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Theatrical release poster
Directed by
  • Andrew Adamson
  • Vicky Jenson
Screenplay by
  • Ted Elliott
  • Terry Rossio
  • Joe Stillman
  • Roger S. H. Schulman
Produced by
  • Jeffrey Katzenberg
  • Aron Warner
  • John H. Williams
Edited bySim Evan-Jones
Music by
Distributed byDreamWorks Pictures
Release date
  • April 22, 2001 (2001-04-22) (Mann Village Theatre)[2]
  • May 18, 2001 (2001-05-18) (United States)
Running time
90 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$60 million[3]
Box office$484.4 million[3]

Shrek is a 2001 American computer-animated fantasy-comedy film directed by Andrew Adamson and Vicky Jenson in their directorial debut. It features the voices of Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, and John Lithgow. It is loosely based on William Steig's 1990 fairy tale picture book Shrek!, and somewhat serves as a parody film, targeting other films adapted from numerous children's fantasies (mainly animated Disney films). The film's soundtrack includes music by Smash Mouth, Eels, Joan Jett, The Proclaimers, Jason Wade, Baha Men, and John Cale (covering Leonard Cohen).

The rights to the books were originally bought by Steven Spielberg in 1991, before the founding of DreamWorks, when he thought about making a traditionally animated film based on the book. However, John H. Williams convinced him to bring the film to DreamWorks in 1994, the time the studio was founded, and the film was put quickly into active development by Jeffrey Katzenberg after the rights were bought by the studio in 1995. Shrek originally cast Chris Farley to do the voice for the title character, recording about 80%–90% of his dialogue. After Farley died in 1997 before he could finish, Mike Myers was brought in to work for the character, who after his first recording decided to record his voice in a Scottish accent. The film was also originally planned to be motion-captured, but after poor results, the studio decided to get Pacific Data Images to help Shrek get its final computer-animated look.

The film grossed $484.4 million at the worldwide box office, and an estimated 47 million tickets were sold in the US. Shrek also received promotion from food chains such as Baskin-Robbins (promoting the film's DVD release) and Burger King. It was acclaimed as an animated film worthy of adult interest, with many adult-oriented jokes and themes but a simple enough plot and humour to appeal to children. Shrek won the first ever Academy Award for Best Animated Feature and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay. The film was also nominated for six British Academy of Film and Television Arts awards, including the BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for Eddie Murphy for his voice-over performance as Donkey, and won the BAFTA Award for Best Adapted Screenplay. The film's main (and title) character was awarded his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in May 2010.[4]

Shrek established DreamWorks Animation as a prime competitor to Pixar in feature film animation, particularly in computer animation. The film's success prompted DreamWorks to create three sequels—Shrek 2 (2004), Shrek the Third (2007), and Shrek Forever After (2010), two holiday specials—Shrek the Halls (2007) and Scared Shrekless (2010), and a spin-off film—Puss in Boots (2011). A fifth film, planned as the last of the series, was cancelled in 2009 with the announcement that the fourth film would conclude the series. However, the fifth film was revived in 2016, with a planned release for 2019/2020.[5] The film's success also inspired other merchandise, such as video games, a stage musical, and even a comic book by Dark Horse Comics.


Shrek, a green ogre who loves the solitude in his swamp, finds his life interrupted when countless fairytale characters are exiled there by order of the fairytale-hating Lord Farquaad of Duloc. Shrek tells them that he will go ask Farquaad to send them back. He brings along a talking Donkey, who is the only fairytale creature who knows the way to Duloc.

Meanwhile, Farquaad tortures the Gingerbread Man into giving the location of the remaining fairytale creatures until his guards rush in with something he has been searching for: the Magic Mirror. He asks The Mirror if his kingdom is the fairest of them all but is told that he is not even a king. To be a king he must marry a princess and is given three options, from which he chooses Princess Fiona, who is locked in a castle tower guarded by lava and a dragon. The Mirror tries to mention "the little thing that happens at night" but is unsuccessful.

