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Princess Belle ("Belle" meaning "beautiful" in French), also known as Queen Belle in Descendants, is the female protagonist of Disney's 1991 film Beauty and the Beast and its 1997-98 direct-to-video saga midquels The Enchanted Christmas and Belle's Magical World.
From 1991 to 2010, she was voiced by Paige O'Hara in most of her appearances, with the exception of House of Mouse (where she was voiced by Jodi Benson). In2011, Julie Nathanson replaced O'Hara as Belle's official voice actress, beginning with Kinect Disneyland Adventures.
A stage version of the 1991 film debuted on Broadway on April 18, 1994, with the 'live' role of Belle originated by Susan Egan (who would later go on to voice Megara in Hercules) and finalized by Anneliese van der Pol.
Belle is the 5th official Disney Princess.
Development and Original Concept
When production first started on Beauty and the Beast, Belle's characterization was initially slightly closer to that of the original tale, being slightly timid yet also caring. She also had a sister name Clarice as well as a snobbish aunt named Marguerite (who would have been the movie's equivalent of Belle's wicked sisters from the original tale). However, after the 1989 storyboard reel was presented, then-Disney Chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg ordered for it to be rewritten from scratch, as he envisioned a Broadway-like film with a "feminist twist" to the original tale. To accomplish this, he hired Linda Woolverton, who at the time had just started film screenwriting and her only other experience with Disney was writing some episodes of their various Saturday Morning Cartoons. Woolverton based Belle on Katharine Hepburn's role of Jo March from the film adaptation of the book Little Women, and avoided using the Jean Cocteau film as a template for Belle and the film, even going as far as to avoid seeing the film. She also gave Belle a love of literature to show her open-mindedness.
Belle has gained a significant amount of intelligence over the years due to her love of books, providing her with an amazing vocabulary, active imagination, and an open mind. She is very confident and outspoken in her opinions, and seldom likes being told what to do. Despite all this, she does not have very many friends due to her smarts and being a free thinker. Unlike most characters in the film, Belle isn't concerned about hers or other's appearances, and is able to look past how people appear and into their hearts. This is how Belle managed to break the Beast's enchantment, and restore love and laughter to the castle.
Belle is somewhat a women's-libber for her time and refuses to be mistreated, undermined, humiliated, demeaned or controlled by any man, especially and specifically Gaston (in fact, he makes it quite clear that his ideal marriage with Belle includes her having "six or seven" good-looking sons with him, massaging his feet, cooking his dinner, scrubbing the floors, doing dirty work and, above all, no reading, as he considers intelligence in women to be ridiculous; this is taken one step further in his song in the musical in which he sings that womankind "occasionally" serves a purpose in marriage, specifically "extending the family tree"). However, Belle willingly listens to, looks up to and admires her father Maurice and considers the opinions and directions of the Beast, because they are both able to treat her as an equal (the Beast eventually learned how throughout the course of the film), while Gaston views Belle and all women of the village as property. She is quite obstinate when it comes to stating her points, upholding her opinions, and maintaining her ideas. Ironically, although she decries Gaston's conceit, she also proved herself to be slightly conceited and condescending in her opening song, where she decried her village as the "provincial life," as well as briefly rolling her eyes when the baker had to interrupt his conversation with Belle to get his coworker Marie to finish up the baguettes. In addition, she briefly referred to the village as being full of "little people" in the same song. Even though Belle had said in the film that she dream in adventure, she has also stated that she also wishes for a friend who accepts her for who she is, because of everyone in town criticize her because of how she does her own thing and they don't understand why. Which makes her feel that she does not fit in but despite this even when people gave her a hard time she never changed, but came to a better understanding of herself; which made the biggest difference by her breaking the spell and charming the Beast just by being herself. In Disney Comics' New Adventures of Beauty and the Beast, set a few years before the events of the first film, Belle was also shown to be slightly misandric in her views, refusing to associate herself with the boys in her village and also implying that she will always consider all men to be no different than pigs (then slightly amending it to exclude her father after the latter jokingly asked their pet pig Pierre if he heard Belle consider him no different than the pig). The same serial also implies that despite her love of fairy tales, she herself did not believe in the supernatural, as when trying to explore a certain part of the Black Forest before encountering an owl, she mentioned in her thoughts she knew there weren't any mythical creatures in there, though despite this Belle did acknowledge a frequent saying by her father about a Dove appearing meant their lives will get better in the Marvel serial.
