Walt Disney’s ‘Sleeping Beauty’ (1959) is an iconic animation classic loved by many viewers around the world. The story follows Princess Aurora, a beautiful young princess who is cursed to fall into an everlasting sleep until her true love awakens her with a kiss.

This timeless tale has been retold throughout the years and continues to capture the hearts of audiences of all ages. It’s no surprise why this movie remains one of Disney’s most beloved feature films.

The production of ‘Sleeping Beauty’ was a long and complex process that began in 1951. With its lush visuals, breathtaking musical score, and memorable characters, ‘Sleeping Beauty’ has become an unforgettable cinematic experience that stands the test of time.

This article will explore the history behind this classic animated film and look at how it has impacted generations of viewers since its release in 1959.

Overview And Background

Sleeping Beauty (1959) is a timeless Disney classic that has been loved by children and adults alike for over 60 years. It tells the story of Princess Aurora, who is cursed to fall asleep for 100 years until she can be awakened by true love’s kiss.

The film was released in 1959 and was an instant success, becoming one of Disney’s most beloved animated features. The movie’s music was composed by George Bruns and Paul Smith, with lyrics written by Tom Adair and Winston Hibler. Sleeping Beauty also features some of the most iconic animation sequences in Disney history, making it a classic that will be enjoyed for generations to come.

The film features an all-star cast of voices, including Mary Costa as Aurora and Bill Shirley as Prince Phillip.

Plot Summary

As we all know, Princess Aurora was cursed by the evil fairy Maleficent to prick her finger on a spinning wheel and fall into a deep sleep until she was rescued by true love’s kiss. This is where the three fairies – Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather – come in. They interfere by weakening the curse to allow Aurora to wake from her slumber when she is kissed by her one true love, Prince Phillip.

Princess Aurora’s Curse

Princess Aurora’s Curse, as given by the wicked fairy, Maleficent, is that on her 16th birthday she would prick her finger on a spinning wheel and fall into an eternal sleep until true love’s kiss could awaken her.

The three good fairies try to soften the curse by changing it so that instead of death, Aurora will just fall into a deep sleep for 100 years.

However, this didn’t stop Maleficent’s evil plan from taking effect, as the prince arrives too late at the castle and Aurora falls asleep before he can give her true love’s kiss.

Fortunately, happily ever after still comes true as the prince awakens Aurora with his kiss and they live happily ever after.

With this powerful story of true love being greater than any curse or obstacle in its way, Sleeping Beauty provides timeless lessons about resilience and hope.

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Three Fairies’ Interference

The three good fairies, Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather, also play a crucial role in the story of Sleeping Beauty. They show up at Aurora’s christening to give her gifts; however, Maleficent crashes the party and puts her own curse on the princess.

In order to combat this, the fairies intervene and try to soften the curse. They are able to change it so that instead of death, Aurora will just fall into a deep sleep for 100 years if she pricks her finger on a spinning wheel.

Although they were unable to stop Maleficent’s evil plan from taking effect, their interference helped save Aurora from certain death. This demonstrates how having allies can be beneficial in difficult times.

Prince Phillip’s Rescue

Prince Phillip then plays an important role in the story as he is the one who ultimately comes to Aurora’s rescue.

Although they have never met, Phillip is determined to break the curse and save her.

He bravely journeys into the Forbidden Mountains and manages to defeat Maleficent and her minions.

With a kiss of true love, he awakens Aurora from her deep slumber and they live happily ever after.

This shows that no challenge is too great for true love and that with enough courage, anything is possible.

Characters And Voice Actors

Prince Phillip is the prince who fights to save Aurora from Maleficent’s curse. His voice actor was Bill Shirley, who voiced many other Disney characters. Aurora was voiced by Mary Costa, who was one of the first Disney leading ladies. Maleficent was voiced by Eleanor Audley who also voiced Lady Tremaine in Cinderella. She was able to bring a sinister edge to the character and make her come alive. Audley had a long career in Hollywood, voicing many characters in both film and television. Bill Shirley, Mary Costa, and Eleanor Audley all brought the characters of Prince Phillip, Aurora, and Maleficent to life and helped make Sleeping Beauty (1959) one of the most beloved Disney films of all time.

