Swan Lake (1981 film)

Swan Lake (世界名作童話 白鳥の湖, Sekai Meisaku Dōwa Hakuchō no Mizūmi, lit. World Masterpiece Fairy Tale: Swan Lake) is an anime film based on the ballet Swan Lake by Pyotr Tchaikovsky.[1] The film was released in Japan on 14 March 1981 by Toei.[1]

Swan Lake
Directed byKimio Yabuki
Produced byChiaki Imada
Written byHirokazu Fuse
Based onSwan Lake
by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
StarringSee voices
Music byPeter Tchaikovsky
Distributed byToei Company (Japan)
The Samuel Goldwyn Company (USA/Canada)
Release date
  • March 14, 1981 (1981-03-14) (Japan)
Running time
75 minutes (Japan)
Soviet Union
LanguageJapanese / Russian

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.[2] 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.[3]


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, Adolph, tries to shoot the swan, but just before his arrow flies, Adolph 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 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 Odille 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 Odille then plot to get Odette to forget Siegfried by getting him to fall in love with someone elseOdille.

Odille, 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 Odille, 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 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 winged shapes 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 dead frog.

After a long fight with Rothbart, the evil 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 her entire life, pushes the sword into his own heart and causes a flash of light which destroys both Rothbart and Odille. Rothbart's castle collapses. Adolph transforms back into a human and Hans and Margarita are reunited.

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.


CharacterOriginal version (Japanese) [Original Version]Frontier Enterprises version (English) [1st Version]The Samuel Goldwyn Co. version (English) [2nd Version]
Princess Odette
Keiko Takeshita
(志垣 太郎)
Nancy LinkPam Dawber
Prince Siegfried
Taro Shigaki
(竹下 景子)
Steve KnodeChristopher Atkins
Asao Koike
(浅尾 小池)
Joseph ZucattiDavid Hemmings
Yōko Asagami
(麻上 洋子)
Patricia KobayashiKay Lenz
Yoneko Matsukane
(松金 よね子)
Gerri SorrellsRobert Axelrod
Fuyumi Shiraishi
(白石 冬美)
Nancy CulluciLara Cody
Queen Mother
Taeko Nakanishi
(中西 妙子)
Judy Sackheim (as Judith Sackheim)Louise Chamis
Akira Murayama
(村山 明)
Don JohnsonArdwight Chamberlain
Jōji Yanami
(八奈見 乗児)
Mike WormanTed Lehmann
(寺田 誠)
Greg StarrUnknown
Princess Catherina
Chiyoko Kawashima
(川島 千代子)
Helen KataokaUnknown (as Katherine)
Princess Rosanna
Chiyoko Kawashima
(川島 千代子)
Debbie DavidsonUnknown
Princess Francine
Seiko Nakano
(中野 聖子)
Donna ZucattiUnknown


  1. "チャイコフスキーの壮儷な伝説を東映動画スタッフが現代へ!!". Animage. 32: 52. February 1981.
  2. Anime Swan Lake
  3. http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2017-08-18/discotek-licenses-swan-lake-anime-film/.120309


Opening Theme
Closing Credits
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