When she meets the servants and the Beast, she becomes best friends with them, especially Chip and the Beast. She sees Chip as her kid brother and loves him very much.
Belle's personality transforms throughout the film. At first, she frequently dreams about a life of adventure and romance, not realizing that sometimes adventures might take a turn for the worst. As Belle begins to spend more time with the Beast, and their relationship blossoms into a strong friendship, she begins to fall in love with him without realizing it. As she matures during the course of her imprisonment, her love for the Beast breaks the enchantment. Belle realizes that having dreams is great, but sometimes you need to look beyond them and find what you're truly looking for.
Belle is a very attractive young woman and is known throughout the village for her beauty, with one villager commenting that it has no parallel, but although she knows it, she isn't vain or concerned about her looks. She is greatly aware that her fellow citizens think of her as "odd" and "peculiar". Belle pays very little attention to her appearance, unlike the very much conceited Gaston, who only wishes to wed her because she is attractive. He cares very little for her personality, her intelligence (he hates the very idea of a woman being smart) or the way she wants to live her life.
Belle has long, brown hair, most often tied back in a low ponytail, and possesses captivating hazel eyes, full lips, rosy cheeks, and a sculpted figure. One of her more distinct features are the strands of hair that are constantly slipping loose from her ponytail and falling in front of her face, she is often seen brushing them back into place when nervous or trying to be polite.
Throughout the film, Belle wears various outfits depending on the occasion. Her most elaborate, recognized, iconic, and renowned is her golden ball gown, in which she shares her first dance with the Beast in the "Beauty and the Beast" sequence. With this outfit, she wears some of her hair in a neat bun, but the majority of it trails down her neck in a beautiful, flowing motion, resembling a ponytail.
The story writers and producers of Beauty and the Beast wanted to give Belle's movements an air of elegance, so they studied the movements of ballerinas during the course of Belle's development. Like ballerinas, Belle walks diligently and swiftly on her toes no matter what types of shoes she is wearing, or where she is located. The designers and artists wanted Belle to be more noticeable in a crowd, so they payed extra close attention to her wardrobe, making sure that Belle would be the only member of the town to wear blue, whilst the other townsfolk sported more rustic and earthy colors, such as red, green, orange and brown.
Most of Belle's abilities are based on knowledge and intelligence, instead of physical strength.
One of Belle's more obvious abilities is her use of vocabulary. Possibly due to her love of books and constant reading, Belle is able to call out many words off the top of her head and use them in the correct context in order to prove a point or state a fact, such as "primeval" and "provincial". She also was apparently a speed-reader, having managed to complete a book in a short amount of time, which apparently shocked the bookkeeper when she came to return the book.
Belle is quite witty, and is able to use this trait to her advantage and outsmart people. When in an argument with theBeast, Belle was able to hold her ground and challenge each of the Beast's points with a cunning comeback, such as "If you hadn't frightened me I wouldn't have run away", or "You should learn to control your temper." Each of these facts left the Beast stunned and at a loss for words. Belle managed to think of these comebacks without much thought or hesitation. When Lumière and Cogsworth were attempting to lead Belle's curiosity away from the West Wing, she challenged them by saying the West Wing wouldn't be forbidden if the Beast wasn't hiding something in it, also briefly stunning them. Belle's logic may also have helped her save Maurice by realizing that something was going on in the castle that she wanted to find out. Soon, in the West Wing, she is almost able to discover the true identity of the Beast, though she briefly forgets it in the end.
Belle has a strong sense of character, and is able to use this trait in a variety of ways, even to her own advantage. On Belle's first night in the castle, following the "Be Our Guest" sequence, she develops an urge to explore the castle, and asks for a guide. Observing Cogsworth's "authoritative" personality, she immediately knows that Cogsworth would be the best candidate. At first, Cogsworth is quite reluctant of the idea, but when Belle says she's sure he knows everything about the castle, he agrees. Similarly, she also has a strong sense of deductive reasoning, as she deduced from the animate objects' interactions that the castle she was imprisoned at was enchanted, and without anyone telling her beforehand, as well as her being implied to have deduced Gaston's true role in locking Maurice up. This, however, was contradicted in the final moments of the film, where she exposed the Beast's existence to a congregated mob despite the high likelihood that they would turn and kill the Beast due to their current emotional state, as well as Gaston being very likely to try to kill the Beast under even the slightest hint that she might love the Beast more than him.