Shrek and Donkey arrive at Farquaad's palace in Duloc, where they end up in a tournament. The winner gets the "privilege" of rescuing Fiona so that Farquaad may marry her. Shrek and Donkey easily defeat the other knights in wrestling-match fashion, and Farquaad accepts his offer to move the fairytale creatures from his swamp if Shrek rescues Fiona.

Shrek and Donkey travel to the castle and split up to find Fiona. Donkey encounters the dragon and sweet-talks the beast before learning that it is female. Dragon takes a liking to him and carries him to her chambers. Shrek finds Fiona, who is appalled at his lack of romanticism. As they leave, Shrek saves Donkey, caught in Dragon's tender clutches, and forces her to chase them out of the castle. At first, Fiona is thrilled to be rescued but is quickly disappointed when Shrek reveals he is an ogre.

As the three journey to Duloc, Fiona urges the two to camp out for the night while she sleeps in a cave. Shrek and Donkey stargaze while Shrek tells stories about great ogres and says that he will build a wall around his swamp when he returns. When Donkey persistently asks why, he says that everyone judges him before knowing him; therefore, he feels he is better off alone, despite Donkey's admission that he did not immediately judge him when they met.

Along the way, Shrek and Fiona find they have more in common and fall in love. One night, when the trio is almost at Duloc, Fiona shelters in a windmill. When Donkey hears strange noises coming from it, he finds Fiona turned into an ogre. She explains her childhood curse and her nightly transformation, which is why she was locked away, and that only her true love's kiss will return her to her "love's true form". Shrek, about to confess his feelings for Fiona with a sunflower, partly overhears them, and is heartbroken as he mistakes her disgust with her transformation to an "ugly beast" as disgust with him. Fiona makes Donkey promise not to tell Shrek, vowing to do it herself. The next morning, Shrek has brought Lord Farquaad to Fiona. The couple return to Duloc, while a hurt Shrek angrily leaves his friendship with Donkey and returns to his now-vacated swamp, remembering what Fiona "said" about him.

Despite his privacy, Shrek is devastated and misses Fiona. Furious at Shrek, Donkey comes to the swamp where Shrek says he overheard Donkey and Fiona's conversation. Donkey keeps his promise to Fiona and tells Shrek that she was talking about someone else. He accepts Shrek's apology and tells him that Fiona will be getting married soon, urging Shrek into action to gain Fiona's love. They travel to Duloc quickly, thanks to Dragon, who had escaped her confines and followed Donkey.

Shrek interrupts the wedding before Farquaad can kiss Fiona. He tells her that Farquaad is not her true love and only marrying her to become king. The sun sets, which turns Fiona into an ogre in front of everyone in the church, causing a surprised Shrek to fully understand what he overheard. Outraged by Fiona, Farquaad orders Shrek killed and Fiona detained. Shrek whistles for Dragon who bursts in along with Donkey and devours Farquaad. Shrek and Fiona profess their love and share a kiss; Fiona is bathed in light as her curse is broken but is surprised that she is still an ogre, as she thought she would become beautiful, to which Shrek replies that she is beautiful. They marry in the swamp and leave on their honeymoon while the rest celebrate by singing "I'm a Believer".


Main article: List of Shrek characters
  • Mike Myers as Shrek[6]
  • Eddie Murphy as Donkey[7]
  • Cameron Diaz as Princess Fiona[8]
  • John Lithgow as Lord Farquaad[9]
  • Vincent Cassel as "Monsieur" Robin Hood[10]
  • Conrad Vernon as Gingerbread Man[11]
  • Chris Miller as Geppetto / Magic Mirror[12]
  • Cody Cameron as Pinocchio / The Three Little Pigs[12]
  • Simon J. Smith as Three Blind Mice[12]
  • Christopher Knights as Three Blind Mice and Thelonius
  • Aron Warner as Big Bad Wolf[12]
  • Jim Cummings as Captain of the Guards[12]
  • Kathleen Freeman as Old Woman (Donkey's ex-owner)[12]
  • Andrew Adamson as Duloc Mascot (a man dressed in a suit that looks like Lord Farquaad)[12]
  • Bobby Block as Baby Bear from the Three Bears[12]
  • Michael Galasso as Peter Pan[12]
  • Elisa Gabrielli as additional voices[12]



