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Cinderella Adaptations Ranked

Every year it seems like there is a new Cinderella adaptation. This is fine, but you can only do so much with one plot every year. Sure, some of the adaptations are really great, but the others, well, not so great. I collected a handful of titles from friends and family and decided to rank them from my favorite to those that are noteworthy.

Rogers and Hammersteins’ Cinderella

This is my favorite Cinderella adaptation because it has a full BIPOC cast with wonderful musical numbers. Brandy plays the title character Cinderella and absolutely excels in the role. Her musical talent is amazing and I love the passion and emotion in all of the songs in the movie!

Watch On: Unfortunately, this is not streaming anywhere so your best bet is to find it on DVD or somewhere online.

Ever After

Ever After stars Drew Barrymore as Danielle, a young woman that is forced into servitude after the death of her father. This adaptation lacks musical numbers but depicts the romantic development between Danielle and Prince Henry, making the relationship feel more natural. I really love this because of the way the Cinderella plot was adapted to where we know it was based on the original story, but without the magic. 

Watch On: Disney+

A Cinderella Story

This 2004 adaptation is pretty high on the list because let’s be real, this was a HUGE cultural reset. Hillary Duff and Chad Michael Murray were an iconic duo to play our Cinderella and Prince Charming. The plot, again sans magic, was still true to the original even though it was placed in modern times. This definitely played with the idea of modern royalty and equated it to high school popularity, which is such a brilliant move!

Watch On: Amazon from $3.99 

Another Cinderella Story

I’m surprised that this one takes last on my list since I really liked this one and it was one of the first ones I watched after the Hillary Duff version. This one stars Selena Gomez as our Cinderella, Mary Santiago, though her calling card was a music player that held the song she danced to with her “prince.” You see, this Cinderella was a gifted dancer and stepdaughter to a has-been music star. Her stepmother, still trying to be “hip” decides she wants to partner with the biggest music star, Joey Parker, a boy the same age as Mary and her stepsisters. Joey and Mary meet pretty early on and their relationship develops somewhat naturally. Overall, the music is great and the humor is spectacular.

Watch On: HBO Max

There are countless Cinderella adaptations but these are the ones that most people have heard about. Since they are the most popular, I wanted to rank them to see if any really stood out. They are all great movies on their own, but comparing them showed that some are better than others. Regardless, Cinderella adaptations are seemingly limitless and I can’t wait to see what becomes popular next.

Paige Pennebaker

Chapel Hill '21

Paige Pennebaker is an aspiring writer who attends UNC-Chapel Hill as a Senior during the day. She enjoys writing fiction and has been published on shortfictionbreak.com. While fiction is where her heart is, Paige also has a lot to say about the real world and how to get by.
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