Fairy tales are the best way to capture our imaginations. They take us on adventures we’d never dreamed of, and they teach us to look at the world in a different way. All fairy tales have a moral message within, and they are a crucial part of the way we learn about the world growing up. Some of the best fairy tales ever told have been made into successful films or written as best-selling books. But, there are also occasions on which this is done much more subtly than we realize.
In fact, there are some movies that are actually disguised as fairy tales, but that you would never think are fairy tales. Sure, most stories are derivative, and many stories out there derive from the classic fairy tales we know and love. Here are some of the great modern-day movies you never knew were actually masquerading as fairy tales.
Pretty Woman is one of the more obvious fairy tales on the list; it is, of course, based on the classic Cinderella story. A young woman from a low position in society attracts the attention of a rich businessman. He treats here well, takes her out, and they have a great time, only for her to have to make a hasty exit. The businessman eventually tracks her down, and the two reconcile and share a kiss. A clear modern retelling, but this one has the added bonus of two excellent actors in Richard Gere and Julia Roberts.
The Hunger Games
It might not seem obvious, but, when you go a little deeper you realize that The Hunger Games is actually a modern (futuristic) retelling of Jack and the Beanstalk! There are actually a lot of elements in both stories that are crazy similar. Both protagonists live with a widowed mother in poverty, both make a sacrifice to help their family, both become killers but wind up living normal lives. There are also nods to other fairy tales here too, such as Hansel & Gretel, and Theseus and the Minotaur – but Jack and the Beanstalk seems the most obvious connection.
Nobody puts baby in the corner! Dirty Dancing is one of our favorite movies ever, and, it might not have occurred to you in the past, but it’s basically the story of The Little Mermaid! The two stories have very similar beats. Ariel finds her life dull and wishes she was part of the human world. Baby finds life (and her vacation) dull, and wishes she could spend it hanging with the cool entertainment team. Ariel falls in love and gives up a part of her past to be with the prince. Baby falls in love and gives up a part of her past to learn to dance. Both men eventually leave, breaking the women’s hearts – but, at least Dirty Dancing has a happier ending!
We bet you had no idea these movies were reworkings of some of your favorite fairy tales! In fact, many other movies share themes with popular fairy stories because of the morals and messages in those tales. The differences tend to be that the fairy tales we are accustomed to generally have sad or downbeat endings. However, the movies, of course, have much happier endings.