At the time DreamWorks was founded, producer John H. Williams got hold of the book from his children and when he brought it to DreamWorks, it caught Jeffrey Katzenberg's attention and the studio decided to make it into a film.[13] Recounting the inspiration of making the film, Williams said: <templatestyles src="Template:Blockquote/styles.css" />

"Every development deal starts with a pitch and my pitch came from my then kindergartner, in collaboration with his pre-school brother. Upon our second reading of Shrek, the kindergartner started quoting large segments of the book pretending he could read them. Even as an adult, I thought Shrek was outrageous, irreverent, iconoclastic, gross, and just a lot of fun. He was a great movie character in search of a movie."[14]

After buying the rights to the film, Katzenberg quickly put it in active development in November 1995.[15][16] Steven Spielberg had thought about making a traditionally animated film adaption of the book before, when he bought the rights to the book in 1991 before the founding of DreamWorks, where Bill Murray would play Shrek and Steve Martin would play Donkey.[17] In the beginning of production, co-director Andrew Adamson refused to be intimidated by Katzenberg and had an argument with him how much should the film appeal to adults. Katzenberg wanted both audiences, but he found some of Adamson's ideas about adding sexual jokes and Guns N' Roses music to the soundtrack a bit too outrageous.[18][19] Adamson and Kelly Asbury joined in 1997 to co-direct the film. However, Asbury left a year later for work on the 2002 film Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, and was replaced with story artist Vicky Jenson. Both Adamson and Jenson decided to work on the film in half, so the crew could at least know who to go to with specific detail questions about the film's sequences; "We both ended up doing a lot of everything," Adamson said. "We're both kinda control freaks, and we both wanted to do everything."[20]

Some early sketches of Shrek's house were done between 1996 and 1997 using Photoshop, with the sketches showing Shrek first living in a garbage dump near a human village called Wart Creek. It was also thought one time that he lived with his parents and kept rotting fish in his bedroom.[21] Donkey was modeled after Pericles (born 1994; also known as Perry), a real miniature donkey from Barron Park in Palo Alto, California.[22] Raman Hui, supervising animator of Shrek, stated that Fiona "wasn't based on any real person." and he did many different sketches for her. He had done over 100 sculptures of Fiona before the directors chose the final design.[23] In early development, the art directors visited Hearst Castle, Stratford upon Avon, and Dordogne for inspiration. Art Director Douglas Rogers visited a magnolia plantation in Charleston, South Carolina for inspiration of Shrek's swamp.[24][25] Planned characters not used in the film include Goldilocks and Sleeping Beauty.[26]


Nicolas Cage was initially offered the role of Shrek but he turned it down because he did not want to look like an ogre.[27] In 2013, Cage explained furthermore: "When you're drawn, in a way it says more about how children are going to see you than anything else, and I so care about that."[28]

File:Mike Myers David Shankbone 2010 NYC.jpg

Mike Myers was re-cast as Shrek after Chris Farley's death.

Chris Farley was initially hired to voice Shrek, and he had recorded nearly all of the dialogue for the character, but died before completing the project.[29] A story reel featuring a sample of Farley's recorded dialogue was leaked to the public in August 2015.[30] DreamWorks then re-cast the voice role to Mike Myers, who insisted on a complete script rewrite, to leave no traces of Farley's version of Shrek.[29] According to Myers, he wanted to voice the character "for two reasons: I wanted the opportunity to work with Jeffrey Katzenberg; and [the book is] a great story about accepting yourself for who you are."[14]

After Myers had completed providing the voice for the character, when the film was well into production, he asked to re-record all of his lines with a Scottish accent, similar to that his mother used when she told him bedtime stories and also used for his roles in other films, such as So I Married an Axe Murderer and Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me.[29] According to the DVD commentary, he had also tried using country and Canadian accents.[31] After hearing the alternative, Katzenberg agreed to redo scenes in the film, saying, "It was so good we took $4m worth of animation out and did it again."[32] A point Myers disputes, saying "it didn’t cost the studio “millions of dollars,” as rumored. “What it meant is instead of me going in for ten sessions, I went in for twenty sessions. I got paid the same.".[33] Because of Myers voicing the character, more ideas began to come. There were clearer story points, fresher gags and comedy bits.[34] "I got a letter from Spielberg thanking me so much for caring about the character " Myers said. "and he said the Scottish accent had improved the movie."[35]

