The Little Mermaid is an animated musical, loosely based on a fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen. The film, which was Disney’s 28th animated feature, led to what many call the Disney Renaissance. Beginning in the 1970s, many films by Disney were box office and critical flops, but the release on The Little Mermaid, which won two Academy Awards, changed the fortunes, leading to the release of several more ‘princess movies’ as well as other feature-length content.
With the roll-out of Disney+, families can watch The Little Mermaid streaming. Samuel E. Wright and Buddy Hacket led the cast of lesser-known actors including Jodi Benson and Christopher Daniel Barnes. The movie has spawned several sequels, a stage production, and a live-action remake is now in the works following the successful remakes of Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast. Here’s how to stream The Little Mermaid right now:
How to Stream The Little Mermaid – Exclusively on Disney+
The Little Mermaid is one of the classic animated Disney 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 The Little Mermaid 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 “The Little Mermaid”
- 5. Tap on The Little Mermaid
- 6. Tap the Play Button
- 7. Enjoy!
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.
The Little Mermaid: Overview
Release Date: November 17, 1989
Creators: Walt Disney Pictures, Hans Christian Andersen, Ron Clements, John Musker
Director: Ron Clements and John Musker
Starring: Jodi Benson, Christopher Daniel Barnes, Buddy Hackett, Samuel E. Wright
Synopsis: A young girl makes a deal with the Sea Witch to become temporarily human so that she might win the heart of Prince Eric.
How Long Is The Little Mermaid?
The Little Mermaid has a running time of 83 minutes.
The Little Mermaid Plot
Ariel, a 16 year old princess of the underwater kingdom Atlantica, is preoccupied with the human world above despite the fact that her father, King Triton, has forbidden contact between the two worlds. After going to the surface to see the birthday part of Prince Eric, a human, Ariel falls in love with him. The party is on a ship and when a storm causes the ship to sink, Ariel saves Eric. She sings to him but disappears quickly when he starts to come around. King Triton doesn’t understand why Ariel is more distracted that ever once she is back home and asks Sebastian, his advisor.
The crab tells him about Ariel’s trip to the surface, angering the King, who goes to Ariel’s grotto and destroys all of her human artifacts. Ariel is crushed and goes to the Sea Witch, where she makes a deal: she gives the Sea Witch her voice and in exchange the Sea Witch transforms her into a human. Ariel has three days to win Eric’s heart or she will become a polyp, like the rest of the merpeople who have made deals with the witch. Unfortunately, Ariel can’t tell Eric who she is, but still, with the help of Sebastian and her guppy-friend Flounder, Ariel and Eric nearly kiss on the second day.
The Sea Witch finds out and transforms herself into a beautiful woman, and uses Ariel’s voice to cast a spell on Eric, who proposes. They are set to get married on a ship when Scuttle, a bird friend of Ariel’s, sees a reflection of Vanessa in a mirror and realizes she is the Sea Witch. He rushed to Ariel, who takes off for the ship to stop the wedding. She and the Sea Witch fight, and the shell with Ariel’s voice inside is destroyed, freeing Ariel’s voice and breaking the spell on Eric, but he can’t get to her before sunset. Ariel reverts to her mermaid form.
Sebastian gets King Triton, but the pact Ariel made with the Sea Witch cannot be broken. King Triton makes a deal to take Ariel’s place; this gives the Sea Witch ultimate power. Trying to free her father, Ariel fights and Eric joins in, causing the Sea With to kill her eel friends, Flotsam and Jetsam. This enrages her and she begins growing to monstrous size, putting the underwater kingdom in jeopardy with a huge storm that raises sunken ships to the surface.
Eric mans one of the ships and skewers the Sea Witch with a bowsprit, killing her and releasing the cursed merpeople, including King Triton. Seeing how much Ariel loves Eric, the king transforms her into a human. She and Eric are married and live happily ever after.
The Little Mermaid Cast
The Little Mermaid cast was led by Hollywood veteran actors Rene Auberjonois, Buddy Hackett, Kenneth Mars, and Pat Carroll, along with several newcomers. Here are the key players for the film:
Jodi Benson as Ariel
Ariel is a mermaid princess who longs to be human and live on dry land. Jodi Benson is a veteran Hollywood voice actor who is best known as Ariel in The Little Mermaid films, video games, and animated series; she also voiced the Barbie character for Toy Story.
Christopher Daniel Barnes as Prince Eric
Prince Eric falls in love with Ariel but is tricked by Ursula. Christopher Daniel Barnes was a relative unknown before landing the role of Prince Eric in The Little Mermaid; since he has gone on to appear in The Brady Bunch movies, the Spiderman Animated Series, and voices Prince Eric in the Kingdom Hearts series of video games.
