An enchantress, disguised as an old beggar, offers a young prince a rose in exchange for a night’s shelter in his castle but the prince declines. As a result of the prince’s actions, the enchantress transforms him into a monstrous beast, his servants into household items, and his castle into a dark fortress. She gives him a magic mirror that enables him to view faraway events, along with the rose, which will bloom until his 21st birthday. In order to break the curse, the prince must learn to love and be loved in return before the rose′s petals have fallen off, lest he remain a beast permanently.
Years later, a beautiful young woman named Belle lives in a nearby French village with her father Maurice, an inventor. A bookworm, Belle longs for a life beyond the dull village. Her beauty and non-conformity attracts attention in the town and she is pursued by the arrogant and muscle-bound Gaston, who is set on marrying her. Despite Gaston being sought after by single females and admired by the male population of the town, Belle is uninterested in him.
While traveling to a fair to present his wood-chopping machine, accompanied by his horse Phillipe, Maurice gets lost in the woods. Chased by a pack of wolves, Maurice stumbles upon the Beast’s castle, where he meets the transformed servants Lumière, a candelabra; Cogsworth, a clock; Mrs. Potts, a teapot; and her son Chip, a teacup. But soon after that, the ferocious Beast imprisons Maurice. Belle is led back to the castle by Phillipe, and offers to take her father′s place; the Beast accepts her offer over Maurice’s protests. While Gaston is sulking in the tavern after a failed proposal to Belle, Maurice arrives seeking help to rescue her from the Beast. No one takes him seriously, so he sets out alone.
That night, Belle refuses to dine with the Beast, enraging him; Lumière disobeys his order not to let her eat. While Cogsworth and Lumière give Belle a tour of the castle, she wanders into the forbidden West Wing. When she finds the enchanted rose, the Beast angrily chases her away. Belle attempts to flee the castle with Phillipe, but they are attacked by a pack of wolves. The Beast comes to her aid and fights off the wolves, but is injured in the process. Belle nurses his wounds, and he begins to develop feelings for her. She thanks him for saving her life and he impresses her by giving her the castle’s vast library. As they spend more time together, they grow closer. Meanwhile, a spurned Gaston pays Monsieur d’Arque, the warden of the town’s insane asylum, to have Maurice committed if Belle does not accept Gaston’s marriage proposal.
Belle and the Beast share a romantic evening together. Belle informs the Beast she misses her father, and he lets her use the magic mirror to see him. When Belle sees him dying in the woods in an attempt to rescue her, the Beast lets her leave to rescue her father, giving her the mirror to remember him by. Belle finds her father and brings him home. Gaston arrives to put Maurice in the insane asylum, but Belle proves Maurice’s sanity by showing them the Beast with the magic mirror. Realizing that Belle has feelings for the Beast, Gaston warns the townspeople that the Beast is a man-eating monster that must be killed, and leads them to the castle. Gaston confines Belle and Maurice to their basement, but Chip, who had hidden himself in Belle’s baggage, releases them with the aid of Maurice’s wood-chopping machine.
The Beast’s servants defeat the townspeople while Gaston sneaks away to confront the Beast. The Beast is initially too depressed to fight back, but he regains his will when he sees Belle returning to the castle. After winning a heated battle on the castle’s rooftops, the Beast spares Gaston’s life and orders him to leave. He is about to reunite with Belle, but Gaston stabs him from behind, only to lose his balance and fall to his death. Before the Beast’s death, Belle professes her love for him just as the rose’s last petal falls, and the spell is broken. The Beast comes back to life and is restored to human form, as are his servants. Now reunited, Belle and the prince dance in the ballroom with Maurice and the servants happily watching.