11 Beauty and the Beast TV Shows and Movies For the Romantic in All of Us
It’s like the song says: “It’s the tale as old as time, song as old as rhyme: Beauty and the Beast.” “Beauty and the Beast” is a classic folk tale thats origins stretch back to 4,000 years ago, and it’s no surprise that it’s continued to inspire artists throughout the years.
Probably the best known adaptation is Disney’s 1991 “Beauty and the Beast,” which features a classic soundtrack with songs by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman. Their iconic songs include “Belle,” “Gaston,” “Something There,” “Be Our Guest,” and, of course, the titular “Beauty and the Beast.” It became the first animated movie to ever be nominated for best picture at the Academy Awards. It was adapted into a hit Broadway musical, had three direct-to-video sequels, and inspired both the 2017 live-action film and the 2022 30th anniversary special.
But Disney doesn’t have a monopoly on the story of Beauty and the Beast. There have been numerous live-action adaptations, including quite a few that moved the classic tale to a more modern setting. In 2022, the Japanese animated film “Belle” set the tale in sci-fi future where the two destined lovers connect inside a virtual universe.
Ahead, we rounded up 11 Beauty and the Beast movies and TV shows.
"Beauty and the Beast" (1991 Film)
The most famous adaptation of them all is of course the 1991 Disney classic “Beauty and the Beast.” Belle is a beautiful bookworm who hopes that there’s more than the French provincial life expected of her, including marrying the conceited town hunk, Gaston. When her father goes missing, Belle ventures to find him and stumbles into an adventure right out of one of her favorite books. Belle finds her father locked away in a cursed castle and promises to stay with its master, the Beast, in exchange for his release. She accepts her new circumstances and befriends Lumiere, Cogsworth, Chip, and Mrs. Potts, housestaff-turned-household-objects. As she gets to know the Beast, she uncovers the truth behind his curse . . . and learns she may be just the person to break it.
"Beauty and the Beast: A 30th Celebration" (2022 TV Special)
On Dec. 15, ABC is airing “Beauty and the Beast: A 30th Celebration” to pay tribute to the original film. The two-hour special is a blend of live-action and animated footage that showcases the film alongside “new memorable musical performances.” In the special, musician H.E.R. is Belle, Josh Groban is the Beast, and Joshua Henry is Gaston. Rita Moreno serves as the Narrator, Martin Short is Lumière, Shania Twain is Mrs. Potts, and David Alan Grier is Cogsworth.
"Beauty and the Beast" (2017 Film)
Disney’s live-action adaptation of “Beauty and the Beast” headed to theaters in 2017. Emma Watson stepped in as Belle with Dan Stevens as the Beast. Luke Evans’s Gaston is a highlight of the film, which also stars Josh Gad, Emma Thompson, Ewan McGregor, Ian McKellen, Stanley Tucci, and Audra McDonald. The movie expanded some of Belle’s role, giving her a little bit more agency in the plot and also included some new songs not featured in the animated classic. The movie reportedly cost $255 million to create, making it one of the most expensive films ever made, but it made up for it and made $1.264 billion at the global box office.
"Beauty and the Beast" (2012 TV Series)
Loosely based on the 1987 show of the same name, The CW’s “Beauty and the Beast” follows Catherine “Cat” Chandler (Kristin Kreuk), a young woman who witnesses her mother’s murder and nearly becomes a victim herself. Fortunately, a mysterious beast saves her life. Nine years later, Cat is an NYPD detective when she encounters Vincent, a soldier who participated in a secret government experiment intended to turn him into a “super soldier.” However, Vincent’s DNA mutated, forcing him to transform into a beastly creature whenever he’s under duress. When Cat learns that Vincent was the beast that saved her life years ago and has been keeping a watchful eye on her ever since, the two join forces to keep him safe from the people that created him . . . falling in love along the way. The show aired for four seasons.