Although Belle is quite ignorant of her own beauty, she does somewhat manage to use her feminine charm to her advantage. When Gaston proposed to Belle, she pretended to be clueless and at a loss for words, however, she was secretly leading Gaston toward the door, and when cornered against it, opened it and sent him flying into a mud pond, taking some amusement upon doing so before throwing his boots out after him.
Although Belle displays few athletic abilities, she is able to ride a horse at quite stunning speeds with ease and skill, and subconsciously navigate her way through a crowded street while reading, without colliding with any other people or objects (although having several near-misses), at one point even deflecting water that was about to pour on top of her while she was reading without once looking up. She also has enough strength to not only break free of Xaldin's hold, but also stun him with an elbow to the gut. She also may have had enough strength to lift the Beast, as evidenced by the Beast being placed onto Philippe (although how she was able to put him on Philippe's back was never shown on-screen). Later on, she was able to pull the Beast up on to a balcony. In addition, she also was revealed to have rescued her dad from the elements and presumably place him onto Maurice while the latter was still out cold despite his being far larger than her in terms of weight.
It is made quite obvious in the early chapters of the film that Belle has a beautiful singing voice, courtesy of Broadway actress and singer Paige O'Hara.
Beauty and the Beast
Belle is a young woman living in a small unnamed village in France. She first appears at the beginning of the film (after the prologue) as she emerges out of the cottage she lives in and heads to a bookstore in the village, aware that the villagers are noting her peculiarity and how she doesn't fit in with the rest of them due to her love of books and withdrawn nature. At the bookstore, Belle returns a book she has borrowed and takes the one she perceives as her favorite. While heading back home to the cottage, she is pursued by a conceited, arrogant, muscle-headed hunter named Gaston, who eventually stands in her way. Gaston takes the book from Belle, drops it into a mud puddle, and tells Belle to get herself out of reading and pay more attention to "more important things" like him. Just then, an explosion comes out from the basement of her cottage, prompting Belle to run back home.
Descending into the basement and coughing her way in, Belle finds her father, Maurice, who is about to give up on his latest contraption that he has built. Belle faithfully tells her father how she has believed he will get the machine working, win first prize at the fair, and become a world-famous inventor. Inspired by his daughter's beliefs, Maurice reworks on the machine, and once he thinks he has done fixing it, he gives it a test run. To both Belle and her father's surprise, the test run goes successfully. Belle waves goodbye to her father and wishes him luck as Maurice, riding on their horse Philippe, goes off to the fair with the invention.
The following day, Belle hears a knock on a door. She uses the periscope, only to find that Gaston was at the porch, much to her dismay, but nevertheless lets him in. Gaston reveals to Belle that he wants to make her his little wife and the mother of seven handsome little boys; Belle is disgusted by this idea and slips away from Gaston, who continues to approach her. As Gaston has Belle cornered at the door and is about to plant a kiss on her, Belle opens the door, causing Gaston to fall into a large mud pond outside. After a furious and humiliated Gaston leaves the cottage, Belle goes outside to feed the chickens, shocked in disbelief at how Gaston has asked her to marry him. Not wanting to be the wife of that boorish, brainless man, she runs off into an open field, where Philippe finds her. Seeing the horse without her father, Belle pleads the horse to take her to where her father is.
Belle rides to a mysterious castle on Philippe in possibility of finding her father. She finds her father locked away in a dungeon, and begs the dungeon master to free him, offering her own freedom in exchange for her father's. On the condition that she stay with him forever, the dungeon master, a hideous beast, frees Maurice from the dungeon, however he is deeply moved by her beauty and affection towards her father, and can't help but feel touched by her boldness and bravery.
Belle is later taken on a tour by the head butler, Cogsworth and his assistant Lumiere. They decide to show Belle their library but Belle's curiosity of the West Wing makes her go into the forbidden room. There she sees a torn picture of a young man and a glowing rose. She takes the glass off the rose and tries to touch it. However, the Beast arrives and ruthlessly scolds Belle out of fury. Terrified, Belle escapes the castle and runs away. There, she and her horse encounter a pack of frightening and savage wolves, but the Beast arrives and rescues her. Belle then returns the favor by bringing him back to the castle after he collapsed due to exhaustion and his wounds from saving her, although they then got into an argument while she was tending to his wounds in the den about who was at fault, with Belle winning the argument. She then briefly thanks the Beast for saving her afterwards.
