Anastasia is an American animated film released by Fox Animation Studios, and United International Pictures in 1997. It was Fox Animation's first film, and remains their most successful to date.
The film was produced and directed by former Fox animators Don Bluth and Gary Goldman, and features the voice talents of Meg Ryan, John Cusack, Kelsey Grammer, Christopher Lloyd, Hank Azaria, Bernadette Peters, and Angela Lansbury.
This summary contains spoilers. Please watch the movie before reading this.
When Rasputin was banished from Russia for treason, He left for Paris where he set up home in a crooked clock tower. He secretly went back to Russia where he sold his soul for an unholy reliquary. He went back to Paris to organize his plan: to lead a revolution against the Royal family of Russia!
NOTE: This scene is not explained or seen. However, it is what happened.
In the prologue, in 1916, Dowager Empress Marie is narrating the story and her son, Czar Nicholas II was throwing a ball, celebrating the 300th Romanov rule. Marie comes and visited her family, especially Anastasia, her youngest granddaughter and gives her a music box and a necklace that says, 'Together in Paris.
Rasputin returns to the palace after Czar Nicholas banished him and demands he leaves. Enraged, Rasputin puts a curse on the family, that they will all die on the fortnight and refused to sleep until the Romanov family was destoryed forever.
Soon after, for revenge, he sold his soul in exchange for a unholy reliquary, which he used to cast a curse on the family. Rasputin's revolutionists, the Bolsheviks, charged through the palace gates and caused destruction upon the palace, including overthrowing the statue of Nicholas II.
Anastasia was with her grandmother, Dowager Empress Marie, during the execution, calling out for her father, and Nicholas tells his children to hurry. Everyone else, was fleeing from the palace for their lives.
Anastasia leaves her grandmother's side when she forgets the music box that she gave her on the night of the 300th anniversary and she follows her. Anastasia runs into her bedroom and grabs her music box, but are now trapped in the midst of the chaos.
Soon, Dimitri crawls through a secret passageway in Anastasia's room and bravely risked his life to save them by sending them through the servant's quarters and out into safety, not long before Anastasia drops her music box and Bartok, Rasputin's assisstant and sidekick alerts their escape to Rasputin. But Anastasia forgot her music box and when she tried to get it, Dimitri insisted that she leave while she still could. Three of the invading Bolsheviks, Rasputin's revolutionists, burst the door open. One had a rifle and the other two searched the room, demanded to know where are they. Dimitri distracts them and is knocked unconscious, but saves the music box in hopes of remembering the royal family.
After escaping the execution, Anastasia and Marie are running on a frozen river, under a bridge as they are escaping the palace. Rasputin watches them escape from atop the bridge and quickly jumps down with an evil laugh as he is attempting to kill Anastasia himself. Nearly missing her, he manages to tackle her to the ground and latch his bony fingers onto her foot. They are both drenched in snow as he begins thrashing her about on the ice by her leg. Screaming for help and pleading, "please, let me go!", her Grandmother helplessly tries holding onto her arm, pulling her away as much as her can before the evil man tightens his grip on the poor girl's ankle with both hands one last time. Before Rasputin is able to gain any more strides, the ice begins to crack beneath him. Trembling with fear, he takes one hand off the girl and begins plunging into the freezing water. Anastasia shakes his grip off and kicks herself free leaving Rasputin to drown in the river, escaping one more.
Finally, when they reached the train station, there was a sea of people, boarding and ready to leave. Anastasia and her grandmother eventually reach a moving train, but only Marie manages to get on as Anastasia trips and hits her head on the station platform, losing all of her memories, forcing her grandmother to leave her behind and not see her again until 10 years later.
Six out of the Romanov family, Tsar Nicholas himself, Tsarina Alexandra, Grand Duchesses Olga, Tatiana and Maria and Tsarevich/Grand Duke Alexei was brutally murdered by the Bolsheviks, revolutionists led by Rasputin (Christopher Lloyd) rumours of the survival of the Tsar's youngest daughter, the Grand Duchess Anastasia (Meg Ryan), and the reward her grandmother, the Dowager Empress Marie (Angela Lansbury), is willing to pay for her safe return, begin traveling through St. Petersburg. This news catches the attention of Dimitri (John Cusack) and Vladimir (Kelsey Grammer), two con-men who evolve a plan to recruit a look-a-like Anastasia and hand her over to Empress in return for the ten million roubles she promised.
