The Evolution of Beauty and the Beast
Tale as Old as Time
In this timeline from Entertainment Weekly's Ultimate Guide to Beauty and the Beast, on sale now, we trace the enduring yarn of the captive maiden and her monster-man from its origins to this year's live-action movie.
1740 – The Novel
Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve publishes La Belle et la Béte, the first known written version. In this telling, the cursed prince is a béte in both senses of the French word: He's a beast who's also dumb.
1756 – The Shorter Novel
Jeanne-Marie Le Prince de Beaumont republishes an abridged variation of de Villeneuve's narrative, eliminating much of the Beast's backstory and simplifying the plot. It's a hit, though she gives no credit to de Villeneuve. Tsk-tsk.
1946 – An Early Movie
French avant-garde artist, writer and filmmaker Jean Cocteau releases the moody, taciturn La Belle et la Béte, starring Josette Day and Jean Marais. Roger Ebert later called it "one of the most magical of all films."
1952 – A Soviet Cartoon
Based on the Russian story by Sergey Aksakov, the animated short The Scarlet Flower takes a different approach, focusing on a father of three daughters who is thrown overboard during a storm and washes up on a monster's island.
1962 – An American Film
The first English-language live-action screen adaptation comes from B-movie director Edward L. Cahn, whose lasting claim to fame is 1958's It! The Terror from Beyond Space. Mark Damon stars as the melodramatic prince who's only beastly part-time, transforming, like a werewolf, each night after the sun goes down. Aaaaaaooooooo!
1983 – Stevie Nicks' Song
The singer includes "Beauty and the Beast" on her album The Wild Heart. Nicks has shown footage of the Cocteau movie while performing the tune in concert.
1984 – Kitschy Cult TV
1987 – The Story...In Song
1987 – The Modern-Day TV Series
Belle in the Big Apple: Linda Hamilton is a Manhattan lawyer whose life is transformed when a nobleman-beast named Vincent (Ron Perlman) rescues her from an attack. The cult show, which still boasts a vocal fandom, ran for three seasons. (Fun fact: Game of Thrones' George R.R. Martin served as a writer.)
1991 – The Certified Classic
Bonjour! Disney releases its animated musical, a box office and critical smash that makes history with a Best Picture Oscar nomination.
1993 – A Howler of a Music Video
The Michael Bay-directed clip for Meat Loaf's "I'd Do Anything for Love (But I Won't Do That)" features the musician emoting as the Beast in a haunted castle — plus a hammy scene of him running from the police and plowing his motorcycle through a wall. Badass.
1994 – The Broadway Show
Disney unexpectedly takes the Great White Way by storm with a stage adaptation of its animated film, which paves the way for future Mouse House adaptations including The Lion King and Aladdin.
2009 – An Attempt at Horror
Belle (Estella Warren) and the Beast (Victor Parascos) team up to hunt a killer terrorizing a village in this schlocky rendition. Perfect if you like your stories with as much blood, camp and cleavage as possible.
2011 – A Teen-Targeted Series
The classic story gets a YA update with Beastly, introducing star-crossed New York City high schoolers Kyle (Alex Pettyfer) and Lindy (Vanessa Hudgens). Mary-Kate Olsen is the witch who curses Kyle to a year of baldness and bad face tattoos. Way harsh.
2011 – The Meta TV Hit
The ABC series Once Upon a Time premieres, with Belle played by Emilie de Ravin. The Beast is (spoiler!) Robert Carlyle's Rumpelstiltskin. In a later season the pair re-create the 1991 film's ballroom dance, yellow dress and all.
2012 – A Government Conspiracy TV Series
Loosely based on the 1987 show, the CW series Beauty & the Beast lasts four seasons and stars Kristin Kreuk and Jay Ryan. She's a sexy detective; he's a supersoldier who's been manipulated by a secret government organization and whose only disfigurement is a single scar on his cheek.
2014 – Un Nouveau Film
Directed and cowritten by Christophe Gans, La Belle et la Béte returns to its French roots and stars Léa Seydoux and Vincent Cassel.
2017 – Disney's Live-Action Remake
Director Bill Condon tries his hand at another version, with an assist from Emma Watson and Dan Stevens as the mismatched pair.
Be Our Guest
Entertainment Weekly’s The Ultimate Guide to Beauty and The Beast, featuring the casts and creators of the new film and the animated classic, is on sale now.