As a token of his appreciation, the Beast, at Lumiere's suggestion gives Belle his enormous library (although beforehand when he told her to close her eyes as it was a surprise, she briefly glared at him with suspicion, implying that even after being saved from the wolves, she didn't entirely trust him). In return, Belle helps him act more like a gentleman. The Beast falls deeply in love with her, but fears that she will never love him in return. When he is to reveal his feelings for her, Belle is soon granted right to leave on behalf of her sickly father, who tries to rescue her. But after denying Gaston her hand in marriage again and exposing the Beast's existence to save her father from being taken to the insane asylum by a mob of villagers orchestrated by Gaston (even though the villagers were in a mob-type position), the mob attacks the Beast out of fear of the village's safety (and Gaston out of jealousy for the implication that Belle loves the Beast more than himself).
After a grueling tussle between Gaston and the Beast, the Beast is fatally stabbed. Gaston falls to his death when he loses his balance. Belle is able to lay the Beast on a balcony, and he dies in her arms. Belle sobs over the Beast's dead body and confesses her love for him just as the last petal falls from the enchanted rose. As Belle continues to sob over losing her love, the Beast's body begin to float in the air and is enshrouded in a fog. Belle watches mysteriously as the Beast's fore-paws, hind-paws, and furry head respectively transform back into hands, feet, and head of a Prince. The Prince then turns to Belle, who initially looks at him skeptically, but then she recognizes him by his blue eyes. The Prince and Belle share their first kiss, a kiss of true love, which subsequently breaks the additional spell the Enchantress had placed on the castle: the dark, scary castle is restored into its original, shining state, and all the Prince's servants, including Lumiere, Cogsworth, and Mrs. Potts, are transformed back into human. Belle and the Prince then dance in the ballroom with her father and his servants watching happily.
Disney Parks and Resorts
Belle appears as a meetable character in the Disney theme parks, wearing either her blue commoner dress (such as in "Storytime with Belle" at the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World) or her gold princess outfit and appears in many shows such as Fantasmic! and every Disney Parks parade. She can be spotted on a float in Mickey's Soundsational Parade. Recently she's been appearing with Gaston at Disney World's New Fantasyland and Epcot, even though she didn't enjoy being near him in the film.
Belle has her own spell card in the attraction Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom known as "Belle's Mountain Blizzard".
She also had a pin that was sold at the various theme parks. On it, Belle has a stern look and has a speech bubble that says "Men are such beasts!"
At Disneyland's Fantasy Faire, Belle tells her tale with help from Lumiere, Mister Smythe and Mister Jones in the Royal Theatre.
Storytime with Belle
In the former show held at the Magic Kingdom, Belle would tell her story to an audience, some of which were chosen to act as characters in the story. The show then became part of the attraction, Enchanted Tales with Belle.
Beauty and the Beast: Live
In the live show at Disney's Hollywood Studios in Walt Disney World Resort Belle appears in the stage adaption of the film. In the show Belle plays out her same role as in the film.
World of Color
Belle appears in the nighttime water show in Disney California Adventure park in the Disneyland Resort. Belle appears in the opening during the theme of the show shown ball dancing with Beast. She later appears starting the show's finale as she confesses her love for Beast and he transforms into a handsome prince.
The Disney Dream cruise ship holds a show called Believe where several Disney "magic makers" help an uptight father, Dr. Greenway, believe in magic. When Lumière takes the task, Belle and Mrs. Potts assists with success.
Significance and Legacy
Part of Belle's legacy is the fact that she brought a new dawn of more adventurous, heroic and independent heroines to the world of film, although Ariel brought a new personality trend to heroines. Belle's pioneering role in Beauty and the Beast introduced more heroic heroines to the Disney scene, specifically with Pocahontas in 1995 and Mulan in 1998.
Belle is sometimes used as an advocate for women's liberation and intelligence among women around the world. She is also used to encourage children in their love of reading and literature.
Belle's popularity and strong characterization led her to becoming a member of the Disney Princess franchise.
Belle received many changes in her late 2012 redesign.
Most striking of all is that her hair is much more wavy and curly in its appearance and is now more than twice its original length, all hanging down to her waist. While still parted in the middle at the front of her head, two locks of hair hang loose and frame the sides of her face. Some of her hair is swept back and pulled into a large sock bun instead of the previous fancy knot that was held in place by a gold hair clasp.
Her gown now possesses the same gold color from the film instead of the yellow color in the previous franchise, however, the bottom half is now decorated with glittery designs of roses.
