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Shrek is a computer-animated American comedy film, directed by Andrew Adamson and Vicky Jenson, and starring the voices of Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, and John Lithgow. Based on William Steig's 1990 fairy tale picture book Shrek!, the film was produced by DreamWorks Animation. Shrek was the first film to win an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, a category introduced in 2001. It was released on VHS and DVD on November 2, 2001.

The film stars Mike Myers as a large, strong, solitude-loving, intimidating Scottish ogre named Shrek, from the German word "Schreck" meaning "terror" or Yiddish word שרעק, meaning "fear". Shrek also features Cameron Diaz as the beautiful but very down-to-earth and feisty Princess Fiona, Eddie Murphy as a talkative donkey named Donkey, and Lithgow as the villainous Lord Farquaad.

The film was extremely successful on release in 2001 and it helped establish DreamWorksmarker as a prime competitor to Pixar in the field of feature film animation, particularly in computer animation. Furthermore, Shrek was made the mascot for the company's animation productions. It was critically acclaimed as an animated film worthy of adult interest, with many adult-oriented jokes and themes but a simple enough plot and humor to appeal to children.It made notable use of popular music—- the soundtrack includes music by Smash Mouth, Eels, Joan Jett, The Proclaimers, Jason Wade, The Baha Men, and Rufus Wainwright (covering Leonard Cohen).

During June 2008, the American Film Institute revealed its "Ten top Ten"— the best ten films in ten "classic" American film genres—after polling over 1,500 people from the creative community Shrek was acknowledged as the eighth best film in the animated genre, and the only non-Disney-Pixar film on the top ten. It is also third on Bravo's 100 funniest movies. Shrek was also ranked second in a Channel 4 poll of the "100 Greatest Family Films", losing out on the top spot to E.T..


Shrek, a green ogre that has always enjoyed living in peaceful solitude in his swamp, finds his life disrupted when numerous fairytale beings, including Pinocchio, the Three Little Pigs, and Donkey, are forced into the swamp by order of Lord Farquaad, who is obsessed by many things, including having a perfectly clean and normal realm and his short size.

Shrek decides to travel the country to see Farquaad to try to regain his privacy, with Donkey tagging along. Meanwhile, Farquaad tortures the Gingerbread Man into revealing the whereabouts of the remaining fairytale creatures until his guards rush in with an object Farquaad has been searching for: the Magic Mirror. The Mirror tells him that Farquaad technically isn't a king and doesn't become one until he marries a princess. The Mirror gives him three princesses to choose from including Cinderella, Snow White, and Princess Fiona. Farquaad chooses Fiona and silences the Mirror before he can mention "the little thing that happens at night". The two make it to Farquaad's palace in Duloc, where they find themselves in the midst of a tournament; the winner will have the "privilege" of attempting to rescue Fiona from a castle surrounded by lava and protected by a fire-breathing dragon so that Farquaad may marry her. Shrek and Donkey easily beat the other knights, and Farquaad agrees to remove the fairytale creatures from the swamp if Shrek goes on to rescue Fiona.

Shrek and Donkey travel to the castle and split up to find Fiona. Donkey encounters the dragon and sweet-talks the beast to save himself before discovering that the dragon is female. Dragon takes a liking to Donkey and carries him to her chambers. When Shrek finds Fiona, she is appalled at his lack of romanticism. As they are leaving, Shrek manages to save Donkey, caught in Dragon's tender love, and causing her to become irate, chasing Shrek, Fiona, and Donkey out of the castle. At first, Fiona is thrilled to be rescued but quickly becomes disgusted when she finds out that Shrek is an ogre. The three make their return journey to Farquaad's palace, with Shrek and Fiona finding they have more in common with each other along the way, and falling in love. However, at night, Fiona refuses to camp with them, taking shelter in a nearby cave until morning. Shrek and Donkey stay awake and watch the stars while Shrek informs Donkey that he plans to build a wall around his swamp when he returns. When Donkey persists as to why Shrek would do this, Shrek tells him that everyone judges him before they know him, therefore he is better off alone.

The next night, Fiona takes shelter in a nearby windmill. When Donkey hears strange noises coming from the windmill, he finds Fiona has turned into an ogress. Fiona explains she was cursed as a child and turns into an ogre every night, which is why she was locked away in the castle, and that only a kiss from her true love will return her to her proper form. Shrek, about to confess his feelings for Fiona, overhears part of their conversation, and misinterprets her disgust at her transformation into an "ugly beast" to be disgusted with him. Fiona makes Donkey promise not to tell Shrek about the spell, vowing to do it herself, but when the next morning comes, Shrek has brought Lord Farquaad to Fiona. The two return to the castle, while a hurt Shrek returns to the now-vacated swamp.

