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Swan Lake (1981 film) facts for kids

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Swan Lake
Swan Lake (1981 film).jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Kimio Yabuki
Produced by Chiaki Imada
Written by Hirokazu Fuse
Starring See voices
Music by Peter Tchaikovsky
Studio Toei Animation
Distributed by Toei Company (Japan)
The Samuel Goldwyn Company (USA/Canada)
Release date(s) March 14, 1981 (1981-03-14) (Japan)
Running time 75 minutes (Japan)
Country Japan
Soviet Union
Language Japanese / Russian

Swan Lake (世界名作童話 白鳥の湖, Sekai Meisaku Dōwa Hakuchō no Mizūmi, lit. World Masterpiece Fairy Tales: Swan Lake) is an anime film based on the ballet Swan Lake by Pyotr Tchaikovsky. The film was released in Japan on 14 March 1981 by Toei. It was the first animated film to be distributed by The Samuel Goldwyn Company, and was made in Japan by Toei.

The film was produced by Toei Animation of Japan in partnership with Soyuzmultfilm from the Soviet Union and directed by Kimio Yabuki. The adaptation uses Tchaikovsky's score and remains relatively faithful to the story.

Two separate English dubs were made, one featuring regular voice actors, and one using celebrities as the main principles (Pam Dawber as Odette, Christopher Atkins as Siegfried, David Hemmings as Rothbart, and Kay Lenz as Odille). The second dub was recorded at Golden Sync Studios and aired on American Movie Classics in December 1990 and The Disney Channel in January 1994. It was distributed in the United States and Canada by The Samuel Goldwyn Company. It was also distributed in France and the United Kingdom by Rouge Citron Production.

The film was released on DVD by Discotek Media on November 28, 2017. It has the original Japanese version and the two English dubs. The Samuel Goldwyn Company dub is also available for streaming on Amazon Prime Instant Video.


The hero, Prince Siegfried, is out riding one day with his friends when he sees a swan with a crown on its head swimming on a lake. One of his friends, Adolf, tries to shoot the swan, but just before his arrow flies, Adolf is transformed into a statue. Siegfried's other friend Benno accuses the swan of practicing witchcraft, neither of them pondering the presence of an owl just behind them. Siegfried is unable to stop thinking about the swan, and decides to follow it as it swims away from its spot on the lake. Siegfried soon finds himself at a castle.

Siegfried watches in surprise as the swan transforms into a beautiful woman in a royal white dress. He approaches her - at first she is frightened for him and tries to get him to leave, but at his persistence she starts to tell him her story. Her name is Princess Odette, and three years prior she was kidnapped by the evil sorcerer Rothbart (the owl) who wanted her hand in marriage. Rothbart cursed her to be a swan by day so that no one will fall in love with her, as the only way Rothbart's power can be defeated is when a man loves her with all his heart and soul. Siegfried explains that he already felt something for her the moment he saw her eyes, and asks her to go to his birthday ball the next night, where he will choose her as his bride.

Although at first she refuses, Siegfried is intent and will not take no for an answer, convinces her and when she returns to her room she daydreams of him. The entire story is being seen through the eyes of Hans and Margarita, two squirrels who are watching them.

Enter Rothbart. His daughter Odille tells him about Siegfried, and Rothbart goes to Odette to tell her to forget about the prince and consider marrying him. She rejects, revealing she has been in love with Siegfried for the past three years.

Rothbart is not going to let Odette go to the ball, so he bars the door and lifts the drawbridge. He and his daughter Odille then plot to get Odette to forget Siegfried by getting him to fall in love with someone else—Odille.

Odille, disguised as Odette in a black dress, goes to the ball and tricks Siegfried into believing she is the same woman he fell in love with. Meanwhile, Odette manages to escape from Rothbart's castle with the help of the squirrels Hans and Margarita, and hurries to Siegfried's castle.

But just as Odette is about to storm into the ballroom, Rothbart, who was there already there observing Odille carrying out her deception, grabs Odette, holds her mouth shut and brings her closer where she is able witness Siegfried dancing with Odille. Thus she watches in horror as Siegfried pledges his love to Odille and announces her as his wife-to-be. Overcome with sorrow, Odette faints into Rothbart's arms.

Rothbart's laughter gets Siegfried's attention and the prince quickly realises his mistake. Odille reveals her true form and the three of them transform into their avian forms and fly back to the castle. Siegfried follows on horseback, where the final showdown between the two men takes place. Hans goes to help the Prince but Rothbart transforms him into a toad.

Rothbart initially only wants to scare Siegfried away since he pledged himself to his daughter, but when Siegfried rebuffs his pledge, Odille demands he be killed. After a long fight with Rothbart, the sorcerer has Siegfried cornered and held at sword-point. To save his life, Odette promises to Rothbart that she will love and marry him, but Siegfried, unable to bear the thought of Odette being a prisoner to Rothbart forever, grabs and plunges the sword into his own heart and causes a flash of light which destroys both Rothbart and Odille. Consequently, all of Rothbart's magic is undone: His castle collapses, Adolf transforms back into a human, Hans and Margarita are reunited, and Odette's curse is broken.

Odette and Siegfried, who survive the castle's collapse, reunite and run into each other's arms. Margarita states that Odette and Siegfried's love was more powerful than all of Rothbart's magic, and Hans agrees he would love Margarita just as much. As the sun rises upon the ruins of Rothbart's castle, all the swans from the lake fly around Odette and Siegfried in celebration.


Character Original version (Japanese) [Original Version] Frontier Enterprises version (English) [1st Version] The Samuel Goldwyn Co. version (English) [2nd Version]
Princess Odette
Keiko Takeshita
(竹下 景子)
Nancy Link Pam Dawber
Prince Siegfried
Taro Shigaki
(志垣 太郎)
Steve Knode Christopher Atkins
Asao Koike
(浅尾 小池)
Joseph Zucatti David Hemmings
Yōko Asagami
(麻上 洋子)
Patricia Kobayashi Kay Lenz
Yoneko Matsukane
(松金 よね子)
Gerri Sorrells Robert Axelrod
Fuyumi Shiraishi
(白石 冬美)
Nancy Culluci Lara Cody
Queen Mother
Taeko Nakanishi
(中西 妙子)
Judith Sackheim Louise Chamis
Akira Murayama
(村山 明)
Don Johnson Ardwight Chamberlain
Jōji Yanami
(八奈見 乗児)
Mike Worman Ted Lehmann
(寺田 誠)
Greg Starr Unknown
Princess Catherina
Chiyoko Kawashima
(川島 千代子)
Helen Kataoka
Princess Rosanna
Debbie Davidson
Princess Francine
Seiko Nakano
(中野 聖子)
Donna Zucatti


Opening Theme
Closing Credits
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