Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
image of disney\'s magic kingdom park
image of disney\'s magic kingdom park
Carly Silva
Culture > Entertainment

Why Anastastia is One of the Best Princess Movies to Come Out in the 90s

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Emmanuel chapter.

Whether you’ve watched the movie, or heard of the fictional/nonfictional story there’s a strong chance that many people know the name of Anastasia Romanov. Anastasia Romanov was born in 1901 into the Romanov family, which was the imperial family of Russia. Because of this, Anastasia was made a grand duchess. However, due to the political state in Russia during the Bolshevik Revolution the royal family eventually fell thus leading to their execution. 

However, for years after the deaths of the family, rumors spread that Anaststia was able to escape the execution and was still alive. Many women stepped forward claiming that they were in fact the Grand Duchess however none of them have been proved to actually be her. Which leads us to this movie.

Anastasia (1997) was an animated movie that explored the idea that Anastasia did in fact survive her family’s death. Since it was a children’s movie it has a much more lighthearted take to the story. The movie starts out with Anastasia as a child and establishing a close relationship with her Grandmother, who gives her a music box and a necklace stating “meet me in Paris.” Quickly after, the palace is overthrown by a hateful sorcerer named Rasputin (used in place of the communist party) who sends spirits to kill the entire royal family. Anastastia and her Grandmother escape, however Anastastia hits her head while running and loses her grandmother. We then fast forward to two con artists by the name of Dimitri and Vlad who seek a reward from the grandmother who is offering money to find Anastastia alive. They stumble upon modern day “Anya” who doesn’t remember her past and convince her to pretend to be the duchess. They state  that she may even be the real Anastasia since she doesn’t remember her past. In the end, obviously Anya is in fact the lost duchess, reunites with her grandmother, overcomes and kills Rasputin who tried to kill her the entire movie and ends up with the main love interest Dimitri. A classic fairytale. 

But, what makes this movie different from other princess movies that came out during the time? Well first, it is important to note that Anastastia wasn’t made by Disney but rather produced by Fox 20th Century. However, the production details and storyline is very similar to that of a Disney movie. In my opinion, it is the theme of finding oneself, and empowerment that makes it stand out against other princess movies of the time. 

To begin, the call to action is established by Anya herself and not by an outside character. After getting kicked out of the orphanage she decided to go to Paris to reunite with her family. If we look at the plot in its entirety many of the decisions belong to Anya herself. And comes from an innate need to know what her past is. Anya is also the one who convinces others that she is the real Anastasia. Very rarely does she have Vlad or Dimitri speak for her. She is able to speak for herself and advocate for her own needs. Compared to other princesses Anya is extremely well spoken and has the ability to get her own way. Not only does this make for a fun watch, but also allows for young girls watching the movie to have a strong female lead role model. 

The movie also displays how important self-fulfillment and finding oneself can be. No, not everyone will find out that they are a part of a royal family, however it emphasizes the importance that family and support system can lead a person to find out who they really are. Not only is she able to find her family, but during the journey she is also able to understand her own personality better. She establishes likes and dislikes, and strengthens her strong-willed personality during the journey. Anastasia throughout the entire movie is a strong force and has a outgoing personality compared to other princesses which can often just be seen as a “pretty face.” 

But most importantly, at the end of the movie Anya is able to decide her own fate. Although she is reunited with her Grandmother she is urged to live life how she wants to and not just how she thinks others will want her to (i.e., going out and exploring the world rather than sticking to her own royal duties). And she does just that, and decides to follow her heart’s desire as continuing her journey of self-discovery and eloping with Dimitri. 

So while some of the themes of Anastasia are consistent with other princess movies at the time, Anastasia stands alone for an extremely strong female lead and important message for young girls. That, paired with great music and iconic outfits makes this in my opinion one of the best princess movies of that time and current day. 

Hi! My name is Maddy Caldwell and I am a freshman at Emmanuel College. I am currently a psychology major and criminology minor and hope to work some sort of forensic setting once I graduate. Since I am from New Hampshire skiing has always been a favorite past time of mine, other than that I love singing, reading and hanging out with friends!