Beauty and the Beast (1946)
"La belle et la bête" (original title)

Not Rated  |   |  Fantasy, Romance  |  23 December 1947 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.0/10 from 18,101 users   Metascore: 92/100
Reviews: 119 user | 77 critic | 7 from

A beautiful young woman takes her father's place as the prisoner of a mysterious beast, who wishes to marry her.


, (uncredited)


(dialogue), (screenplay), 2 more credits »
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Complete credited cast:
La Bête (The Beast) / The Prince / Avenant
Mila Parély ...
Nane Germon ...
Michel Auclair ...
Raoul Marco ...
The Usurer
Marcel André ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Janice Felty ...
John Kuether ...
The Father / The usurer (1995 opera version) (singing voice)
Jacques Marbeuf
Ana María Martinez ...
Félicie (1995 opera version) (singing voice)
Hallie Neill ...
Adélaïde (1995 opera version) (singing voice)
Gregory Purnhagen ...
La Bête / Avenant / Ardent / The port official (1995 opera version) (singing voice)
Zhang Zhou ...
Ludovic (1995 opera version) (singing voice)


Adélaïde, Belle, Félicie and Ludovic are young adult siblings who once lived in grandeur until their father's merchant ships were lost at sea. The family is now near ruin, but Adélaïde and Félicie nonetheless still squander away the family money on themselves and keeping beautiful, whereas Belle slaves around the house, doting on her father. Ludovic detests his two spoiled sisters, but is protective of Belle, especially with his friend Avenant, a handsome scoundrel who wants to marry Belle. Crossing the forest one dark and stormy evening, the father gets lost and takes refuge in a fantastical castle. Upon leaving, he steals a blossom off a rose bush, which Belle requested. The castle's resident, an angry beast, sentences him to one of two options for the theft of the rose: his own death, or that of one of his daughters. As she feels she is the cause of her father's predicament (despite her sisters asking for far more lavish gifts), Belle sacrifices herself to the beast. Upon arriving ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

beast | castle | rose | forest | magic | See All (58) »


Fantasy | Romance


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

23 December 1947 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Beauty and the Beast  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$3,708 (USA) (21 June 2002)


$138,158 (USA) (30 May 2003)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| (1995 opera version)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The effect of the candles lighting themselves as the merchant passes them was achieved by blowing them out and then running the film in reverse as he walked backward past them. The entire sequence was done in one long take and reversed - a quick glimpse of the fireplace shows the flames appearing to move downward. See more »


Boom visible at the top of the picture during the entire scene when Ludovic and Avenant first approach Diane's pavilion. See more »


La Bête: Belle, you mustn't look into my eyes. You needn't fear. You will never see me, except each evening at 7:00, when you will dine, and I will come to the great hall. And never look into my eyes.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The title and some of the opening credits are written with chalk on a blackboard, and then erased. See more »


Referenced in The City of Lost Children (1995) See more »


La belle et la bête
an opera by Philip Glass
(Not part of the original soundtrack, and not heard in the film's first two releases)
© 1995 Nonesuch Records for the US and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the United States
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Once upon our time...
23 September 2004 | by (Bookseller of the Blue Ridge) – See all my reviews

This film immediately captured my attention with the written comments at the beginning of the film. Director Jean Cocteau begins this story by explaining why he wanted to make this film. He talks about the passion behind the picture and all the social unrest at the time. He ends this written dialogue with a comment that will forever remain in my mind. He says, "...and now, we begin our story with a phrase that is like a time machine for children: Once Upon a Time..." This just sent chills down my spine. Why? Because, although he is addressing children, I feel that it is really a phrase meant for all of us. It is used to bring the child out in all of us, to show us that we do not need to be 4 or 5 to fully understand the themes of this film ... we are meant to just sit back and let the film take us to another mythological time.

The amazing set design also impressed me about this film. Again, without the modern conveniences of today's cinema, Cocteau had to improvise. This was hard for him to do. Not only were there huge budgetary issues (since it was the end of WWII and France was about to be demolished), but also he was racing against an impending war. Fear was deep in the hearts of the French after WWII, and what a better way to rally your people then with a story about love found in the darkest of places.

This film also made me very sad. I am sometimes disgusted with the way that Disney ... for lack of a better word ... Disney-fies their fairy tales. I think after watching this masterpiece I will have trouble ever being able to go back to the computer generated "Song as Old as Time" version that Disney plastered their trademark to. Never have I been so impressed with black and white cinematography as I have been with this film. The actress that plays Belle, Josette Day, steals the camera every time it is on her. She looks so radiant with the black and white that to see a colorized version of this film would completely do it injustice. The power and emotion that comes between Belle and the Beast feels so true. Cocteau has somehow grabbed the true feeling of two people that are complete opposites that seem to find true love in the coldest of places. I would be one of those reviewers that believes that if this film were released today, it would still pull the audiences in as it did the first time. Only proving that it was made well before it's time, it shows so many of the characteristics of the modern day movie. Even the special effects seem perfect for this film. Even with budget being sub-par, we are able to get a true feeling that this Beast is one of the magical kind.

Oh, this film was superb. I would have to say that it is the best adaptation of a fairy tale that I have seen today. Definitely my best 40s film (made in 1946), and possibly the best telling of Beauty and the Beast EVER!!

Grade: ***** out of *****

43 of 56 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Jean Cocteau's or Disney's. HuGore
Was anyone disappointed? sir73069-1
Was the story about how the beast got transformed a lie Mxyzptlk-3
Filled with wonder, this film amazes me. goodvibe61
Is it worth it? around_the_pear
Is Avenant a jerk? inyczreflex
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