Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is based on Snow White, a German fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm. It was the first full-length cel-animated feature in motion picture history, as well as the first animated feature film produced in America, the first produced in full color, the first to be produced by Walt Disney, and the first in the Walt Disney Animated Classics canon.
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was one of only two animated films to rank in the American Film Institute’s list of the 100 greatest American films of all time in 1997 (the other being Disney’s Fantasia).
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs premiered at the Carthay Circle Theatre on December 21, 1937 to a wildly receptive audience, many of whom were the same naysayers who dubbed the film “Disney’s Folly”. The film received a standing ovation at its completion from a star-studded audience that included such celebrities as Charlie Chaplin and Paulette Goddard, Shirley Temple, Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Judy Garland, Ginger Rogers, Jack Benny, Fred MacMurray, Clark Gable and Carole Lombard, Burns and Allen, Ed Sullivan, Milton Berle, John Barrymore, and Marlene Dietrich.
Six days later, Walt Disney and the seven dwarfs appeared on the cover of Time magazine. The New York Times said “Thank you very much, Mr. Disney”.
The film won an Academy Honorary Award for Walt Disney “as a significant screen innovation which has charmed millions and pioneered a great new entertainment field”. Disney received a full-size Oscar statuette and seven miniature ones, presented to him by 10-year-old child actress Shirley Temple. The film was also nominated for Best Musical Score. “Some Day My Prince Will Come” has become a jazz standard that has been performed by numerous artists, including Buddy Rich, Lee Wiley, Oscar Peterson, and Miles Davis.