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Sleeping Beauty (1959) - Plot Summary Poster

Plot

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Summaries

  • After being snubbed by the royal family, a malevolent fairy places a curse on a princess which only a prince can break, along with the help of three good fairies.

  • After a beautiful princess, Aurora, is born in to royalty everyone gathers to exchange gifts. Everything is perfectly fine until an unwanted guest appears, Maleficent. Maleficent casts a spell on the young princess and announces that she will die by pricking her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel on the evening of her 16th birthday. Fortunately, one of the good fairies, Merryweather, changes the spell so Aurora will fall asleep, and that the only way to wake her from her sleep is true love's kiss. Finally the day comes.

  • Adaptation of the fairy tale of the same name. Princess Aurora is cursed by the evil witch Maleficent - who declares that before the sun sets on Aurora's 16th birthday she will die by pricking her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel. To try to prevent this, the king places her into hiding, in the care of three good-natured - but not too bright - fairies.

  • When a new princess is born to King Stefan and his wife, the entire kingdom rejoices. At a ceremony, three good fairies - Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather - bestow gifts of magic on the child. But an evil sorceress named Maleficent shows up, and because of a rude remark by Merryweather, she places a curse on the princess - that she will die before sunset on her 16th birthday after pricking her finger on a spinning wheel's spindle. Merryweather turns things around by casting a spell that will allow the princess - named Aurora - to awake from an ageless sleep with a kiss from her true love. The fairies take Aurora to their cottage in the woods to keep her away from the eyes of Maleficent, and raise her as their own child, named Briar Rose. On her 16th birthday Aurora meets Prince Phillip, the son of a king whose own kingdom will soon merge with King Stefan's - and falls in love. Maleficent manages to kidnap the Prince and her horrible prophecy is fulfilled when she tricks Aurora into pricking her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel (created by Maleficent herself!) and falling asleep. Realizing that the Prince is in trouble, the three good fairies head to Maleficent's castle at the Forbidden Mountain, and spring the Prince loose. But the Prince soon finds himself up against Maleficent's army of brutes, and the power of Maleficent's evil spells - which include a thorn forest as thick as weeds around King Stefan's castle, and a fight against Maleficent when she turns herself into a dragon! Is the Prince strong enough to withstand the powers of the evil sorceress?


Spoilers

The synopsis below may give away important plot points.

Synopsis

  • King Stephen and his wife have been blessed with the birth of a daughter, Princess Aurora. Many travel to pay their respects to the birth of the Princess. Also attending the event, are King Hubert, and his son, Prince Phillip, who have journeyed from a neighboring kingdom. Through an agreement between the two rulers, Phillip is betrothed to Aurora, and their marriage will unite the two kingdoms when they come of age.

    Also in attendance, are the Three Good Fairies, Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather. Each has come to bestow a gift on the Princess. Flora gives the gift of beauty, Fauna the gift of song. However, before Merryweather can bestow her gift, a gale wind blows through the great hall, signifying the arrival of Maleficent, a sorceress from The Forbidden Mountain. Upset over not having been invited, Maleficent casts a spell, promising that once Aurora turns 16, she'll prick her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel, and die. Stephen orders Maleficent captured, but she disappears with a laugh and a plume of smoke.

    Flora and Fauna persuade Merryweather to use her 'gift' to possibly stave off Maleficent's spell. Through her 'gift,' Aurora will not die, but only lay in sleep, until kissed by her true love. Even so, King Stephen still is fearful, and orders every spinning wheel in the kingdom to be burned.

    The three fairies ponder what to do to prevent Maleficent's curse from taking effect. They then decide to hide their magic and change their appearances, appearing as peasant women. The three then persuade the King and Queen that they will hide their daughter until she turns 16, and take her to an abandoned woodcutter's cottage.

    The years pass by, and as Aurora's 16th birthday approaches, the people of the Kingdom rejoice, as atop the Forbidden Mountain, the atmosphere has stayed in a constant clouded thunder, a sign of Maleficent's mood, and that her own quest to find the hidden Princess has not been fulfilled. Maleficent's mood is also foul in that her minions have only been searching for a baby for the last 16 years, not realizing that Aurora would grow up. After punishing her minions, Maleficent sends her crow Diablo to find the Princess.

