The Little Mermaid (1989 film)

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The Little Mermaid is a 1989 American-Danish film about a mermaid princess who makes a Faustian bargain with a sea witch in an attempt to become human and win a prince's love.

Written and directed by Ron Clements and John Musker, based on the fairy tale of the same name by Hans Christian Andersen.
Somewhere under the sea and beyond your imagination is an adventure in fantasy. Tagline


  • Oh, my gosh. Oh, my gosh! Have you ever seen anything so wonderful in your entire life?
  • I've never seen a human this close before. He's very handsome, isn't he?
  • You... YOU MONSTER!!!
  • Eric, you've got to get away from here!

Prince Eric[edit]

  • A girl rescued me. She was singing. She had the most beautiful voice.
  • I'm tellin' you, Grim, she was real. I'm gonna find that girl... and I'm gonna marry her.
  • Grim, I lost her once! I'm not gonna lose her again!
  • No, I won't leave you!


  • Teenagers. They think they know everything. You give them an inch, they swim all over you.
  • [as Ariel sleeps] You are hopeless, child. You know that? Completely hopeless.
  • There you see her / Sitting there across the way / She don't got a lot to say / But there's something about her / And you don't know why / But you're dyin' to try / You wanna kiss the girl.
  • Well, it's like I always say, Your Majesty: Children got to be free to lead their own lives.


  • You know I can't swim that fast.



King Triton[edit]

  • I consider myself a reasonable merman. I set certain rules, and I expect those rules to be obeyed.
  • So help me, Ariel, I am going to get through to you! And if this is the only way, so be it!


  • [watching Ariel quickly swim home from her lair; first lines] Yes, hurry home, Princess. We wouldn't want to miss old Daddy's celebration, now, would we? Ha! Celebration, indeed. Oh, bah! In my day, we had fantastical feasts when I lived in the palace. And now look at me, wasted away to practically nothing. Banished and exiled and practically starving, while he and his flimsy fish folk celebrate. Well, I'll give 'em something to celebrate soon enough. Flotsam! Jetsam! I want you to keep an extra close watch on this pretty little daughter of his. She may be the key to Triton's undoing.
  • Oh, no, no, no, no, no, no. I can't stand it. It's too easy. The child is in love with a human. And not just any human. A prince! [Chuckles] Her daddy will love that. King Triton's headstrong, lovesick girl would make a charming addition to my little garden. [Cackles]
  • Nice work, boys. That was a close one. Too close. The little tramp! Ah, she's better than I thought. At this rate, he'll be kissing her by sunset for sure! Well, it's time Ursula took matters into her own tentacles! Triton's daughter will be mine, and then I'll make him writhe. I'll see wriggle like a worm on a hook!
  • Not a chance, Triton! She's mine now!
  • [last and final words] So much for true love!


  • Get away from me, you slimy, little...!


  • Eric, if I may say, far better than any dream girl is one of flesh and blood, one warm and caring and right before your eyes.

Chef Louis[edit]

  • Come out, you little pipsqueak, and FIGHT LIKE A MAN!!!


  • Why, Eric, that's the first time I've seen you smile in weeks.


  • Isn't it obvious, Daddy? Ariel's in love.


[Scuttle shows Ariel and Flounder a tobacco pipe]
Scuttle: This, I haven't seen this in years. This is wonderful! A banded, bulbous snarfblatt.
Ariel and Flounder: Oh!
Scuttle: Now, the snarfblatt dates back to prehistorical times when humans used to sit around and stare at each other all day. [comes face to face with Ariel] Got very boring. So they invented this snarfblatt to make fine music. Allow me. [blows into it, only to have seaweed and water come out]
Ariel: [realizing what Scuttle said] Music!
Scuttle: [coughs] It's stuck!
Ariel: Oh, the concert! Oh, my gosh! My father's gonna kill me!
Flounder: The concert was today!?
Scuttle: [inspects the "snarfblatt" further] Maybe you can make a little planter out of it or somethin'.
Ariel: [takes it back] I'm sorry! I've gotta go! Thank you, Scuttle!
[she and Flounder swim back home]
Scuttle: Anytime, sweetie! Anytime.

