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Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is the first animated cartoon feature in the Disney animated features canon; the first animated feature in Technicolor. It was made and produced by Walt Disney Productions, premiered on December 21, 1937, and was originally released to theatres by RKO Radio Pictures on February 8, 1938. Based upon the fairy tale Snow White by the Brothers Grimm, the film's plot has a jealous and wicked queen attempt to have her stepdaughter murdered, but the girl escapes and is given shelter by seven dwarfs who live deep in a forest. Snow White was the first major animated feature made in the United States, the most successful motion picture released in 1937, and adjusted for inflation, is the tenth highest-grossing film of all time.


The movie was adapted by Dorothy Ann Blank, Richard Creedon, Merrill De Maris, Otto Englander, Earl Hurd, Dick Rickard, Ted Sears and Webb Smith from the fairy tale Snow White by the Brothers Grimm. The film was supervised by David Hand, and directed by William Cottrell, Wilfred Jackson, Larry Morey, Perce Pearce, and Ben Sharpsteen.


"Disney's Folly"

Walt Disney had to fight to get the film produced. Both his brother Roy O. Disney and his wife Lillian attempted to talk him out of it, and the Hollywood movie industry mockingly referred to the film as "Disney's Folly" while it was in production. He even had to mortgage his house to help finance the film's production, which eventually ran up a total negative cost of just over $1.5 million, a whopping sum for a feature film in 1937.

Snow White, which spent three years in production, was the end result of Walt Disney's plan to improve the production quality of his studio's output, and also to find a source of income other than short subjects. Many animation techniques which later became standards were developed or improved for the film, including the animation of realistic humans (with and without the help of the rotoscope), effective character animation (taking characters that look similar—the dwarfs, in this case—and making them distinct characters through their body acting and movement), elaborate effects animation to depict rain, lightning, water, reflections, sparkles, magic, and other objects and phenomena, and the use of the multiplane camera. Snow White is also looked upon as a triumph of storytelling skill in animation.

Critical and commercial success

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs premiered at the Carthay Circle Theater on December 21, 1937 to a widely receptive audience (many of whom were the same naysayers who dubbed the film "Disney's Folly"), who gave the film a standing ovation at its completion. RKO Radio Pictures put the film into general release on February 4, 1938, and it went on to become a major box-office success, making more money than any other motion picture in 1938. In fact, for a short time, Snow White was the highest grossing film in American cinema history; it was removed from that spot by Gone With the Wind in 1939.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was the first full-length animated feature made in English and Technicolor, and won an honorary Academy Award for Walt Disney "as a significant screen innovation which has charmed millions and pioneered a great new entertainment field." Disney received a full-size Oscar statuette and seven miniature ones, presented to him by Shirley Temple.

The movie was also nominated for Best Music, Score. Well-known songs from the film include: "Heigh-Ho", "Some Day My Prince Will Come", and "Whistle While You Work".

Re-release schedule and home video

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was first re-released in 1944, in order to raise revenue for the Disney studio during the World War II period. This re-release set a tradition of re-releasing Disney animated features every seven to ten years, and Snow White was re-released to theatres in 1952, 1958, 1967, 1975, 1983, 1987, and 1993. The film was restored for its 1987 50th anniversary reissue and a more comprehensive digital restoration was done for the 1993 reissue.

Snow White was first released on home video in 1994 and on DVD in 2001. The Snow White DVD was the first in Disney's Platinum Series line of releases, and featured, across two discs, the digitally restored film, a making-of documentary by Angela Lansbury, an audio commentary by John Canemaker and (via archived audio clips) Walt Disney, and many more special features.

Snow White was first released on home video in 1994, and was released on DVD in 2001. The Snow White DVD was the first in Disney's Platinum Series line of releases, and featured, across two discs, the digitally restored film, a making-of documentary, an audio commentary by John Canemaker and (via archived audio clips) Walt Disney, and many more special features.


