World Masterpiece Fairytale Swan Lake (世界名作童話 白鳥の湖, Sekai Meisaku Dōwa Hakuchō no Mizūmi) 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.
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 Odile). The second dub aired on American Movie Classics in December 1990 and The Disney Channel in June 1994. It was distributed in the United States by The Samuel Goldwyn Company. Also in France and the United Kingdom by Rouge Citron Production.
The film will have a DVD release from Discotek Media on November 28, 2017. It will have the original Japanese version and the two English dubs.
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 turned to stone. Siegfried's other friend accuses the swan of practicing witchcraft, neither of them pondering the presence of a 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 girl. 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. He keeps her 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 won't 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 Odile tells him about Siegfried, and Rothbart goes to Odette to tell her to forget about the prince and consider marrying him. She rejects. Turns out she's 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 Odile then plot to get Odette to forget Siegfried by getting him to fall in love with someone else—Odile.
Odile, transformed in the guise of Odette, goes to the ball and wows Siegfried with her dancing. Siegfried does feel that there's something wrong but can't quite put his finger on what it is. Meanwhile, Odette manages to escape from Rothbart's castle with the help of Hans and Margarita, the squirrels, and runs to Siegfried's castle.
But just as Odette is about to storm into the ballroom, Rothbart (who was there originally to watch Odile, transformed in the guise of Odette, dance with Siegfried) grabs her, holds her mouth shut and brings her closer where she is able to watch but not make a sound. Thus she watches in horror as Siegfried pledges his love to Odile 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. Odile reveals her true form and the three of them transform into their winged shapes and fly back to the castle. Siegfried follows on horseback, where the final showdown between the two men takes place.
After a long fight with Rothbart, the evil sorcerer, Siegfried is 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 her entire life, pushes the sword into his own heart and causes a flash of light which destroys both Rothbart and Odile.
Odette and Siegfried, who ended up completely unscathed due to his sacrifice of true love, reunite and run into each other's arms as the sun rises on the ruins of Rothbart's castle.