Released in 1937, Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs was the first animated feature-length film created by Walt Disney Animation Studios, then called Walt Disney Productions. The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Musical Score, and won Walt Disney a special Oscar in 1938.
Snow White is among the oldest pieces of Disney cel animation, but how does it hold up when viewed by a modern audience?
Confession time. I had never watched Snow White before this viewing. So I feel like I can be pretty honest in my 2019 review. Let’s break the review down into some categories to see how Snow White really stacks up.
“Mirror, Mirror, on the wall. Who’s the fairest of them all?”
I’m pretty sure everyone and their mother is familiar with this phrase, and it’s the central part of the Queen’s jealousy. The Mirror identifies Snow White as the fairest in the land, prompting the Evil Queen to hire the Huntsman to kill her step-daughter. In a moment of good will, the Huntsman relents and lets Snow go. She flees through some very spooky woods (which helps to inspire the ride Snow White’s Scary Adventures at Disneyland), and with the help of some very friendly woodland creatures, finds her way to the dwarfs’ home. Hijinks ensue as the dwarfs warm up to the princess. Eventually, the Evil Queen finds Snow White and we get that classic apple scene. Snow falls asleep, the Prince arrives, and they all live happily ever after.
The plot itself is a little predictable, but that’s pretty understandable for a film that is both over 80 years old and also based on one of Grimm’s Fairy Tales. I kind of liked the familiarity of it, though, and overall, I really enjoyed watching the film.
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs does a really nice job of letting you care about the characters (you even find Grumpy endearing by the end of it), but with a run time of 83 minutes, it doesn’t feel like it drags on.
Honestly, what Disney fan hasn’t heard a majority of the music for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs? The music team of Frank Churchill, Paul Smith, and Leigh Harline really knocked this film out of the park.
“Whistle While You Work”? Classic.
“Someday My Prince Will Come”? Beautiful.
While some of the more modern Disney movies have objectively better scores, Snow White gets major points for its catchiness and status as a Disney icon.
Snow White herself is sweet. She’s smart. She’s a little innocent, but she also comes across as pretty young, maybe one of the youngest Disney princesses. Snow is the OG Disney Princess, and she is one of only 12 leading ladies that make up the official Disney Princess lineup.
I really like Snow White. Some of my affection for her might come from meeting her several times at Walt Disney World and having great interactions there, but I really like her in the movie, too. She’s super endearing, and it’s clear that even though she has only been with the dwarfs for a short time, she really cares about them.
The Evil Queen is a bad “b” from way back when. Evil in the classic sense, the Queen has only one thing on her mind: destroying Snow White. I honestly have to admire her dedication. Going from the second fairest one in the land (which, let’s be real. She’s still a solid nine), to an ugly hag just to achieve her goals. That’s some dedication and determination you only see in a Disney movie.
The Queen is, like, actually intimidating, especially as the old crone. A true, classic villain, she was the first, and she’s definitely a contender for the witch-iest.
The Dwarfs are obviously endearing. Except for Dopey. Does anyone actually like Dopey? Their brotherhood is really enjoyable to watch, and the scene where they’re singing and dancing with Snow is one of the most fun scenes in the whole movie.
Final Thoughts & Score
Overall, I think Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs is a really enjoyable movie, even for an audience in 2019. The plot is a little predictable and basic, but there’s something comforting and nostalgic about cel animated movies (at least, there is for me). The characters are easy to love (or hate), and the songs are iconic, so it’s almost impossible to give Snow White a bad score.
Characters: 9.5 (I’m docking half a point because the prince was almost entirely useless)