By Brent Furdyk.

On Nov. 25, 1992, Disney released an animated film that would go on to become one of its all-time most beloved classics, “Aladdin”.

Retelling the “Arabian Nights” tale of the “street rat” who discovered a tarnished lamp that had imprisoned a genie — played to hilarious perfection by the late Robin Williams — “Aladdin” went on to become one of Disney’s biggest hits and continues to entertain new generations of children.

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In honour of the film’s 30th anniversary, check out these 10 facts about the film that you may not have known.

1. In a possible nod to “Pinocchio”, Aladdin has a “tell” whenever he tells a lie: the feather in his turban falls in his face whenever he fibs.

2. Steven Spielberg, who was filming “Schindler’s List” at that time, regularly called Williams to speak with the cast and crew in order to lighten the dark mood that engulfed them while filming the Holocaust drama. At the time, Williams was preparing for his “Aladdin” role, which allowed him to work out material that he would eventually bring to his largely improvised performance.

3. Had things gone another way, Sir Patrick Stewart would have voiced villainous Jafar. While the “Star Trek: The Next Generation” star had been Disney’s first choice for the role but was unable to do it because of scheduling commitments. Sir Patrick has admitted that not being able to be part of “Aladdin” was one of his biggest regrets.

4. During its initial release, “Aladdin” raked in more than $217 million at the domestic box office — placing the movie in the history books as only the 14th movie ever to gross more than $200 million, and the first animated film to do so. Ultimately, “Aladdin” grossed more than $346 million worldwide, and went on to bring in millions more from home video.

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5. Jonathan Freeman, who voiced Jafar, went on to reprise the role in the Broadway production of “Aladdin”, playing the role until January 2022. For now, Freeman is the only actor to ever originate a role in a Disney animated film and then play the same role on Broadway.

6. The street peddler who introduces the story at the beginning of the movie was originally intended to be the genie; both were voiced by Williams. Storyboards for the original ending (which wasn’t used) were unearthed in 2019, in which the peddler magically transforms into the genie to reveal they’re one and the same.

7. In order to animate the movement of Aladdin’s baggy harem-style pants, animators studied video of MC Hammer’s music videos, in which he sports similar trousers.

8. When creating the look for Aladdin, animators reportedly based the character’s facial features on those of Tom Cruise.

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9. Mickey Mouse makes a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameo in one scene. When Rajah, Jasmine’s protective pet tiger, transforms back into his true self after Jafar is placed in the lamp, the iconic Disney mascot’s face appears in a single frame.

10. Robin Williams does more than 60 characters in “Aladdin”, many of which feature his impersonations of celebrities. These range from National Review founder William F. Buckley to Broadway legend Carol Channing to stand-up superstar Rodney Dangerfield. Other notable impressions in the film include Robert De Niro, Groucho Marx, Jack Nicholson, Arnold Schwarzenegger and more.


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Ellen Bullock