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Brothers Grimm: Why Disney is the master of adapting their stories

The stories by the Brothers Grimm have become part of our collective cultural knowledge and so, of course, some of the most famous have been turned into movies.

By Staff writer / December 20, 2012

One 'Grimm's Fairy Tales' adaptation that made it to the big screen was 'Tangled,' which featured Zachary Levi and Mandy Moore voicing the main characters.

Disney/AP

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It's bound to happen in Hollywood: Anything that we love as a culture is destined to end up on the movie screen sooner or later.

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Staff writer

Molly Driscoll is a Books and the Culture staff writer.

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"Grimm's Fairy Tales" are no exception. Written by brothers Jacob and Wilhelm, many stories by the brothers were first published in a collection in 1812, and since then, the tales have become an inextricable part of our culture. While some adaptations of the stories have fallen flat (2011's "Red Riding Hood," starring Amanda Seyfried, comes to mind), others have taken on a life of their own as films, and some of the best were adapted by Disney into animated features. Here are a few of the studio's best efforts.

--"Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," 1937

Disney's first-ever animated movie is still hailed as a technical masterpiece today because of the sophisticated methods used to produce the story of the fairest one of all. While the emphasis on Snow White's beauty may be a bit much today, the movie is still beautiful to look at, and the dwarves are always fun, especially the surly Grumpy who's finally thawed by Snow White's friendship.

--"Cinderella," 1950

This adaptation, also by Disney, follows the little cinder girl who works for her stepmother and two stepsisters but finally gets to go to the ball when her fairy grandmother grants her wishes. The film also has some gorgeous music like the song "So This Is Love."

--"Tangled," 2010

"Tangled" strays a little far afield from its traditional tale of "Rapunzel," but the twists all work. Rapunzel is kept captive in a tower by a witch as usual, but this time, a thief on the run named Flynn Rider strays into her tower when he's trying to escape some palace guards. Flynn helps Rapunzel get out of the tower and the mismatched pair encounter danger on the road and learn the truth of Rapunzel's parentage.

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