Ever since Snow White first arrived in theaters, audiences everywhere have watched and loved the adventures of Disney's leading ladies. But there could be no happily ever after were it not for their male counterparts, and indeed, many a Disney tale has been devoted to male protagonists.
But what is the measure of a Disney man? And how truly macho are these guys who regularly win the hearts of animated girls we all know and love? This user attempts to find out!
I'll grade a goodly portion of Disney Males, Princes and others, using the traditional A, B, C, D, F system to grade their performances. Categories looked at will include whether or not they sang, how much action they saw, how proactive they were, how difficult it was to acquire the affections of the aforementioned damsels and occasionally their choice of apparel.
Lets start with the fore-father of them all: Snow White's Prince.
Pro-Manliness: The Prince was the First Disney man. He had no name, only a title (mystique!) He rods a horse. Brought Snow white back to life with only a kiss and rode off into the sunset for the very first animated happily ever after.
On the other hand: The Prince also seemed to be an amiable doofus who was bad with addresses and had memory problems. Met Snow White at the well of her step-mothers palace and sang a bit before leaving, apparently either smitten or having forgotten the whole thing after it happened. Got lost in a forest for a week, (we presume) and only met Snow White again by accident. Wore tights and a short cape
Songs: The Prince had no lines that were not lyrics.
His woman: Snow White, the first Disney Princess, so he regains a few points there.
Companions: A horse. Like its rider, it didn't do much. It was also white, and therefore less manly.
Final showing: The Prince is probably among the weakest of the lot. If he had actually done something, as opposed to nothing, he might have done better, but he avoids the F due to the fact that he was the original and deserves a little slack. D+
Worrying? Let's take a look at some more recent Disney men, and see what happens.
Aladdin: from Aladdin
Pro-Manliness: Aladdin survives by his wits, street smarts and agility in the Arabic equivalent of a fascist police state (Hey, if they can afford to send twenty city guards after a guy who stole a hunk of bread, its definitely a police state) and still is generous enough to donate half of what he earns/steals to those less fortunate them himself. Admittedly that isn’t a lot of people, but still…
Almost fearless; walks straight into a giant CGI cat\cave mouth with only minor hesitation, fights a sorcerer turned gigantic snake with only a small sword, and not even a magical one at that. For clothing its baggy white pants and a vest that reveals about 80% of his upper torso, including his fairly well defined pecs. Masquerades successfully as a Prince for half of the film and with Genie-enhanced musculature to boot!
On the other hand: Has a shy and gentle nature. Longs to be “understood” by people, openly cares about feelings.
Songs: A duet sung with Jasmine. Has a voice that women would generally describe as cute, rather then manly.
His woman: Princess Jasmine, the second most scantily clad Disney Girl. Way to go Aladdin!
Companions: His monkey buddy Abu, a magic carpet (Wheels! Er, threads!) and the best character Robin Williams ever played.
Final showing: Not half bad. Get yourself a voice though kid. And some facial hair. A-
Jim Hawkins: from Treasure Planet
Pro-Manliness: A young rebel who yearns for adventure, treasure and a father figure. Shows determination bordering on stubbornness, handles a gun pretty well and sky-surfs like a pro. He learns to accept orders, take responsibility, fight for what’s his, and at the end of the movie ends up joining a military academy!
On the other hand: He’s too young to be truly manly just yet, but he’s well on the way to getting there.
Songs: None. There’s a montage sequence, but its rock music and Jim isn’t singing it.
His woman: Jim falls short in this category, as the only women in the film are his mother and catgirl
Captain Amelia, who falls for David Hyde-Pierce
Companions: Doctor Doppler; family friend, astrophysicist and not a bad shot with a hand-gun when it comes down to business, Long John Silver, a Cyborg pirate with an awesome set of robotic augmentations (gun, knives, claws, whisk, crutch, huge handheld cannon,) and Morph, a shape-shifting glob of crab-apple jelly.
Final showing: Despite his youth Jim scores well. A
Peter Pan: from Peter Pan
Pro-Manliness: He can fly! He fights with a dagger! He doesn’t hesitate to throw his enemies to their deaths. Ends the movie in a Really Big Hat (eat it Barbossa!). Steals Captain Hook’s ride!
On the other hand: Must eternally remain an adolescent boy, surrounded by fourth graders in animal clothing. Wears tights
Songs: Just one, but he instigated it!
