Beauty and the Beast is a traditional French fairy tale by Jeanne-Marie Le Prince de Beaumont. His version was based on earlier folktales. There have been numerous versions of the tale down through the years, but they almost all follow the same essential story. American audiences know the tale best as a 1991 American animated musical romantic fantasy film Beauty and the Beast produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation and released by Walt Disney Pictures. That film also generated several television series in its wake.
Beauty and the Beast is the 30th film in the Walt Disney Animated Classics series and came at the beginning of the Disney Renaissance. It was the third in the Disney Renaissance period. Beauty and the Beast Stars Paige O'Hara and Robby Benson as the voices of Beauty and the Beast, respectively.
The fairy tale and the movie are both about the relationship between the Beast (Benson), a prince who is was cursed to become a monster as punishment for a thoughtless act, and Belle (O'Hara), a young woman who innocently visits and whom he imprisons in his castle.
Other top Hollywood names voiced other characters in the animated feature film: Richard White, Jerry Orbach, David Ogden Stiers, and Angela Lansbury.
Beauty and the Beast was turned into a major Broadway show in the 1990s, starring luminaries such as Debbie Gibson in the lead role as Belle. As a musical, Beauty and the Beast was exceptional: the Alan Menken and Howard Ashman's song "Beauty and the Beast" won the Academy Award for Best Original Song, while Menken's score won the award for Best Original Score.