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The Little Mermaid (1989)



Average Rating: 8.2/10
Reviews Counted: 66
Fresh: 61 | Rotten: 5

The Little Mermaid ushered in a new golden era for Disney animation with warm and charming hand-drawn characters and catchy musical sequences.


Average Rating: 7.8/10
Critic Reviews: 12
Fresh: 11 | Rotten: 1

The Little Mermaid ushered in a new golden era for Disney animation with warm and charming hand-drawn characters and catchy musical sequences.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.6/5
User Ratings: 896,219

My Rating

Movie Info

Disney's The Little Mermaid was the first in a series of blockbusters that restored the venerable firm's reputation as the world's premiere animated-feature factory. The title character is a precocious teenager named Ariel, the daughter of Triton, king of the Sea. Against her dad's wishes, Ariel journeys beyond her own world to the surface, where she falls in love with Prince Eric, a handsome human. Foolishly, the little mermaid enters into an agreement with evil sea witch Ursula in order to

Dec 7, 1999

Walt Disney Pictures - Official Site External Icon

Watch It Now

Latest News on The Little Mermaid

March 18, 2014:
Sofia Coppola to Direct Live-Action Little Mermaid
Don't expect any singing crabs.
January 15, 2013:
Disney Cancels Plans for 3D Little Mermaid
It's because you didn't buy enough tickets to "Monsters, Inc. 3D."


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All Critics (66) | Top Critics (12) | Fresh (61) | Rotten (5) | DVD (29)

The Little Mermaid -- impudent, grandiose, a multilevel crowd-pleaser -- almost returns the Disney animated features to their glory traditions of the '30s and '40s.

November 15, 2013 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It may not be a transcendent masterpiece of the Disney canon, but The Little Mermaid is still very heartening: It suggests the Disney magic isn`t lost after all.

November 15, 2013 Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The latest Disney offering looks back to the studio's unrivaled heritage. It has the look of classic animation. More important, it has the skill required to make it work.

November 15, 2013 Full Review Source: Philadelphia Inquirer
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic IconTop Critic

In adapting this animated film from Hans Christian Andersen's sad and beautiful fairy tale, writers/directors John Musker and Ron Clements came up with a bright and perky movie.

November 15, 2013 Full Review Source: Orlando Sentinel
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic IconTop Critic

You could wish upon a star and not conjure up a more joyous animated movie than this graceful retelling of the Hans Christian Andersen tale.

September 3, 2008 Full Review Source: TIME Magazine
TIME Magazine
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Within the apparently necessary aesthetic and ideological limitations (such as making the hero and heroine Americans surrounded by foreign servants a la Pinocchio), the animation manages to be fairly energetic.

September 3, 2008 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

...perfectly pleasant and consistently watchable...

February 25, 2014 Full Review Source: Reel Film Reviews
Reel Film Reviews

A feature-length movie with the spirit, if not the splendor, of the Disney classics.

November 15, 2013 Full Review Source: Philadelphia Daily News
Philadelphia Daily News

It's hard not to leave this movie with a glowing feeling.

November 15, 2013 Full Review Source: People Magazine
People Magazine

From the opening frames of the this underwater fantasy, you`ll agree that the magic is back at Disney. Perhaps it never left.

November 15, 2013 Full Review Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

This remains an enduring delight.

November 15, 2013 Full Review Source: Radio Times
Radio Times

The animators deliver where it counts, in the expressions of Ariel and Prince Eric, whose love-at-first-sight is sweet but not saccharine.

November 15, 2013 Full Review Source: Boston Phoenix
Boston Phoenix

One of the liveliest and most enjoyable animated flicks to escape the House Of Mouse.

November 15, 2013 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

Everything is just right in this cheerful adaptation of the Hans Christian Andersen tale ... In addition to reviving the animated art form, The Little Mermaid also brought melody back to the movies.

October 5, 2013 Full Review Source: Creative Loafing
Creative Loafing

It's all in the details, and Disney really ramped up the animation and backgrounds to create an undersea world that was nothing short of spectacular.

October 3, 2013 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis
Movie Metropolis

[Blu-ray Review] One of those special and rare animated pics that does just about everything exceedingly well. A must-buy!

September 30, 2013 Full Review Source:

Doesn't quite work as a narrative, but manages to induce awe with its timeless soundtrack and production quality.