His woman: Oh man, Pan’s a playah! First there’s Wendy, that British chick whom he kidnaps…er…persuades to come to Neverland with him, then there’s his fairy companion Tinkerbell, who despite being about the height of pencil has child-bearing hips. And then there’s Princess Tiger-Lilly. And the all of Mermaids. And Wendy’s daughter too, if the sequel is canon. Sadly he loses all these points as he is forever stuck on the verge of puberty and his relationship with females will never make it past harmless flirting.
Companions: Pirates, Indian warriors, lost boys, great freaking big crocodile.
Final showing: Despite his many manly qualities, Peter Pan is too much of a child to really score here. Also, having his name co-opted as a catch-all to describe emotionally retarded man-boys doesn’t help things. C
Prince Phillip: from Sleeping Beauty (Screen cap and fan art by the talented Bri-Chan of dEVIANTart)
Pro-Manliness: For starters he was the first Disney Prince with a name. Also extremely decisive; after meeting a girl in a forest and spending a record-breaking period of five minutes dancing with her he returned home declaring his intentions to annul his long-standing betrothal with the neighbor’s daughter in order to marry the girl he just met. Obviously a man of action. No shirk in the physical department either. Was ambushed in said maiden’s house without any weapons by superior numbers but managed to get in numerous good blows before going down. After being imprisoned in a powerful enchantress’s fortress, he escaped with only the help of a trio of fairies, fought his way through dozens of her minions and rode across a collapsing bridge to rescue his girl. He then had to slash through an entire forest of thorns to access her palace, (which took him all of about twenty seconds) and finally had to battle the enchantress herself, who morphed into a forty-foot dragon. Despite being seemingly outmatched, he fought her to a standstill and finally killed her by throwing his sword into her heart and still made it back in time to wake the princess.
On the other hand: He still lives with his parents.
Songs: Just one, and only a short duet with Aurora.
His woman: Princess Aurora; the Sleeping Beauty. Having been betrothed to her since he was eight Philip was pretty much destined to get her, but boy did he have his work cut out for him (see Pro-manliness).
Companions: His horse Sampson, (a truly manly name, even for a horse) the worlds most invincible steed. Able to stride through great flaming forests of thorns without acquiring so much as a scratch in his leathery flanks, and might be the only Disney animal who ever needed to be bribed in order to help his master look for the princess.
Final showing: The only thing that could make him more awesome would be a beard. A+
The Beast: from Beauty and the Beast
Pro-Manliness: He’s a huge hulking creature that looks like a Lion meets Gargoyle cross-breeding experiment gone awry. Has a voice deep enough to bury treasure in, broods, yells, breaks things when he’s upset, which is most of the time, and lives in a sprawling gothic castle complete with dungeon. Is cursed. Fights wolves with his bare hands and wins! Broods! Fights a better armed opponent who is shown to be a skilled hunter and also wins. Did I mention he broods?
On the other hand: Looses almost all of these points, because after reverting to human form is revealed to be an effeminate-voiced Ken-doll. He looked better with his hair pulled back and he was still tall, but c’mon, his voice!?!?!
Songs: One. Like most Disney Princes it was a duet.
His woman: Belle. Spirited, independent and selfless village girl, whose big brown eyes made us all want to show that there was so much more then that provincial life.
Companions: An assortment of palace staff who spend most of the movie as assorted kitchenware.
Final showing: The Beast was so manly it wasn’t even funny. When he turned into a human, it wasn’t funny period. As the Beast A, as the Prince C
Robin Hood: from Robin Hood
Pro-Manliness: Despite being an anthropomorphic fox, Robin Hood pulled it off in style. Being an outlaw Rob spent most of his time lying around in the woods, and when not stealing gold from passing merchants and nobility passed the time by walking around and checking stuff out. Had l337 archery skills. Could redirect his own arrows by firing more arrows at them, bullseye his bulls-eyes and also ricocheted an arrow through his hat without looking at it. Competent swordsman. Organized a jailbreak with a 99.9 percent success rating, he being the only one who almost didn’t get out. Got out anyway by jumping off of a forty-foot high tower into a very shallow moat while being shot at. The tower was on fire at the time.
On the other hand: Despite using a bow, he never actually killed anybody
His woman: Maid Marian. A fox of a girl if ever we saw one.
