It’s Mother’s Day. A day when most people look back at their upbringing fondly and reward their mothers with phone calls, flowers, memories or a hallmark card. But that’s certainly not the case for everyone. The majority of Disney’s animated movies have main characters whose mothers met with tragic endings or were presumed dead to begin with. Others were raised by wicked and evil stepmothers or orphaned and placed under the care of relatives. There are varied hypotheses as to why, but nevertheless this must make Mother’s Day unbearable for the following.
Warning: the following images may be some of the saddest images from Disney movies you’ve ever seen. Prepare to well up with tears.
Bambi’s mother was shot by a hunter. (Bambi)
Dumbo’s mother was locked up for going mad. (Dumbo)
Pinocchio, despite becoming a real boy, never got the chance to have a real mother.(Pinocchio)
Snow White not only had an evil stepmother, but one who wanted her dead. Now that would suck. (Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs):
Peter Pan – and The Lost Boys- had no one to raise and nurture them. (Peter Pan)
Cinderella had a wicked stepmother who made her do all the household chores and never let her leave the house. Or date. (Cinderella)
Tod’s mother was killed by a hunter, orphaning him early on in the movie (The Fox and The Hound)
Ariel’s mother was killed by Pirates. Aargh. (The Little Mermaid)
Nemo’s mother was eaten by a barracuda (Finding Nemo)
Quasimodo’s mother was murdered by a gypsy named Frollo. (The Hunchback of Notre Dame)
Lilo’s mom was killed in a car crash, as was her father, leaving her to meet alien Stitch (Lilo and Stitch)
Koda’s mother was killed by a spear-wielding Eskimo (Brother Bear)
Elsa and Anna’s Mother was killed in a shipwreck (Frozen)
And these are just a few.
Disney Movie Mothers Categorized:
Below is a comprehensive list of categorized Mothers from Disney movies (animated and live action), courtesy of Wikipedia
No (or ‘absent’) parents:
• Pinocchio: Pinocchio – no mother. The Blue Fairy acts as a mother to Pinocchio.
• Peter Pan: The Lost Boys – no mother, so they appoint Wendy as their mother.
• The Sword in the Stone: Wart has no parents.
• The Rescuers: Penny – no parents, but gets adopted parents by the end.
• Tron: Legacy: Sam Flynn – no mother. No father for the majority of his life as well.
• The Great Mouse Detective: Olivia Flaversham – no mother.
• Oliver & Company: Jenny Foxworth – Jenny Foxworth – her mother is mentioned to arrive in time for her birthday, but is not shown.
• Beauty and the Beast: Belle – no mother.
• Aladdin: Jasmine – no mother; a mother character was originally written for Aladdin’s character, but was ultimately cut so he has no parents, although he finds his father in Aladdin and the King of Thieves.
• Pocahontas: Pocahontas – no mother (mentioned only; revealed to have been dead for years).
• Pirates of the Caribbean: Elizabeth, Jack – mother referenced as dead (Elizabeth’s mother is noted by her father’s ghost but never seen), Will – no mention of mother, father is “Bootstrap” Bill Turner.
• Rescuers Down Under: Cody – no father present; Marahute’s chicks lose their father to McLeach
• The Emperor’s New Groove: Emperor Kuzco – no mother.
• Ratatouille: Remy – no mother. Had a father. Linguini – mother was not shown on screen and is mentioned to have died. His father was the late master chef Auguste Gusteau.
• Wreck-It Ralph: Wreck-It Ralph – mother was mentioned
• Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: Queen Grimhilde.
• Cinderella: Lady Tremaine.
• Enchanted: Queen Narissa.
Mother killed and/or captured
• The Hunchback of Notre Dame: Quasimodo – mother killed by Frollo.
• The Little Mermaid: Ariel, Attina, Aquata, Andrina, Arista, Adella and Alana – thought to have been killed by pirates, but at the end of the movie it is revealed that Ursula killed their mother.
• Bambi: Bambi – mother killed by a gunshot.
• The Fox and the Hound: Tod – mother killed by a gunshot.
• Dumbo: Mrs. Jumbo is locked up for the majority of the movie, but is not killed.