Ursula: [watching Ariel from her lair via Flotsam and Jetsam] Yes. Hurry home, princess. We wouldn't want to miss old daddy's celebration, huh? Would we? [scoffs] Celebration, indeed. Oh, BAH! In my day, we had fantastical feasts, when I lived in the palace. [closeup of her eating a shrimp] And now, look at me. Wasted away to practically nothing. Banished and exiled and practically starving! While he and his flimsy fish folk celebrate. Well, I'll give 'em something to celebrate soon enough. [to her eels] FLOTSAM! JETSAM! I want you to keep an extra close watch on this pretty little daughter of his. She may be the key to Triton's undoing. [fade to black]

[King Triton is admonishing Ariel in the throne room]
Triton: I just don't know what we're going to do with you, young lady.
Ariel: Daddy, I'm sorry, I just forgot, I...
Triton: As a result of your careless behavior...
Sebastian: Careless and reckless behavior!
Triton: The entire celebration was, er...
Sebastian: Well, it was ruined! That's all, completely destroyed! This concert was to be de pinnacle of my distinguished career. Now tanks to you, I am de laughingstock of de entire kingdom!
Flounder: [swimming up to Triton] But it wasn't her fault! Ah, well first, ahh, this shark chased us. Yeah yeah! And we tried to… But we couldn't. And then, "grr!" And…and we, whoa! Ah, and then we were safe. But then this seagull came, and it was "this is this, and that is that, and…"
Triton: "Seagull"?
[Flounder gasps and hides in Ariel's hair as she gives him a dirty look. Triton gives her a dirty look, too.]
Triton: What? You went up to the surface again, didn't you? Didn't you?!?
Ariel: Nothing happened.
Triton: [exasperatedly] Ariel, how many times must we go through this? You could've been seen by one of those barbarians, by... by one of those... HUMANS!
Ariel: Daddy, they're not barbarians!
Triton: They are DANGEROUS! Do you think I want to see my youngest daughter snared by some fish-eater's hook?!
Ariel: I'm 16 years old! I'm not a child anymore!
Triton: Don't you take that tone of voice with me, young lady! As long as you live under my ocean, you'll obey MY rules!
Ariel: But if you would just listen—
Triton: NOT ANOTHER WORD! And I will never, NEVER hear of you going to the surface again! IS THAT CLEAR?!
[Ariel leaves disappointed]
Sebastian: Hmph. Teenagers. Dey think dey know everyting. You give dem an inch, dey swim all over you.
Triton: Do you think I was too hard on her?
Sebastian: Definitely not! Why, if Ariel was my daughter, I'd show her who was boss. None of dis flitting to the surface and other such nonsense. No, sir! I'd keep her completely under control.
Triton: [smiles] You're absolutely right, Sebastian.
Sebastian: Of course.
Triton: Ariel needs constant supervision.
Sebastian: Constant.
Triton: Someone to watch over her. To make sure she stays out of trouble.
Sebastian: All da time.
Triton: [pokes Sebastian] And you are just the crab to do it!
[Cut to Sebastian walking down corridor.]
Sebastian: How do I get myself into these situations? I'm supposed to be writing symphonies, not tagging along after some headstrong teenager. [Sees Ariel and Flounder sneaking off and follows.] Hmm? What is that girl up to? [He barely makes it into grotto and sees Ariel's collection.] Huh?
Flounder: Ariel, are you okay?
Ariel: If only I could make him understand. I just don't see things the way he does. I don't see how a world that makes such wonderful things - could be bad.
🎵Look at this stuff
Isn't it neat?
Wouldn't ya think my collection's complete?
Wouldn't ya think I'm the girl.
The girl who has everything?
Look at this trove
Treasures untold
How many wonders can one cavern hold?
Lookin' around here you'd think
Sure, she's got everything
I've got gadgets and gizmos aplenty
I've got whosits and whatsits galore
[opening a box containing wine openers]
You want thingamabobs? I got twenty
But who cares?
No big deal
I want more
I wanna be where the people are
I wanna see
Wanna see 'em dancin'
Walkin' around on those
(Whaddya call 'em?) [playfully grabs Flounder’s fin] Oh, feet
Flippin' your fins you don't get too far
Legs are required for jumpin', dancin'
Strollin' along down a…
(What's that word again?) Street
Up where they walk
Up where they run
Up where they stay all day in the sun
Wanderin' free
Wish I could be
Part of that world
What would I give
If I were to live
Out of these waters?
What would I pay
To spend a day
Warm on the sand?
Betcha on land
They understand
Bet they don't reprimand their daughters
Bright young women
Sick o' swimmin'
Ready to stand
And ready to know what the people know
Ask 'em my questions
And get some answers
What's a fire and why does it
(What's the word?) Burn?
When's it my turn?
Wouldn't I love
Love to explore that shore above?
[Reaching out of the hole at the top of the grotto and sadly sinking back down]
Out of the sea
Wish I could be
Part of that…world🎵
[Sebastian has been struggling around and now comes crashing down making a lot of noise.]
Ariel: Sebastian!?
Sebastian: Ariel, what, are you mad? How could you - what is all this?
Ariel: It, err, it's just my - collection.
Sebastian: Oh. I see. Your collection. Hmm. IF YOUR FATHER KNEW ABOUT THIS PLACE, HE'D
Flounder: You're not gonna tell him, are you?
Ariel: Oh, please, Sebastian, he would never understand.
Sebastian: Ariel. You're under a lot of pressure down here. Come with me, I'll take you home and get you something warm to drink. [A ship passes by overhead]
Ariel: Now, what do you suppose…?

