The Little Mermaid is a 1989 American animated musical fantasy film produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation and Walt Disney Pictures. The 28th Disney animated feature film, it is loosely based on the 1837 Danish fairy tale of the same name by Hans Christian Andersen. The film tells the story of a mermaid princess named Ariel, who dreams of becoming human and falls in love with a human prince named Eric, which leads her to make a magic deal with the sea witch, Ursula, to become human and be with him. Written and directed by Ron Clements and John Musker, with music by Alan Menken and lyrics by Howard Ashman (who also served as co-producer alongside John Musker), and art direction by Michael Peraza Jr. and Donald A. Towns, the film features the voices of Jodi Benson, Christopher Daniel Barnes, Pat Carroll, Samuel E. Wright, Jason Marin, Kenneth Mars, Buddy Hackett, and René Auberjonois.
Walt Disney planned to put the story in a proposed package film containing Andersen's stories, but scrapped the project. In 1985, while working on The Great Mouse Detective (1986), Clements and Musker decided to adapt the fairy tale and proposed it to Disney Studios chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg, who initially declined due to its similarities to a proposed sequel to the 1984 film Splash, but ultimately approved of it. Ashman became involved and brought in Menken. With supervision from Katzenberg, they made a Broadway-style structure with musical numbers as the staff was working on Oliver & Company (1988). Katzenberg warned that the film would earn less since it appealed to females, but he eventually became convinced that it would be Disney's first blockbuster hit.
In Disney's beguiling animated romp, rebellious 16-year-old mermaid Ariel (Jodi Benson) is fascinated with life on land. On one of her visits to the surface, which are forbidden by her controlling father, King Triton, she falls for a human prince. Determined to be with her new love, Ariel makes a dangerous deal with the sea witch Ursula (Pat Carroll) to become human for three days. But when plans go awry for the star-crossed lovers, the king must make the ultimate sacrifice for his daughter.
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