    After 16 years, the Princess has grown into a lovely young woman, whom the three fairies have named Briar Rose. On the eve of her 16th birthday, the three fairies (who've convinced the Princess that they are her 'aunts') send her out to pick berries, while they prepare a birthday cake for her. The Princess walks through the forest, confiding in some forest animals that follow her, that she dreams of one day meeting a handsome prince. Close by, some of the animals find a red cape, a hat, and some boots, and after taking their places, create a make-shift 'dream prince' for the young woman to dance with.

    However, it just so happens that these items belong to Prince Phillip, who has been riding through the forest on his horse, Samson. Phillip finds the Princess, and the two share a dance, though neither knows that they are their betrothed. The Princess is enchanted by the young man, but remembering how the fairies told her not to talk to strangers, runs away. However, she does tell the Prince where she lives.

    Aurora returns to the cottage to find a dress and a cake made for her by the three faeries. Excitedly, she explains how she met someone in the forest, whom she is in love with. It is then that the three faeries reveal who they really are, and that she is betrothed to Prince Phillip. When they explain that she must not meet this 'stranger' again, Aurora runs to her room, distraught. During all this, none of them have noticed Maleficent's raven, Diablo, peeking in through a window, before flying off to tell Maleficent.

    Back at King Stephen's Castle, King Hubert is also in attendance, as the entire court is preparing for Aurora to return. Stephen speaks grandly of the future for their children, as Phillip arrives. Phillip grandly tells his father about the 'peasant girl' he met in the woods, and hopes to marry. Hubert is upset at these turn of events, and tries to persuade his son to remember his betrothal, but Phillip rides back to the forest and to the cottage.

    In the meantime, the 3 faeries have brought Aurora into the castle through a secret entrance, to prepare her to meet her family. However, she is still upset about never seeing the young man in the woods again. The 3 faeries give her some time to herself, but in their absence, Maleficent opens a secret passage in the castle room, and Aurora, under a trance, follows a floating green orb through the passageway.

    When the three faeries enter the room, they find Aurora following the green light, and give chase. However, before they can catch her, Aurora has pricked her finger on an enchanted spinning wheel, and now lays crumpled on the floor, with Maleficent cackling wickedly over the faerie's failure to safeguard her.

    Outside in the castle courtyard, the kingdom prepares to welcome the Princess home. However, in a tower room, the 3 faeries have placed Aurora on a bed, distraught over what has happened. It is then that Flora decides to put the entire Kingdom to sleep, until Aurora is awakened. As they finish putting King Stephen and King Hubert asleep, Flora hears Hubert talk about the Prince meeting a 'peasant girl.' Deducing that it was Phillip that Aurora had met in the forest, they remember her saying how the person she met would be coming to the woodcutter's cottage. Hoping to get to him and awaken Aurora, they set off through the forest, only to find the cottage door wide open, and Phillip's hat on the floor. The three deduce that Maleficent must have captured him, and taken him to her castle on the Forbidden Mountain.

    The three sneak into the castle, where they find Maleficent's goons celebrating, while she pays a visit to Prince Phillip, stuck in a dungeon. Maleficent taunts Phillip with images of Aurora sleeping, and of one day, sending him off to wake the Princess, once he and his horse Samson have aged considerably, laughing at the very idea.

    Once she leaves, the three faeries free Phillip, and arm him with the 'Shield of Virtue,' and the 'Sword of Truth.' With his new weapons, and the faeries' help, Phillip finds Samson, and they ride off toward King Stephen's castle.

    Maleficent tries to strike down Phillip with lightning bolts, but the 'Shield of Virtue' deflects them. Before he can reach the castle, her magic creates a forest of thorns that surrounds the structure. Phillip triumphs and cuts his way through with the 'Sword of Truth.' Outraged at his determination, Maleficent appears before Phillip, transforming herself into a dragon. The Prince appears to be no match for the enormous beast, until the three faeries guide the 'Sword of Truth' into Maleficent's heart, felling her once and for all.

    With evil vanquished, Phillip is led to Aurora's bedside, and his kiss awakens her and the entire kingdom. As King Hubert and King Stephen awaken, the sound of trumpets heralds the arrival of Phillip and Aurora, and it is soon made clear to Hubert that it was actually Aurora that Phillip met in the woods. The two then share a dance as their parents and the three faeries watch.

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