Disney's Pocahontas was released in theatres in June 1995, right in the thick of the "Disney Renaissance" era. That was the time (following the quieter 1980s) where Disney kept producing hit after hit, renewing interest in 2D animation filmmaking and bringing it to new heights.

The start of the Renaissance was more fairytale-focused, but then Disney started experimenting again, heading towards more mature, grown-up stories in a deliberate attempt to push its boundaries of storytelling. The film Pocahontas was right in the middle of that self-conscious "grown-up" phase, stepping somewhat out of its comfort zone into the more somber realm of US history.

The film was never meant to be an accurate historical representation, but an attempt to tackle harder issues for a family/young audience using the storytelling tools they had. To that end, the film borrows from the story of the Native American princess named Pocahontas, who was there in the year 1607 when the English settlers arrived at Virginia.

In the story of the film, the English colonizers are lead by the greedy Governnor Ratcliffe who wants nothing more than to plunder the land for its supposed "mountains of gold". Along for the ride is Captain John Smith, who is the resident expert on "savages", and is given the task of sniffing them out. On the other side, Pocahontas's people are not all that keen on these ravenous English wolves taking their land. The two cultures are to meet in the most painful of ways, though in parallel to that, Pocahontas and John meet and develop a very different relationship that seems doomed from the start.

It's a love story, but it's also about respect, choices, being open-minded, and the importance of making a stand against hate. It's heavy stuff, but wrapped up in a semi-fantasy retelling.


The film has been released for home media quite a few times. Disney likes to rerelease its films every so often, so there have a few different releases for Pocahontas. The Gold Classic Collection DVD came out in the year 2000, with some basic extras.

In 2005 a 2-Disc 10th Anniversary Edition was released for the film's anniversary, and the highlight of this release was that the deleted "If I Never Knew You" scene was fully animated, coloured and inserted back into its moment in the film. The visuals are restored beautifully for this version compared to the earlier one, with the colours richer and the detail improved. This release also has a bunch of extras across the two discs, namely:

  1. An audio commentary by the producer and directors;
  2. A "Disney Art Project" (mostly for kids);
  3. "Follow Your Heart" Game (for kids, or bored non-kids);
  4. "Colors of the Wind" sing-a-long
  5. "Just Around the Riverbend" sing-a-long
  6. Vanessa Williams' "Colors of the Wind" music video
  7. A "Making of" featurette
  8. An early presentation reel of the movie
  9. A storyboard-to-film presentation (waterfall scene)
  10. A production progression featurette (Pocahontas' intro)
  11. Design featurettes with art stills;
  12. Glen Keane's animation lecture on designing Pocahontas;
  13. Interviews with most supervising animators;
  14. Featurette on the deleted character "Redfeather";
  15. Art featurette, with stills of the movie's artwork;
  16. A music of the movie featurette;
  17. Secada and Shanice's "If I Never Knew You" music video;
  18. Featurette on the cut "If I Never Knew You" scene;
  19. A whole bunch of deleted scenes, including deleted songs;
  20. Trailers and promotional material.

Later in 2009 there was a Musical Masterpiece Edition with a cover featuring new artwork, but as far as I can tell it's a single-disc edition with very few extras, and its only unique feature is a "sing-a-long" option.

As for Blu-Ray, as far as I know there's been three different releases, namely: a Special Edition (2012), a Two-Movie Special Edition (2012) where the movie is bundled with the sequel, and a Movie Club Exclusive (2016). I'm not sure what extras were included in these.

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