Never has a party snub had such dire consequences.
Director: Clyde Geronimi
Best quote: ‘Now you shall deal with me, O prince, and all the powers of hell!’
Defining moment: Evil fairy Maleficent turns herself into a fire-breathing dragon and goes to battle.
In the Disney villainesses hall of fame, Maleficent ranks up there with Cruella De Vil. The self-proclaimed ‘mistress of all evil’, Maleficent is the badass fairy who casts a spell on Aurora at birth, causing the princess to prick her finger on a spinning wheel and die before her 16th birthday. Why? All because the king left her off the guest list at Aurora’s christening.
After nearly a decade of preparation, Walt Disney wanted ‘Sleeping Beauty’ to stand out from existing princess-led fairy tales ‘Snow White’ and ‘Cinderella’, and so it does. Inspired by medieval art and tapestries, this is Disney at its most wow-worthy, best of all in the lurid scenes at Maleficent’s lair.
‘Sleeping Beauty’ marked the end of an era – it was the final animation overseen directly by Walt himself, now busy building theme parks and making TV. That said, rebellious, feisty Aurora also harkens to the sparky princesses of Disney future, even if she’s muscled into a supporting-actress slot by a certain scene-stealing bad fairy. Cath Clarke