Pocahontas was the first Disney animated feature to feature a real, historical figure, complete with mythos, folklore and legend related to her life. The film follows the Native American teen and her encounter with English settler John Smith.
The film, released during the Disney Renaissance, which lasted a decade between 1989 and 1999, was not without its critics because of the fictionalized subject matter and how it addressed and took plenty of artistic license with facts and the whole issue of colonialism and its harsh realities. Despite these matters, Pocahontas is a beloved story and film, and was a box office success, even if it didn't exactly align itself with history as we know it. (Or, at the very least, as we think we know it!)
Did you know it boasted the largest film premiere in history? That it was timed to release around a key date in the real Pocahontas' life? That it took five years to produce?
Learn all those details and more!
1. Pocahontas took a whopping five years to complete, due to the complexity of the animation technique. The titular character was animated by 55 people alone. #Details.
2. The film was released around the time of the real Pocahontas' 400th birthday. What a celebration of her life. She was believed to have been born in 1595.
4. Pocahontas was a prestige project, more so than The Lion King, which was also in production at the same time. Therefore, more animators elected to work on this film instead. The Lion King was an explosive, massive success. So was Pocahontas.
5. The late John Candy voiced the character of Redfeather, the turkey meant to be a sidekick for Pocahontas. However, the animal characters were instead made mute and Candy died during production, so his character was dropped altogether. Christian Bale voiced the role of Thomas, a friend of John Smith and a settler.
6. The film's premiere was held in Central Park on June 10, 1995. Over 100,000 people attended, according to Disney bean counters. The cops say it was closer to 70,000 people on site. Who do you believe? Either/or, that many people is impressive.