  • The Prince shows up at the wishing well to court Snow White, without any explanation as to who he is or how he got there.
  • Both Snow White and her stepmother in her Queen form are seen wearing pump shoes but as this film takes place in medieval Europe pumps would not had been invented in this period of time.
  • In this story set in the Middle Ages, Doc is depicted wearing glasses of the type that Benjamin Franklin would wear in the 18th century.
  • When Bashful shoves the flowers into Sneezy's face, Sneezy yells at Bashful angrily "My hay fever!" as the flowers trigger his sneezing. While people undoubtedly suffered from allergic rhinitis in Sneezy's time, it wasn't diagnosed as "hay fever" until the 19th century.
  • Grumpy is seen playing a piano. Pianos were not invented until the 1600s and this film is set in roughly the 13th century.
  • In both the mine and the dwarf cottage are clocks. There was no clocks in the Middle Ages. In those days people measured time by observing sun rise and sun set.
  • When the dwarfs are coming out of the tunnel after work to sing "Heigh Ho," Grumpy and Happy suddenly appear.
  • When Doc removes the bed cover from Snow White while she is sleeping on the dwarfs' beds, for a few frames we can clearly see artists' mistakes of an outline of Doc's hand having been drawn in the wrong place for the frames.
  • In the last scene, the Prince shimmies. The cels weren't lined up correctly when the scene was shot, and his body shakes. Walt Disney was horrified when he saw the mistake in the color dailies, and wanted it corrected. No money was available to make the correction because the film was already far over budget, so Walt's brother and business partner, Roy O. Disney, declared, "Let the Prince shimmy!" and so he did - until 1993, when the mistake was corrected during Disney's digital restoration of the film.
  • Snow White decides to take a nap, despite the fact that she left food cooking and table candles lit.
  • The Prince shows up at the wishing well to court Snow White, without any explanation as to who he is or how he got there.
  • Doc admits to Snow White that none of the Dwarfs have "washed" in ages, yet when she tells them that they must wash-up before she'll let them eat dinner, there are bars of soap waiting for them at the trough.
  • Even though he spared her life the Huntsman orders Snow White to hide in the forest and did not consider how a young girl can survive on her own.
  • The Dwarfs' house has a water hand pump in the kitchen. Hand pumps were a communal device used by villagers to access water from an underground well. That the Dwarfs have a pump indicates that either the house was built over a well (unlikely as a creek runs past the house) or the Dwarfs have indoor plumbing (even-less likely as the Dwarfs use the trough outside to wash-up for dinner). We have to assume the pump was included by the animators without thinking it through as "Whistle While You Work" is set partially in the kitchen.
  • During the song "Whistle while you work" the raccoon's are seen washing the clothes in a river. Considering there was no soap powder the clothes would not be getting any cleaner.
  • Bashful shoves the vase of goldenrod into Sneezy's face, triggering Sneezy's hay fever. Goldenrod does not cause hay fever, however, frequent handling of goldenrod can cause allergic reactions.
  • When Snow White is cleaning the cabin, the birds put daffodils in a vase. Later, before Bashful shoves the flowers into Sneezy's face, the daffodils turn into goldenrod. Goldenrod are native to the Americas and Eurasia. Daffodils are native to southern Europe and North Africa, but did not become popular in the rest of Europe until after the 16th century.
  • The prologue tells us that the Queen put Snow White to work as a scullery maid, which explains why she is so handy with a broom, but does not explain how she knows how to make stew, and pies. Scullery maids held the lowest-rank of the household staff. They might be called upon to perform cooking prep (scale fish or pluck fowl, etc.), but were never allowed to prepare meals.

Voice cast


  • Adriana Caselotti (Snow White )
  • Harry Stockwell (Prince)
  • Lucille La Verne (The Queen /Witch)
  • Moroni Olsen (Magic Mirror)


  • Billy Gilbert (Sneezy)
  • Pinto Colvig (Sleepy/Grumpy)
  • Otis Harlan (Happy)
  • Scotty Mattraw (Bashful)
  • Roy Atwell (Doc)

More Characters

External links