Year released: 1937
How it fared back then: It was the first feature film from Disney and it just exploded. Critics loved it, as did film-goers and industry bigwigs alike. With inflation taken into account, it’s the 10th highest grossing film and the highest grossing animated film at the box office of all time (inflation considered). And accounting for inflation, it also beats out Avatar. With such an overwhelmingly positive response, it put Disney on the track to what it would become today, leading to countless more film releases. It also set the precedent for the company’s re-releases from the Vault.
Why it’s lasted: Disney. Cynically speaking, we know what a powerhouse they are in the industry. That being said, they also make amazing movies with state-of-the-art animation and great music. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is no exception (and yes, you did hear “Heigh-Ho” in a commercial recently). It’s also made seven of AFI’s 100 Years lists!
Classic moment: When Snow White is sweeping, dusting and washing away in the house, singing to herself as animals fill the scene. That scene in its entirety defines her character and is the imagery of her set off when her name is mentioned today.
Does it still hold up? The dwarfs are cute, the story is compelling and the 30s are artistically evident though appreciable, but I do have feminist issues with it (which are obvious). Then again, most of these issues could also be taken up with any classic fairytale. One thing that’s strange about this film is that it’s a children’s story with an adult protagonist, however with childish characteristics. It’s very uncommon today (if you ask me, adults are just over-thinking it), but I’m not sure what to make of it, only to point out its peculiarity. It’s an admirable, history-making movie, but it’s not what we’d watch today, which is likely the reasoning behind much-needed updates Snow White and the Huntsman and Mirror, Mirror. But of course, that’s the grown-up in my speaking. Children might feel otherwise. (I sure did.)