Pocahontas is a 1995 American animated musical romantic drama film produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation for Walt Disney Pictures. The 33rd Disney animated feature film and the sixth animated film produced and released during the period known as the Disney Renaissance, it was directed by Mike Gabriel and Eric Goldberg and is loosely based on the life of the Native American woman of the same name.
It portrays a fictionalized account of her historical encounter with Englishman John Smith and the Jamestown settlers that arrived from the Virginia Company. The voice cast stars Irene Bedard and Mel Gibson as Pocahontas and Smith, respectively, with David Ogden Stiers, Russell Means, Christian Bale, Billy Connolly and Linda Hunt. The score was written by Alan Menken, who also wrote the film’s songs with Stephen Schwartz.
- Starring : Irene Bedard / Mel Gibson
- Genre : Animation / Adventure / Drama / Family / Musical / Romance
- Country : United States
- Language : English / Algonquin
- Director : Mike Gabriel / Eric Goldberg
- Production : Walt Disney Pictures / Walt Disney Animation Studios
- Distributor : Buena Vista Pictures / Buena Vista International / Gaumont Buena Vista International (GBVI) / Prooptiki / Audio Visual Enterprises / Buena Vista Home Video / Gativideo / Image Entertainment / Walt Disney Home Video / Disney Channel / American Broadcasting Company (ABC) / Buena Vista Home Entertainment / Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment / Rai 3 / Kommunenes Filmcentral (KF) / Laurenfilm / Abril Vídeo / Eén / Net5 / Viaplay
Pocahontas release date
- June 15, 1995 : USA (New York City, New York) (premiere)
- June 16, 1995 : USA (limited)
- June 23, 1995 : Canada
- June 23, 1995 : USA
- June 26, 1995 : Israel
- July 21, 1995 : Japan
- August 23, 1995 : Australia
- October 6, 1995 : UK
- October 11, 1995 : Philippines
- October 13, 1995 : Ireland
- October 30, 1995 : Spain
- November 15, 1995 : Germany
- November 17, 1995 : Switzerland
- November 17, 1995 : Sweden
- November 22, 1995 : France
- June 6, 2000 : USA (DVD premiere)
- May 3, 2005 : USA (DVD) (10th Anniversary Edition)
- Joe Baker as Lon(voice)
- Christian Bale as Thomas(voice)
- Irene Bedard as Pocahontas(voice)
- Billy Connolly as Ben(voice)
- James Apaumut Fall as Kocoum(voice)
- Mel Gibson as John Smith(voice)
- Linda Hunt as Grandmother Willow(voice)
- John Kassir as Meeko(voice)
- Judy Kuhn as Pocahontas(singingVoice)
- Danny Mann as Percy(voice)
- Russell Means as Powhatan(voice)
- David Ogden Stiers as Governor Ratcliffe / Wiggins(voice)
- Michelle St. John as Nakoma(voice)
- Gordon Tootoosis as Kekata(voice)
- Frank Welker as Flit(voice)
After making his directorial debut with The Rescuers Down Under (1990), Gabriel conceived the film during a Thanksgiving weekend. The project went into development concurrently with The Lion King (1994) and attracted most of Disney’s top animators. Meanwhile, Disney studio chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg decided the film should be a serious romantic epic in the vein of Beauty and the Beast (1991), in hope that, like Beauty, it would also be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture. Screenwriters Carl Binder, Susannah Grant and Philip LaZebnik took creative liberties with history in an attempt to make the film palatable to audiences.
Pocahontas was released on June 23, 1995 to mixed reactions from reviewers, who praised its animation, musical score and songs, but criticized its story and lack of historical accuracy. The film’s racial overtones and artistic license also received polarized responses. Pocahontas earned $346 million at the box office and its gross was seen as a disappointment compared to that of The Lion King. The film received two Academy Awards for Best Musical or Comedy Score for Menken and Best Original Song for “Colors of the Wind”. A video game based on Pocahontas was released across various platforms and the film itself was followed by a direct-to-video sequel titled Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World in 1998. According to critics, Pocahontas has influenced subsequent films.
In 1607, the Susan Constant sails from London to the New World, carrying English settlers from the Virginia Company. On board are Captain John Smith and the voyage’s leader Governor Ratcliffe, who seeks gold to bring him wealth and status. Along the way, the Susan Constant is caught in a North Atlantic storm and John saves a young, inexperienced crewmate named Thomas from drowning. As they approach the New World, the settlers, including John, talk of adventure, finding gold, fighting ‘Injuns’ and perhaps settling in the new land.
In the Powhatan tribe in Tsenacommacah, North America, Pocahontas, the daughter of Chief Powhatan, fears being possibly wed to Kocoum, a brave warrior whom she sees as too serious for her own free-spirited personality. Powhatan gives Pocahontas her mother’s necklace as a present. Pocahontas, along with her friends, the raccoon Meeko and hummingbird Flit, visit Grandmother Willow, a spiritual talking willow tree and speaks of a dream involving a spinning arrow and her confusion regarding what her path in life should be. Grandmother Willow then alerts Pocahontas to the arriving English.
Ratcliffe has Jamestown built in a wooded clearing and immediately has the crewmen dig for gold. John departs to explore the wilderness and encounters Pocahontas. They quickly bond, fascinated by each other’s worlds and end up falling in love, despite Powhatan’s orders to stay away from the Englishmen after Kocoum and other warriors engage them in a fight. Meanwhile, Meeko meets Percy, Ratcliffe’s pet pug and becomes the bane of his existence. When John tells Pocahontas that he and his men are here to find gold, she tells him that there is no gold. Pocahontas introduces John to Grandmother Willow and avoids two other crewmen, but Pocahontas’s best friend Nakoma discovers her relationship with John and warns Kocoum. Ratcliffe also learns of John’s encounters with Pocahontas and angrily warns John against sparing any natives he comes across on pain of death.
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