Ariel: He's very handsome, isn't he?
Scuttle: I dunno; he looks kind a' hairy an' slobb'ry t' me.
Ariel: [laughs] Not that one! The one playing the snarfblatt!

Triton: Come in, Sebastian.
Sebastian: [as he walks to Triton] I mustn't overreact. I must remain calm. [Five octaves higher than normal] Yes. [loco] Yes, Your Majesty.
Triton: Sebastian, I'm concerned about Ariel. Have you noticed she's been acting peculiar lately?
Sebastian: [pretending to act confused] Oh! Uh, peculiar?
Triton: You know, mooning about, daydreaming, singing to herself. You haven't noticed, hmm?
Sebastian: Oh- well, I-
Triton: Sebastian?
Sebastian: [looks up] Hmm?
Triton: I know you've been keeping something from me.
Sebastian: [nervously, as Triton motions for him to come closer] Keeping…someting?
Triton: About Ariel?
Sebastian: Ariel?
Triton: [point his trident at his chin] In love?
Triton: [gasps] Humans? WHAT ABOUT HUMANS?!
Sebastian: Humans? Ho ho ho ho… Who said anything about humans? [Triton angrily grabs Sebastian]

Triton: [angrily confronts Ariel in her grotto] I consider myself a reasonable merman. I set certain rules and I expect those rules to be obeyed.
Ariel: But Dad, I...!
Triton: Is it true you rescued a human from drowning?!
Ariel: Daddy, I had to.
Triton: Contact between the human world and the merworld is strictly forbidden! Ariel, you know that! Everyone knows that!
Ariel: He would've died!
Triton: One less human to worry about.
Ariel: [angrily] You don't even know him!
Triton: Know him? I don't have to know him! They're all the same: Spineless, savage, harpooning fish-eaters, incapable of any feeling!
[Ariel gasps in shock, as she has accidentally let slip the truth. Sebastian cringes in horror.]
Triton: [outraged] No... Have you lost your senses completely?! He's a HUMAN, you're a MERMAID!
Ariel: I don't care!
Triton: So help me, Ariel, I am going to get through to you! And if this is the only way, so be it!
[With his trident at full power, Triton furiously points it towards one of Ariel's treasures and angrily blasts it. The blast is so intense that it scares everyone, including Sebastian]
[But Triton, in his rage, refuses to stop. He continues furiously pointing his trident at one artifact and then another, mindlessly destroying everything in his path]
[She swims to her angry father and tries stopping him, but it’s no use. The only treasure left in the grotto is the statue of Eric. Seeing that he is now focused on that, Ariel turns to her angry father]
Ariel: DADDY, NO!
[But Triton angrily ignores the pleas of his frightened daughter and angrily blasts the statue. Pieces of the statue fly around the grotto as the explosion subsides. The trident calms down as she looks in horror at where the statue was. Her grotto, full of many treasures just minutes ago, is now a barren cave with much wreckage. Overcome with sadness, She collapses onto the ground and starts sobbing. Triton sternly looks at his daughter, but knowing that his time in the grotto is over, he doesn't say a word and turns to leave. But as he does, he can't help but feel that he went too far in scolding Ariel. He glimpses at Ariel with remorse before finally leaving. Sebastian and Flounder are the only ones left in the grotto and are terrified at what just happened. Feeling terrible for Ariel, Sebastian approaches the crying girl and tries to comfort her.]
Sebastian: Ariel, I...
Ariel: [softly] Just go away.
[Sebastian, remorseful for leading King Triton into the grotto, which resulted in the destruction of Ariel's treasures, leaves somberly with Flounder. Ariel is now on her own, sobbing over losing her treasures, all that she's collected for years, and the Eric statue, the newest and most fascinating treasure of them all. She's now left with nothing.]

