Have you ever heard the wolf cry to the blue corn moon? Or asked the grinning bobcat why he grinned? Well that’s because they just heard about these thirteen things from Disney’s Pocahontas. So thanks for giving us your time while you gobble these up.
13. Animators working on the film regarded it as being one of the hardest films ever produced by the studio. The complex color schemes, angular shapes, and facial expressions meant that the film was in production for five years. The hard work paid off, however. Pocahontas is now frequently cited as being one of the most beautifully, and realistically, animated characters in the Disney canon, her fluid movements mainly being attributed to rotoscoping.
12. The film’s release on June 23, 1995, was also the 400th anniversary of the real Pocahontas’ birth.
11. The Disney executives had all the secondary animal characters, such as Meeko and Flit, lose all of their dialogue in order to make the film a bit more serious.
10. The end credits song “If I Never Knew You”, was cut after children in test audiences found it boring and the adults found it too depressing. At the time, it was almost fully animated, with the exception of color. The unfinished sequence was shown in ABC’s 1997 airing of the film. For the 10th anniversary DVD release, the animation was completed and the song inserted back into the film, as well as a short reprise in the final scene.
9. “Colors of the Wind” was the first song written for this production, and helped define the tone and direction of the film. Though this song features the word “mountain” in its verses, the real Pocahontas supposedly never saw any mountains in her lifetime. The Powhatans and the Patawomecks both resided on the Atlantic coastal plain.
8. John Candy had provided a large amount of voice work into a character named “Redfeather”, a turkey as Pocahontas’ sidekick. However, after Candy’s death in 1994, the concept was scrapped.
7. In real-life, Pocahontas would have been more likely to be topless and likely covered in tribal tattoos, even her face.
6. Pocahontas is one of the few cartoon characters to be granted a proper “photo spread” in Harper’s Bazaar. For the June 1995 edition, Gianni Versace, Marc Jacobs, Anna Sui, and Isaac Mizrahi all designed special outfits for her, which were then drawn by Disney animators for the magazine.
5. Upon it’s initial release, then-studio head Jeffrey Katzenberg regarded Pocahontas as a more prestigious project than The Lion King, and even believed that it had a chance of earning an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture, following in the steps of Beauty and the Beast. However, the movie was less successful commercially than was hoped with its more adult themes and tones, which did not appeal to younger children.
4. John Pomeroy was the Supervising Animator for John Smith, and watched several Errol Flynn movies, as reference for the movements of the character. Once the look of Smith was finalized, fourteen other animators were drafted in to make him come to life.
3. As all the actors recorded their dialogue separately, they did not meet each other until the premiere. Mel Gibson did not attend the premiere because he was away filming Braveheart. As of 2019, Irene Bedard (who voiced Pocahontas) still has not met him.
2. Shirley “Little Dove” Custalow-McGowan, a descendant of the real Pocahontas, worked on the film as a consultant. When she discovered that there would be a lot of artistic license with history, she left the project. Her appearance was also an inspiration for how the animated Pocahontas would look.
1. This is the first Disney film to be censored before going to theaters, due to “racial slurs in the song ‘Savages'”. Some lyrics where changed for the film, as they were viewed as inappropriate (even though authentic to the setting). If you watch the scene in the film, it’s obvious the animators had no time to match the mouth movements with the new lyrics. Interestingly, for some unknown reason, the original motion picture soundtrack still features the earlier lyrics.
G | 1h 21min | Animation, Adventure, Drama | 23 June 1995 (USA)
An English soldier and the daughter of an Algonquin chief share a romance when English colonists invade seventeenth-century Virginia.
Directors: Mike Gabriel, Eric Goldberg
Writers: Carl Binder, Susannah Grant
Stars: Mel Gibson, Linda Hunt, Christian Bale