Shrek finds that despite his privacy, he is miserable and misses Fiona. Donkey shows up to tell him that Fiona will be getting married shortly, urging Shrek into action to gain Fiona's true love. They are able to travel to Duloc quickly thanks to Dragon, who had escaped her confines and followed Donkey. They interrupt the wedding before Farquaad can kiss Fiona, but not before the sun sets, which causes Fiona to turn into an ogress in front of everyone. While her transformation causes Shrek to fully understand what he overheard at the windmill. Farquaad, disgusted over the change, orders Shrek killed and Fiona imprisoned, but Dragon bursts in and devours Farquaad. Shrek and Fiona admit their love for each other and share a kiss; Fiona is bathed in light as her curse is broken, but is surprised to find that she has remained an ogress. Shrek calms her by assuring her that she is still beautiful. The two of them get married in the swamp and depart on their honeymoon while the rest celebrate by singing "I'm a Believer".


Robin Williams, who had worked for Jeffrey Katzenberg before in Aladdin and had had a bitter falling out with him and The Walt Disney Company over marketing agreements, has hinted in an interview that he refused a role in Shrek, because it would mean working for Katzenberg again. He would not state which role he had refused.

Chris Farley was originally going to do the voice for Shrek and recorded at least half of the dialogue for the character, but died before the project was completed. Dreamworks then re-cast the voice role to Mike Myers. After Myers had completed providing the voice for the character, and the film was well into production, he asked to re-record all of his lines in a Scottish accent similar to the one his mother had used when she told him bedtime stories. Myers had also employed a Scottish accent for a Saturday Night Live skit, and also for the characters Stuart MacKenzie in the motion picture So I Married an Axe Murderer, and Fat Bastard in Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me and Austin Powers in Goldmember.

Donkey was modeled after Pericles, a real miniature donkey from Barron Park, Palo Alto, Californiamarker.


Dragon, Snow White, Cinderella, Pied Piper, The Three Bears and several other characters are not speaking roles and are thus uncredited


Two soundtracks were released for the original motion picture:


Previous films and TV shows, such as Fractured Fairy Tales and The Princess Bride, have parodied the traditional fairy tale. However, Shrek itself has noticeably influenced the current generation of mainstream animated films. Particularly after Shrek 2, animated films began to incorporate more pop culture references and end-film musical numbers. Such elements can be seen in films like Ice Age 2, Robots, and Chicken Little. It also inspired a number of CG-animated films which also spoofed fairy tales, or other related story genres, often including adult-oriented humor, most of which weren't nearly as successful as Shrek, such as Happily N'Ever After, Doogal, Igor, and Hoodwinked!.

Other media


Original story on which the film is based:
  • Steig, William (1990). Shrek!, Sunburst Paperback. ISBN 0-374-46623-8

Video games

Several video game adaptations of Shrek have been published on various game console platforms.

Comic books


A musical version of Shrek, with music by Jeanine Tesori and a book and lyrics by David Lindsay-Abaire, opened on Broadwaymarker at The Broadway Theatremarker beginning previews on November 9, 2008 and opening December 14, 2008. It stars Brian d'Arcy James in the title role, Sutton Foster as Princess Fiona, Christopher Sieber as Lord Farquaad, Daniel Breaker as Donkey, and John Tartaglia as Pinocchio and the Magic Mirror. The musical had a tryout in Seattle, Washington in August and September 2008. The musical received eight Tony Award nominations including Best Musical as well as twelve Drama Desk Awards nominations, ten Outer Critics Circle Award nominations, and three Drama League Award nominations. It won the Tony Award for Best Costume Design.


Shrek was received well. It holds an 89% positive response rating on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, based on 169 professional reviews. The film made $42,347,760 during an opening weekend averaging $11,805, making it the highest grossing film that week beating The Mummy Returns on its third week with $20 million. The film stayed in cinemas for more than 29 weeks (roughly over 206 days) with following Shrek 2 at 21, and Shrek the Third with 12. It made $267,665,011 domestically, international reaches $216,744,207, for a worldwide total of $484 million, making it the second highest-grossing animated film of the year behind Monsters Inc. It is the fourth highest-grossing film of 2001 behind Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring and Monsters Inc.

The film was entered into the 2001 Cannes Film Festival.

Sequels and Spin-offs

See also


  1. Gans, Andrew and Jones, Kenneth. "Nominations for 2009 Tony Awards Announced; Billy Elliot Earns 15 Nominations",, May 5, 2009
  2. Staff. Headlines: 9 to 5, Shrek Lead 2009 Drama Desk Nominations April 27, 2009
  3. Gans, Andrew. "Billy Elliot and Shrek Top Outer Critics Circle Awards Nominations",, April 20, 2009]
  4. Gans, Andrew. "75th Annual Drama League Award Nominees Announced",, April 21, 2009]

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