Disney draws their movie plots from classic fairy tales, but they often take artistic license. And by "take artistic license," I mean they leave out important details, like if the main character dies or if the world is a miserable, unfair place. Enjoy these comparisons between Disney movies and the real stories they are based on.
Rapunzel lives in a tower with controlling Mother Gothel. The charming fugitive, Flynn Rider, helps her escape and explore the kingdom. While Rapunzel falls in love with Flynn, despite learning his real name is Eugene, she also learns she is actually a princess. They get rid of Mother Gothel and the two live happily ever after.
One day, a prince climbs into Rapunzel's tower and falls in love with her. When Dame Gothel finds out, she lures the prince to the tower by cutting off Rapunzel's hair and dangling it out the window (this is Rapunzel and the prince's not-so-subtle signal. Like the Bat-Signal. But, like, even less subtle.) When the prince is confronted by Dame Gothel and not Rapunzel, he jumps from the tower and lands on the thorns below and is immediately blinded. And that's why you don't break your fall with your eyes.
The princess, Snow White, is driven out of her home by her jealous step-mother, the Evil Queen. She takes refuge in the forest with seven friendly dwarves. When the Evil Queen finds out that her step-daughter is still alive, she disguises herself as an evil witch and persuades Snow White to eat a poisoned apple. Snow White falls into a sleep from which she is awakened by a kiss from Prince Charming.
The biggest difference between the Disney movie and the original Brothers Grimm's fairy tale is the Evil Queen's punishment. When the Evil Queen arrives at Snow White and Prince Charming's wedding, Snow White punishes her step-mother by forcing her to wear hot iron shoes and dance until she dies. Do you think Snow White made her dance to Cotton-Eyed Joe? Or Cha-Cha slide?
Pocahontas, a Native American princess, falls in love with John Smith, a British colonist, despite the rising tensions between her tribe and the colonists. She saves John's life before her father can execute him, and her heroic act brings peace to the two opposing groups.
This is the only Disney princess movie based on a true story. It is also the most distorted story. After John Smith returned to England, Pocahontas was kidnapped for a while during which she converted to Christianity and married John Rolfe. Years later, she visited London and was exhibited as an example of a "civilized" Native America. Before she could return home, she died of unknown causes. Worst of all, though, there were absolutely no accounts of Pocahontas frolicking with an endearing raccoon or a talking tree. NONE.