Companions: Had significantly fewer Merry Men then most other Robin Hoods. Team consisted of Little John, (an 800-pound clinically lazy bear), Friar Tuck (spent most of his time at the local church), and Allan-a-dale (who mostly sang). Regardless he still managed to get the job done.
Final showing: Exceptional! After all, what could be more manly then a charismatic thief? A.
Prince Charming: from Cinderella
Pro-Manliness: Charming (or Char as his friends call him) was royalty, had tons of cash to throw around and was usually uninterested in boring parties where he has to wear uncomfortable clothes, preferring hanging out with his buddies and chugging kegs. Or so we surmise.
On the other hand: We never really saw him do anything in the film, aside from dance with Cinderella and sing (you guessed it) a duet. After that clock struck midnight, he lamely protested that he hadn’t even learned her name and just let her rush off. His gofer was the one who tried to get her back, and the prince presumably spent the rest of the night pouting about her disappearance. So smitten with Cinderella’s willowy charms was he that he decreed that he’d marry whichever girl in the kingdom could get on the slipper she’d left behind, apparently not realizing that this could have been any number of girls. Or perhaps he did. Anyway, couldn’t be bothered to look for her himself, and again got his gofer to do the work for him. A pair of mice had to save her. The end.
Songs: A duet called, “so this is love” (and if it has the word love in the title it isn’t manly.)
His woman: Cinderella. A perky, hard working young woman who cared for animals and who smilingly endured a situation where most of us would have ended up dropping some rat poison in the Stepmother’s tea.
Companions: None. He was that boring.
Final showing: Feh. She should have married the duke. C-
Simba: from The Lion King
Pro-Manliness: Not only is he a prince before becoming ruler of all he survey, Simba happens to be a lion. A freaking Lion. Also his father is Darth Vader. Darth freaking Vader. Goes mano y mano with his evil uncle in a slow motion fight highlighted by burning flames. His uncle is voiced by Jeremy Irons. Jeremy freaking Irons.
On the other hand: As a child was voiced by 90’s pretty boy Jonathon Taylor Thomas. As an adult was voiced by Matthew Broderic (AKA Qwikmale, the imitation man: 9 out of 10 women can’t tell the difference.) Spent most of his formative years in the company of Disney’s first homosexual couple. Had to have the freaking ghost of his father tell him to get his ass back home and save his tribe.
His woman: A lioness named Mala who also happens to be his step-sister. Awkward.
Companions: A gay warthog-meercat duo and a parrot voiced by Mr. Bean.
Final showing: Despite being the world’s most manly animal, Simba’s a wimp. C
Tarzan: from Tarzan
Pro-Manliness: Adopted by a tribe of the strongest mammals on earth, and spent his formative years trying to imitate them. Strode around in a loincloth for almost the entire film, confidently displaying his ripped musculature and mighty pecs. Killed a vicious saber-toothed leopard with only a pointy stick. Wrestled with Gorillas, befriended elephants and eluded hordes of psychotic baboons in his rescue of the lovely Jane Porter. After discovering his mother culture through Jane and her father, tried his best to become a proper human in order to woo the aforementioned girl. Had several conflicts with Clayton, the Porter’s guide and gorilla hunting aficionado, before his plans to capture Tarzan’s tribe and sell them to a London Zoo was revealed. Tarzan kicked him around the jungle for a bit, snapped his rifle with his bare hands and allowed him to die by strangulation in a mess of vines. Became chief of the tribe, bellowed at the camera and prevented Jane from leaving back to London through sheer force of will. Married her and lived happily ever after swinging through the trees in his shorts with his bride equally attired.
On the other hand: Didn’t have the guts to blow Clayton away with the gun when he should have. Stayed in the jungle instead of going back to civilization.
His woman: Jane Porter, dreamy green-eyed adventurous lass with a talent for art and a love of nature. I’m slightly biased here, as Jane is my favorite of all the Disney girls, so Tarzan takes in points here!
Companions: A hypochondriac elephant and Rosie O’Donnell. He loses points here.
Final showing: He may have his problems, but Tarzan’s a swinger! A.
Basil of Baker Street: from The Great Mouse Detective
Pro-Manliness: Eccentric bachelor detective living life just the way he wants to, charging in and out of the house on cases, disguising himself as underworld thugs or Fu-Manchu, shooting pistols into cushions, working with his chemistry set and playing his cherished violin without regard for the safety of others ears. Has an arch-nemesis; a status usually reserved for superheroes.
