Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ July 7, 2007
Super Reviewer
December 29, 2010
Walt Disney's first animation is an enchanting and delightful adaptation of Grimms' fairy tale. Carefully drawn, with a great attention to details, it not only opened the door for this art in cinema but every modern animation owes a lot to this important masterpiece.
Daniel Mumby
Super Reviewer
July 18, 2012
The recent release of Mirror, Mirror and Snow White and the Huntsman makes this the perfect time to re-examine the Disney version of Snow White, whose success and reputation these films are trying so hard to emulate. The temptation would be to go in intending to rip the film to shreds, holding it up as a glorified relic to give the modern versions of the fairy tale a fighting chance. But for all the cynicism surrounding Disney (most of which is justified), there is no getting away from the fact that their first feature-length animation is a masterpiece.

In an age where fairy tales have been thoroughly deconstructed, and their positions on gender and sexuality have been analysed down to the letter, it would be very easy to dismiss Snow White as outdated, chauvinist claptrap - or to blame it for the arguably worse, more offensive claptrap that followed. While the film isn't as overtly limiting in its depictions of women as some of the more recent Disney offerings, you can make the point that its success set the template for everything that followed, and therefore it deserves its fair share of the blame.

If you were incredibly cynical, you could sum up the story of Snow White as follows: an icy bitch tries to kill a prissy brat because she's prettier than her, and apparently looks count for everything as far as women are concerned. The brat breaks into the house of seven men who are old enough to be her (grand)father, becomes domesticated while they do the work, falls for the oldest trick in the book (being tempted by an apple) and is then given the Vladimir Lenin treatment. Then, just when all hope is lost, a man whom she barely knows comes along and saves the day.

All this criticism and more, from people far better versed than me, holds up to some level of scrutiny. And Disney's subsequent record leaves them open to accusations of exploiting and slowly deflowering their first child. And yet, for all the self-righteous resistance you attempt to put up, it remains completely irresistible. Whether you view Snow White as a gigantic technical leap forward or as a strong and distinctive retelling of the Grimms' fairy tale, the film still fundamentally works, as a piece of animation, as a piece of storytelling, and as an outstanding visual experience.

It's important to understand just how ground-breaking Snow White was on animation. As I mentioned in my Peter Pan review, the film was dubbed "Disney's folly" when first announced. The conventional wisdom of the time was that the only way to make money with animation was through shorts: you could produce a large number of them relatively quickly, allowing you to build up a regular audience, and always had something in reserve if one of your cartoons fared poorly. Feature-length animation was a huge financial risk which threatened the future of Walt Disney as a creative artist. Hence he and director David Hand were as thorough as possible with the finished product - and it shows.

By creating a 90-minute cartoon with very high production values and such relatively large narrative scope, Disney shifted the goalposts for what animation was capable of doing. While the studio continued to produce shorts, particularly in the form of US propaganda during WWII, the emphasis was now on full-length animation which could compete with the live-action talkies. You may go so far as crediting Snow White as the first of many breakthroughs in the quest to put animation on equal footing with so-called 'proper' filmmaking.

If you choose to ignore the influence of Snow White on the film industr, it still holds up as a product of its time. The animation is outstanding, utilising the technique of rotoscoping to create realistic physical movements for all the characters. Like Peter Pan, the majority of Snow White was created by filming the actors on partial sets, with the animators using stills of the actors as a basis for character construction. Disney's philosophy was always to treat the magical or fantastical as if it really could happen, and be making the characters both look and feel human, we settle into the story much quicker than we might in a more modern, CG effort.

The visuals of the film also demonstrate the amount of choreography that goes into animation. In an animated film nothing is improvised or made up on the fly, and Snow White feels like it has been worked out to the tiniest detail. That's not to say that it feels cold or clinical - quite the opposite. The musical sequences in particular are inventively choreographed to work in outlandish and hilarious jokes as the physical comedy builds. One of the best moments in the film finds Dopey playing the drums, and having multiple sticks run through his sleeves to create a drum roll.

Disney has often been accused of softening the edges of its subject matter, with "the Disney version" serving as a pejorative means of defending the source material. But whatever truth this may hold today, there is still plenty of rgenuine darkness in Snow White, which is both indicative of the original fairy tale and an intelligent elaboration of it. The scenes of Snow White running through the creepy trees are every bit as scary as the Pleasure Island scenes in Pinocchio or the Pink Elephants in Dumbo. It's not hard to see what Dario Argento was talking about when he claimed to have based Suspiria on this film.