Another person planned to voice a character in the film was Janeane Garofalo, who was set to star alongside Farley as Princess Fiona. However, she was fired from the project with little explanation. Years later, Garofalo stated "I was never told why [I was fired]. I assume because I sound like a man sometimes? I don't know why. Nobody told me ... But, you know, the movie didn't do anything, so who cares?"[36]


Shrek was originally set up to be a live-action/CG animation hybrid with background plate miniature sets and the main characters composited into the scene as motion-captured computer graphics, using an ExpertVision Hires Falcon 10 camera system to capture and apply realistic human movement to the characters.[37] A sizable crew was hired to run a test, and after a year and a half of R & D, the test was finally screened in May 1997.[38] The results were not satisfactory, with Katzenberg stating "It looked terrible, it didn't work, it wasn't funny, and we didn't like it."[29] The studio then turned to its production partners at Pacific Data Images (PDI), who began production with the studio in 1998[39] and helped Shrek get to its final, computer-animated look.[29] At this time, Antz was still in production by the studio[29] and Effects Supervisor Ken Bielenberg was asked by Aron Warner "to start development for Shrek."[40] Similar to previous PDI films, PDI used its own proprietary software (like its own Fluid Animation System) for its animated movies. For some elements, however, it also took advantage of some of the powerhouse animation software in the market. This is particularly true with Maya, which PDI used for most of its dynamic cloth animation and for the hair of Fiona and Farquaad.[41]

"We did a lot of work on character and set-up, and then kept changing the set up while we were doing the animation," Hui noted. "In Antz, we had a facial system that gave us all the facial muscles under the skin. In Shrek, we applied that to whole body. So, if you pay attention to Shrek when he talks, you see that when he opens his jaw, he forms a double chin, because we have the fat and the muscles underneath. That kind of detail took us a long time to get right."[42] One of the most difficult parts of creating the film was making Donkey's fur flow smoothly so that it didn't look like that of a Chia Pet. This fell into the hands of the surfacing animators who used flow controls within a complex shader to provide the fur with many attributes (ability to change directions, lie flat, swirl, etc.).[25] It was then the job of the visual effects group, led by Ken Bielenberg, to make the fur react to environment conditions. Once the technology was mastered, it was able to be applied to many aspects of the Shrek movie including grass, moss, beards, eyebrows, and even threads on Shrek's tunic. Making human hair realistic was different from Donkey's fur, requiring a separate rendering system and a lot of attention from the lighting and visual effects teams.[25]

Shrek has 31 sequences, with 1,288 shots in every sequence total.[24] Aron Warner said that the creators "envisioned a magical environment that you could immerse yourself into." Shrek includes 36 separate in-film locations to make the world of the film, which DreamWorks claimed was more than any previous computer-animated feature before. In-film locations were finalized and as demonstrated by past DreamWorks animated movies, color and mood was of the utmost importance.[25]


Main article: Shrek: Music from the Original Motion Picture

Shrek is the third DreamWorks animated film (and the only film in the Shrek series) to have Harry Gregson-Williams team up with John Powell to compose the score (after Antz (1998) and Chicken Run (2000)).[43] John Powell was left out to compose scores for later Shrek films with Williams due to a conflict.[44] The score was recorded at Abbey Road Studios by Nick Wollage and Slamm Andrews, with the latter mixing it at Media Ventures and Patricia Sullivan-Fourstar handling mastering.[45]

Shrek introduced a new element to give the film a unique feel. The film used pop music and other Oldies to make the story more forward. Covers of songs like "On the Road Again" and "Try a Little Tenderness" were integrated in the film's score.[46] As the film was about to be completed, Katzenberg suggested to the filmmakers to redo the film's ending to "go out with a big laugh"; Instead of ending film with just a storybook closing over Shrek and Fiona as they ride off into the sunset, they decided to add a song "I'm a Believer" covered by Smash Mouth and show all the fairytale creatures in the film.[47]

