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Walt Disney's timeless masterpiece is an extravaganza of sight and sound! See the music come to life, hear the pictures burst into song and experience the excitement that is Fantasia over and over again.

Release Date:November 13, 1940
MPAA Rating:G
Genres:Animation, Family, Music
Production Co.:Walt Disney Pictures
Production Countries:United States of America
Director:Samuel Armstrong, James Algar, William Roberts, Paul Satterfield, Hamilton Luske, Jim Handley, Ford Beebe, T. Hee, Norman Ferguson, Wilfred Jackson, Ben Sharpsteen, David Hand
Casts:, ,
Plot Keywords:orchestra, classical music, musical segments
Alternative Titles:
  • Walt Disney's Fantasia - [US]
  • Fantajia - [JP]
  • Fantazija - [RS]
  • The Concert Feature - [US]
  • Highbrowski by Stokowski - [US]
  • Bach to Stravinsky and Bach - [US]

Fantasia Reviews

  • Fantastic
    by Spleen on 23 July 1999

    59 out of 63 people found the following review useful:

    There cannot be one verdict on "Fantasia". There must be eight: one for each of the seven segments, and an eighth for the film as a whole - for, varied though the seven segments are, they undeniably belong together. And, alas, space does not permit me to lay out all eight verdicts. I shall have to confine myself to details representative of the whole. At any rate, I shall try.

    We learn the modus operandi of "Fantasia", the linking theme, in the second segment - an abridged version of Tchaikovsky's "Nutcracker" suite. (Missing are the overture and the march.) Tchaikovsky's ballet involves anthropomorphising inanimate things, plus the odd tiny animal. So does Disney's "Nutcracker". But Disney has thrown out the particular details. The Chinese Dance is danced by mushrooms (who look, but are not, Chinese); the Arabian Dance by "Arabian" goldfish; the Russian dance by "Russian" thistles and orchids. Sometimes it goes further: "Waltz of the Flowers" shows two entire changes of seasons, with leaves, fairies, seed pods, seeds, snowflakes - everything but flowers. But in ignoring the letter of the instructions Disney is perfectly true to the spirit. Indeed he is more true to the spirit than the original ballet - for, let's face it: stage ballet is a degenerate and over-formalised art, which makes some of the world's most exciting music dull as wallpaper. Disney's amazing images express Tchaikovsky's sense of motion more than earthbound dancers ever could. This, one feels, is the kind of thing ballet music was TRULY designed for. The same goes to a lesser extent for the other two pieces of ballet music on the program.

    This basic device - ignoring explicit instructions, but remaining true to the spirit - is carried through into every segment. (Some segments are better than others, but none can be called a failure.) Dukas's "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" has been turned into a Mickey Mouse cartoon - but it's the best Mickey Mouse cartoon ever made; and we realise that the story of the Sorcerer's Apprentice is really the archetype that all of the best Mickey Mouse cartoons had been reaching towards, all along. The Pastoral Symphony adheres to Beethoven's program but moves everything from the woods of Central Europe to a dreamland from classical mythology. (The second movement - the section with the courting centaurs - is a failure. For once the spirit as well as the letter of Beethoven is ignored. Unfortunately some critics cannot see beyond this movement to the superb interpretations that flank it on either side.)

    I doubt that so much genuine creative work has gone into a film, before or since - even if you don't count the contributions made by the composers. What's my favourite film? I really don't know. But if you tell me that I must sit in a large dark cinema for two hours; and ask me what I would like to occupy my eyes and ears over those two hours, I would answer, without hesitation, Fantasia.

  • A Truly Unique Experience
    by JoshyR on 26 December 1999

    48 out of 53 people found the following review useful:

    This is one of the truly rare, one of a kind movie going experiences, kind of in the same league as watching 2001: A Space Odyssey. I like to watch this film repeatedly; often times I'll just close my eyes and daydream, letting my own imagination go in place of whats on the screen. My favorite part is the opening sequence, with its dramatic music and free flowing imagery foreshadowing the state of the world in 1940. The end of Ave Maria is the perfect bookend to this masterpiece; death has withdrawn and peace has finally arrived. It would, but not for another five years and millions of lives. I can never watch this movie without seeing it in this context; for me its a work of art, both a part and ahead of its time.

  • Best Animated Film Ever
    by GeneralB on 17 November 1999

    48 out of 66 people found the following review useful:

    This without a doubt the greatest animated film in history. While highly acclaimed and well-known today, it was not terribly popular when it was first released. The idea of "Fantasia" is to take great pieces of music and draw animated sequences that match them. In doing so, it reverses the purpose of a movie's score; the movie serves and matches the music, not the other way around. This set up also means that there is no typical formula plot that is present in the vast majority of movies. In the first piece, the animation is vague and abstract, but in later ones it is of definite actions, objects, and stories. The two most famous(and my favorite) parts are probably "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" and "Rite of Spring". "Fantasia" is not only the best animated film ever made, but one of the greatest films period.

  • A Classic
    by MovieAddict2016 on 5 December 2002

    36 out of 49 people found the following review useful:

    Disney's "Fantasia" is a pure classic.

