"Cinderella" is a centuries-old tale that's been adapted into many different movies. Some film adaptations of the story like "Ever After" (1998) are focused on history and don't include magic. More current adaptations like "A Cinderella Story" (2004) and "Another Cinderella Story" (2008) feature the leading character losing a piece of technology instead of a glass slipper. Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.
For years, the classic "Cinderella" story has been adapted for television, books, and, of course, films. From the iconic Disney cartoon to the upcoming remake starring Camila Cabello, each adaptation features its own unique versions of the story's characters, storylines, and costumes. Here's how "Cinderella" has changed over the yearsWalt Disney's "Cinderella" (1950) is incredibly memorable — but it's not actually the first film adaptation of this story.
Arguably the most well-known version of the story, Walt Disney's animated film included some of the most recognizable aspects of the fairytale that many have come to associate "Cinderella" with today. Some of the film's signatures include Cinderella's iconic blue gown, a pumpkin-turned-carriage, a magical fairy godmother, an evil stepmother, a midnight curfew, and, of course, a glass slipper that's found by Prince Charming. That said, Disney's "Cinderella" was not the first film adaptation of this story — and it's actually quite different from movies that came before it. Some earlier versions of "Cinderella" include a silent short film from 1911 in which Cinderella's father is actually alive and a 1922 German version originally called "Aschenputtel," which features silhouettes instead of actual people. Read More: Popular 'Cinderella' adaptations, ranked from worst to best In 1955's "The Glass Slipper," Prince Charming and Cinderella have a childhood connection.
In"The Glass Slipper," Cinderella, whose name is Ella in the film, is an antisocial orphan who is a servant to her stepmother and stepsisters. Unlike many other versions of the story, in this film Ella has a deep connection with the prince from the very start. She doesn't first meet him at the big ball, since Ella and the prince actually met when they were children. And although Ella does lose a glass slipper as expected, in this version of "Cinderella," the fairy godmother comes in the form of an eccentric older friend, Mrs. Tuoquet, whose magic is mostly hidden and low-key. Mrs. Toquet brings Ella a beautiful dress and glass slippers and arranges a carriage as transportation to the ball, but Ella doesn't attribute these things to magic. Later in the movie, the carriage crashes and turns into a pumpkin and Mrs. Toquet vanishes into thin air, revealing that she was magical all along. Unlike many other versions of "Cinderella" where the lead has long, blonde hair, Ella has dark, short hair and her appearance is actually an important plot point. Because of her appearance, the townspeople at the ball mistake her as being an Egyptian princess. When Ella later hears rumors that the prince wants to marry a strange Egyptian princess from the party, she doesn't realize they are actually talking about her. Rodgers and Hammerstein's musical "Cinderella" was broadcast live on television in 1957.
In this 1957 musical retelling, Julie Andrews starred as Cinderella and Jon Cypher played Prince Christopher. Although much of this movie's plot is consistent with other popular retellings of "Cinderella," this version is made unique by its book and score, which are crafted by the famed composer duo Rodgers and Hammerstein. Because of this, the movie is jam-packed with songs and dance numbers which are much different from what you'd see in the animated Disney flick and other versions of "Cinderella." Notably, this film was also performed live instead of being filmed on a set. The musical from 1957 was remade in 1965 with a new cast and some new scenes.
This made-for-TV movie adaptation of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical isn't too different from the original, but it did have a fresh cast and a newly added scene where the prince meets Cinderella before the ball. The prince also sings a song called "Loneliness of Evening" that was not in the original film. It had initially been composed for Rodgers and Hammerstein's show "South Pacific" but ended up being cut. That said, the film still contains plenty of "Cinderella" staples, like a fairy godmother, magic transformations, and a fancy ball. And although she still wears a gown, Cinderella's gown in this movie is white, gold, and accented with fur. In 1997, Rodgers and Hammerstein remade their musical version again, this time with a more diverse cast.
A fan-favorite version of "Cinderella," this adaptation featured Brandy Norwood in the titular role. The film has been applauded for its more diverse representation since it features a black Cinderella and a Filipino-American prince. The cast also includes Whitney Houston as the fairy godmother and Whoopi Goldberg as a queen. That said, even though it's adapted from Rodgers and Hammerstein's earlier films, the music in this movie is notably different. This time, the score was decidedly contemporary, mixing "Broadway legit with Hollywood pop," according to its co-producers Chris Montan and Arif Mardin. The costumes in this movie also seemed more vibrant and exciting than before — many characters, including the prince, wore brightly colored outfits or looks adorned with sparkles and metallic prints. Released in 1998, "Ever After: A Cinderella Story" was a historical take on the classic fairytale.
A history-heavy adaptation of "Cinderella," "Ever After" stars Drew Barrymore as Danielle de Barbarac, a girl in 1500s France who must work as a servant to her stepmother and stepsisters. Although similar to classic tellings of "Cinderella" in some ways, this film stands out because of its emphasis on history. Throughout the film, viewers see frequent references to real people and events from the past, such as the Brothers Grimm, Leonardo da Vinci, and the French Revolution. In addition, Danielle seems to be a bit more well-defined and empowered than past Cinderellas. She's depicted as an intelligent, proactive, powerful heroine as opposed to a passive participant who is perhaps waiting for a prince to track her down and save her from a bad situation. Most notably, this retelling is devoid of any magic, helping it to feel more like historical fiction and less like a fairy tale. "A Cinderella Story" (2004) centered around a high-school girl who loses a cell phone instead of a glass slipper.
