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Beauty and The Beast (La Belle et la bęte)

Beauty and The Beast (La Belle et la bęte) (1946)



Average Rating: 8.9/10
Reviews Counted: 54
Fresh: 51 | Rotten: 3

With its magical optical effects and enchanting performances, Jean Cocteau's Beauty and the Beast remains the most surreal -- and soulful -- of the fairy tale's film adaptations.


Average Rating: 9.2/10
Critic Reviews: 10
Fresh: 8 | Rotten: 2

With its magical optical effects and enchanting performances, Jean Cocteau's Beauty and the Beast remains the most surreal -- and soulful -- of the fairy tale's film adaptations.



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Average Rating: 3.9/5
User Ratings: 22,071

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Movie Info

Jean Cocteau's adaptation of Beauty and the Beast (originally released in France as La Belle et la Bte) stars Josette Day as Beauty and Jean Marais as the Beast. When a merchant (Marcel Andr (C)) is told that he must die for picking a rose from the Beast's garden, his courageous daughter (Day) offers to go back to the Beast in her father's place. The Beast falls in love with her and proposes marriage on a nightly basis; she refuses, having pledged her troth to a handsome prince (also played by

Jun 2, 1998

Lopert Pictures

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All Critics (54) | Top Critics (10) | Fresh (51) | Rotten (3) | DVD (10)

A sublime, sumptuous film directed by Jean Cocteau with the help of Rene Clement.

December 7, 2012 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Unduly slow pace and repetitious use of trick sets hurts chances of this film.

July 7, 2010 Full Review Source: Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Cocteau's fairytale set standards in fantasy which few other film-makers have reached.

February 11, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
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Studied or not for philosophy, this is a sensuously fascinating film, a fanciful poem in movement given full articulation on the screen.

May 20, 2003 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A daring artist, working in a difficult time of shortages and old equipment, convened 'a little village of workmen' and packaged a dream for the ages.

November 14, 2002 Full Review Source: Dallas Morning News
Dallas Morning News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's a magical passage to a more impassioned and bewitching era.

September 5, 2002 Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

La belle et la bęte is full of wonder and mystery. It's cinema's ultimate love story, dressed up as a monster.

January 5, 2014 Full Review Source: Observer [UK]
Observer [UK]

Children, as well as adults, may find the atmosphere dangerously addictive.

January 3, 2014 Full Review Source: This is London
This is London

When bodies appear through walls or fly up into the air, it is almost as if Cocteau's camera has miraculously recorded a dream.

January 2, 2014 Full Review Source: Guardian [UK]
Guardian [UK]

By using the tangible magic of hands through walls, moving statues, steamy paws and the rest, Cocteau makes rapt believers of us all - adults and children alike.

December 31, 2013 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

With interiors that owe much to the paintings of Doré and Vermeer, this visual feast is enhanced by the magical realism of Henri Alekan's photography, Christian Bérard's exquisite costumes and Georges Auric's audacious score.

November 20, 2013 Full Review Source: Radio Times
Radio Times

The timeless fairy tale about a young woman who agrees to dwell with a mysterious monster, as interpreted in 1946 by one of cinema's most brilliant visual stylists and mythmakers.

November 20, 2013 Full Review Source: Christian Science Monitor
Christian Science Monitor

Brilliant fairytale fantasy, well ahead of its time.

December 7, 2012 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

This film is such a visual delight that I gave up worrying about ideological considerations and just embraced its beautiful and influential dreamlike imagery.

August 13, 2011 Full Review Source: Cinema Autopsy
Cinema Autopsy

It's true that a bit of the film's impact has been diluted by its significant influence both within its genre and without; but the original is still a special thing, a beautiful hallucination.

June 17, 2008 Full Review Source: Antagony & Ecstasy
Antagony & Ecstasy


June 14, 2008

Cocteau didn't just interpret a fairy tale with this black-and-white wonder, but re-created a fairy-tale world.

June 8, 2007 Full Review Source: Salt Lake Tribune
Salt Lake Tribune

Has lost none of its power to amaze and enthrall. And this magical adaptation of the much-filmed Jean-Marie Leprince de Beaumont tale clearly inspired much of the imagery for the Disney version.

June 7, 2007 Full Review Source: Deseret News, Salt Lake City
Deseret News, Salt Lake City

It sets the benchmark in elegance for such fantasy films.

November 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

By conjuring up ... fairy-tale trappings, then aiming it all at adults, Beauty and the Beast reminds us that motion pictures can tap into our childlike fears and pleasures without becoming childish in the process.

April 5, 2006 Full Review Source:

French director Jean Cocteau's enchanting, heartbreakingly beautiful surrealist version [is the best of all].

May 24, 2005 Full Review Source:

Littering his film with wonderfully evocative shots of steam rising off of the simmering Beast, Jean Cocteau accentuates his seething animal intensity.

March 3, 2004 Full Review Source: Apollo Guide
Apollo Guide

Elegant and mesmerizing.

July 25, 2003

Audience Reviews for Beauty and The Beast (La Belle et la bęte)

An enchanting film that surprises us with its magical atmostphere and dazzling visual effects, even if the plot can be a bit repetitive and contrived when focusing on the development of the characters' relationship, leading to an end that is not as satisfying as it should be.
February 17, 2014

Super Reviewer

La Belle et la Bęte is poetry captured on film. The haunting effects of Bęte's castle furnishings are alone worth the price of admission (or DVD rental). Visually, the entire picture is stunning. A beautiful work of art.
April 6, 2012
Randy Tippy

Super Reviewer

Beauty And The Beast revives the timeless and classic fable, but with the sophisticated vision of French artist Jean Cocteau. Impressive. Lovely.
September 9, 2011
Jan Marc Macababayao

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • Es war einmal - Die Schöne und die Bestie (DE)
  • La belle et la bęte (UK)
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