    What we are shown are a few animated musicals, filled with grand splendor and vivid colors.

    "Fantasia" is one of those films that everyone knows by heart, and has watched since being a child.

    My personal favorite was always the Mickey Mouse short - one of the darkest Mickey cartoons I've ever seen.

    If you haven't seen "Fantasia" yet, then you must be from another planet. It is one of the best Disney musicals ever, which some push aside and forget too easily.

    5/5 stars-

    John Ulmer

  • Unusual & Very Creative
    by Snow Leopard on 5 November 2004

    19 out of 22 people found the following review useful:

    This unusual and very creative classic of animation combines a very interesting idea with quite a bit of imagination, plus visual effects that still hold up quite well. All but a couple of the sequences are quite enjoyable, and some especially so. Even the segments that don't work as well are usually at least interesting, since you can at least appreciate what they were trying to accomplish.

    You don't really have to be all that familiar with the specific pieces of music for it to be worthwhile, since in several cases they chose to match the music with material that is rather different in nature from any original context that it may have had. And in any case, the animated sequences are intended to provide the context, in terms of the movie.

    No doubt, everyone will have his or her own favorite segments, based on the music itself and on the choice of accompanying visual material. The "Sorcerer's Apprentice" sequence, with Mickey Mouse, is certainly one of the most memorable. The adaptation of "The Rite of Spring" is quite imaginative in using an entirely different setting for the music. "Night on Bald Mountain" has striking and sometimes bizarre visuals.

    Many of the classic Disney features still hold up well as family entertainment, but "Fantasia" is unique for its combination of imaginative concept and visual creativity. Not every minute of it works, but that's the price of being willing to experiment. It's an enjoyable and satisfying feature that well deserves to be remembered.

  • The Mousetro's greatest achievement. Fantasia WILL amaze ya. (Possible SPOILERS.)
    by Akbar Shahzad (rapt0r_claw-1) on 20 July 2004

    15 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

    Fantasia is the most amazing animated movie I have ever seen. It may not have the humor of Finding Nemo, nor the simple message of Dumbo. It's so different from anything else the House of Mouse ever created. But it may well be the best.

    It's a collection of short subjects with little or no plot, but what makes the compilation unique is that it's all matched to classical music, beautifully conducted by Leopold Stokowski, and bridged by live-action footage of the silhouettes of an orchestra, narrated by Deems Taylor. Besides these sequences, there isn't a word of dialog.

    Toccata and Fugue in D Minor: This is nothing but an abstract piece of animation. You see the strings of the cello, the violin, and lots of stripes and shapes that leave trails of color in their wake. Magnificently matched to the music. There's not really that much to explain, just images.

    The Nutcracker Suite: An ode to nature based on Tchaikowsky's six dances. Each dance is performed by the most unlikely dancers. Fairies, goldfish, thistles and many more perform the dances, but best of all is Art Babbit's Chinese Dance sequence, with mushrooms. The highlight of the sequence is Hob Low, a little mushroom who seems to lag behind the rest of the impeccable act. Brilliantly animated by Babbit, one of the best sequences in the movie.

    The Sorcerer's Apprentice: An old story starring Mickey Mouse and the intimidating wizard Yen Sid (guess what that spells backwards!), matched to Dukas' symphony. This is without a doubt MM's greatest performance. The animation, especially Ugo O'Dorsi's brilliant effects, is impeccable. Funny and dramatic at the same time, everyone who's ever heard of Mickey Mouse should see The Sorcerer's Apprentice.

    The Rite of Spring: Igor Stravinsky's Le Sacre was originally meant to signify prehistory, but Disney has taken it much further than a series of old tribal dances. The Rite of Spring starts out at the dawn of the planet, zooming in on our tormented home, spewing lava and rocks. Powerful scenes of the elements that ran amok, without utilizing computers at all (well, they hadn't been invented yet). Then, we skip to the beginnings of life, from the life and death struggle of big bacterium vs. little bacterium. Skip to the dinosaurs, and the constant tyranny of the tyrannosaurus. Many powerful dramatic scenes, beautifully set to the music, until desertification, starvation, a tidal wave and an earthquake wipes out the dinosaurs. Marvelous. One of the best shorts in animation history.

    The Pastoral Symphony: Ludwig Van Beethoven's masterpiece, instead of portraying the countryside, takes place in a mythological setting. From Pegasus' family, and the adventures of the little black Baby Pegasus. Next movement revolves around the attempts of a bunch of butt-naked baby cupids trying to bring together single centaurs and centaurettes. Next, the exploits of the amorous and extremely drunk Bacchus and Jacchus, who join in the centaurs' wine-making. But all is interrupted by Zeus, who chucks lightning bolts at the lot till he's bored. Next movement, and order is restored, the sun sets, and Diana fires a comet into the sky. Wonderfully animated, and perfectly matched to great music.

    The Dance of the Hours: Ostriches, elephants, hippos and alligators dance to Ponchielli's ballet, in a nobleman's castle, revolving around the leader of the gators, Ben Ali Gator's crush on Hyacinth Hippo. Beautifully animated, wonderful comic relief amidst a storm of serious art. It would've been just as successful as a short cartoon. Hilarious!