Ursula: Now, here's the deal. I will make you a potion that will turn you into a human for three days. Got that? Three days. Now listen, this is important. Before the sun sets on the third day, you've got to get dear old princey to fall in love with you. That is, he's got to kiss you. Not just any kiss. The kiss of true love. If he does kiss you before the sun sets on the third day, you'll remain human permanently. But if he doesn't, you'll turn back into a mermaid and… you belong to me!
Sebastian: No, Ariel!
[Flotsam and Jetsam wrap themselves around Sebastian and Flounder, silencing them]
Ursula: Have we got a deal?
Ariel: If I become human, I'll never be with my father or sisters again.
Ursula: That's right! But you'll have your man. Life's full of tough choices, isn't it? Oh! And there is one more thing. We haven’t discussed the subject of payment. You can't get something for nothing, you know.
Ariel: But I don't have any…
Ursula: [shuts her mouth with her tentacle] I'm not asking much. Just a token really, a trifle. You'll never even miss it. What I want from you is… [close-up on her mouth] …your voice.
Ariel: My voice?
Ursula: You've got it, sweetcakes. No more talking, singing. ZIP.
Ariel: But without my voice, how can I…?
Ursula: You'll have your looks! Your pretty face! And never underestimate the importance of body language! HA!

Ursula: [watching her eels knock Ariel and Eric off the boat into the water, about to kiss] Nice work, boys. That was a close one. Too close. The little tramp! Oh, she's better than I thought. Well, at this rate, he'll be kissing her by sunset for sure! Well, it's time Ursula took matters into her own tentacles! [mixes up a potion that will transform her into Vanessa] Triton's daughter will be mine! And then I'll make him writhe. I'll see him wriggle like a worm on a hook! [laughing as the camera zooms in on her nautilus shell around her neck which fades out into the moon]

[after discovering "Vanessa" is actually Ursula in disguise, he flies back to Ariel, Sebastian and Flounder]
Scuttle: Ariel, I was flying. I was- Of course I was flying. And I saw the watch- the WITCH was watchin' the mirror, and she was singin' with a stolen set of pipes! [picks up Sebastian and slams him down on every word] DO YOU HEAR WHAT I'M TELLIN' YOU?! THE PRINCE IS MARRYING THE SEA WITCH IN DISGUISE!
Sebastian: Are you sure about this?
Scuttle: Have I ever been wrong? I MEAN, WHEN IT'S IMPORTANT?!

Ursula: [as Ariel turns back into a mermaid] You're too late! [cackles wickedly] YOU'RE TOO LATE! [transforms back into her own self and grabs Ariel; to Eric, smugly] So long, lover boy. [jumps off the boat and dives into the ocean]
Eric: Ariel!
Ursula: Poor little princess. It's not you I'm after. I've a much bigger fish to…
Triton: Ursula, STOP!
Ursula: Why, King Triton! How are you?
Triton: Let her go!
Ursula: Not a chance, Triton! She's mine now! We made a deal. [takes out the contract]
Ariel: Daddy, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to, I didn’t know!
[Triton attempts to destroy the contract with his trident to no avail]
Ursula: You see? The contract’s legal, binding and completely unbreakable, even for you. Of course, I always was a girl with an eye for a bargain. The daughter of the great sea king is a very precious commodity. But, I might be willing to make an exchange for someone even better. Now, do we have a deal? [Triton reluctantly agrees to take Ariel’s place by signing the contract with his trident]
Ursula: Ha. It’s done then!
[Ariel regains her form as Triton is reduced to a polyp like the rest of the merfolk in Ursula’s lair]

Triton: She really does love him, doesn't she, Sebastian?
Sebastian: Well, it's like I always say, Your Majesty: Children got to be free to lead their own lives.
Triton: You always say that?
[Sebastian smiles sheepishly]
Triton: Then I guess there's just one problem left.
Sebastian: And what's dat, Your Majesty?
Triton: How much I'm going to miss her.
[Sebastian stares at him in surprise as Triton uses his magic to turn Ariel into a human]

Cast (voices)[edit]


  • Somewhere under the sea and beyond your imagination is an adventure in fantasy.
  • Love has no boundaries.

About The Little Mermaid (1989 film)[edit]

  • When we first proposed it, we knew that it was going to be really, really challenging. I mean, for a lot of reasons. But one of the big reasons is two-thirds of the movie takes place underwater. All that requires a lot of animation in this animated films. We have character animation. The artist who animate the characters. They’re kind of like actors. We always felt they are actors with a pencil. Glen Keane and Mark Henn who did Ariel. That’s what they do. Then, we have effects animators. Effects animators do the non-character stuff that moves which is like water waves or bubbles. Or fire or smoke or light effects, if there’s anything that moves that isn’t the character. This probably had more character animation than any Disney movie project since “Fantasia.” This really had a lot of effects, even with the character stuff — like whenever Ariel is underwater, her hair has to move all the time. Hair moving underwater is tricky. We had a lot of meetings about hair. One of the extras in the video is some of the live action footage that we shot for reference to see the hair floating.
  • You see at the heart of it, “The Little Mermaid” is the father-daughter story. It’s an overprotective father. There’s a daughter who is kind of adventurous and rebellious and wanting to see a new world. How do they resolve that? That story is still in place today.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]