I’ve always known that Snow White was a popular fairytale but it wasn’t until thinking about how many Snow White adaptations of the story I’ve seen that I realized how popular. I’ve always loved the original fairytale of Snow White. It’s one of the richer wonder-tales filled with motifs like the deadly apple, a magic mirror, a huntsman and seven unlikely friends that aid Snow White. Happily, the story continues to be retold and retold, often with new and exciting twists that make us fall in love with the story all over again. Here are ten different Snow White adaptations from over the years!
10 Magical Snow White Adaptations
(in order of release dates)
#1 Betty Boop as Snow White (1933)
Snow White in a short dress and garter. A singing mirror. The queen transforming into a dragon monster. A royal guard singing St. James Infirmary Blues. Must be Betty Boop!
A seven-minute cartoon, this Betty Boop episode came out four years before Disney’s Snow White. The story here is somewhat manic and unusual, what with the queen turning into a dragon-like monster, a tree aiding Snow White’s escape from the guards, and all dialogue in song-form. Betty Boop is cute as always. And it’s very cool to see a pre-Disney Snow White.
#2 Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)
Snow White cheerfully slaves her life away working for her evil stepmother but when a huntsman takes her into the forest to kill her, Snow White will be forced to find new residence – with seven adorable dwarf miners. Will true love find her in time?
In the midst of all the Snow White adaptations, this is the one that started it all. As Disney’s first feature-length film, this movie is still a wonderful classic. The animation is beautiful and the music is just as catchy as the first time we all watched it. This one is always worth a re-watch and if you haven’t seen it, then definitely catch the version that started Disney as we know it.
#3 Snow White: Faerie Tale Theater (1984)
The evil queen practically worships her own beauty. Imagine her despair when she learns that Snow White is prettier! She sends the innocent girl the woods to be killed by the huntsman, but Snow’s tears move him to spare her. Snow White hides out in the woods with some friendly dwarves but will Snow truly escape her wicked step-mother’s hatred?
This is a recent watch of mine after learning about The Faerie Tale Theater, a children’s show that ran in the 1980s that retold fairytales every episode. This is very for-TV-fare with simple sets and soapy acting. Still it has a subtle childhood charm that makes it fun. It was cool to see a young Elizabeth McGovern (she would later play Cora Crawley in Downton Abbey) as Snow White. I liked how they had more of the original tale unlike many of the other Snow White adaptations – like Snow White getting choked by ribbons around her neck (hilariously downplayed since this a kid’s show). Overall, it was an easy, cutesy watch.
#4 Snow White (1987)
Snow White, the queen and the rest of the cast sing their way through the familiar fairytale story.
Back in the 80s, Cannon Films was an American-Israeli production that put out nine low-budget fairytale movies including Snow White. This is a fun version as it’s a musical; the songs are hit or miss but there are some catchy ones like More Beautiful Than Me sung by the evil queen or Every Day sung by Snow White.
#5 Snow White: Fairest of Them All (2001)
Snow White’s father, John, survives a terrible winter with his now motherless baby girl. A strange creature gives him three wishes which result in a kingdom and new wife. Little does John know that the strange creature’s daughter is now his wife…
Back in the day (pre-2005), ABC used to put out family-friendly TV movies. There were quite a few gems like The Music Man, Princess of Thieves, and Arabian Nights. Snow White was another fun TV movie starring Kristen Kreuk (Smallville). I always like it when a version attempts to add in some new twists and in this Snow White, her father is alive, which makes for an interesting take on the timeless story.
#6 Sydney White (2007)
Sydney White tries to join her mother’s old fraternity at college, the KAPAs, only to be thrown out and left to live with seven nerds in a broken down college house called the Vortex.
I watched this movie last year after watching Amanda Bynes in She’s the Man. Both films have a lot of similarities including the heroine being played by the adorable Amanda Bynes. The film does bring in the memorable motifs found in the Snow White fairytale, however, I felt this was one of Amanda Bynes’ more lackluster films. There’s not much originality in the story and it’s brimming with boring stereotypes. Still there aren’t many modern version of Snow White, so if you like Amanda’s type of teen comedy plus Snow White, this movie can be an easy two hours.
#7 Mirror, Mirror (2012)
When Snow White catches the eye of a handsome prince, the evil queen has her abandoned in the forest to die. Snow White makes an alliance with seven robber dwarfs and decides to take back her kingdom.
My favorite adaptation, Mirror, Mirror was an unexpected surprise! I watched this movie with very little expectations only to find it hilarious and quite adorable. This version adds a lot of humor and quirkiness, which somehow melds into a funny, sweet fairytale. This is also a beautifully shot movie with great costumes and scenery. Plus, Armie Hammer plays my favorite version of Snow White’s True Love: Prince Alcott.
#8 Snow White and the Huntsman (2012)
Snow White escapes the clutches of evil Queen Ravenna but the forests ahead of her prove dangerous and a huntsman is on her tail. Snow White forges an unlikely friendship with the huntsman, but will it be enough to take back her castle from Ravenna?
Even though Snow White and the Huntsman didn’t do well critically, I think visually it’s the most gorgeous of the Snow White adaptations as well as a fascinating remake of the age-old story. What this movie did best was capture the utter beauty of a fairy-tale; the costumes, scenery, sets, and magical elements are all spell-binding. The queen (Charlize Theron) is stunning as she is frightening. I enjoyed their take on their story with the queen’s need to drain the life-force of young women to keep her youth and giving the Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) a larger role. The story feels devoid of emotion at times, perhaps because of the very aloof Snow White who rarely lets the audience into her head. Still, this is a movie that’s easy to enjoy for its beauty and lush retelling.
#9 Snow White With The Red Hair anime (2015-2016)
Shirayuki (Japanese for white-snow) has unusual hair as crimson as a ripe apple. Her beauty attracts the unwanted attention of the prince, who demands she be his mistress. Shirayuki runs away to a neighboring country where she meets a handsome young man who changes everything…
With 2 seasons (24 episodes) that finished airing in 2016, this is a very current Snow White story. While several of the original motifs make it in the first episode, this story does stray off the beaten path with Shirayuki working as an herbalist who makes herself a new life in a fairy-tale kingdom. The animation is really gorgeous and dreamy delivering a very sweet story of love and adventure. Though I haven’t seen all of this anime, my sister has and loves it. I’ve seen TV-14 ratings assigned to the show and while the content may have subtle implications (like the evil prince wanting Shiyrayuki to be his mistress, etc), my sister attests that the show is very clean and sweet.
#10 Once Upon A Time (2011-present)
Emma Swan shows up in Storybrooke, Maine after the son she gave up for adoption comes looking for her. If she’s to believe Henry’s fantasies, then everyone in Storybrooke was a fairytale character in a former life…
If you know anything about the Once Upon A Time TV Show then you know the story of Snow White is a huge part of the central story. Starring Ginnifer Goodwin as Snow White and Josh Dallas as Prince Charming, this show totally gets my vote for best Snow White character/story. Ginnifer and Josh are just fabulous on-screen and effortlessly sell fairytale charm. What’s awesome about this show is how many fairytale stories/characters are incorporated, weaving together a wonderful and memorable twist on the classic tales.
I’d love to hear if you’ve seen and liked (or disliked!) any of these Snow White adaptations. Or if you’ve watched another adaptation I haven’t!Want to help us spread the popularity of Romance in Entertainment? Share this article with your friends!