    A Night On Bald Mountain and Ave Maria: One word: Chernabog. You have to see it to believe it. IS Bald Mountain REALLY a mountain? No, it's the crouching figure of Chernabog, a demon who calls all manner of grotesque, undead, and demonic things to himself, and tortures them in a hellish manner, disposing of them at will. Absolutely terrifying cacodemonic animation coupled with Moussorgsky's dramatic, intimidating score. But as dawn approaches, torch-bearing pilgrims, and Schubert's Ave Maria in the background, subdue Chernabog and the demons, and they return to the Underworld as a masterpiece ends. Vladimir Tytla is the only man who could possible have pulled off this dramatic, spell bindingly horrific sequence. The best piece of animation ever.

    Fantasia is something special. Music, comedy, and unadulterated evil. That's a strange mixture. But two hours of these elements come together to make what may be the best movie ever. Fantasia will amaze ya.


  • My Favorite Disney Movie
    by genidiot on 29 December 1999

    16 out of 22 people found the following review useful:

    I love it! Fantasia ranks as #1 on the list of best Disney movies for a few reasons, Here they are:

    MUSIC Great music from start to finish. Night on Bald Mountain and Nutcracker are beautifully made. The way the music enhances the movie to near perfection is absolutely astounding. GOOD STUFF HERE!

    ANIMATION The best. Not a bunch of computers like "Tarzan" and "Hercules." Artwork that is very detailed. Pictures that are unforgettable. Each animation frame belongs in a museum.

    CHARACTERS Their silent yet better developed than the ones that speak. Why? No annoying voices. No patheticly corny speech. Hey, I can relate to the dinosaurs, demons, and flowers better than Aladdin or Belle.

    Well Enough Said. ****1/2

  • Classic animation
    by Rob Little on 10 April 2003

    18 out of 26 people found the following review useful:

    I've recently bought the Silly Symphonies DVD. My daughter Sarah and I have watched one cartoon every day, culminating in Fantasia. We didn't watch it all at once, but spread it over the course of a week (I tend to agree with other comments - it's too much for kids in one viewing). She sat on my lap and loved every minute of it, even 'Night on Bald Mountain'. I must admit I hadn't watched it for years and forgot about this section, but she wasn't scared by it. This is surprising when you consider the spider in 'Mother Goose Melodies' frightened her!

    In my opinion Fantasia is the ultimate Silly Symphony. It's obvious all the groundwork for the film came from them, which is why it's so good - the artists had ten years to hone and perfect their skills while Walt Disney had the vision to realise it. I wonder if he had thought of it a decade earlier and waited until the right moment to create it...? It's a real shame he never lived to see its success because he deserved to.

    It's hard to find the right words to surmise this film; I suppose I could break each section down and give my opinion as others have done, but as a whole - well, it's got good bits and bad bits; happy and sad bits, it's scary and funny and gloomy and sunny. It's spirited, colourful, sparkling, animated... but let's not get carried away here. It's only a film and some bits of it are quite boring.

    If you randomly wound through it you could find yourself watching any one of the above, and this to me sums it up - it's unique. What other film can you say that about?

    Fantasia is a light that will shine for generations to come. 9/10.

  • Fantasia!
    by Movie Nuttball on 24 June 2005

    24 out of 38 people found the following review useful:

    This is one of the most fantastic animated features of all time in My opinion! Being a huge fan of movie music scores and classical music this is such an extraordinary movie to watch and enjoy. My favorite pieces in the film is the Nutcracker Suite, Rite of Spring, and Night on Bald Mountain/Ave Maria. These are three of the greatest pieces of music ever written in My opinion! The animation is crisp, clean, and clear! In fact, this animation is arguably better then today and there hasn't been any animation like the Night on Bald Mountain since in my opinion! Disney did a fabulous achievement here! So if you love Disney, the new fantasia 2000 animated feature, animated films in general, movie scores, and classical music then I strongly recommend that you head over to today and purchase this great animated movie today!

  • Beautiful Combination of Classical Music and Animation
    by Claudio Carvalho on 30 November 2013

    10 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

    In 1940, Walt Disney released "Fantasia", the third feature of his studio and maybe his most ambitious project, with a beautiful combination of classical music conducted by Leopold Stokowski and animation. The result is a movie that has been worshiped by every generation.

    Yesterday I saw "Fantasia" again, now on the Special 60th Anniversary Edition DVD, restored and remastered with audio in THX inclusive with intermission. The program, for those that have eventually never seen or want to recall, is composed by the following:

    (1) Toccata and Fugue in D Minor by Johann Sebastian Bach.

    (2) Nutcracker Suite by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.

    (3) The Sorcerer's Apprentice by Paul Dukas.

    (4) Rite of Spring by Igor Stravinsky.

    (5) Intermission/Meet the Soundtrack.

    (6) The Pastoral Symphony by Ludwig van Beethoven.

    (7) Dance of the Hours by Amilcare Ponchielli.

    (8) Night on Bald Mountain by Modest Mussorgsky.

    (9) Ave Maria by Franz Schubert.

    My vote is eight.

    Title (Brazil): "Fantasia"

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