Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is a 1937 American animated musical fantasy film produced by Walt Disney Productions and originally released by RKO Radio Pictures. Based on the German fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm, it is the first full-length cel animated feature film and the earliest Disney animated feature film. The story was adapted by storyboard artists Dorothy Ann Blank, Richard Creedon, Merrill De Maris, Otto Englander, Earl Hurd, Dick Rickard, Ted Sears and Webb Smith. David Hand was the supervising director, while William Cottrell, Wilfred Jackson, Larry Morey, Perce Pearce, and Ben Sharpsteen directed the film’s individual sequences.
Snow White premiered at the Carthay Circle Theatre on December 21, 1937, followed by a nationwide release on February 4, 1938. It was a critical and commercial success, and with international earnings of $8 million during its initial release briefly held the record of highest-grossing sound film at the time. The popularity of the film has led to its being re-released theatrically many times, until its home video release in the 1990s. Adjusted for inflation, it is one of the top-ten performers at the North American box office and the highest-grossing animated film.
Snow White was nominated for Best Musical Score at the Academy Awards in 1938, and the next year, producer Walt Disney was awarded an honorary Oscar for the film. This award was unique, consisting of one normal-sized, plus seven miniature Oscar statuettes. They were presented to Disney by Shirley Temple.
In 1989, the United States Library of Congress deemed the film “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” and selected it for preservation in the National Film Registry. The American Film Institute ranked it among the 100 greatest American films, and also named the film as the greatest American animated film of all time in 2008. Disney’s take on the fairy tale has had a significant cultural impact, resulting in popular theme park attractions, a video game, and a Broadway musical.