Although it takes certain liberties with the original fairy tale, Snow White does retain some of its substance. The story is at its heart about characters dealing with jealousy and resentment, contrasting the wicked Queen's fortunes with those of the dwarfs. The Queen feels threatened by Snow White's beauty and youth, but also by her popularity, whether with the birds or with a handsome prince. While most of the dwarfs welcome Snow White in, Grumpy resents her for poisoning his friends' minds with her "wicked wiles". While the Queen's spite result in her destruction, Grumpy manages to overcome his suspicion of women and plays a sizable role in the rescue.

There are also vague Biblical elements to the film, which are reflective of both Disney and the German traditions from which the source emerged. The most obvious element is the poisoned apple: the Queen is Lucifier, who takes on a more trusting form (the old woman) and tempts Eve (Snow White) to eat the forbidden fruit in return for what she truly desires. The Queen's demand to have Snow White's heart reflects the Devil's desire to remove humanity's capacity for love and compassion. And of course, the ending in which Snow White comes back to life is a clear paraphrasing of the resurrection, with the handsome prince standing in for God.

While none of this imagery is conveyed in an overly heavy-handed way, it is the music of Snow White which guarantees its approachability. 'Whistle While You Work' and 'Heigh Ho' are still infuriatingly catchy, while 'Some Day My Prince Will Come' is orchestrated with suitable grandeur. Frank Churchill would later go on to write 'Baby Mine' for Dumboł while the incidental composer Paul J. Smith would later work on Pinocchio and Bambi. Their inventive melodies are brilliantly arranged and the lyrics remain wittily acrobatic.

For all the baggage it carries as part of the Disney brand, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs remains the jewel in Disney's crown after the best part of 75 years. Its ground-breaking technical work is matched by its breezy storytelling, rich imagery and the extent of our emotional involvement. Its influence on American film is vast and various, and on its own terms it still holds up as a fantastic piece of fantasy filmmaking. In spite of everything you care to throw at it, however true or justified your complaints, it is still the fairest in the land.
Super Reviewer
May 31, 2012
Ranked 34 on AFI's top 100 movies of all time, and considered the Disney Animated feature film. "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" is an all time classic movie. Fantastic animation,catchy songs,and memorable characters make this cartoon truly timeless. It's the fairy tell told with beauty and charm,that has never been often imitated,never duplicated. I remember loving this as a child,and rewatching it brought back many memories and lots of whistling. I still sing "hi ho, hi ho it's off to work I go" some mornings. The dwarfs are 7 of the simplest,yet most effective characters ever in an animated film. Dopey barely makes a peep,and 75 years later he is still loved. Hard to believe this came out 75 years ago, but it holds up beautifully. I remember a couple years ago this was on tv, and I was with my nephew. He's used to the cartoons now like "shrek" and "toy story." But he stopped and watched and loved it. Even got a little scared during the scenes of the forest. It's just awesome to see a new generation fall in love with this,like each before it. Can't wait til my boy is old enough so I can share it with him.
Super Reviewer
April 28, 2012
The first fully animated feature film is a definite classic of the cinematic medium. This film changed cinema forever, and introduced the world to Walt Disney. The studio has always made memorable, classic animated features; But Snow White is the definitive Disney classic. Based on a classic fairy tale, Walt6 Disney set ahead and created this memorable take of an old tale. If you're to watch one Disney animated film, this is definitely the one to watch. Perfect for every one of all ages, with stellar animation and a great cast of voice talents, Snow White is a phenomenal achievement in film. This is the perfect film to watch with your kids, and it still holds up to this day. This is a brilliant film, which really doesn't need a review, because after all, everything that needed to be said has been said. This is the film that put Disney on the map, and remains one of the finest films that the studio has ever made. Watch it if you haven't seen it. This is one of cinema's greatest classics, a film that has stood the test the time, as is still great fun after all these years. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is a terrific film that is a must see for every true lover of cinema. No matter how old you are, this is a film that is a must see, and should be seen as a wonderful piece of art on its own. Brilliant in every aspect, this is the real Disney classic, a film that would bring Disney's vision in the public conscience.
Super Reviewer
½ October 1, 2010
"Snow White and the Seven Dwarf's" is a classic Walt Disney feature that will have everyone in tears. As the queen (an evil witch) needs to find and destroy a princess named Snow White due to the fact that a mirror tells her she is "the fairest of them all," we follow Snow White as the main character who meets seven little dwarfs with very unique character attributes. It is a very basic premise as Snow White befriends these seven dwarfs while we await the appearance of the Queen's confrontation. I absolutely loved this movie aside from the fact that the queen is such a huge part of the story and is kind of brushed off to the side until the end of the story. Also, it may be a little too dark for kids and the animation may be a little scary, but "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" is pure disney magic that will never go out of date. This is an amazing film!
Super Reviewer
August 18, 2011
It is the first film I remember seeing and still remains a classic close to my heart. Wonderful.
Super Reviewer
½ August 9, 2011
First animated Disney film! Even if you haven't seen it, you know it HAS to be good. Remind's me of my sister.
Super Reviewer
November 19, 2010
Disney's first, and a classic animated film!
Movie Monster
Super Reviewer
July 3, 2011
I wish another Disney Renaissance would happen again soon. The company was at their highest peak at around the time that this came out. They made history with this film and made many classics in the years that followed. They had hard times in the 80s but in the 90s, Disney rocked! They were okay in the early 2000s as well. January 2006 saw the release of High School Musical and the face of Disney was pretty much changed in my point of view. They rebranded themselves with tween targeted material. High School Musical, Hannah Montana, you name it! For now, lets go back to 1937 and review the film that started it all: Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.

