Pocahontas was the 33rd feature-length, animated Disney film, and the sixth film associated with Disney’s Renaissance. It is also the first Disney film to feature a main character of color. You can watch Pocahontas streaming. The film is loosely based on the Native American character Pocahontas, and stars actors David Ogden Stiers, Mel Gibson, and Irene Bedard.
The film’s creators were invested in making the film as realistic as possible, and as such brought in Native American actors and activists in the hopes of getting even the small details right; despite this, some say the film uses stereotypes and continues a false narrative of why English, French, and Spanish explorers came to North America.
While critics weren’t a fan of the overall story, they did enjoy the animation, the songs, and the musical score. And, though the film wasn’t a blockbuster, it did rate a sequel, Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World, in 1998, and plans have been announced for a live-action remake of the 1995 film. Fans can now watch Pocahontas streaming via Disney+.
Pocahontas won 15 awards including to Academy Awards, for Best Original Song and Best Music, Original Score. Here’s how to stream Pocahontas right now:
How to Stream Pocahontas – Exclusively on Disney+
Pocahontas is one of the fan-favorite Disney original movies that will be streaming exclusively on Disney’s new subscription streaming service, Disney+.
You can sign up for a 7-day free trial of Disney+ HERE, which will allow you to stream Pocahontas and hundreds of other movies and shows on your computer, phone, tablet, smart TV or streaming device. If you extend past the free trial, the service costs $6.99/month. You may also opt for this discount bundle of Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+ for $12.99/month.
- 1. Sign up for Disney+ here
- 2. Go to Disneyplus.com or download the Disney+ app on your device
- 3. Log in using your information
- 4. Search for “Pocahontas”
- 5. Tap on “Pocahontas”
- 6. Tap the PLAY button
Disney+ also boasts a vast library of Disney-owned movies and series — plus several new original series coming soon. The service includes unlimited downloads so you can watch offline whenever and wherever you want. The list of compatible devices and smart TVs includes iPads, Apple TV, Amazon devices, Amazon Fire TV, Android, Chromecast, Roku, PS4, and Xbox One.
Release Date: June 23, 1995
Creators: Glen Keane, Carl Binder, Susannah Grant, Philip LaZebnik, Joe Grant
Director: Mike Gabriel, Eric Goldberg
Starring: Mel Gibson, Irene Bedard, David Ogden Stiers
Synopsis: A young Powhatan woman is promised in marriage to a brave she doesn’t love, and when European settlers arrives, she becomes infatuated with one of them.
How Long Is Pocahontas?
Pocahontas has a running time of 82 minutes.
Pocahontas is the daughter of Chief Powhatan, a leader of the Powhatan nation, and she wants nothing more than to sail in her canoe and explore the surrounding forests. Her father has promised her in marriage to Kokoum, a brave from her tribe, but Pocahontas believes Kokoum is too serious for her and doesn’t want to marry him. Meanwhile, English settlers from the Susan Constant ship have arrived in their area and begin building a settlement. Among them is John Smith, who is a leader of the men, and Governor Ratcliffe, who wants to find gold to increase his wealth and status in England. Confused about Kokoum and her future, Pocahontas goes to visit Grandmother Willow, a tree in the forest, who tells her about the impending arrival of the English settlers. Ratcliffe has the men begin building the Jamestown settlement, and John begins to explore the surrounding area, where he meets Pocahontas. They are fascinated by one another and begin to fall in love. Pocahontas’ father doesn’t like this and forbids her from seeing him again because a few of the settlers fought with Kokoum and some of the other braves. John tells Pocahontas the settlers are here for gold, and Pocahontas tells him there is none. The two of them avoid two of the ship’s crewmen when Pocahontas takes John to meet Grandmother Willow, but her friend, Nakoma, sees them and tells Kokoum. Ratcliffe also finds out they’re seeing one another and threatens to kill John if he spares any natives. John and Pocahontas, under the advisement of Grandmother Willow, develop a plan to bring peace between her tribe and the settlers. They kiss, and are spotted by Kokoum and Thomas, another settler, who was tasked by Ratcliffe to spy on John. Kokoum attacks John but Thomas shoots him, killing him. John sends Thomas away before the tribe can take him; instead the take John. Thomas returns to the settlement and tells them of John’s capture. Ratcliffe rallies the men into battle against the Powhatans. Chief Powhatan and the braves take John to a cliff, planning to throw him over, but Pocahontas, who found John’s compass at Grandmother Willow’s trunk and sees it as a sign, convinces them to let him go. Ratcliffe, meanwhile, won’t be stopped and orders his men to attack even after John is set free. The men refuse to fight and Ratcliffe tries to shoot the chief but John steps in, and is shot instead as he protects the chief. The settlers arrest Ratcliffe, and the tribe nurses John but can’t heal him. He leaves to return to England for more treatment of his wound. He asks Pocahontas to come with him but she decides to stay with her people. The chief says John can return any time. Pocahontas watches from atop a cliff as the ship taking John back to England leaves.
The cast of Pocahontas was led by Oscar-winning actor Mel Gibson, along with Irene Bedard, and David Ogden Stiers. Here are the main cast members for the film:
Irene Bedard as Pocahontas
Pocahontas is a free-spirited Native American who isn’t unsure about her future after she is bethrothed to Kokoum. Irene Bedard is an award-winning Native American actor and producer who has starred in several important films, including Into the West and Lakota Woman. She is best known as the voice of Disney’s Pocahontas.
Mel Gibson as John Smith
John Smith is a settler from England who falls in love with Pocahontas and tries to find peace between the Native American’s and the settlers. Mel Gibson is a two-time Academy Award winner for the film Braveheart. His other notable roles include the Lethal Weapon franchise, The Patriot, and the original Mad Max series of films.
