A collection of animated interpretations of great works of Western classical music.


James Algar (uncredited), Samuel Armstrong (uncredited) | 10 more credits »


Joe Grant (story direction), Dick Huemer (story direction) | 23 more credits »
8 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »





Complete credited cast:
Deems Taylor Deems Taylor ... Self - Narrative Introductions
Leopold Stokowski ... Self - Conductor of The Philadelphia Orchestra
The Philadelphia Orchestra The Philadelphia Orchestra ... Themselves


Disney animators set pictures to Western classical music as Leopold Stokowski conducts the Philadelphia Orchestra. "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" features Mickey Mouse as an aspiring magician who oversteps his limits. "The Rite of Spring" tells the story of evolution, from single-celled animals to the death of the dinosaurs. "Dance of the Hours" is a comic ballet performed by ostriches, hippos, elephants, and alligators. "Night on Bald Mountain" and "Ave Maria" set the forces of darkness and light against each other as a devilish revel is interrupted by the coming of a new day. Written by David Thiel <d-thiel@uiuc.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The most sensational sound you'll ever see! (1985 re-release) See more »


G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


The first feature film to be shown in multichannel sound. The original prints featured soundtracks that were recorded in a process known as Fantasound, a four-track directional stereophonic system that was invented especially to record the soundtrack for the film by RCA and the Walt Disney Studios technical team, led by William E. Garity. The Leopold Stokowski-conducted orchestra audio was recorded onto eight separate soundtracks (six channels recorded individual sections of the orchestra, the seventh recorded a mix of the first six channels and the eighth recorded a distant pickup of the entire orchestra), which were then mixed down to three tracks (left, center and right). The three music tracks were optically matted with a fourth control track (containing signal tones that varied the speaker dynamics) onto a filmstrip separate from the projector print. Over 90 speakers were used for the playback of the Fantasound audio during the premiere of the film on 12 November 1940. A more typical Fantasound setup used three speakers behind the screen and 65 others placed around the other three walls of the theater. However, Fantasound was discontinued due to the amount of sound equipment required and the time necessary to make the installation. The advent of wartime conditions also precluded the possibility of developing mobile units that could have lessened installation time and costs. Therefore, only 12 venues ever played the original Fantasound version of the film, and only 16 Fantasound-equipped prints were ever created. When RKO took over distribution for the roadshow version in January 1941, the film was shipped with a conventional monaural track. Disney technicians recreated Fantasound for the 50th Anniversary release in 1990 using modern digital technology and the original sound cues from the Disney archives, and this mix was encoded into the subsequent VHS and laserdisc releases. This mix is active, and even aggressive at times, with music swirling or jumping around the room. However, the DVD's mix sounds considerably different. While no official verification can be found that it was changed, the DVD's surround mix is more passive, with the music in the front channels and only concert-hall reverb in the rear channels. The sound is cleaner, but it is not Fantasound as it was described in 1940 and as it appeared in 1990. See more »


The Pastoral sequence has Iris sweeping across the sky after the storm, leaving a rainbow in her wake. The colors of the rainbow are reversed: Red should be at the top and violet at the bottom. See more »


[first lines]
Deems Taylor: How do you do? Uh, my name is Deems Taylor, and it's my very pleasant duty to welcome you here on behalf of Walt Disney, Leopold Stokowski, and all the other artists and musicians whose combined talents went into the creation of this new form of entertainment, "Fantasia". What you're going to see are the designs and pictures and stories that music inspired in the minds and imaginations of a group of artists. In other words, these are not going to be the interpretations of trained ...
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Crazy Credits

This is the second Walt Disney feature-length film ("Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" was the first) on which the credit "Walt Disney presents" never appears. It appeared on all the other feature-length films that Disney personally produced. See more »

Alternate Versions

The original "Pastoral Symphony" segment featured extremely politically-incorrect "pickaninny"-type African American little-girl centaurs who perform servant duties for the female centaurs. These scenes were first edited in the 1969 re-release of the film by physically cutting the offending footage from the film (resulting in an obvious sound jump). For the 1990 and 2000 re-releases, the offending shots were magnified so that Black centaurs do not appear in the frame. The Fantasia Anthology notes the editing of this footage, although the copy of Fantasia that comes with the set is listed as being "The Original Uncut Version." A brief account of this story and at least one actual cel photograph are presented in the book "Cartoon Confidential" by Jim Korkis and John Cawley (Malibu Graphics Press). See more »


Referenced in You're Invited: The Making of Night of the Demons (2014) See more »


A Night on Bald Mountain/Ave Maria
"A Night on Bald Mountain" (1867) Composed by Modest Mussorgsky (as Modeste Moussorgsky)
"Ave Maria, Op. 52 No. 6" (1825) Composed by Franz Schubert
Orchestrated by Leopold Stokowski (uncredited)
Both Works and Transitional Material Arranged by Leopold Stokowski (uncredited)
Played by The Philadelphia Orchestra
Special Lyrics for "Ave Maria" by Rachel Field
Sung in English by the Westminster Choir of Westminster Choir College with soprano soloist Julietta Novis
Choral Director: Charles Henderson
Conducted by Leopold Stokowski
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User Reviews

A human Movie
18 October 2017 | by sethsholtesSee all my reviews

2017 is a year of technical marvel. Looking at movies of today, we see massive, stunning works of animation. We can now achieve computer generated images that look nearly indistinguishable from reality, and at the forefront of movie making today is Disney. Through Marvel, Disney creates multiple action packed superhero blockbusters a year. Star Wars, after it's 2015 revival, has new movies being released annually. Pixar, after creating several successful franchises, is now resting on its laurels, creating sequels like Finding Dory, Toy Story 4, Cars 3 and Incredibles 2. Even Disney's in house animation team is finding success, bringing back the Disney princess formula with movies like Frozen and Moana. However, amidst all this success, we have lost the truly human touch. Fantasia perfectly captures all that was lost in today's Disney movies. The movie has a very personal and human feel to every aspect of it. The orchestra, a very tangible presence in the movie, feels alive. They laugh, play their own little tunes during the intermission, but most importantly, they make mistakes. The animation is the same way, It's very rough at times and sometimes lacking, with some animations being reused, however every shot is filled with passion. You can tell that people worked on this, people with ambition, though they were not perfect. In modern movies, this beautiful animation that looks so real lacks the touch of individualism that Fantasia has in spades. The scene of the Sorcerer's apprentice dancing around the broom is burned into our collective memory for a reason. In all its flaws, its rough edges, it feels real to us. We can see all the raw effort and energy that the animator's put into each of Mickey's footsteps and that resonates with us. Fantasia speaks to the viewer not because it's perfect, but because it's flawed.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Official Sites:

Official site





Release Date:

19 September 1941 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Walt Disney's Fantasia See more »


Box Office


$2,280,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$980,798, 10 February 1985

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


| (2000 roadshow restoration) | (1942 cut) | (1991 VHS release) | (1946 cut)

Sound Mix:

3 Channel Stereo (RCA Sound System) (as Fantasound)



Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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