September 29, 2013 Full Review Source: Cinema Crazed
Cinema Crazed

Superb, entertaining animated musical has some scary stuff.

December 28, 2010 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

The long-awaited proof that Disney animation could, in fact, return almost the quality and beauty of its Golden Age.

November 25, 2009 Full Review Source: Antagony & Ecstasy
Antagony & Ecstasy

This is unquestionably the best animated film in many years and is therefore highly recommended.

October 18, 2008 Full Review Source: Deseret News, Salt Lake City
Deseret News, Salt Lake City

Relying on a simple, recognized tale, great songs and marvellous animation, it turned its fortunes around.

September 3, 2008 Full Review Source: Film4

Audience Reviews for The Little Mermaid

If there is an entertaining tale about a mermaid, Ron Clements and John Musker get it right in The Little Mermaid.The plot details come and go at a solid pace. While sounding like a brief run time, 80 minutes turns out to be the perfect solution to this story that is fitting for adults and children alike.The bright colors give the picture life and the musical numbers create a memorable soundtrack. It's safe to say that the visuals and music compliment the story without fail.Sure, the lead character is a mermaid with an excellent voice, thanks to Jodi Benson, but it's the supporting cast of characters that get the job done. Sam E. Wright as Sebastian. That says it all.Not much else to say except The Little Mermaid swims to the surface and explodes out of the water as a fantastic watch.
October 2, 2013
JY Skacto

Super Reviewer

Definitely not one of the better Disney-animated films out there, feeling a little dull at times, but the heart of the film is always in the right place, making it a very enjoyable film to watch. Ariel's character is very likeable as she is given a chance to have legs and fall in love with a prince. Sure, the idea is as old as the hills, but when it's done right, time never makes a difference. "The Little Marmaid" is a classic tale that will never get old, but it's not one of their efforts that will stay in my heart. It's fun and then it's over. There is not much to this one, but it's very likeable!
March 23, 2013
KJ Proulx

Super Reviewer

The Little Mermaid is a good animated film, but compared to many previous Disney features, this film isn't as memorable. Of course this is a good film that is a must watch for the entire family, however I think that it's pretty far from the first few Disney classics that put Disney on the map. Although very entertaining, The Little Mermaid does not belong among the greatest films in Disney's history. Despite this, the film is still worth watching and is lots of fun. I don't view it as an all time classic, but it does manage to bring back elements of some Disney classics. Compared to others in Disney's repertoire, The Little Mermaid is fairly average. Nonetheless if you're a fan of animated flicks, then watch this one. The film has a story everyone will enjoy no matter what age you are. A fun filled film with a good voice cast; this is a film that conveys old school ideas with a modern twist. If you love Disney's other films, and then give this one a view. The film may not be as great as the classics such as Snow White, but it still is entertaining and fun for the entire family. As a whole, The Little Mermaid is a good film, but like I said isn't the best film in Disney's catalogue. For me personally, I much prefer the older Disney classics. Despite this, I still recommend this film. Entertaining, and lots of fun for people of all ages. A very good animated film, just not in the same category as other Disney films. I still think that The Lion King is the best Disney flick that stands among the traditional Disney classics.
April 29, 2012
Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

Super Reviewer

Flouder was always my favourite disney character in the mermaid movies! A sweet movie that every little girl especially will enjoy! It takes traditional romance to the next level very sweet and lovely disney movie!
March 23, 2012
Film Crazy

Super Reviewer

    1. Ariel: Flounder, hurry up!
    – Submitted by Alyssa B (4 months ago)
    1. Eric: (first lines) Isn't this great? The salty sea air, the wind blowing in your face. Aaah, the perfect day to be at sea!
    2. Grimsby: (first lines) Oh, yes, urp delightful.
    – Submitted by Alyssa B (4 months ago)
    1. Scuttle: We're out to discover!
    – Submitted by Alyssa B (4 months ago)
    1. Ariel: Flounder, don't be such a guppy.
    2. Flounder: I'm not a guppy.
    – Submitted by Alyssa B (4 months ago)
    1. Ariel: If I become human, I'll never be with my father or sisters again.
    2. Ursula: That's right. But you'll have your man. Life's full of tough choices, isn't it?
    – Submitted by Alyssa B (4 months ago)
    1. Ariel: You're not getting cold fins now, are you?
    – Submitted by Alyssa B (4 months ago)
View all quotes (28)

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