Best Beauty and the Beast Adaptations That Aren’t Disney

The beauty and the Beast is a tale as old as time. The original story was created in 1740 by the French writer Gabrielle Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve, although the tale we know best is the version rewritten by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve. Where a beautiful young woman is held captive by the Beast, a once handsome but cold-hearted prince cursed to be a monster until he can win another’s love. There have been countless stories across different cultures, from Russia The scarlet flower to danish Beauty and the Horse.

However, today the fairy tale is more commonly known as part of the Disney Princess franchise. While Disney’s versions are fantastic, there are some incredibly unique tales that definitely deserve some love. This list will go through seven wonderful, wacky, beautiful, and terrifying adaptations of the classic story. Some that are faithful to the original tale and others that subvert all expectations. Above all, these films prove the timelessness of the classic tale. Each generation brings its own twist to the story – The beauty and the Beast continues to grow and adapt over time, always remaining relevant. Without further ado, here are our seven picks for the most unique adaptations of The beauty and the Beast.


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Beautiful (2021)

Beautiful is one of the few futuristic tales of the tale, set in rural Japan in a world where virtual reality is incredibly advanced. The animated film follows the story of young Suzu (Kaho Nakamura/Kylie McNeill), a shy, ordinary high school student with a lost passion for singing and songwriting. At her friend’s suggestion, Suzu logs into the virtual reality metaverse “U” and creates a beautiful new character as “Bell” and becomes a globally beloved superstar. When his gig is ruined by a monstrous user named “The Dragon” (Takeru Sato/Paul Castro Jr.), a vigilante group forms to hunt him down. Curious to know the identity of the Dragon, Suzu embarks on an epic and emotional quest for self-discovery.

The film is visually stunning and completely entertaining and emotional in all its fantasy. At the world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival, Beautiful even received a fourteen minute standing ovation and was extremely well received. Unlike the original The beauty and the Beast, Beautiful has an unlikely twist when they reveal the Dragon’s true identity. He’s not your classic handsome prince in disguise. We won’t spoil anything here, but the movie has some nice takeaways and is quite teary.

Strange Magic (2015)

Whereas strange magic is technically an adaptation of Shakespeareit is Dream of a summer nightthe movie has a The beauty and the Beast-esque romance between the two main characters. Marianne (Evan Rachel Wood), the beautiful fairy princess of the Kingdom of Light, and the Bog King (Alan Cumming), the hideous insectoid ruler of the Dark Kingdom, are at war when he kidnaps Marianne’s sister because of a stolen love potion. As the kingdoms are longtime enemies, the two have a natural hatred towards each other. But as they learn more about each other, they realize they’re not that different and fall in love.

In the original story, Belle sees through the Beast’s terrible exterior to find the handsome man beneath. Her love for him breaks her spell and reveals him to be a handsome prince. Yet, in strange magic, the Bog King never becomes handsome. He is constantly ugly throughout the film and Marianne remains beautiful. There’s a wonderful message here in this film that others have failed to reach – that when it comes to true love, looks really don’t matter.

Beauty and the Beast (2014)

This French film version is arguably the most faithful to Villenueve’s original material. Belle’s fatherAndre Dussollier) is a widowed, bankrupt merchant forced to move his six children to the countryside. During one of his travels, the merchant gets lost and takes refuge in a mysterious but magical castle. However, he oversteps his bounds when he steals a rose as a gift for Belle (Léa Seydoux) and the Beast (Vincent Cassel) of the castle asks his life for the rose. Hearing this, Belle offers her own life as the Beast’s captive.

Although it bears many similarities to the Disney version, The beauty and the Beast is a much darker version, traveling deeper into the stories of Beauty and the Beast. The only flaw in this version is the weak storytelling due to the underdeveloped love of Beauty and the Beast. Other than that, the cinematography beautifully captures the magic and awe of this fairy tale world. From intricate costumes to otherworldly sets, you truly feel transported to this ethereal world. Moreover, it is quite enchanting to see the story in the original French.