This groundbreaking achievement tells the story of Snow White. This is the only film from Disney that I can recall that dosen't add the studio's trademark story twisting technique into it. The film tells the story of a fair and beautiful woman named Snow White, who dreams of a prince and has a nice voice. The queen is jealous of her fairness and sends a huntsman to kill her. She runs away from him and finds a cottage in the woods that belong to seven dwarves with colorful personalities. However, the evil queen is still bend on putting an end to her.

A simple little film Snow White is. Its colorful, has wonderful artwork, and classic music. Snow White in my opinion doesen't have much of a three-dimensional persona. Shes just kind. Thats all! The prince is just a singer and kisser. Thats all! The queen is just evil and bent on killing her. Thats all! The ones with the real personalities were the dwarves! Their names give away their personas:

-Doc (This one doesen't give away a whole lot!)

In order for me to give this a higher rating, the main characters need more of a personality. But I can still tolerate what they were given. Its a simple film to review. The only things you can really go over are the music, characters, and art. They were all great for its time. A simple and nice film. For the 1st animated film the world has seen, it is great. But animation got better as the years went by. Pinocchio, the 2nd film from the studio, is dope! I am also baffled that I gave Transformers 3 a higher rating but that just my opinion. Deal with it. There are many good Disney films out there but this is still wonderful.

And cue my dream Disney Renaissance in T-Minus...2,000 milleniums.

"A fine bunch of water lilies you turned out to be."
Super Reviewer
June 23, 2011
Another childhood favourite and classic!
Super Reviewer
January 12, 2010
I have almost no idea where animation would be today without Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. It's really the movie that made cartoons viable as full length features, allowed Disney to become the power that it is today and established a new way of storytelling. It's not just a simple-minded kid's movie or a throwaway musical. This presents a number of different ideas and concepts and combines it into one extravaganza. This still manages to be the definitive version of the classic story, even though it's only 80 minutes. The characters and atmosphere is nailed down so perfectly that there's no need for endless scenes establishing them.
Super Reviewer
January 11, 2007
The first and best of Disney's animated films. Other crowning achievements would later follow (Fantasia, Pinnochio, Sleeping Beauty, The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast), but this will always be the finest in my mind for developing and pushing the medium of the animated motion picture and remaining as fresh as it was the day of its release.
michael e.
Super Reviewer
December 13, 2010
the film is fascinating to watch and it has fun characters mainly the dwarfs.
Super Reviewer
September 5, 2010
This is a great Disney movie, not the best, but it has good animation and it tells the story of Snow White well. I liked it growing up, and kids today will still enjoy it, I think.
Super Reviewer
½ July 29, 2010
this movie just bores me every time i see it. C-
Super Reviewer
March 19, 2010
good flim
Super Reviewer
January 23, 2010
This one was the sweetest fairy tale. I loved this when I was a kid. And I bought this again few months ago.
Super Reviewer
May 24, 2009
Gotta give it props for its age.
Super Reviewer
½ September 4, 2007
Cant believe this was made in the 1930's!!
A classsic walt disney movie that is awesome and every little child should watch these as they are magical loveable and your never to old to watch these!
its got dwarfs that you'll just fall in lve with and a really catchy tune which is brilliant, ill be surprised by anyone who says they've never seen this movie!
This is what disney cartoon classsics should look like not that new stuff now ! Walt Disney started with this magnificant movie and then went from strength to strength!
Exceptionally brilliant always worth a watch!
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