Top 5: Classic Tales Too Inappropriate to be a Disney Animated Feature

Since 1937, Disney has been churning out animated feature films based on classic novels, fairy tales, history, and folklore. They “Disneyfied” some stories to be appropriate and considered as family entertainment. Let’s face it, almost anything from the Grimm fairytales could scare any 5 year old, but Disney made them fun, silly, and cute. They’ve touched a bit of everything in the world of classic tales, but there are some classics that Disney can’t even mess with. There is just no way that some things can become Disney. So that’s where we are today. The Top 5 classic novels too inappropriate to be Disney animated features….and here they are.


#5-Rumplestiltskin. We’ve seen him in the hit ABC show Once Upon a Time and his a great character for the show. He is the deal maker and probably of the Grimm fairy tales, the most adult of all the tales. A woman that lies to a king is set to be killed unless she can turn straw into gold. She makes a deal with Rumplestiltskin which eventually leads to her giving up her first born child in a pact. In no way or fashion can Disney spin this tale into something of positive meaning. Making deals based on lies you’ve told can only end with lawsuits for Disney. I guess Rumple will only have is glory in Once Upon a Time.

#4-Anything by Edgar Allen Poe. The epitome of Gothic Literature is a figure most of us are familiar with. We read his stories and poems in school and we’ve seen some of his work inspire film makers like Tim Burton. The material he has created however usually ends in tragedy. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is an exception in a long list of happy ending Disney films, but to turn Poe’s work of insanity and homicide into a classic Disney film would probably ruin the childhood of every young boy and girl that saw it.

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#3-Faust. Speaking of making deals. Like Rumplestiltskin, Faust is a tale of making deals, but this one is about making a deal with the devil. Not only does it involve Satan himself, but it is less about escaping oppression and more about owning things and gaining knowledge. In short, this story is about being materialistic and doing anything to get there. Disney couldn’t spin this into anything more than a 1980s drama about girls who shop too much. Faust is a play that showcases what happens when you want materials, which I guess can be a good lesson to learn, but by involving the protagonists death and religion, Disney has to leave this one behind.

#2-The Scarlett Letter. Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel is probably his best work and certainly ranking high in classic American tales., but it’s themes are so risque that it puts the Hunchback of Notre Dame to shame in terms of political and religious views. Playing off of the themes of Adultery, guilt, regret, and sin, The Scarlet Letter really had to of pushed the boundaries in the mid-1800s. It’s a brave and bold novel about serious adult subjects. In no way is this a story fit for children or family viewings. It’s been adapted into teen and adult dramas and comedies for a reason. We will have to keep this one out of the hands of children.

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#1-Dante’s Inferno. I’ve read Dante’s Inferno several times. I really took note of it in a Masterpieces of Literature class during college where I studied it’s teachings and what it represented in it’s day or publication while also seeing what it meant in modern day. It’s the most famous part of three books written as the Divine Comedy, Inferno is so religious and deranged and off the charts offensive that it could never never ever be a Disney film. We’ve seen some demonic places and characters in Disney films, but the journey of one man into the nine circles of hell to save a soul is not a film any family is going to sit down and watch. Are there lessons that children could potentially take away from this? Yes…but the imagery alone of lust, treason, treachery, glutton, and so on is so foul and crude and horrible that Disney can not change this story into anything better.

Got any other tales too inappropriate? Leave your thoughts and comments below!

Josh Taylor


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Posted on August 30, 2013, in Articles and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. “Rumplestiltskin” doesn’t seem that bad to make. Actually, I’ve heard rumors that Disney is working on a film based on it; I’m not sure whether it was animated or live-action though.

    I really would like to see Disney or any animated company tackle a good animated adaptation of “Moby Dick” though.

  2. Rumplestiltskin on Once Upon A Time is amazing, probably my favorite character in the whole show (which is saying something, they have a great cast.) But I agree, there’s no way to shed positive light on selling your firstborn child. And as far as Dante’s Inferno goes, yeah, there’s no way that could ever be made a children’s story.

    I kind of wish Disney would do a rendition of The Princess and the Pea, though. It surprises me they haven’t yet! I’m just looking forward to Frozen in November.

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