Across town, an eighteen-year-old Anastasia, going by the name "Anya", is sent away from a cruel orphanage to work at a fish factory. Anastasia suffers from amnesia due to the head injury she received ten years prior on the night of the execution of the Romanov family, and is therefore unaware of her true identity. However, she is still in possession of the necklace she received as a child that reads "Together in Paris", where she hopes to find her family.
Anya travels to St. Petersburg and wanders into the abandoned Catherine's Palace, where she meets Dimitri and Vladimir. Dimitri immediately takes note of Anya's likeness to Anastasia, and persuades her to join them on their journey to Paris, where the Dowager Empress lives. Although skeptical, Anya knows her family must be in Paris, and decides to go with them to see if the Dowager Empress really is her grandmother, and if, in fact, she is the lost Romanov princess. Although Vladimir is glad to be helping Anya find her family, Dimitri is more insterested in receiving the reward money, and keeps Anya unaware of it. They don't suspect the undead corpse of Rasputin who is desperately trying to kill Anastasia in order to fullfill his curse.
While narrowly escaping several of Rasputin's murderous attempts, the first attempt to kill Anya, Dimitri, Vlad, and Pooka, where Rasputin's minions pursue a railroad train and overheat the train engine, causing it to glow red, speed up, and rattle, as if it could fall apart. And when they uncouple the baggage car and the engine from the rest of the train, Rasputin's minions, upon seeing the engine seperated from the baggage car, destroy the bridge, and thanks to Dimitri who uses a chain to hook onto the tracks which rips off the cars wheels, however, he, Anya, Vlad, and Pooka jump off the runaway train, as the overheated train engine and the ruined baggage car plunge off the bridge, and ignite into a giant ball of fire below the gorge. The second attempt is making Anya have nightmares when she nearly falls off the ship, and when Dimitri saves her, he and Vladimir train Anya in the royal ways to prepare her for her interview with the Dowager Empress. Little do they know that Empress Marie recently made up her mind that she will no longer see anymore "Anastasias". But when they are interviewed by the Dowager Empress' cousin, Sophie (Bernadette Peters), she is so impressed that she allows Anya to meet with the Dowager Empress. At last, Dimitri realizes Anya is the real princess because he was the same servant boy who saved her and her grandmother from the Romanov execution one decade ago. Dimitri later confronts Empress Marie, and Anya overhears his attempt to persuade her to speak with her, and finds out about the ten-million reward money for the first time. Feeling hurt, used and betrayed, she angrily slaps Dimitri across the cheek and furiously storms away, not wanting to hear anything Dimitri has to say.
However, having developed deep, strong romantic feelings for Anya, Dimitri continues to persuade Empress Marie to see her. Reluctantly, the Dowager Empress agrees, and after a brief discussion, realizes Anya is, in fact, her long-lost granddaughter. Empress Marie then offers Dimitri the reward money, but he refuses, realizing that he cares more for Anya's happiness than becoming rich.
Livid, Rasputin sets out to destroy Anastasia once and for all, but Anya defeats him by destroying his reliquary, reducing him to dust. Anya then realizes she would rather create new memories with Dimitri than try to recreate old ones, and elopes on a moonlit cruise with Dimitri and her dog, Pooka after leaving a sincere note for her grandmama, stating that they'll be back together in Paris again soon. Empress Marie gladly approves of Anya's decision. The movie ends with Anya and Dimitri sharing a passionate kiss, confessing their strong romantic love for each other.
Cast and Characters
|Grand Duchess Anastasia/Anya||Meg Ryan (adult)
Daveigh Chase (child)
|Liz Callaway (adult)|
Lacey Chabert (child)
|Dimitri||John Cusack (adult)
Skandar Keynes (child)
|Grigori Rasputin||Christopher Lloyd||Jim Cummings|
|Dowager Empress Marie||Angela Lansbury||*|
*Please note; a * sign in the "Singing" column means the actor who provided the singing voice of the character is the same actor who provided the speaking voice.
