As mentioned in our previous post, Anastasia is a 1997 American animated musical film produced by Fox Animation Studios and distributed by 20th Century Fox. Directed by former Disney animation directors Don Bluth and Gary Goldman, the film is an adaptation of the legend of Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna of Russia, which claims that she in fact escaped the execution of her family. It tells the story of an eighteen-year-old orphan named Anya who, in hopes of finding some trace of her family, sides with a pair of con men who wish to take advantage of her likeness to the Grand Duchess. The film features the voices of Meg Ryan, John Cusack, Kelsey Grammer, Christopher Lloyd, Hank Azaria, Bernadette Peters, Kirsten Dunst and Angela Lansbury.
The music box in this movie actually existed. It was given to the real Anastasia by the real Marie Feoderovna for her thirteenth birthday, but was silver with a ballerina on top.
The portrait in the ballroom of the whole family includes a spaniel. The spaniel existed. The spaniel, named Joy, belonged to Anastasia’s brother, Alexei, and was found alive at the house where the family was killed. Anastasia’s own dog, Jimmy, did not survive.
The real Anastasia once wore a dress almost exactly like the one Anya wears in the last scenes of the movie. This same dress was seen in Anastasia (1956).
Just as was suggested in this movie, the real-life Anastasia Romanov loved playing practical jokes. This made her quite notorious among her family and the palace staff.
In real life, Gregori Efimovich a.k.a. Rasputin was a very controversial figure who, in fact, was the Romanov’s advisor and Tsarina Alexandra’s most trusted confidant. Rumor has it that Rasputin told the Tsarina he was about to be assassinated and that if one of her relatives killed him, all the Romanov family would die within a year. While of course these facts were too dark to be included in the movie, there is a reference: during the song “A Rumor in St. Petersburg”, an old woman tells Dimitri to buy “Count Yussupov’s pajamas”, while offering a pair of ragged clothes. Yussupov, who actually was a prince, really existed, was indeed related to Alexandra Romanov and was the one who killed the real Rasputin, along with a group of noblemen.
When Anya returns to the palace in St. Petersburg and is in the ballroom you can see the painting of the coronation of Alexandra and Nicholas on the left hand side being the first picture, which is a real painting.
The drawing the Empress holds when she and Anya are reminiscing (the same one we see little Anastasia give her at the beginning of the movie) is a picture the real Anastasia had drawn for her father in 1914.
The character of Dimitri was based on a European prince who vouched for Anna Anderson’s identity as Anastasia. The prince had only met Anastasia once and during her childhood, though, so he was not considered a very credible source.
The character of Vladimir is based on Count Vladimir Frederiks, Tsar Nicholas’ Chief Court Minister. He was very close to Tsar Nicholas and his children and remained in Russia for years after the revolution, wearing his court uniform in protest.
The Parisian bridge on which the confrontation between Rasputin, Dimitri, and Anastasia occurs is the Alexander III bridge, named after the real Anastasia Romanov’s grandfather on the occasion of his state visit to France in the 1870s.