer catches them and traps Gus and the key under a tea cup. The enraged mice and birds try to fight him, but to no avail, until they get Bruno, who happily scares him and makes him jump out of the window.
As the Duke prepares to leave after the stepsisters unsuccessfully try on the slipper, Cinderella appears and accepts to try it on. Knowing the slipper will fit; Lady Tremaine trips the footman, dropping the slipper that shatters into pieces. The Duke laments over the broken slipper, but then Cinderella shows the other glass slipper, to her stepmother's horror. Delighted at this indisputable proof of the maiden's identity, the Duke slides the slipper onto her foot and fits perfectly. Immediately after, Cinderella and Prince Charming celebrate their marriage, surrounded with confetti tossed by the King, the Duke and the mice. Cinderella and the Prince ride away and lived happily ever after.
Made on the cusp between the classic "golden age" Disney animations of the 1930s and 1940s and the less critically acclaimed productions of the 1950s, Cinderella is representative of both eras.
Cinderella was the first full-bodied feature produced by the studio since Fun and Fancy Free in 1947; World War II and low box office returns had forced Walt Disney to produce a series of inexpensive package films such as The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad and The Jungle Book for the duration of the 1970s.
Unlike most Disney films where more ideas are removed than added, more ideas were added than removed in Cinderella. Just as the role of the cricket was intensified during the production of Peter Pan, so were the roles of the mice in Cinderella. They became some of Cinderella's closest friends during the film and also helped her with the making of the dress. Additionally, according to Marc Davis, one of the directing animators of the film, roughly 90% of the movie was done in live action model before animation, using basic sets as references for actors and animators alike. Even Lucifer the cat was modeled after animator Ward Kimball's cat. Animators were having trouble coming up with a good design for that cat, but once Walt Disney saw Kimball's furry calico, he declared, "There's your Lucifer." Both Helene Stanley (Cinderella's live action model) and Ilene Woods (Cinderella's voice, selected from 400 other candidates) heavily influenced Cinderellas' styling and mannerisms. Mike Douglas was the Prince's singing voice while William Phipps acted the part. In order to keep the animation costs down, extensive use was made of the rotoscope, so that live action could be studied and traced, frame-by-frame, from filmed scenes of real actors.
In music, Walt tried again to call on Larry Morey and Charles Wolcott to create the songs, but Disney believed the songs were not any good. So, for the first time, Walt turned to Tin Pan Alley song writers to write the songs. The music of Tin Pan Alley would later become a recurring theme in Disney animation.
Walt Disney had not had a huge hit since Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The production of this film was regarded as a major gamble on his part. At a cost of nearly $3,000,000, Disney insiders claimed that if this movie had failed at the box office, then Disney studio would have closed (given that the studio was already heavily in debt). Luckily, the film was a big hit and allowed Disney to carry on producing films throughout the 1950s (both animation and live-action alike) while other studios were cutting back in terms of output and quality.
Re-release schedule and home video
Cinderella has been re-released theatrically in 1957, 1965, 1973, 1981, and 1987. It was released on VHS video and laserdisc in 1988 ("The Classics" video issue, becoming the first video to feature the "Sorcerer Mickey" Classics logo before the film) and 1995 (Masterpiece Collection video issue). The original 1988 Classics release also had a promotion with a free lithograph reproduction for those who pre-ordered the video before its release date. Disney then restored and remastered the movie for its October 4, 2005 release as the sixth installment of Disney's Platinum Edition series. According to the Studio Briefing, Disney sold 3.2 million copies in its first week and earned over $64 million in sales. 
Cinderella theatrical release history
- February 15, 1950 (original release)
- February 14, 1957
- June 9, 1965
- March 23, 1973
- December 18, 1981
- November 20, 1987
Worldwide release dates
- Argentina: July 5, 1950
- Denmark: November 18, 1950
- France: December 1, 1950
- Italy: December 8, 1950
- Finland: December 15, 1950
- Sweden: December 18, 1950
- Norway: December 26, 1950
- Mexico: January 17, 1951
- West Germany: December 21, 1951
- Japan: March 7, 1952
- Spain: December 19, 1952
Titles in different languages
- Taiwan: 仙履奇緣
- Armenian: Մոխրատիտիկ
- Bosnian: Pepeljuga
- Bulgarian: Пепеляшка
- Catalan: La Ventafocs
- Mandarin Chinese: 灰姑娘
- Croatian: Pepeljuga
- Czech: Popelka
- Danish: Askepot
- Dutch: Assepoester
- Finnish: Tuhkimo (also known as Satu Tuhkimosta)
- French: Cendrillon
- German: Cinderella (also known as Aschenputtel)
- Greek: Σταχτοπούτα
- Hebrew: סינדרלה
- Hungarian: Hamupipőke
- Icelandic: Öskubuska
- Italian: Cenerentola
- Japanese: シンデレラ (Shinderera)
- Norwegian: Askepott
- Polish: Kopciuszek
- Portuguese: Cinderela: A Gata Borralheira
- Russian: Золушка
- Serbian: Pepeljuga
- Spanish: La Cenicienta
- Swedish: Askungen
- Thai: ซินเดอเรลล่า
- Turkish: Külkedisi
- Vietnamese: Cô Bé Lọ Lem
- Ilene Woods as the voice of Cinderella
- Eleanor Audley as the model and voice of Lady Tremaine
- Verna Felton as the voice of Fairy Godmother
- Claire Du Brey as the model for Fairy Godmother
- Rhoda Williams as the model and voice of Drizella
- Jimmy MacDonald as the voice of Jaq and Gus
- Helene Stanley as the model of Cinderella and Anastasia
- Luis van Rooten as the voice of the King and the Grand Duke
- Don Barclay as the voice of Doorman
- Lucille Bliss as the voice of Anastasia
- John Fontaine as the model for Prince Charming and additional voices
- Mike Douglas as Prince Charming's singing voice
- William Phipps as Prince Charming's speaking voice
- Marion Darlington provided whistling for the birds
- Earl Keen as the voice of Bruno and Major
- John Woodbury as the additional voices
- Lucille Williams as the voice of Perla
- June Foray provided vocal effects of Lucifer
- Sterling Holloway as the voice of Luke
- Thurl Ravenscroft as the voice of Mouse
- Clint McCauley, June Sullivan, and Helen Seibert voiced various mice
- Betty Lou Gerson as the Narrator
- Clarence Nash provided whistling for the birds
- Larry Grey as the voice of the Footman
- Eric Larson (Cinderella, with Marc Davis)
- Milt Kahl (Fairy Godmother, The King, Grand Duke)
- Frank Thomas (Lady Tremaine)
- John Lounsbery
- Wolfgang Reitherman (The Mice getting the key sequence)
- Ward Kimball (Lucifer, Jaq, Gus)
- Ollie Johnston (Drizella and Anastasia)
- Marc Davis (Cinderella, with Eric Larson)
- Les Clark
- Norm Ferguson
- A direct-to-video sequel Cinderella II: Dreams Come True was released in February 26, 2002.
- A second direct-to-video sequel Cinderella III was released in 2007.
- Cinderella (1950) at the Internet Movie Database
- UltimateDisney.com Platinum Edition + Gift Set DVD Reviews, Interview with Ilene Woods
- These people were credited only in post-2005 versions