The off-the-shoulder part of the dress is made of cream-colored organza and pinned in the front by three pearls of varying sizes. Her evening gloves match the color and material of the dress's shoulders.
There is a strong possibility that Belle's new appearance was very heavily based on Penélope Cruz's portrayal of her in Disney Dream Portrait Series; particularly with the waist length, curly and wavy hair.
In early redesigns, Belle's sleeves were covering her shoulders instead of revealing them.
- "Morning monsieur!"
- "The bookshop! I just finished the most wonderful story, about a beanstalk and an ogre and..."
- "Good morning. I've come to return the book I borrowed."
- "Oh, I couldn't put it down! Have you got anything new?"
- (on ladder of bookshelf) "That's all right. I'll borrow... this one."
- "Well it's my favorite! (BELLE swings off side of ladder, rolling down it's track) Far off places, daring swordfights, magic spells, a prince in disguise!"
- "But sir!"
- "Well thank you. Thank you very much!" (leaves bookshop)
- (Pleased, but uninterested) "Bonjour, Gaston. (Gaston snatches the book from her) Gaston, may I have my book back, please?"
- "Well, some people use their imagination."
- "Gaston, you are positively primeval."
- "Maybe some other time."
- "Please, Gaston. I can't. I have to get home and help my father. Goodbye."
- "Don't you talk about my father that way!"
- "My father's not crazy! He's a genius!" (Explosion in background. GASTON and LEFOU continue laughing. BELLE rushes home and descends into the basement.)
- "Are you all right, Papa?"
- "You always say that."
- "Yes, you will. And you'll win first prize at the fair tomorrow."
- "...and become a world famous inventor!"
- "I always have."
- "I got a new book. Papa, do you think I'm odd?"
- "Oh, I don't know. It's just I'm not sure I fit in here. There's no one I can really talk to."
- "He's handsome all right, and rude and conceited and...Oh Papa, he's not for me!"
- "It works!"
- "You did it! You really did it!"
- "Good bye, Papa! Good luck!"
- "Gaston, what a pleasant...surprise."
- "What do you know about my dreams, Gaston?"
- "Imagine that." (She picks up her book, places a mark in it, and puts it on the shelf.)
- "Let me think..."
- "Gaston, I'm-I'm speechless. I really don't know what to say."
- "I'm very sorry, Gaston... but... but I just don't deserve you!"
- (To the chickens) "Is he gone? Can you imagine, he asked me to marry him. Me, the wife of that boorish, brainless..."
- "Phillipe! What are you doing here? Where's Papa? Where is he, Phillipe? What happened? Oh, we have to find him, you have to take me to him!"
- "What is this place?"
- "Phillipe, please, steady. (She enters the gate and sees MAURICE's hat on the ground.) Papa."
- "Hello? Is anyone here? Hello? Papa? Papa, are you here?"
- "Papa? Papa? (COGSWORTH hides behind the door and LUMIERE rushes off.) Hello? Is someone here? Wait! I'm looking for my father! (She begins up the stairs, but doesn't realize that LUMIERE is watching her.) That's funny, I'm sure there was someone... I-I-Is there anyone here?"
- "Oh, your hands are like ice. We have to get you out of here."
- "Who's done this to you?"
- "I won't leave you!"
- "Who's there? Who are you?"
- "I've come for my father. Please, let him out! Can't you see? He's sick!"
- "But he could die! Please, I'll do anything!"
- "Oh there must be some way I can... wait! Take me instead."
- "If I did, would you let him go?"
- "Come into the light."
- "You have my word."
- "Wait!" (Beast opens the castle's door and drags Maurice to the palanquin).
- (Cries) "You didn't even let me say good bye! I'll never see him again, I didn't get to say good-bye!"
- "My room? But I thought..."
- (looking intrigued) "What's in the West Wing?"
- "Who is it?"
- (amazed at the fact that she is listening to a walking tea set) "But you're... You're a..."
- (sits on bed) "This is impossible--"
- "Thank you." (She picks up CHIP, and is about to take a sip of tea.)
- "But I've lost my father, my dreams, everything."
- "That's very kind of you, but I'm not going to dinner."
- "I'm not hungry!"
- "No, thank you!"
- "Yes, I can!"
- (still disturbed by the attack) "I don't want to get to know him. I don't want to have anything to do with him!"
- "I'm-I'm sorry!"
- "I didn't mean any harm."
- (Pleading, but still scared) "Please... Stop!"
- "Here now. Don't do that. Just...hold...still."