Pat Carroll as Ursula, the Sea Witch
Ursula is intent on usurping King Triton’s throne and tries to use Ariel to do so. Pat Carroll is an award-winning actress who has appeared in classics like Kraft Theatre’s Gramercy Ghost and The Danny Thomas show. She is best known for her role in The Little Mermaid. She won an Emmy for her supporting roles in Caesar’s Hour and a Sundance Film Festival Jury Prize for her role in Songcatcher.
Samuel E. Wright as Sebastian
Sebastian is an advisor to King Triton and the composer for his court. He is tasked with keeping Ariel away from the surface and humans, but instead helps her in her quest to win Eric’s heart. Samuel E. Wright is best known for his roles as Sebastian on The Little Mermaid and as Mufasa in the Broadway run of The Lion King. His song “Sebastian” as been certified Gold.
The Little Mermaid Songs and Soundtrack
The Little Mermaid won two Academy Awards, both for music. The score was written by Alan Menken, an Academy Award-winning composer, songwriter, and conductor. He collaborated with playwright and lyricist Howard Ashman on the songs. Under the Sea became the breakout song of the film, winning an Academy Award and a Golden Globe for Best Music, Original Song; it would also win a Grammy for Best Song in a Motion Picture or for Television. Kiss the Girl, the song Sebastian sings when Ariel and Eric nearly kiss, was nominated for both the Oscar and the Golden Globe, as well.
The Little Mermaid at the Box Office
The Little Mermaid was made on a budget of $40 million and would make $84.4 million at the box office during its initial run. At the time, it was the animated film with the highest initial box office gross and would be re-released to theatres in 1997. In total, the two theatrical releases would net Disney $233 million at the box office.
The Little Mermaid Reviews – What the Critics Said
Critics praised The Little Mermaid, which still holds a 93% approval rating on the review site Rotten Tomatoes. Ariel would be the first Disney princess to think independently and to fight for what she wanted rather than waiting to be rescued, a trope that would continue in Disney films released after it.
Where The Little Mermaid Fits in Disney Pantheon
The Little Mermaid is thought by many to be the impetus in Disney’s Renaissance; it was the first animated fairy tale to be released since 1959’s Sleeping Beauty, and its success helped secure Disney as a leader in animated films. It would also spur a renewal of interest in Disney’s two theme parks.
It would also reestablish the Disney musical format, which had gone stagnant since the release of Sleeping Beauty. The movie would win ten awards, including three Academy Awards, a Golden Globe, and a Grammy award. Ursula, the Sea Witch was nominated to AFI’s 100 years…100 Heroes and Villains list, as well as AFI’s Greatest Movie Musicals and their 10 Top 10 list. A live-action remake is in the works for the film, which has also spawned two sequels, an animated series, and several appearances in throughout the Disney universe.
The Little Mermaid Trailer
The Little Mermaid Trivia: 5 Fast Facts
The Little Mermaid was Disney’s first foray into fairy tale country in 30 years and became a blockbuster success that led to Disney’s Renaissance, and more fairy tale features including Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and Tangled. Here are five fast facts about the film:
1. The Little Mermaid wins Oscar and Grammy awards
The Little Mermaid was nominated for 20 awards and would win 12 of them including two Academy Awards, a Grammy and a Golden Globe, all for music.
2. Ursula Memorialized on Stamp
The Sea Witch, Ursula, is one of ten Disney Villains to be immortalized on a stamp. The other Disney Villains include Snow White’s Evil Queen, Beauty and the Beast’s Gaston, Honest John from Pinocchio, Lady Tremaine from Cinderella, Captain Hook from Peter Pan, Sleeping Beauty’s Maleficent, The Lion King’s Scar, and the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland.
3. The Little Mermaid Kicks off Alan Menken’s Disney career
Though not his first movie, The Little Mermaid was the kickoff to musician Alan Menken’s career with Disney. He would go on to compose music and scores for Disney films including Pocahontas, The Lion King, and Aladdin, among many other titles.
4. Samuel E. Wright Nominated for Tony
Samuel E. Wright, who voices and sings as Sebastian in the film, has been nominated twice for Broadway’s Tony Award. First, for his part in The Tap Dance Kid, and then for his run in the stage production of The Lion King.
5. Mickey, Donald, and Goofy Visit Atlantica
In the opening scene of the movie, as King Triton enters the great hall, you can see Mickey Mouse, Goofy, and Donald Duck in the crowd awaiting him.