There is more to Cinderella than Disney’s blue gowns

Glass slippers, sparkly dresses, a pumpkin turned into a carriage—who doesn’t love the story of Cinderella? Luckily for all of us, Disney’s live action version of the classic tale is coming to theaters this Friday. And, based on the trailer, it seems to capture all the magical moments of the 1950’s cartoon:

While Disney’s version is the most recognizable (think mice and blue gowns), there have been countless retellings of the famous tale. To prepare you for the newest film, here are four classic Cinderella adaptations you don’t want to miss:

Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella (1997)

As a child of the ‘90s, I remember watching this 1997 live Brandy remake of the beloved 1965 television movie musical when it first aired on ABC-TV. Almost 20 years later, I’m still a fan. What’s not to love about a fairy godmother Whitney Houston? This version introduced a whole new generation to the iconic Rodgers and Hammerstein songs. It’s pretty much a flawless movie. Just watch this scene if you don’t believe me:


Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

Do everyone a favor and skip the awful Anne Hathaway film version of this incredible story. The book is infinitely better, with a plucky heroine who’s “blessed” with the gift of obedience as a baby. Of course being unable to say no is actually a curse, regularly putting Ella and those she loves in danger. She spends a lot of her childhood hiding her secret or being taken advantage of by those who discover it. Her life starts to change when she develops a strong friendship with Prince Charmont, which eventually blossoms into love. And yes, there is a ball, a mask and a lost slipper. But there are also ogres, giants, gnomes and fairies. This book is like a fairytale on steroids—in the best possible way


I saw this movie four times in the theater. Four. Times. The year was 1998, Drew Barrymore was a national treasure and Ever After was the most romantic movie around. Seriously, the romance in this one is perfect: the relationship between Danielle (Barrymore) and Prince Henry (Dougray Scott) builds slowly, they bond over literature, and Drew inspires him with her speeches about equality for everyone. It’s Cinderella plus socialism. Plus lots of making out. There’s no magic in this one—well, not unless you count the insane amount of chemistry between Scott and Barrymore. Which I definitely do.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

This is the adaptation you never knew you needed: Cinderella as a cyborg. Cinder is a mechanic, a second-class citizen due to her cyborg status, and generally hated by her stepmother. After she meets Prince Kai, she soon finds herself at the center of a budding intergalactic war. Cinder is tough, smart, and willing to do whatever it takes to save her world. If you’re bored with the gowns and balls of the usual Cinderella tales, this adaptation is for you.