- Anastasia/Anya (Meg Ryan) - The film's main protagonist and lone surviving member of the Romanov family. As an amnesia-stricken orphan, Anya sets out on a "journey to the past" to find a family and a place to call "home". When she accepts Dimitri's offer to meet the Dowager Empress Marie, she is unaware that she is, in fact, the Dowager Empress' long lost granddaughter, the Grand Duchess Anastasia.
- Dimitri (John Cusack) - A beautiful Young con-artist in search of fortune. Dimitri soon hears of "A rumor in St. Petersburgh", and sets out to learn more of it. When he meets Anya for the first time, he instantly takes note of her likeness to the Grand Duchess, and pursuades her to join him and Vladimir on their quest to see the Dowager Empress Marie and pass her off as Anastasia. Initially, Dimitri is only interested in receiving the reward money the Dowager Empress promised, but he soon begins to fall in love with Anya, and upon realizing she is truly Anastasia, is saddened that he will soon lose her to the Dowager Empress.
- Vladimir (Kelsey Grammer) - Dimitri's loveable friend and accomplice. He believes Anya can "Learn to do it". He is significantly interested in the Dowager Empress' reward money, but is also quite content knowing that he is helping Anya find her family. Apparently, he used to be a member of the Imperial Court of Russia.
- Rasputin (Christopher Lloyd) - The film's main antagonist. A power sorcerer who is responsible for the death of the Romanovs. Although he sank beneath a frozen pond during an attempt to kill Anastasia, he remains an undead corpse, still loathing the Romanovs. Upon hearing Anastasia is still alive, he makes several attempts to kill her and full-fill his curse and vows that "In the Dark of the Night, Evil will find her!"
- Bartok (Hank Azaria) - A miniature, slightly neurotic, albino bat, who serves as Rasputin's mistreated, and generally reluctant assistant.
- Sophie (Bernadette Peters) - The Dowager Empress Marie's energetic and lovable cousin, who serves as her lady-in-waiting and closest friend. She was responsible for previewing all of the "Anastasia's" before they were allowed to see the Dowager Empress herself, and although she was commanded not to allow any more Anastasia look-a-likes to see her, she was so impressed by Anya's performance that she gave in.
- Dowager Empress Marie (Angela Lansbury) - Anastasia's loving grandmother who, upon hearing the possiblity of her favourite granddaughter being alive, announced a 10 million ruble award for her safe return. She was then forced to view several false Anastasias, which eventually caused her to refuse to see anymore of them. However, after much pursuasion from Dimitri, she finally decides to speak with Anya.
- Tsar Nicholas II (Rick Jones) - Anastasia's father, Maria's son and the last Tsar of Imperial Russia. He along with his family was cursed by Rasputin and was killed alongside the most of them by Bolsheviks.
- Tsarina Alexandra (Kelli Rabke) - Anastasia's mother and Nicholas's husband. She was killed along with her husband and most of her children.
- Grand Duchesses Olga, Tatiana and Maria - Anastasia's older sisters, all were killed by Bolsheviks.
- Tsarevich Alexei - Anastasia's beloved younger brother, killed by Bolsheviks alongside his three older sisters and parents.
The following songs are heard on the Anastasia soundtrack. All songs were written by Stephen Flaherty and composed by Lynn Ahrens, while David Newman wrote the orchestral score and conducted the orchestra.
- "A Rumor in St. Petersburg" - Jonathan Dokuchitz, Kelsey Grammer
- "Journey to the Past" - Liz Callaway
- "Once Upon a December" -Liz Callaway
- "In the Dark of the Night" - Jim Cummings
- "Learn to Do It" - Kelsey Grammer, Liz Callaway, Jonathan Dokuchitz
- "Paris Holds the Key (To Your Heart)" - Bernadette Peters, Jonathan Dokuchitz
- Other songs featured on the soundtrack include the reprises of "Learn to Do It" and "Once Upon a December", two pop covers of "Journey to the Past" (Aaliyah and Thalia) and "Once Upon a December" (Deana Carter), the orchestral score written and conducted by David Newman, and an original song entitled "At the Beginning", performed by Donna Lewis and Richard Marx.
Anastasia, A Broadway Spectacular