James Apaumut Fall as Kokoum
Kokoum wants to marry Pocahontas and tries to capture John Smith when he sees him with Pocahontas. James Apaumut Fall is an accomplished musician; his best known acting role is as Kokoum in Pocahontas. He contributed to the music in the TV series The West and also the Lewis & Clark: The Journey of the Corps of Discovery documentary.
David Ogden Stiers as Governor Ratcliffe/Wiggins
Governor Ratcliffe is intent on pillaging the new American settlement for gold to increase his status in England. David Ogden Stiers is a well-known actor and director in Hollywood with more than 160 credits to his name. He is a three-time Emmy award nominee and is best known as Major Winchester from the TV series M*A*S*H. His other notable roles include Stargate: Atlantis, The Dead Zone, Pocahontas, and Beauty and the Beast.
Russell Means as Chief Powhatan
Chief Powhatan wants his daughter to marry Kokoum and be a proper chief’s daughter. Russell Means is an accomplished actor and producer. He is descended from the Oglala/Lakota Sioux Nations. In addition to Pocahontas, he is best known for his roles in Last of the Mohicans, Natural Born Killers, and Into the West.
Pocahontas Songs and Soundtrack
Pocahontas was scored by Alan Menken, with songs written by Menken and Stephen Schwartz. Colors of the Wind, the song most associated with the film, was sung by Vanessa Williams, and was a huge hit for her. The song has been certified Gold, which means sales of at least 700,000, and is ranked as the 31st most popular song on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart for the year of 1995. The song won an Academy Award and a Golden Globe for Best Original Song, and a Grammy for Best Song Written for Visual Media.
Pocahontas at the Box Office
During the first weekend, and with only a limited release to six theatres, Pocahontas earned $2.7 million. The film would release wide on June 23, 2005, and during the entirety of the initial box office run would earn more than $140 million. It was the fourth highest-grossing film of 1995. Still, Pocahontas was considered a disappointment for Disney because it didn’t fare as well as previous Disney Renaissance releases.
Pocahontas Reviews – What the Critics Said
Critics were not fans of Disney’s Pocahontas when it hit theatres. They called it bland and uninspired, but did note that much of the animation held beauty. Many also noted the ‘lack of fun’ in the film, which was a divergence from other Disney films of the time, which were primarily uplifting musicals. Some Native Americans were especially critical of the film, saying that it perpetuated a dishonest myth about how the Powhatan Nation was treated by the English. However, Russell Means, who played Chief Powhatan, liked the film and said that it was ‘the first time Eurocentric male society has admitted its historical deceit’. The film holds a 55% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with a 64% positive audience score.
Where Pocahontas Fits in the Disney Movie Pantheon
Pocahontas was nominated for 21 awards and would win 15 including two Academy Awards, a Golden Globe, and a Grammy, all for the film’s music. Colors of the Wind, the title song, reached the Top 10 of Billboard’s Hot 100 chart.
Many have noted the historical inaccuracies in the film, which portrayed Pocahontas as a young adult when she was more likely 10 or 11, and noting that there was no romantic relationship between the real Pocahontas and John Smith, who was in his late 20s. Still, Pocahontas was a revolutionary film for its time.
It was the first Disney film to feature a protagonist who wasn’t white, and some say Pocahontas’ strength portrayed in the film is what led to a change in future Disney ‘princess’ roles – like Rapunzel, Moana, and Merida – so that the girls were more independent of their parents and/or the princes in their films.
Pocahontas Trivia: 5 Fast Facts
Panned by critics but enjoyed by audiences, Pocahontas was an initial success at the box office and remains a Disney favorite. Here are a few facts you may not know about the film:
1. Pocahontas is Disney’s First Main Character of Color
Until the release of Pocahontas, Disney’s protagonists had been primarily white. That changed with this release, which pitted Pocahontas, a Powhatan Native American, as the protagonist and main character of the film. Many believe Pocahontas led the way for other characters of color including Moana and Tiana, from The Princess and the Frog. Pocahontas and Tiana share another thing in common: they are the only two Disney Princesses to be born in America.
2. Disney Reaches Out to Native Community for Authenticity
In their quest to make Pocahontas look as realistic as possibly, both in character animation and in the habitat, Disney animators reached out to the Native American community for advice and input. As a result, many say Pocahontas is the ‘most beautiful’ of the Disney films, but despite their efforts, many in the Native American community still panned the film, saying that it was historically inaccurate and stereotypical of Native American people.
3. Pocahontas’ Animal Friends Could Speak
In one of the original versions, Pocahontas’ animal friends – Meeko the raccoon, Redfeather the Turkey, and Flit the hummingbird – would speak. The studio decided talking animals didn’t go with the heavier themes of the movies, though, and all animal-speaking was nixed. Then, the character of Meeko was taken out so that only Flit and Redfeather remained. The character of Redfeather, was completely taken out after the death of John Candy, who had originally provided the voice for the turkey, and Meeko returned to the film.
4. Disney’s ‘Best Picture’ Hopes Dashed
Beauty and the Beast, released four years before Pocahontas, was the first animated film to be nominated for a Best Picture Academy Award; it didn’t win. But, Disney execs hoped that Pocahontas would be the first of their movies to not only be nominated but to win that award, and so they pushed their focus onto Pocahontas, making it more serious in nature and visually stunning. The film was not nominated for the Best Picture award, though it would win 15 other awards, including to Academy Awards for music.
5. The Batman-Pocahontas Connection
Mel Gibson, who voiced John Smith, was in the running to play Bruce Wayne in 1989’s Batman film; that role ultimately when to Michael Keaton. But another Pocahontas actor would become Batman – Christian Bale, who voiced Thomas, would star in The Dark Knight trilogy of films in the early 2000s.