"Beauty and the Beast" (1987 TV Series)
In 1989, Ron Perlman received the Golden Globe award for best actor in a television series drama for his role in the late 1980s television adaptation “Beauty and the Beast.” He starred as Vincent, a creature of nobility that resides in the “World Below,” a hidden realm beneath New York City. In the “World Above,” aka NYC, he rescues ADA Catherine Chandler (Linda Hamilton) from a savage attack. As she pursues the criminals who attacked her, Vincent serves as her protector and the two develop a relationship. However, as the danger increases, it becomes more and more difficult to keep their two worlds from colliding.
Fun fact: “Game of Thrones” author George R. R. Martin served as one of the writers and producers of the show.
"Beastly" (2011 Film)
In this 2011 romantic drama, “Magic Mike”‘s Alex Pettyfer stars as Kyle Kingson, a vain, wealthy high school pretty boy. When he unknowingly gets on the bad side of a witch (Mary-Kate Olsen), she curses him, transforming him into a bald, tattooed, and hideously scarred ugly duckling. In order to revert back to his former (gorgeous) self, he must find someone to love him by the Spring season. Ashamed of his new appearance, he abandons his life and goes into hiding. Soon after, he develops an attraction for Lindy Taylor (Vanessa Hudgens), a shy girl with a troubled home life. When her safety is threatened, Lindy moves in with Kyle to stay under the radar. Now under the same roof, their love begins to bloom just in time for Spring. Neil Patrick Harris, Peter Krause, and Dakota Johnson also star.
"The Beautician and the Beast" (1997 Film)
Nearly 10 years after portraying James Bond, Timothy Dalton starred in the 1997 romantic comedy “The Beautician and the Beast.” The film follows beauty school teacher Joy Miller (played by “The Nanny”‘s Fran Drescher), who is hired to tutor the children of an Eastern European dictator, Boris Pochenko (Dalton). When it is discovered that Joy is not an academic teacher but a beautician instead, she keeps up the ruse and teaches his four children to believe in themselves and have fun. She also helps President Pochenko soften his public image, as he is known in other countries as “the beast.” As they continue to spend time together, he begins to find her tenacity and independence irresistible, and she learns that there is a warm heart beneath his beastly exterior.
"Beauty and the Beast" (1987 Film)
In 1987, “Beauty and the Beast” was released as part of the Cannon Movie Tales, a series of live-action films created by The Cannon Group in the 1980s. The musical followed Rebecca de Mornay as Beauty, a merchant’s daughter whose role in life is to care for her father and numerous siblings. After an unsuccessful voyage, her father stumbles upon a castle and is treated with great hospitality by a mysterious host. However, when he plucks a rose from the garden to gift to his daughter, his host reveals himself to be a beast (played by John Savage) and demands that his daughter move into his castle as punishment. Though disheartened at first, Beauty’s distance from her family finally gives her the opportunity to figure out what she wants in life . . . which may turn out to be the Beast.
"Blood of Beasts" (2005 Film)
Released in 2005, “Blood of Beasts” follows a Viking princess (Jane March) on a quest to save her ailing father. She travels to a far-off island, rumored to be inhabited by a horrible beast. Though afraid at first, she learns that the Beast (David Dukas) isn’t a monster at all, and the two develop a deep bond. She hopes to save him from his cursed fate, but the arrival of her warrior fiancé complicates things.
"Faerie Tale Theatre: Beauty and the Beast" (1984 TV Anthology Series)
Shelley Duvall has starred in films such as “Popeye,” “The Shining,” “Roxanne,” and more. However, many don’t know that in 1982, she created, hosted, and produced an anthology series called “Faerie Tale Theatre.” Each 50-minute episode of the Showtime series – which aired for six seasons – featured a live-action adaptation of a classic fairy tale, usually with a twist from the original storyline. The third season featured an episode based on the tale of Beauty and the Beast, starring Susan Sarandon and Anjelica Huston.
Fun fact: Susan Sarandon and Anjelica Houston weren’t the only heavy-hitting actors to star in the series. Throughout its six seasons, the show featured famous actors such as Helen Mirren, Leonard Nimoy, James Earl Jones, Matthew Broderick, Eve Arden, Billy Crystal, Jeff Goldblum, Frank Zappa, Liza Minnelli, Carrie Fisher, and more. Directors such as Tim Burton and Francis Ford Coppola were also attached to the project.