#34 Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

“Now, a formula to transform my beauty into ugliness. Change my queenly rainment to a peddler’s cloak. Mummy dust, to make me old. To shroud my clothes, the black of night. To age my voice, and old hag’s cackle. To whiten my hair, a scream of fright. A blast of wind to fan my hate. A thunderbolt to mix it well. Now, begin thy magic spell.” 
The Queen 

Coming in at number thirty-four on the American Film Institute’s list is Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

This film likely mad this list due to its innovation, rather than what is actually seen on the screen.  It is a pleasant enough movie, but rarely will any one marvel at this film.

The reason that is so loved though is simple: It is the first feature length animated American film.

Walt Disney was the first American to take a chance, invest money, and emerge victorious with a feature length set on animated prints.  And the result was a film that changed Hollywood forever.

Apart from being the first feature length American animated film, it is also the first film ever to have an accompanying soundtrack sold.

It was called the folly of Walt Disney, and it ended up being one of the most significant accomplishments in film history.  But all this is of screen accomplishments.  As far as what is produced on screen goes, this film falls short of some of Disney’s animated features that follow it.

Bambi, Dumbo, and Pinocchio are all better examples of what the animated genre is capable of accomplishing.  Each contains a more sophisticated story, better story telling, and superior animation to Snow White.  Still though, it would seem wrong inclding any animated film higher on the list than this one.

At the end of the day, Jimi Hendrix will always beat out Joe Satriani on people’s lists of greatest guitarists of all time, and Snow White will always top list of animated features for one simple reason: you never forget your first.

Sure Snow White may not be Disney’s best film, In my opinion it isn’t even in the top five, but, its contribution to the film industry cannot be overvalued.  As much as The Jazz Singer spawned “The talkie,” Citizen Kane allowed others to experiment with depth of field, and Toy Story ushered in computer animation, Snow White was, and is, a game changer, and for that it deserves accolade.

Let’s just hope eighty years from now people aren’t talking about how Avatar revolutionized the 3D film that has become so prevalent in society.

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