Although Rufus Wainwright's version of the song "Hallelujah" appeared in the soundtrack album, it was John Cale's version that appeared in the film; in a radio interview, Rufus Wainwright suggested that his version of "Hallelujah" did not appear in the film due to the "glass ceiling" he was hitting because of his sexuality. An alternative explanation is that, although the filmmakers wanted Cale's version for the film, licensing issues prevented its use in the soundtrack album, because Wainwright was an artist for DreamWorks but Cale was not.[48]

Cultural references[]

In many places the film references classic movies, predominantly those by Disney. When Tinker Bell falls on Donkey and he says "I can fly" and people around including the Three Little Pigs say "He can fly, he can fly"; this is a reference to Disney's Peter Pan. This scene is also a reference to the Disney film Dumbo, where Donkey says, while flying, "You might have seen a house fly, maybe even a super fly, but I bet you ain't never seen a Donkey fly"[49] The scene where Fiona is singing to the blue bird is a reference to Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.[49] The transformation scene at the end of the film strongly references to Disney's Beauty and the Beast.[49]

When Shrek crosses the bridge to the Castle and says, "That'll do, Donkey, that'll do," this is a reference to the movie Babe.[49] The scene where Princess Fiona is fighting the Merry Men is a lengthy reference to the film The Matrix.[49] At the end of the film, the Gingerbread Man at the end with a crutch (and one leg) says "God bless us, everyone" which is a reference to Tiny Tim in A Christmas Carol.[49]

In the scene where the Magic Mirror gives Lord Farquaad the option to marry three princesses, it parodies popular American television show The Dating Game featuring: Cinderella and Snow White.[50] In addition, Lord Farquaad's theme park style kingdom Duloc heavily mimics Disneyland, even in so far as parodying the famous 'It's A Small World Afterall' musical ride in the scene with the singing puppets.[50]



In 2000, IMAX released CyberWorld onto its branded large-screen theaters. It was a compilation film that featured stereoscopic conversions of various animated shorts and sequences, including the bar sequence in Antz. DreamWorks was so impressed by the technology used for the sequence's "stereoscopic translation", that the studio and IMAX decided to plan a big-screen 3D version of Shrek. The film would have been re-released during the Christmas season of 2001, or the following summer, after its conventional 2D release. The re-release would have also included new sequences and an alternate ending. Plans for this was dropped due to "creative changes" instituted by DreamWorks and resulted in a loss of $1.18 million, down from IMAX's profit of $3.24 million.[51][52][53]

Radio Disney was told not to allow any ads for the film to air on the station, stating, "Due to recent initiatives with The Walt Disney Company, we are being asked not to align ourselves promotionally with this new release Shrek. Stations may accept spot dollars only in individual markets."[54] The restriction was later relaxed to allow ads for the film's soundtrack album onto the network.[55]

On May 7, 2001, Burger King began promotions for the film, giving out a selection of nine exclusive Candy Caddies based on the Shrek characters, in Big Kids Meal and Kids Meal orders.[56] Ice cream chain Baskin-Robbins also ran an 8-week promotion of the film, selling products such as Shrek's Hot Sludge Sundae, a combination of Oreo Cookies 'n Cream ice cream, hot fudge, crushed chocolate cookies, whipped cream and squiggly gummy worms, and Shrek Freeze Frame Cake, featuring an image of Shrek and Donkey framed by sunflowers. This was to support the film's DVD/VHS release.[57]

Home media[]

The film was released by DreamWorks Home Entertainment on VHS and DVD on November 2, 2001. Both releases included Shrek in the Swamp Karaoke Dance Party, a 3-minute musical short film, that takes up right after Shrek's ending, with film's characters performing a medley of modern pop songs.[58]