• The Jungle Book: Mowgli – Raksha Killed by Shere Khan.
• Brother Bear: Koda – mother killed by Kenai.
• Tarzan: Tarzan – mother killed (as well as father) by Sabor.
• Finding Nemo: Nemo – mother killed by barracuda (as well as all of Nemo’s siblings).
• Atlantis: The Lost Empire: Princess Kida – mother killed while trying to save Atlantis from its first fate.
• Frozen: Elsa and Anna – mother (as well as father) killed in shipwreck. Kristoff – revealed to be an orphan.
• One Hundred and One Dalmatians: Perdita – only to the litter 15 puppies.
• Bambi: Faline – to her twins Gurri and Geno.
• Bolt: Penny’s mother.
• The Lion King: Sarabi – mother of Simba, Sarafina – mother of Nala.
• The Lion King II: Simba’s Pride: Nala – mother of Kiara, Zira – mother of Nuka, Vitani and Kovu.
• The Lion King 1½: Ma – mother of Timon.
• The Aristocats: Duchess.
• Beauty and the Beast: Mrs. Potts, single mother.
• Mulan: Fa Li.
• The Princess and the Frog: Eudora.
• Tangled: Queen.
• Lady and the Tramp: Lady – mother of Scamp, Annette, Collette and Danielle. Jane Brown – mother of James Brown Junior.
• Toy Story Trilogy: Andy – only mother present, no father (however, it has been theorised that throughout the 1st and 2nd movies, Andy’s mother is going through a time of divorce with his father due to the fact that the family is moving to a smaller house and selling some extra items in a yard sale)
• Treasure Planet: Sarah Hawkins, single mother.
• The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea: Princess Ariel – Melody’s mother.
• Peter Pan: Mary Darling – Wendy, John, and Michael’s mother.
• Return to Never Land: Wendy – Jane and Danny’s mother.
• Sleeping Beauty: Leah, Queen.
• Hercules: Hera.
• The Hunchback of Notre Dame II: Esmerelda – Zephyr’s mother.
• The Emperor’s New Groove: Chicha – mother of Chaca, Tipo and Yupi, Azma – mother of Yzma.
• The Incredibles: Helen Parr/Elastigirl – mother of Violet, Dash and Jack-Jack Parr.
• Meet the Robinsons: Unnamed Mother of Lewis. Franny Robinson – mother of Wilbur Robinson, Petunia Robinson – mother of Laszlo and Tallulah Robinson.
• Honey, I Shrunk the Kids trilogy: Diane Szalinski, mother of Nick, Amy and Adam Szalinski.
• Brave: Queen Elinor.
• Dumbo: Mrs Jumbo, single mother.
• One Hundred and One Dalmatians: Perdita – only to the other 84 puppies.
• The Jungle Book 2: Messua – Mowgli’s adoptive mother.
• Tangled: Mother Gothel – An example of an evil adoptive mother.
• Tarzan: Kala.
• Meet the Robinsons: Lucille – Lewis’ adoptive mother.
Walt’s mother, Flora Call Disney:
above image courtesy of waltdisney.org
It is rumored that the tragic death of Walt’s mother Flora in 1938 from carbon monoxide poisoning (in a new home purchased for her by Walt) may have something to do with the lack of living mothers in his movies. It’s more likely that these sans-mom movies, as well as absent mothers in fairy tales by The Grimm Brothers and Hans Christian Andersen, The Harry Potter books and Frank Baum’s Oz books, lack maternal characters because it’s a long-established pattern in children’s literature.*
*This circumstance is the central dynamic that drives such stories: They are coming-of-age tales, and the absence of one or both parents forces the youthful main characters to venture into the larger world without parental guidance and protection (particularly of the maternal kind), to learn the lessons necessary to overcome adversity, and to succeed or fail on their own terms.(source)
That should make most of us feel better about our upbringing.
Oh, and Happy Mother’s Day.
Rent, stream or buy Disney movies here
Was this post was too dark or negative for you?
Take a look at these 25 incredibly touching photos of Animal Moms and their Babies. That should warm the cockles of your heart.