Penelope (2006)

Perhaps the wackiest adaptation on this list, Penelope is an offbeat version of the fairy tale. When Penelope’s great-great-great-grandfather, Ralph Wilhern, a wealthy socialite, got a young servant girl pregnant and refused to marry her due to his family’s disapproval, the young servant fell committed suicide out of grief. Unlucky for the Wilhern family, her mother was a witch and cursed the next daughter in their line to be born with the face of a pig. A curse that will only be broken when “one of her own” falls in love with her. When Penelope (Christine Ricci) was born, her mother hid her from the world until she was eighteen, then began the search for a counter-spell.

The film is light and romantic, without overdoing the sappy sentimentality. It’s a family film, with a beautiful message about learning to love yourself for who you are. Surprisingly, the film also has an amazing cast, with performances from Reese Witherspoon, james mcavoyand Pierre Dinklage, to name a few. The story is a little silly and predictable, but definitely worth watching when you’re in the mood for something to warm your heart.

The Beautician and the Beast (1997)

If you are a fan of Fran Drescher in The nannyyou’ll definitely enjoy him in the adorable romantic comedy The beautician and the beast. The film follows beauty therapist Joy Miller (Fran Drescher) who teaches at a beauty school in New York. After ending up in the newspaper for a heroic feat, a diplomat from the fictional Eastern European country of Slovenia mistakes her for a science teacher and decides to hire her as a tutor for the dictator’s children. Slovenian, Boris Pochenko (Timothy Dalton). Misinterpreting the job offer as that of a hairdresser, Joy accepts and moves to the foreign country.

Even if the film is a little outdated, it is nonetheless very sweet, romantic and endearing. Drescher and Dalton have wonderful chemistry together, as their characters go from banging heads to falling deeply in love. As they grow closer, Boris enlists Joy’s help in shedding his “dumb” reputation, undergoing both a political and personal metamorphosis (although I think I preferred the mustache ). The film also captures Drescher’s wonderful, irreverent sense of humor, while simultaneously showing us a sweet, tender side to the story.

Panna a Netvor (1978)

The Czechoslovak film adaptation Panna to Netvor is not one for children to watch. In this gothic take on the classic fairy tale, it follows the usual story of a widowed, bankrupt merchant who gets lost on his journey and seeks refuge in a decrepit palace. There he steals a beautiful white rose as a gift for his youngest daughter Julie (Zdena Studenkova), which angers the Beast (Harapes Vlastimil) of the castle. However, the Beast allows her to leave as long as one of her daughters takes her place of her own free will. Hearing this, Julie chooses to save him. Captives in his castle and forbidden to look at his horrible face, Julie and the Beast slowly fall in love.

While the premise is similar, this version of the tale takes an entirely different approach than what most are used to when examining The beauty and the Beast. The film is enveloped by this dark and gloomy atmosphere – a dark forest, mysterious fog, haunting church pipes and a looming palace. Even the Beast is different from the usual cat/buffalo creations, in this movie it is a winged bird-like creature. Panna to Netvor is terribly creepy and not an easy watch, but it has a beautiful and captivating gothic horror twist.

Beauty and the Beast (1946)

The beauty and the Beast is a seminal piece in movie history and is perhaps the most influential entry on this list. This adaptation even earned a place in the Criterion collection, deeming it culturally significant. Again, this story also follows Belle’s merchant father (Marcel Andre) being captured by the Beast (Jean Marais) after stealing a rose from her garden. beautiful (Josette Day) takes his place after an ultimatum offered by the Beast and becomes his captive. Every day the Beast asks her to marry him and every day she refuses, until he slowly wins her love.

Unlike the rest of this list, this adaptation comes closest to Beaumont’s tale, which the Disney version is also based on. The film is stunningly beautiful, with elaborate costumes and beautiful sets, even in black and white. It feels truly dreamlike and magical in its cinematography and the Beast’s makeup was a triumph for its time, as were the incredible practical effects. What makes this film even more fragile is the way it was made towards the end of World War II, a time when fear was deep in the hearts of the French people. Yet this film was the perfect answer, a story to prove that love can be found even in the darkest of times.

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