Shrek was released to video the same day that Pixar's Monsters, Inc. hit theaters. Since videos were traditionally released on Tuesdays, Disney's executives did not receive this well, saying that the move "seemed like an underhanded attempt to siphon off some of their film's steam". DreamWorks responded that it "simply shifted the release to a Friday to make it more of an event and predicted that it and other studios would do so more frequently with important films." Monsters, Inc. earned that weekend more than $62 million, breaking the record for an animated film, while Shrek's video release made more than $100 million,[59] and eventually became the biggest selling DVD of all time with over 5.5 million sales.[60]

A 3D version of the film was released on Blu-ray 3D by Paramount Home Media Distribution on December 1, 2010, along with its sequels. The films were sold separately in 2012.[61]

In July 2014, the film's distribution rights were purchased by DreamWorks Animation.[62]


Critical response[]

Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 88% of critics have given the film a positive review based on 201 reviews; the weighted average score is 7.8/10. The critical consensus is "While simultaneously embracing and subverting fairy tales, the irreverent Shrek also manages to tweak Disney's nose, provide a moral message to children, and offer viewers a funny, fast-paced ride."[63] On Metacritic the film has a rating of 84% based on 34 reviews, indicating "universal acclaim".[64]

Roger Ebert praised the film, giving it four stars out of a possible four and describing it as "jolly and wicked, filled with sly in-jokes and yet somehow possessing a heart."[65] USA Today's Susan Wloszczyna praised Eddie Murphy's performance, stating it "gives the comic performance of his career, aided by sensational digital artistry, as he brays for the slightly neurotic motormouth."[66] Richard Schickel of Time also enjoyed Murphy's role, stating "No one has ever made a funnier jackass of himself than Murphy."[67] Peter Rainer of New York magazine liked the script, also stating "The animation, directed by Andrew Adamson and Vicky Jenson, is often on the same wriggly, giggly level as the script, although the more "human" characters, such as Princess Fiona and Lord Farquaad, are less interesting than the animals and creatures—a common pitfall in animated films of all types."[68] Peter Travers of Rolling Stone wrote "Shrek is a world-class charmer that could even seduce the Academy when it hands out the first official animation Oscar next year."[69] James Berardinelli of ReelViews gave the film three and a half stars out of four, saying "Shrek is not a guilty pleasure for sophisticated movie-goers; it is, purely and simply, a pleasure."[70] Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times wrote "The witty, fractured fairy tale Shrek has a solid base of clever writing."[71] Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly gave the film an A-, saying "A kind of palace coup, a shout of defiance, and a coming of age for DreamWorks."[72] Jay Boyar of the Orlando Sentinel wrote "It's a pleasure to be able to report that the movie both captures and expands upon the book's playful spirit of deconstruction."[73]

Steven Rosen of The Denver Post wrote "DreamWorks Pictures again proves a name to trust for imaginative, funny animated movies that delight kids and adults equally."[74] Susan Stark of The Detroit News gave the film four out of four stars, saying "Swift, sweet, irreverent, rangy and as spirited in the writing and voice work as it is splendid in design."[75] Lou Lumenick of the New York Post gave the film four out of four stars, saying "A fat green ogre with a grouchy disposition and worse manners, Shrek is the sort of unlikely hero that nobody could love -- except just about everyone who sees this hip and hilarious animated delight."[76] Jami Bernard of the New York Daily News gave the film four out of four stars, saying "The brilliance of the voice work, script, direction and animation all serve to make Shrek an adorable, infectious work of true sophistication."[77] Rene Rodriguez gave the film three out of four stars, calling it "a gleefully fractured fairy tale that never becomes cynical or crass".[78] Elvis Mitchell of The New York Times gave the film four out of five stars, saying "Beating up on the irritatingly dainty Disney trademarks is nothing new; it's just that it has rarely been done with the demolition-derby zest of Shrek."[79] William Steig, the author of the original book, and his wife Jeanne Steig also enjoyed the film, stating "We all went sort of expecting to hate it, thinking, 'What has Hollywood done to it?' But we loved it. We were afraid it would be too sickeningly cute and, instead, Bill just thought they did a wonderful, witty job of it."[80]