Starring Hilary Duff as the main character, Sam Montgomery, "A Cinderella Story" takes common themes from the 1950 animated film but changes many details to make the story more modern. Instead of working as a maid or servant in her stepmother's house, Sam works as a waitress in a diner, which once belonged to her father but now belongs to her stepother, so she can save money for college. Notably, she's also a straight-A student who is determined to attend college, which helps viewers develop a sense of her goals and intelligence. An added layer to this adaptation is that Sam has a secret connection to her "Prince Charming" long before they meet on the dance floor. Throughout the movie, Sam frequently confides in an online pen pal, who later turns out to be Austin Ames, a popular football player who ends up being her "prince" in the film. In terms of a fairy godmother, "A Cinderella Story" cuts out the magic and instead features Sam's coworker, Rhonda, in this somewhat motherly role. In true fairy-godmother fashion, Rhonda lends Sam her old wedding gown to help the high-schooler prepare for the homecoming masquerade dance (which replaces the ball seen in previous movies). Sam ends up having a romantic time with Austin at the dance, but when she has to rush off to make it back to the diner by midnight, she drops her cell phone instead of a glass slipper. Like other versions, Austin goes on a hunt to find his "Cinderella" by using the item she left behind. Unlike other adaptations, "A Cinderella Story" doesn't end with a wedding — instead, the happy couple ends up going to college together. 2004's "Ella Enchanted" is a more fantasy-based retelling of "Cinderella."
Although most "Cinderella" adaptations feature the main character in some form of servitude to their stepfamily, "Ella Enchanted" takes it one step further — the protagonist, Ella, is under a spell that forces her to obey every command she is given. The film primarily follows Ella, played by Anne Hathaway, on her mission to find her fairy godmother and have her undo this spell. The journey results in her meeting a collection of mystical characters that no other retelling of "Cinderella" seems to have — ogres, elves, and giants, to name a few. That said, there's still a love story at the core of the film — Ella falls for Prince Charmont — and she does attend a ball, but there are still major differences from other popular adaptations. For example, in the end, Ella is a bit of a heroine when she saves the prince from being poisoned; Past films haven't really seen Cinderella in a hero role. Plus, this film features a variety of modern songs, such as Queen's "Somebody to Love," instead of an original score. "Another Cinderella Story" is a 2008 time capsule, with a portable music player replacing the iconic glass slipper.
Another modern retelling of "Cinderella," this version stars Selena Gomez as Mary Santiago, a high-school student with dreams of being a dancer. From the very beginning, Mary's situation is different from what we've seen before — she is forced to live with her cruel legal guardian (not a stepfamily) after the death of her mother (not her father). In the film, Mary falls for Joey Parker, a famous pop star who comes back to his high school to reconnect with his roots. Mary later has a romantic encounter with Joey at the school dance and she is also wearing a masquerade mask, as we saw in "A Cinderella Story." She then runs off to meet a curfew, leaving behind only her Zune (a now-defunct portable music player that was popular in the 2000s) for Joey to use as a clue to find her. In this adaptation, Cinderella's dress is vastly different from all others. It's short, bright red, and is accented with long black gloves. This film doesn't feature any magic, either. The fairy godmother role is taken on by Mary's best (and only) friend in the movie, who helps her prepare for the big dance. The 2015 live-action remake of "Cinderella" is extremely similar to the animated version from 1950.
Kenneth Branagh's 2015 adaptation was produced by Disney as part of the company's string of live-action remakes of animated classics, so it's not surprising that the film stays true to the original version. For starters, many key details from the 1950 movie are present in this one — Cinderella (who goes by Ella), played by Lily James, is once again blonde and wearing the iconic blue gown. Magic is highly involved in the film's plot, and this retelling also features classic imagery like the pumpkin turning into the carriage and Cinderella's transformation from rags to ballgown. This film does differentiate itself from the animated version by providing more backstory regarding Ella's absent parents. The movie also throws in the twist that the prince, whose name is Kit, is hiding within his own line of guards as they go from house to house looking for the girl who fits into the glass slipper. Camilla Cabello's upcoming "Cinderella" remake will be a "new, more empowered version" of the fairytale we all know and love.
In April, it was announced that Grammy-nominated pop singer Camila Cabello will star as the titular character in an upcoming "modern reimagining" of "Cinderella." Set to be released in 2021, the film's plot has largely been kept under wraps. Although the details of the film aren't yet available, it's safe to assume that this version of the classic fairytale will surely stand out from past "Cinderella" remakes, as it features a Cuban-American lead as Cinderella and is set in modern times. In addition, Cabello is reportedly very involved in the discography of the film, which could mean the film will have a soundtrack that is more pop-centric than what we've heard in previous "Cinderella" adaptations. Read More: Popular 'Cinderella' adaptations, ranked from worst to best 15 of the best high school movies of all time 14 of Melissa McCarthy's best movies of all time Every Halloween-themed Disney Channel original movie, ranked by audiences