- "If you'd hold still, it wouldn't hurt as much!"
- "If you hadn't frightened me, I wouldn't have run away!"
- "Well you should learn to control your temper! (both glare at each other) Now hold still, this might sting a little. (quietly) By the way, thank you, for saving my life."
- (Hesitantly) "Yes." (looks off into the distance).
- (Looks at him desperately) "If only I could see my father again, just for a moment. I miss him so much."
- (Hesitantly) "I'd like to see my father, please."
- "Papa. Oh, no. He's sick, he may be dying. And he's all alone."
- "What did you say?"
- (In amazement) "You mean...I'm free?"
- "Oh, thank you." (to Magic Mirror) "Hold on, Papa. I'm on my way."
- "Thank you for understanding how much he needs me."
- "He's no monster, Gaston. YOU ARE!"
- "Of course I came back. I couldn't let them..." (hugs the Beast) "Oh, this is all my fault. If only I'd gotten here sooner-"
- "Don't talk like that. You'll be all right. We're together now. Everything's going to be fine. You'll see."
- "No. No! Please. Please! Please don't leave me! (sobs) I love you."
- "It is you!"
- Belle is the second Disney Princess to not be of royal descent, after Cinderella in 1950. She is also the second to start out not of royal descent, with Cinderella being the first, and Tiana being the third. Interestingly, all of the three Princesses by marriage wear opera gloves in the Disney Princess franchise.
- Belle was the final Disney Princess to have the same actress play both her speaking and singing voices until Tiana in 2009.
- Susan Egan, who voiced Megara in Hercules originated the role of Belle in Broadway's Beauty and the Beast.
- Belle is the first Disney Princess to have a male villain in her story, followed by Jasmine, Pocahontas, Mulan, Tiana, Merida, Anna and Elsa.
- Although only three of the Disney Princesses (Cinderella, Ariel and Tiana) are actually shown marrying in their debut film, with four of the Disney Princesses (Jasmine, Mulan, Pocahontas and Rapunzel) have their weddings depicted in sequels/shorts, and two (Snow White and Aurora) have their weddings implied by the ending narration of their respective films, Belle is the only Disney Princess whose wedding is never actually depicted or directly mentioned in any of their animated appearances (although it was depicted in some Disney Princess books and one novelization).
- In the new Fantasyland, Belle's cottage shows a picture of her reading with her mother—a beautiful woman with curly brown hair wearing a pink dress. One wall in the cottage also has height marks up until her 18th birthday, suggesting she may be 18 years old during the films. Based on this painting, her mother, when she was still alive, probably looked exactly like Belle but with lighter hair, and blue eyes instead of hazel eyes.
- The New Fantasyland attraction also implied with the height wall that Belle may have been born in the village, which contradicted some sources, including a brief lyric in the opening song, that either stated or otherwise implied that Belle and her father had moved to the village some time prior to the events of the original film.
- The book Belle viewed as her favorite was also confirmed in the attraction to be Sleeping Beauty. It also revealed that, at least by the events of the movie, she had at least two copies of Sleeping Beauty: The one her mom read to her when she was a child (thus explaining why it was her favorite, as well as why she loved reading), and the other being the book she got from the bookstore during the opening song.
- Belle is the first Disney Princess to "save" her prince at the film's climax by breaking the spell and returning the Beast to his human form. She is followed by Mulan, Tiana and Rapunzel.
- Belle is the fourth Disney Princess to have a father present in the film, after Cinderella in 1950, Aurora in 1959 and Ariel in 1989, and before Jasmine in 1992, Pocahontas in 1995, Mulan in 1998, Tiana in 2009, Rapunzel in 2010, Merida in 2012, and eventually, Anna and Elsa in 2013.
- Belle arguably saw the dawn of more heroic and independent Disney Princesses. Her legacy led to Jasmine, Pocahontas, Mulan, Tiana and Rapunzel. However, some say this title rightfully belongs to Ariel.
- Alongside Snow White and Ariel, she is the only Disney Princess not to have a duet with her love interest.
- Belle is the first and only Disney Princess to not sing the film's theme song, "Beauty and the Beast". Instead, it is sung by the supporting character, Mrs. Potts. Though her voice actress Paige O'Hara has sung the song on a few albums and live performances.
- Before Paige O'Hara got the role of Belle, the producers first considered Jodi Benson, whom was best known as the voice of Ariel, to voice Belle. Benson however did voiced Belle in Disney's House of Mouse.