John Anderson of Newsday wrote "The kind of movie that will entertain everyone of every age and probably for ages to come."[81] John Zebrowski of The Seattle Times gave the film three out of four stars, saying "The movie is helped immensely by its cast, who carry it through some of the early, sluggish scenes. But this is Murphy's movie. Donkey gets most of the good lines, and Murphy hits every one."[82] Jay Carr of The Boston Globe wrote "In an era when much on film seems old, Shrek seems new and fresh and clever."[83] Stephen Hunter of The Washington Post gave the film five out of five stars, saying "Despite all its high-tech weirdness, it is really that most perdurable of human constructions, a tale told well and true."[84] Joe Baltake of The Sacramento Bee wrote that it "isn't so much a fractured spoof of everything Disney, but actually a Monty Python flick for kids – kids of all ages".[83] Andrew Sarris of The New York Observer wrote "What gives Shrek its special artistic distinction is its witty and knowingly sassy dialogue, delivered by vocally charismatic performers whose voices remind us of their stellar screen personae in live-action movies."[85] Lisa Alspector of the Chicago Reader wrote "This romantic fantasy complicates the roles of beauty and beast, making it hard to guess what form a sensitive resolution will take."[86] Joe Morgenstern of The Wall Street Journal wrote "The charms of Shrek, which is based on the children's book by William Steig, go far beyond in-jokes for adults."[87]

A mixed review came from Mark Caro of the Chicago Tribune, who gave the film two and a half stars out of four and compared the film to Toy Story 2, saying it "had a higher in-jokes/laughs ratio without straining to demonstrate its hipness or to evoke heartfelt emotions."[88] On the more negative side, Michael Atkinson of The Village Voice said he was "desperately avoiding the risk of even a half-second of boredom", and said "the movie is wall-to-window-to-door noise, babbling, and jokes (the first minute sees the first fart gag), and demographically it's a hard-sell shotgun spray."[89] Christy Lemire of the Associated Press described Shrek as a "90-minute onslaught of in-jokes", and said while it "strives to have a heart" with "a message about beauty coming from within", "somehow [the message] rings hollow."[83] Anthony Lane of The New Yorker said, despite the film "cunning the rendering of surfaces, there's still something flat and charmless in the digital look, and most of the pleasure rises not from the main romance but from the quick, incidental gags."[90]

Box office[]

Shrek opened on around 6,000 screens [91] across 3,587 theaters;[92] eleven of them showed the film digitally, made possible by the THX Division of Lucasfilm.[93] This was the first time that DreamWorks had shown one of its films digitally.[94] The film earned $11,573,015 on its first day and $42,347,760 on its opening weekend, topping the box office for the weekend and averaging $11,805 from 3,587 theaters.[95] In its second weekend, due to the Memorial Day Weekend holiday, the film gained 0.3 percent to $42,481,425 and $55,215,620 over the four-day weekend, resulting in an overall 30 percent gain.[96] Despite this, the film finished in second place behind Pearl Harbor and had an average of $15,240 from expanding to 3,623 sites.[96] In its third weekend, the film retreated 34 percent to $28,172,869 for a $7,695 average from expanding to 3,661 theaters.[97] The film closed on December 6, 2001, after grossing $267,665,011 domestically, along with $216,744,207 overseas, for a worldwide total of $484,409,218.[3] Produced on a $60 million budget, the film was a huge box office smash and is the fourth highest-grossing film of 2001 behind Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, and Monsters, Inc..[3] The film sold an estimated 47,290,600 tickets in North America.[98]

Shrek became the highest-grossing animated film ever to be released in Australia, passing the mark set by The Lion King in 1994.[99] In the United Kingdom, Shrek regained the top spot at the British box office after being beaten out the previous week by Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, earning a $20.3 million since its opening in the UK.[100]


At the 74th Academy Awards, Shrek won the first ever Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, beating Monsters, Inc. and Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius.[101] Entertainment Weekly put it on its end-of-the-decade, "best-of" list, saying, "Prince Charming? So last millennium. This decade, fairy-tale fans — and Princess Fiona — fell for a fat and flatulent Ogre. Now, that's progress."[102] It was nominated for The Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy.[103]