On the other hand: Nothing springs to mind.
His woman: Not actually. There’s Olivia Flaversham, or whatever her name was, but she was about six years old. Other then her the only females in the film are the dancer in the pub, (ha-cha!) the Queen, (errrr) Basil’s landlady, (interfering old bag) that one fetching young mouse lady who shows up at the end of the film with a new case.
Companions: As Basil of Baker Street is the mouse world’s Sherlock Holmes, he comes readily equipped with his Doctor Watson. Doctor David Q Dawson, in this case, a mouse ex-military surgeon (just returned from service in Afghanistan) who assists Basil in all of his cases. He also has a Bloodhound/vehicle called Toby.
Final showing: A+
Captain Shang: from Mulan
Pro-Manliness: Is an officer in the military. Never hesitates to remove his shirt whenever the opportunity presents itself. After learning the tragic news of his father’s demise in battle against a numerically superior horde of Huns, spends all of a minute in mourning before deciding to go and kick some Hun ass. Fought the Hun leader (7’4 I’m guessing) one-on-one for several minutes.
On the other hand: Lost that fight, and needed to be saved by a girl. Had full lips, which only women consider manly. His commanding officer was his father, so I’m guessing he didn’t get that promotion on merit alone.
Songs: One, but it was a training montage sequence telling his men to shape up or die.
His woman: Mulan. A sprightly Chinese Joan of Arc with an attitude problem. Make of that what you will.
Companions: The soldiers under his command.
Final showing: Not bad really. B+
Prince Eric: from The Little Mermaid
Pro-Manliness: He liked to sail. In fact, sailing was more then his hobby, it was his obsession. He loved sailing so much he had both of his weddings on a boat (the first one, admittedly, didn’t turn out so well). Climbed onto an exploding boat in order to save his dog. Threw harpoons at Ursula the Sea Witch while holding his breath underwater for an indeterminate amount of time, and finally killed her by ramming a boat into her spine, (that backstabber!).
On the other hand: Soft, sentimental and only takes initiative when lives are on the line. His advisor had to suggest that he take Ariel on a romantic stroll, and it took an entire chorus of frogs, fish and seagulls providing backup to get him to even try to kiss her. His voice was another problem. We’re not sure how old he was but he could probably sing soprano.
Songs: None, thankfully, so Eric goes ahead here.
His woman: Ariel, the only Disney Princess to ever have a nude scene. (Well, almost.)
Companions: The crew of his boat, his stuffy advisor and his insane chef.
Final showing: We might make a man out of this one! B+
Pongo: from 101 Dalmatians
Pro-Manliness: Starting out as a laid-back bachelor dog that spent his days checking out the ladies, Pongo was smitten by a fair lady Dalmatian and lost no time in hooking up with her. He also managed to land his owner with her’s, marking the first time that dog has ever successfully planed a double date. After the wedding Pongo got busy; Sired fifteen kids at one go. Took on the role of father with flying colors and provided a solid role model for his kids. After a fur-connoisseur named Cruella de Vil kidnapped his offspring for coat material, Pongo and his loyal mate set off on a search for his missing kids, eventually discovering them in the company of 84 other puppies. Never a dog to leave a puppy behind, Pongo and co absconded with the entire lot and managed to successfully guide them across the countryside, hide them from pursuers and disguise the lot of them as Labradors in order to elude capture. Finally managed to bring the whole lot back to his owner’s apartment resulting in a happy ending for everyone. He’s so tough that he drinks out of toilets.
On the other hand: He’s a dog, and he drinks out of toilets.
His woman: Perdita. Generally not considered one of the better Disney women (she was after all, a dog) but the perfect match for Pongo!
Companions: None, unless you count his owner Roger, who was a songwriter.
Final showing: For a dog, he’d make a great man. A.