- Belle is the second Disney Princess to deal with an unwanted marriage as a major or minor source of conflict. Aurora is the first (in which she did not know the boy she met was Prince Phillip), Jasmine is the third (in that her father is trying to marry her off before her next birthday due to the law mandating it), Pocahontas is the fourth (in that her father is trying to marry her off to Kocoum), and Merida is the fifth. Hers is because Gaston wants to marry her and make her his "little wife" to inflate his ego and have himself a baby-maker that will only bear him sons and do whatever he commands.
- On a related note, she is the only one of the five whose unwanted marriage was not related at all to a (pre-)arranged marriage, though the original screenplay for the film did have it be an arranged marriage by her aunt.
- Belle is the second Disney Princess to have a horse companion, Phillipe. Cinderella was the first with Major, Mulan was the third with Khan, Rapunzel was the fourth with Maximus, and Merida was the fifth with Angus.
- Belle is the first Princess to be thought of in unflattering terms by the people in her town (being viewed as "crazy"). The second being Tiana and the third being Elsa (the last of whom was referred to as a "monster").
- In Beauty and the Beast Belle's Magical World, Belle tells the Beast the Cinderella fairy tale during the first segment.
- In the beginning to the original 1989 storyline, found on the Diamond Edition DVD, Belle's birthday is celebrated and on the cake it says "Happy 17th Birthday Belle", providing evidence that she is 17 in the movie, or at least that she was originally planned to be 17.
- Belle was nominated for AFI's 100 Year...100 Hero and Villain list, one of the three animated heroes and one of three Disney animated heroes, along with Peter Pan, Mary Poppins and Buzz Lightyear. Unfortunately, none of them made the cut.
- Belle is the second Disney Heroine to save her love interest's life. The first being Ariel who saved Eric from drowning, the third being Pocahontas, fourth being Esmeralda, fifth being Megara, sixth being Mulan, and seventh being Rapunzel.
- Belle was the last Princess to be of Caucasian descent until Rapunzel in 2010.
- Belle is one of the three Disney Princesses to have her own individual eye color from the others. She's the only one with hazel eyes, Aurora with violet eyes and Rapunzel with green eyes.
- Vanellope von Schweetz also has hazel eyes but she is an unofficial Disney Princess.
- Belle's eyes were originally going to be colored gray.
- Belle is the second Princess to be in a castle with dark themes inside. The first being Snow White, namely, The Queen's castle.
- A costume of Belle, as well as the rest of the Disney Princesses (excluding Mulan and Pocahontas), has been released on the video game Little Big Planet 2 as downloadable content from the PlayStation Store.
- Belle made a brief cameo during the songs "Out There" and "Topsy Turvy" from The Hunchback of Notre Dame along with Pumbaa and Carpet in a shot of a village square. Coincidentally enough, both films take place in France in the past.
- Belle is the third and so far final Disney Princess to have her name be the title of the opening song to her feature film. She was preceded by Cinderella and Aurora.
- Belle is the first Princess with brown hair, the second being Rapunzel. Yet she is the first and only Princess to remain a brunette in the franchise and be a brunette throughout her entire debut film.
- One poster for the film for some reason showed Belle in a pink-and-purple dress resembling Rapunzel's.
- Belle, along with Aurora are the only two Princesses who weren't protagonists in their original stories, but shared a protagonistic role in Disney's version.
- Belle is the second Princess to feature a "magic mirror" in her film. The first being Snow White. Unlike Snow White, however, Belle actually used it.
- Belle is normally seen with Cinderella, Aurora, Ariel, Tiana, Rapunzel and more than the other Princesses.
- Belle shares several similarities with Lilo from Lilo & Stitch, as both are considered "odd" by other people because they have different beliefs and interests. Both also befriended something that was considered a vicious monster (Beast and Stitch) and gradually developed a close bond. Another similarity is that both were also locked up by the antagonist (Gaston and Gantu) until they were freed later. Both also share a love for certain fiction (Belle's love for books and stories, Lilo's love for movies and science fiction). Unlike Lilo, Belle's "oddness" is only inferred while Lilo's oddness is a bit more explicitly demonstrated.
- Belle is the first Disney Princess to be treated condescendingly by a high-ranking male; the second is Mulan (who was bullied by the misogynistic consul of the Emperor, Chi-Fu) and the third is Anna (who was tricked by Prince Hans of the Southern Isles).
- In an episode of Gargoyles, Elisa Maza dresses up as Belle.
