Princesses of the silver screen
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Movie princesses through the years

Big-screen princesses have been capturing the imaginations of moviegoing commoners for nearly as long as the film medium has existed. Here’s a look at some of the silver screen’s most memorable princesses, both graceful and gutsy. (Clockwise from top left: Walt Disney Pictures; Paramount Pictures; Lucasfilm; DreamWorks Pictures; Walt Disney / Pixar)
After her jealous stepmother, the Queen, feeds her a poisoned apple, Snow White is awakened from her cursed sleep by a kiss from another royal, the Prince. (Walt Disney)
Orphaned Cinderella is a servant to her cruel stepmother and stepsisters before Prince Charming sweeps her off her feet. (Walt Disney Pictures)
Feeling burdened by her royal blood, Princess Ann (Audrey Hepburn) plays hooky from the duties of her unnamed country during a visit to Rome. Joe Bradley (Gregory Peck), an expatriate American reporter, rescues her from a bench after her escape, and the pair falls in love while sightseeing. (Paramount Pictures)
Born to the crown, Princess Aurora is cursed by the evil Maleficent. For her protection, she is whisked away to the forest, where she grows up as Briar Rose, unaware of her royal roots and cursed destiny. (Walt Disney Pictures)
Leia’s mother was Padme Amidala, queen of the Naboo. Though her father was a Jedi Knight, she was given up for adoption to the royal family of Alderaan. (Lucasfilm)
In the end mawage almost makes Buttercup a princess, but not before Westley swoops in to save her from the evil — and cowardly — Prince Humperdinck. (Clive Coote / Twentieth Century Fox)
Her father is King Triton of the sea people, and she’s married to Prince Eric of the people on land. (Walt Disney Pictures)
The daughter of a pauper, Belle eventually marries her prince, but not before deflecting her conceited, raw-egg-gobbling suitor Gaston. (Disney)
Jasmine, although born into royalty, is unhappy with life at the palace and flees to the street market, where she meets her prince-to-be. (Disney)
A lifetime of etiquette lessons and grooming for the crown help guarantee Odette’s grace, even when she’s a bird. Also, when she’s a swan, a little yellow patch on her head resembles a crown. (New Line Cinema)
Pocahontas was the daughter of Chief Powhatan and was to wed Kocoum, a warrior from the tribe. Uninterested, Pocahantas ends up meeting and falling in love with Englishman John Smith. (Disney)

Royal by blood or marriage: Anastasia Romanov is royal by blood, but she doesn’t quite realize that without the help of a pair of con men looking to claim the bounty on the long-lost Russian princess. So Anya, an orphan who lost her memory as a child will have to suffice. Little does she know that she really is the princess.

Proof she’s a princess: Anya remembers that she’s a princess by recalling a song from a music box that her grandmother, the Dowager Empress Marie, gave her as a child before they fled Russia. She also rejects stroganoff “like a Romanov,” according to her teacher Vladimir, and manages to bring down the sorcerer Rasputin with a pair of high heels on.

Adorable sidekick: Anya befriends the stray puppy Pooka, who, along with Dmitri and Vladimir, helps her learn how to be the Russian princess and claim the reward money offered by her grandmother in Paris.

 (20th Century Fox)
San, a child from the village of Iron Town that borders a great forest that houses animal gods, was abandoned and later adopted by the gigantic wolf goddess Moro. The villagers began calling her Princess Mononoke. (Miramax Films)
While not a princess per se, her family is also under the protection of ancient spirits, and she ends up marrying army Gen. Capt. Li-Shing in the straight-to-DVD sequel “Mulan II.” (Disney)
After knocking Henry, the crown prince of France, off a horse that he was attempting to steal, a courtship of sorts begins (though with many twists and turns) with Danielle De Barbarac. (Stephen F. Morley / 20th Century Fox)
The unpopular 15-year-old Mia Thermopolis is visited by her paternal grandmother from Genovia, who tells her she is the next sole heir of the Genovian throne. (Ron Batzdorff / Disney)
Fiona’s parents are King Harold and Queen Lillian of Far Far Away, and she has a fairy godmother to boot. (DreamWorks)
Ofelia is believed to be the reincarnation of Princess Moanna, who was so curious about the world that she ventured forth from Underworld, was blinded by the sun and lost her memory. (Teresa Isasi / Picturehouse)
Giselle isn’t a princess in the land of Andalasia but is going to marry her true love, Prince Edward. Both believe that is destiny. (Barry Wetcher / Walt Disney Pictures)
Prince Naveen of Maldonia is turned into a frog by a voodoo witch doctor in New Orleans and needs to kiss a true princess to revert the spell. Confusing Tiana for a princess, he kisses her and also turns her into a frog.  (Disney)
Rapunzel doesn’t know she is a princess. As a baby, she is kidnapped by an evil witch and locked in a tower. (Disney Enterprises)
Although her evil stepmother has taken Snow White’s rightful place as heiress to the kingdom, Snow White’s ability to tame a ferocious troll by just looking at it is proof she’s special. Not many can put human-eating monsters under a spell with just a glance. (Universal Pictures)
Merida is not so much into the whole royal-tradition thing. Apparently having weapons on the dinner table is frowned upon. (Pixar)
Elsa, an orphaned princess of Arendelle, inherits the throne when she comes of age. Unfortunately, an argument with her sister, Anna, at the coronation causes Elsa to lose control of her cryokinetic powers that she has kept hidden since her childhood for fear of harming others. (Disney)