Prince Phillip

Prince Phillip is the handsome, brave prince of Sleeping Beauty. Voiced by actor Bill Shirley, he’s determined to save Princess Aurora from her curse and prove his worth.

His beautiful singing voice is also a highlight of the movie, as he sings ‘Once upon a Dream’ to awaken Aurora in one of the most romantic scenes in Disney history. He pairs perfectly with Mary Costa who voices Aurora and their chemistry brings the classic story to life.

With his courage and optimism, Prince Phillip manages to break Maleficent’s evil spell and bring joy back to the kingdom. In short, Prince Phillip is an integral part of Sleeping Beauty’s success and continues to be beloved by fans today.

Voice Actor Bill Shirley

Bill Shirley, the voice actor behind Prince Phillip, is an essential part of Sleeping Beauty’s success.

His perfect singing voice and chemistry with Mary Costa – Aurora’s voice actor – bring the romance of the story to life.

He also manages to perfectly capture Phillip’s courage and optimism as he strives to save his beloved princess from Maleficent’s curse.

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It’s no wonder why Bill Shirley and his performance of Prince Phillip have been remembered so fondly by Disney fans for over 60 years.


Moving on to Aurora, the main character in Sleeping Beauty, Mary Costa’s voice is strong and beautiful. Her performance of Aurora captures the young princess’ innocence and courage as she faces her fate.

From her duet with Bill Shirley as Prince Phillip to her solo singing of ‘Once Upon a Dream,’ Costa’s voice brings the character to life. She also manages to convey the emotion behind both scenes, making us feel for Aurora on her journey.

It’s no wonder why Mary Costa’s performance has been remembered just as fondly as Bill Shirley’s over the years.

Music And Score

The music and score of Sleeping Beauty is an integral part of the film. Composer George Bruns created a sweeping, romantic score that captures the essence of the movie perfectly.

The classic song “Once Upon a Dream” was written by Jack Lawrence and Sammy Fain and performed by Mary Costa as Princess Aurora. It has become one of Disney’s most beloved songs over the years, inspiring numerous covers and even being featured in other movies.

Bruns also wrote several instrumental pieces to accompany key scenes in the movie. One such piece is “The Skumps” which accompanies Maleficent’s transformation into a dragon. The menacing yet beautiful music perfectly captured her powerful evil presence.

His work added a whole new layer to the story, creating tension and atmosphere throughout the movie that would not have been possible without it.

All in all, Bruns’ score made Sleeping Beauty an iconic classic that will be remembered for years to come.

Legacy And Impact

The musical score for Sleeping Beauty was a major part of the movie’s success. Composed by George Bruns, it was a combination of classical elements, such as Tchaikovsky and Wagner, as well as more modern motifs. This blend of old and new gave the film an unforgettable sound that remains timeless even today.

Sleeping Beauty’s legacy is one of Disney’s most beloved movies. Its impact on pop culture has been undeniable, with nods to the movie being made in other films, television shows, and books over the decades since its release. Its iconic characters and music have also become staples at Disney parks around the world.

The classic tale has also been adapted into plays, ballets, comics, and video games. Truly, Sleeping Beauty has left an indelible mark on popular culture.


In conclusion, Sleeping Beauty is a beloved Disney classic that has entertained generations of children and adults alike. It’s hard to forget the beautiful animation, remarkable music, and captivating story. Although it was released in 1959, over 60 years ago, it’s still just as enjoyable today as it was then.

This film will always remain close to my heart. I appreciate the strong themes of finding true love and overcoming obstacles that are portrayed throughout the movie. The characters are charming and lovable, and the visuals are stunningly beautiful.

It’s easy to get lost in the magic of this timeless film. Sleeping Beauty is a classic Disney movie that will live on forever in our hearts. It has enchanted viewers for generations with its unforgettable story, delightful characters, and breathtaking visuals.

I can only hope that future generations will continue to enjoy this beloved fairytale as much as I do!

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