- Belle is the first Disney Princess be attacked by wolves, followed by Anna.
- She is the first Disney Princess who does not get along with the male character at the beginning of the movie, the next being Mulan, Tiana, Rapunzel and Anna.
- Belle has some similarities with Anna.
- Both are beautiful, loving, kind and strong-willed.
- Both have a handsome enemy who wants to marry them for selfish reasons and don't really love the girl at all. As a possible reference, because Anna is actually attracted to this enemy she almost quotes the three blondes who are actually interested in Belle's enemy. While they say, "she's crazy" followed by "he's gorgeous", Anna says "I'm awkward" followed by "you're gorgeous." After discovering their true nature, Anna states a line similar to Belle's that compares the enemy to the person who was called a monster before, with the enemy being the true monster ("The only frozen heart around here, is yours!"). The only difference is that Belle never trusted Gaston from the start, while Anna, as noted earlier, did initially fall for Hans. Ironically, her sister Elsa was initially distrustful of Hans similar to Belle's distrust of Gaston in the beginning of the film, yet ultimately fell for him and ended up betrayed.
- When someone close to them is exposed (Elsa and Beast) by themselves with unintended results, they both plead that he/she is not a monster, despite the crowds' fears of him/her.
- Both are attacked by wolves.
- Both are befriended by talking magical creatures (Olaf and the Enchanted objects).
- Both are locked up by the villain, but are rescued by their magical friend.
- Albeit unintentionally, both nearly got their close loved ones killed due to the main villain's machinations:
- Anna, along with causing Elsa's powers to be exposed to the public, during her search for Elsa, unknowingly placed her in grave danger to Hans due to her relationship with him.
- Belle nearly got Beast and his enchanted servants killed as a result of her exposing the Beast's existence to the villagers when trying to save her father after Gaston riled up the already congregated mob's emotions.
- Belle has some similarities with Katie O'Gill from 1959 Disney's film "Darby O'Gill and the Little People".
- Both are beautiful, loving, kind and strong-willed.
- Both have a handsome town bully enemy who wants to marry them for selfish reasons.
- Belle's father Maurice, like Katie's father Darby, raves about what he saw which people find him crazy.
- Paige O'Hara, the first voice actor for Belle, does fan artwork of Belle on her official website and sells the artwork.
- Despite her character being associated with her love of reading, Belle is in fact only the second Disney Princess to actually be seen reading. The first was Ariel during "Part of Your World".
- The books she has read are Jack and the Beanstalk, Sleeping Beauty and Romeo and Juliet (the last of which is only in "Human Again" on the Special Edition). She may have also written Beauty and the Beast, and was also shown to have read the tale of Cinderella in Belle's Magical World. In the musical, she has also read King Arthur. Although Jack and the Beanstalk earliest known publishing date was in 1807, the story itself predated that date significantly, with a similar story, The Story of Jack Spriggins and the Enchanted Bean, being included in the 1734 edition of Round About Our Coal-Fire.
- In The Enchanted Christmas, the book that Belle wrote and wrapped together was the original tale for Beauty and the Beast.
- Belle is the first Disney Princess to sacrifice herself because she gave up her dreams so her father (or another relative) can be free/survive. The second one to do this is Mulan who went to war so her father can live. And the third is Anna who sacrifice her life to protect her sister from being killed.
- Also, Belle is the only Disney princess (until now), whose movie was nominated to the Academy Award for Best Picture category, (also being the first animated movie ever to be nominated to such category).
- Contrary to popular belief, it is not made clear whether Belle was actually born a peasant, as she implies that she was not born in her home village in the opening song, but rather moved there. In addition, her owning books at her cottage implied that she is, or at least was, considerably wealthy (as back in the time period of the film, books were considerably expensive).
- Belle originally had a younger sister named Clarice as well as an aunt named Marguerite, the latter of whom acted as a secondary antagonist. Had these been retained, she would have been the second Disney Princess to have biological siblings (after Ariel), as well as the first to be the eldest sibling; and she also would have been the first protagonist where an antagonist was directly related to her by blood (second regarding Ursula's original role as Ariel's aunt).
- Belle being carried by Prince Adam near the end of the film is a reference to the poster of It's a Wonderful Life where George Bailey holds his wife after Clarence shows him what the world would be like if he was never born.
- Belle is the first Disney Princess to appear in a Broadway musical. Snow White does not count since her musical played Off-Broadway at Radio City Music Hall.