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The Three Little Pigs was a landmark animated short film released on May 27, 1933. It was produced by Walt Disney (though distributed through United Artists). Based on the fairy tale of the same name, Three Little Pigs won the 1934 Academy Award for Best Short Subject: Cartoons. In addition to critical acclaim, the cartoon was a smash hit, so much that it was still running in theaters months after its debut, and became Disney's biggest financial success. To this day, it remains the single-most successful animated short ever made.
Animator Chuck Jones said, "That was the first time that anybody ever brought characters to life [in an animated cartoon]. They were three characters who looked alike and acted differently".
The Three Little Pigs holds eleventh place on the The 50 Greatest Cartoons list. In 2007, it was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".
Tropes Found in The Three Little Pigs
- An Aesop
- Aesop Amnesia: Subsequent Silly Symphonies shorts show that Practical Pig is still the only one doing any work or taking Big Bad seriously.
- All There in the Manual: The characters names are given in supplemental material of the shorts, but not in the actual cartoons.
- All Work vs. All Play: Practical is All Work, Fiddler and Fifer are All Play.
- And Then What?: A comic story in which the Wolf finally catches the pigs sends him through this.
- Ass in a Lion Skin: The wolf becomes (literally) A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing.
"I'm a poor little sheep, with no place to sleep. Please open the door, and let me in!"
- Big Bad: It's in his name.
- The Big Bad Wolf: Yup.
- Big Badass Wolf: Specifically The Big Bad Wolf.
- Blow You Away
- Comic Book Adaptation: There are many comics starring the characters, usually focusing on Zeke Wolf's never-ending schemes to catch the pigs.
- Cross-Dressing Voices: Fiddler and Fifer were voiced by women.
- Crossover: The first sequel, The Big Bad Wolf, features Fifer and Fiddler escorting Little Red Riding Hood to her grandmother's.
- The comics also frequently guest star Br'er Bear, usually as a foil to Zeke. In these stories, B'rer Bear is generally portrayed as more of a good guy than he was in Song of the South, even being friendly with the pigs and Li'l Wolf -- although he's still stupid and violent, with Zeke as the most frequent target for his violent tantrums.  Br'er Fox and Br'er Rabbit also make sporadic appearances, with their original characterizations more or less intact.
- Some African retellings of the Three Little Pigs tale would have them share a verse with Br'er Rabbit, Br'er Fox and Br'er Bear, reflected in the version Joel Chandler Harris retold in 1883.
- Crying Wolf: Part of the plot of Three Little Wolves. Fifer and Fiddler discover their brother's wolf alarm (a horn), and start blowing it, ignoring his warnings that overusing it may cause him to ignore an actual alarm.
- Disneyfication: In Disney's version, the first two pigs manage to escape the Wolf after he destroys their houses and seek refuge in Practical's house. Several other retellings of the story, such as the Richard Scarry version, also went with this.
- Divergent Character Evolution: The Li'l Wolves went through this. Three Little Wolves introduced the Big Bad Wolf's three sons, all of whom were just as determined to eat pork as their father. This short and its follow up, The Practical Pig, were changed in later adapations to two Bad Li'l Wolves and one Good Li'l Wolf, who feels sorry for Fifer and Fiddler and helps them escape. This Good Li'l Wolf eventually evolved into Li'l (Bad) Wolf, Zeke's only son and the Pigs' best friend.
- Funny Background Event/Visual Pun: A picture of sausage links on Practical's wall is labeled "Father." Another picture labeled "Uncle" shows a football.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: The Big Bad Wolf falls to this several times. Practical also ends up falling to this at the end of The Practical Pig: when his brothers are being punished by his Lie Detector, he claims "This hurts me more than it does you..." and the Lie Detector reacts accordingly.
- Lie Detector: Practical builds one in The Practical Pig. Thanks to his usual method of building, it doubles as a punishment device for anyone it catches lying.
- Nephewism: Averted; the Li'l Wolves are stated to be Zeke's sons.
- Papa Wolf: A literal example, as the Big Bad Wolf becomes father of three cubs, as seen in Three Little Wolves and The Practical Pig, the cubs having just as big a taste for pig as their pop.
- Paper-Thin Disguise: One of the Big Bad Wolf's favorite methods.
- Predators Are Mean
- Recursive Adaptation: The "Li'l Bad Wolf" short on House of Mouse adapts the characters' comic stories, which, of course, follow up the 1930s shorts.
- Rube Goldberg Device: Practical became quite fond of these in the follow-up shorts.
- Rule of Three: (Duh!)
- Spared by the Adaptation: In the original fairy tale, the first two pigs are killed and eaten by the wolf.
- Took a Level In Dumbass: Fifer and Fiddler in the sequels, not only suffering from instant Aesop Amnesia but also completely falling for tricks and disguises of the sort they were able to see through at once in the first cartoon.
- Villain Song: Three Little Wolves has "Li'l Pigs Is Good To Eat", where the Big Bad Wolf waxes harmonic about all the delicious things made from pigs.
- "The Villain Sucks" Song: "Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?"
- Villainous Breakdown: In Three Little Pigs, after the wolf's Fuller Brush Man disguise fails.
Big Bad Wolf: By the hair on your chinny-chin-chin, I'll huff and I'll puff and I'll blow your house in!
- A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing: The wolf pretends to be a orphaned sheep to get the first two pigs to open the door. It doesn't work.
- In fact, Br'er Bear in these comics is notable as one of the only people in a Disney comic who could shoot at someone with a shotgun and actually hit him. Zeke always survived being shot, though.