Every film made for a Disney princess has her own special set of animators who draw from unique inspirations to create the film. Pocahontas of Disney's Pocahontas is no exception. Disney Studio animators spent time in historical Jamestown, Virginia to get just the right look for the film. Next, a considerable amount of time was spent researching all aspects of the Colonial period. These details helped create the special backdrop for Pocahontas' romance.
Native American Inspiration
The story of Disney's Pocahontas is not just a story of colonial America. It is the story of Pocahontas, a Powhatan Indian princess, as she and her people interact with the new colonists from England. Powhatan culture was as important – if not more so – than the white English who were just arriving. Disney Studio animators at work on the movie incorporated the input of Native American story tellers and scholars. Every stage of production on the movie includes authentic characteristics of the Powhatan culture.
Disney's Pocahontas was a winner of not one, but two Academy Awards! It won an Oscar for Best Score, which means the music written for and performed in the film was better than that of any other movie that year. Pocahontas also won an Oscar for Best Song, "Colors of the Wind."
The Real Pocahontas
Unlike other Disney princesses who were based on stories or fairy tales, princess Pocahontas is based on a real person. The Powhatan Indians were a tribe who were very sophisticated compared to other tribes of the time. Due to their location on the east coast, they were very familiar with the habits and cultures of Europeans and though they didn't adopt their lifestyle, they were adept at communicating with the new people, despite the fact that the Europeans took little time to learn their ways.
Pocahontas' name means 'little mischief' in her language. What a fitting name for a little girl! She certainly got into a lot of mischief in Disney's Pocahontas. She is the daughter of Chief Powhatan and there is not one tree, animal, plant, or landmark on the land her people inhabit with which she is not intimately familiar. It took quite a bit of exploring, adventure, curiosity, and mischief to become so well acquainted with the land. Pocahontas' passion and spirit touched everyone she met and any moviegoer who enjoys Disney's Pocahontas will be touched by the experience as well.
Pocahontas and John Smith
As far as princes go, John Smith was an unlikely match for a Powhatan Indian princess like Pocahontas. He came from an entirely different culture, with different ideas, religious beliefs, and way of life. Pocahontas' father, Chief Powhatan, certainly wasn't happy about the match and neither were John Smith's people. But Pocahontas knew that John Smith was the prince for her. Together, the two of them managed to convince the Pocahontas' father, Chief Powhatan, and the Powhatan tribe as well as the colonists that they were meant to be together.