Production of the film took three and a half years and required the talents of nearly 600 animators, artists, and technicians. Portions of the film were animated at Disney's satellite facility at the Disney-MGM Studios in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Art directors working on the film traveled to the Loire valley in France for inspiration, and studied the great French romantic painters like Fragonard and Boucher to give their settings a European look.
It was lyricist Howard Ashman who came up with the idea of turning the enchanted objects into living creatures with unique personalities. Glen Keane, the supervising animator on the Beast, created his own hybrid beast by combining the mane of a lion, the beard and head structure of a buffalo, the tusks and nose bridge of a wild boar, the heavily muscled brow of a gorilla, the legs and tail of a wolf, and the big and bulky body of a bear.
Computer-generated imagery was used in several parts of the film, most notably in the "Be Our Guest" sequence and in the creation of a striking three-dimensional ballroom background, allowing dramatic camera movements on the animated characters as they danced. It became the most successful animated feature in motion picture history up to that time, with domestic box office revenues exceeding $140 million.
Directed by Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise. Starring: the voices of Paige O'Hara (Belle), Robby Benson (Beast), Richard White (Gaston), Jerry Orbach (Lumiere), David Ogden Stiers (Cogsworth), Angela Lansbury (Mrs. Potts), Jo Anne Worley (Wardrobe). Academy AwardŽ nominee in four categories, including, for the first time for an animated feature, that of Best Picture, it won for Best Song ("Beauty and the Beast" by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken) and Best Original Score. The film was dedicated to Howard Ashman, who died earlier in the year: "To our friend, Howard, who gave a mermaid her voice and a beast his soul, we will be forever grateful."