From Bedtime Stories to classic fairy tales, we plumbed the depths of the genre to come up with the "Once upon a time" stalwarts that actually stand the test of time (no offense, Adam Sandler). Whether ancient and animated, or a remake with a modern twist, these happily-ever-after tales are ones to savor...
Disney revamped the ol' "common guy falls in love with a princess" fairy tale by adding a playfully amusing genie (voiced by Robin Williams), a cute capuchin, a magic carpet, and Oscar-winning songs. It really is a whole new world.
Alice in Wonderland
Follow the white rabbit down the rabbit hole and who knows where you’ll end up. As Alice looks for a way home, her imaginative adventure acquaints her with wily characters: the Cheshire Cat, the Mad Hatter and a haughty deck of cards.
Alice: “Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?"
Cheshire Cat: "That depends a good deal on where you want to get to."
Alice: "I don't much care where.”
Cheshire Cat: "Then it doesn't matter which way you go.”
Beauty and the Beast
When Belle becomes a captive in a grouchy beast’s mansion, she tames his heart and falls in love. By looking past his unattractive exterior, she breaks the spell and the beast returns to his princely state.
Don’t let appearances deceive. Others similar to this "tale as old as time" include The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Princess and the Frog, and Phantom of the Opera.
Edward Scissorhands -- a twist on Pinocchio
Early on in his film career, Johnny Depp starred as an inventor’s misfit creation. Just before he’s about to get a pair of hands, his inventor croaks, and he’s stuck with scissors forever. This Frankenstein/Pinocchio-esque story ends on a more somber note, as Edward never becomes a "real boy," nor fully receives acceptance from society.
Ever After: A Cinderella Story
In this more plausible rags-to-royalty story, the prince falls in love with a charismatic maiden, rather than one who just fits the glass slipper. Kids will also like Disney’s animated version with the catchy songs, friendly mice and a fairy godmother who magically transforms Cinderella for the ball.
Time-Transcending Theme: In the end, goodness always triumphs.
In a world where we age and adapt to the prim and proper rules of society, remaining youthful is everything. There's always something whimsically appealing about flying off with Peter (pictured here in the great 2003 version) to the island of Neverland, a care-free world (except when Hook and the crocodile are around) without grown-up rules.
Time-Transcending Theme: Youth is precious. Being a kid does have its magical advantages.
A snubbed evil witch bestows a curse on Princess Aurora as a baby: Before her 16th birthday, she’ll prick her finger on a spindle and die. Dramatic, isn’t it? Aurora is whisked away to be raised by three good fairies deep in the forest. Despite their efforts to shelter her, she meets a prince (to whom she’s unknowingly betrothed) and falls instantly in love. The evil witch still manages to find the princess and tricks her into pricking her finger on a spindle. Thanks to the fairies, instead of dying, Aurora falls into an ageless sleep only to be awakened by a kiss from her true love.
Time-Transcending Themes: Never underestimate the value of a true love’s kiss. Oh, and, in the end, goodness always triumphs.
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
Ever wonder why the "wicked stepmother" stereotype is so popular? Here, the vain queen attempts to kill her stepdaughter so that no one will rival her in being the "fairest one of all." Good thing Snow White, not being very bright, comes across seven dwarfs to help her out.
The Princess Bride
In pure bedtime story-telling fashion, a grandfather entertains his sick grandson (a young Fred Savage) with a tale of a princess' noble suitor. Buttercup (Robin Wright Penn) will be forced to marry the evil Prince Humperdinck if her true love Westley fails to rescue her. His daunting assignment pits him against Buttercup's kidnappers, the Fire Swamp's exponentially overgrown rodents and the Pit of Despair's sadistic torturers. Bring on the sword fights, and skip the yucky kissing parts, please!
Time-Transcending Theme: Love overcomes all things-even death.