Hercules: from Hercules
Pro-Manliness: Started out life as a God, and strong enough to haul his Dad around by the finger at that. Was turned into a mortal (mostly) but retained his mighty strength. Clobbered a pair of snakes when still a baby, and as he grew up used his mighty might to help out around his step-father’s farm. Eventually set out in search of the truth behind his strength and encountered his father, who directed him to seek out heroic training under a Danny DeVitto. In his year or so of training Herc transformed from a strong but scrawny teen into a poster boy for Muscles and Fitness. After setting out to begin his heroic career (a step in reacquiring godhood) he rescued a damsel in distress (sort of) and completely thrashed the centaur that was molesting her. On reaching the city of Thebes was tasked with saving two trapped boys and accidentally released an enormous Hydra, which he fought and killed. Went through half a dozen monsters in a single montage sequence, killing most of them quite efficiently. Became famous, wealthy and the object of every Grecian woman’s intense desire, but only had eyes for the maiden (?) Megara. After losing his strength in a deal with Hades to ensure her safety in Hades planned uprising against Zeus, he went straight ahead and tried to fight a gigantic Cyclops, knowing full-well that he’d probably buy it in the process. After his girlfriend became mortally wounded (nullifying the pact he had made with Hades) he charged up to Olympus, kicked the butts of all four Titans and saved his father and the rest of the Olympian pantheon. Didn’t get back in time to save Meg from dying, so he stomped straight down to the underworld (wrestling the giant three-headed guard dog Cerberus on the way in) and demanded her soul back, offering himself as a trade. Cheated on the deal (he was a god now and he couldn’t die) and punched Hades into a pit of swirling souls, from which he probably had difficulty extricating himself.
On the other hand: Herc’s heart was in the right place, but c’mon man! Even the kids in the theater knew what Meg was trying! Was also clumsy to the point of ineptness, though after his training this mostly vanished.
Songs: One. As a teen. About wanting to fit in somewhere and be accepted, and how he’d do anything to accomplish that. Normally I’d dock points for this, but the difference is that while most Disney men singing about being accepted just wanted it to happen, Herc was planning on achieving it himself.
His woman: Megara. Her friends called her Meg, or they would if she had had any. A wry, worldly and sarcastic Greek damsel whose quick-witted dialogue (and attempt to seduce Herc) make her among the most proactive of all Disney heroines. Herc also had the muses to sing back-up, and a crowd of screaming female fans, but his farmboyishness ensured he remained true to his one true love.
Companions: His instructor Phil, (a Nymph-chasing satyr) and his steed Pegasus.
Final showing: He’s Hercules! How can I give this guy anything but an A++?
Taran from The Black Cauldron
Pro-Manliness: Is the lead male in Disney’s first film without songs. Dreamed of abandoning his job as a pig-keeper and becoming a warrior, but stuck at his job anyway. Spent a considerable amount of time trying to rescue the oracular pig under his charge, which he eventually managed to free but got captured by the minions of Sauron…I mean the Horned King, for his trouble. Escaped from the dungeons with the help of a bubbly young girl with arguably the hardest to pronounce name of any Disney Princess and managed to snag an awesome sword on the way. Used the sword liberally in the escape (though the various scenes of him killing guards were mostly cut to appease parents) and desperately tried to stop the Black Cauldron from falling into the hands of John Hurt… I mean the Horned King. After risking his life to acquire the Cauldron it was stolen by the Horned King’s minions. Did his best to get it back, lost his best friend in the process and managed to get Voldemort…I mean the Horned King, sucked into said object, saving the kingdom and pretty much everything else from destruction at the hands of an army of Cauldron-born.
On the other hand: He was kind of whiny. Also too young to be really counted as a man.
Songs: (See beginning of Pro-Manliness)
His woman: Eilonwy, bubbly blonde princess with a magic glow-bulb. He scores extra points for being able to properly pronounce her name.
Companions: The Bard King Flewwdur Flam, a prophetic Pig called Hen-Wen and a strange furry creature called Gurgi who wanted munchies and crunchies,
Final showing: B-. We’ll check back on you in a few years kid. Until then try and find another sword.
The Top 5 Manly Men: (from top to bottom)
"Horse, do you have any idea what she's trying to do?"
Prince Philip A+
"Ha! Fire retardant shield baby!"
Basil of Baker Street: A+
"Hey! There's pictures of women in here!"
"Me invent skateboarding, but without skateboard!"
Robin Hood: A
"Now I'll pick Prince John off from a nice safe distance!"
Well, there you have it: Disney's men from A+ to D. You may or may not agree with my appraisals and that is your right, but I eagerly await your comments and feedback regardless of it being positive or negative.
And if you do disagree, I'll sic Herc on you.