Photo: Cinderella Remakes
A tale as old as time, Cinderella is one of the most classic Disney stories and most regurgitated as well. Whether it be an animation or real-life interpretation, the Cinderella story has been reimagined countless amount of times. The original film, released in 1950 by Walt Disney Studios, features Illene Woods as our blonde-haired, fair-skinned, maid-turned princess. The story of a girl going from rags to riches is not a new one, but Cinderella told it in a wholly magical and enchanting way.
Now in 2021, we’ve seen Cinderella on Broadway, TV, film, and most recently on Amazon with Camila Cabello, the pop star singer, playing our blue-dressed heroine. Out of all these options on different streaming devices, played by different actresses and legends, we’ve ranked the top Cinderella movies you should watch!
8. ‘Cinderella,’ With Camila Cabello
Coming in last is the most recent Cinderella retelling, ‘Cinderella,’ with Camila Cabello. The writer and director Kay Cannon, who’s known for her iconic directing on the fan-favorite sitcom, ‘New Girl,’ and the ‘Pitch Perfect’ movies, offers a film with high production value and easy comedy and banter. The adaptation is chock full of famous names with Billie Porter, Nicholas Galitzine, Idina Menzel, Pierce Brosnan, Minnie Driver, and more who play the lively cast of evil sleep mothers, cruel sisters, enchanting fairies, and handsome princes.
Cannon does not carry the same heart or elegance that the original or other adaptations did, he sacrifices that for a more modern and funny approach. The covers of contemporary music and songs as well as allusions to the recent generations and their inside jokes creates an intimate connection between the film and those watching it. We even get an original song from Cabello, ‘Million To One,’ that encompasses the basic but enjoyable version of Cinderella that we see in this movie.
7. ‘Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella’
Following the 2021 adaption is ‘Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella,’ from 1965. If you grew up in the thick of the 80s or 90s, then you’ve definitely seen the VHS of this Cinderella retelling. While the movie’s quality isn’t as good, with spotty camerawork and poor video quality, the feeling that it’d be shown in a community theater adds a bit of authenticity to it. On top of that, Lewsley Anne Warren’s performance as cinderella transcends the many years that have passed. Her vocals are next-level brilliant and her girl-next-door attitude and looks, make this retelling oddly wholesome and special. And, if you don’t automatically think of the fur-trimmed gown that Warren is seen wearing, then go and do yourself a favor by rewatching this film!
The 1960s ‘Cinderfella,’ follows suit with a charming performance full of quality dancing and goofing from Jerry Lewis. This gender-swapped retelling takes great care to channel Lewis’s comedic prowess, with Anna Maria Alberghetti putting her skills to use as our Princess Charming. The music stuns and the acting does too, creating a unique and fun version of the story. Not everyone enjoys it, whether due to the emphasis on dancing or the comedic focus but if you love Fred Astaire and you love fairytales then give this version a watch!
5. ‘A Cinderella Story’
Quite possibly one of the most iconic actresses of our generation, Hilary Duff stuns in ‘A Cinderella Story.’ Released in 2004 and currently streaming on Netflix, this version is so iconic it’s hard to forget! The kiss in the pouring rain between Duff and her prince, played by Chad Michael Murray is perhaps one of the memorable moments of any Cinderella film to date. Or maybe Regina King and her speech about overcoming fear and getting your head in the game stands as one of the best parts of the film. Regardless, the film is timeless and we all love watching the classic adaption and the great scenes that Duff and her costars reimagine.
4. ‘Cinderella,’ with Lily James
Nearly a decade later, Disney’s ‘Cinderella,’ was released, putting Lily James on the map as one of the most enchanting and graceful actresses of this day. As far as live-action Cinderella remakes, this one takes the cake. Kenneth Branagh directs the elegant film, referencing his visual directing skills that we saw in recent remakes of ‘The Lion King’ and ‘Mulan.’ Richard Madden plays the perfect Prince Charming too but Cate Blanchett as our evil stepmother sends shivers down our spines. Her wicked performance is the one to beat, and the beautiful wardrobe and aesthetic do nothing to ease the competition.
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3. ‘Ella Enchanted’
In 2004, ‘Ella Enchanted’ dropped, an all-time favorite fairytale with many similarities and differences to the original Cinderella. Anne Hathaway plays Ella, the protagonist based on Gail Carson Levine’s YA novel, ‘Ella Enchanted.’ The clever use of a curse to emulate ‘Sleeping Beauty,’ bands of ragtag soldiers coming together to rebel against the monarchy, and the jazzy covers of classics like ‘Don’t Go Breaking My Heart,’ make this one of the most iconic movies. Not to mention, it is solidified as one of Anne Hathaway’s most special roles.
2. ‘Cinderella’ With Illene Woods
At number 4, is Disney’s ‘Cinderella’, the original released in 1950. As mentioned before, Illene Woods and her vocals made this the perfect stepping stone for all other Cinderella stories to come. It’s quite possibly the most universally recognized film retelling of this fairytale with beautiful songs, animation, and an iconic transformation scene for our maiden. Just like the fairytale itself, the making of this movie is simple and beautiful.
1. ‘Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella’ in 1997
Coming in at number 3 is the 1997 adaption, ‘Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella.’ While critics argued about its quality, it is without a doubt an experience of a film. With Brandy and Whitney Houston as Cinderella and the Fairy Godmother, it is impossible not to love. But perhaps the most important aspect that many other Cinderella stories lacked was its diversity. The representation that director Robert L. Freedman provides with his cast of Plo Montalban, Victor Garber, Whoopie Goldberg, Bernadette Peters, Jason Alexander, and more is not only admirable but needed. Its significance fully lies in having a story that shows that a woman of any skin tone, any ethnicity, any looks, and features is worthy of benign a princess and having her happy ending.
By Mireille Karadanaian
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Mireille Karadanaian is an entertainment journalist, whose passion for reviewing upcoming TV shows and movies has existed since a young age. She writes reviews and feature entertainment stories for The Hollywood Insider’s inclusive and authentic platform, contributing to the important stories being told in media today. Mireille loves discussing the impact today’s media is making on younger generations who emulate what they see on screen and the Internet, a double-edged sword. Her stories often include the importance of creating content that inspires inclusion, positivity, and productive messages to all audiences and generations. Mireille’s love of covering TV shows, movies, and exciting questions that are being asked in the media world is seen in her writing and her ability to not just report facts but also tell a story.