Shrek was also nominated for 6 BAFTA Awards, including the BAFTA Award for Best Film. Eddie Murphy became the first actor to ever receive a BAFTA nomination for a voice-over performance. The film was also nominated for Best Visual Effects, Best Sound, Best Film Music, and won the BAFTA Award for Best Adapted Screenplay.[104] Shrek was nominated for a dozen Annie Awards from ASIFA-Hollywood, and won eight Annies including Best Animated Feature and Outstanding Individual Achievement for Directing in an Animated Feature Production.[105]

In June 2008, the American Film Institute revealed its "Ten top Ten"; the best ten films in ten "classic" American film genres—after polling over 1,500 people from the creative community Shrek was acknowledged as the eighth best film in the animated genre, and the only non-Disney·Pixar film in the Top 10.[106][107] Shrek was also ranked second in a Channel 4 poll of the "100 Greatest Family Films", losing out on the top spot to E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.[108] In 2005, Shrek came sixth in Channel 4's 100 Greatest Cartoons poll behind The Simpsons, Tom and Jerry, South Park, Toy Story and Family Guy.[109] In November 2009, the character, Lord Farquaad, was listed #14 in IGN UK's "Top 15 Fantasy Villains".[110] In 2006, it was ranked third on Bravo's 100 funniest films list.[111]

American Film Institute recognition:

  • AFI's 100 Years...100 Heroes & Villains:
    • Shrek - Nominated Hero[106]
  • AFI's 100 Years...100 Songs:
    • I'm a Believer - Nominated[106]
  • AFI's 100 Years...100 Movies (10th Anniversary Edition) - Nominated[106]
  • AFI's 10 Top 10 - #8 Animated film[106]


The film was entered into the 2001 Cannes Film Festival,[112] and was the first animated film since Disney's Peter Pan (1953) to receive that honour.[113]


Previous films and TV shows, such as Fractured Fairy Tales and The Princess Bride, have parodied the traditional fairy tale.[114] However, Shrek itself has noticeably influenced the current generation of mainstream animated films.[114] Particularly after Shrek 2, animated films began to incorporate more pop culture references and end-film musical numbers.[114] Such elements can be seen in films like Robots and Chicken Little.[114] It also inspired a number of computer animated films which also spoofed fairy tales, or other related story genres, often including adult-oriented humor, most of which were not nearly as successful as Shrek, such as Happily N'Ever After, Igor, and Hoodwinked!.[114]

Other media[]

Main article: Shrek the Musical

Several video game adaptations of the film have been published on various game console platforms, including Shrek (2001), Shrek: Hassle at the Castle (2002), Shrek: Extra Large (2002), Shrek: Super Party (2002) and Shrek SuperSlam (2005).[115] Shrek was also included as a bonus unlockable character in the video game Tony Hawk's Underground 2 (2004).[116]

In 2003, Dark Horse Comics released a Shrek three-issue mini-series comic book adaptation, written by Mark Evanier, which were collected into a trade paperback.[117]

A musical version, based on the film, with music by Jeanine Tesori and a book and lyrics by David Lindsay-Abaire, opened on Broadway on December 14, 2008, and closed January 3, 2010, running for a total of 441 performances.[118] It starred Brian d'Arcy James in the title role, Sutton Foster as Princess Fiona, Christopher Sieber as Lord Farquaad, Daniel Breaker as Donkey, and John Tartaglia as Pinocchio.[118] The Broadway production was recorded and released on DVD, Blu-ray and digital media.[119][120][121] A North American Tour opened July 25, 2010, in Chicago.[118] A London production opened in the West End on June 7, 2011.[122] The musical received many Tony Award nominations and won the 2009 Tony Award for Best Costume Design. It received five Laurence Olivier Award nominations including Best New Musical.[123]

Sequels and spin-offs[]

Main article: Shrek (franchise)

Shrek has three sequels: Shrek 2 (2004) Shrek the Third (2007), and Shrek Forever After (2010). Although Shrek 2 received similar acclaim from critics,[124] the last two movies did not receive as much critical acclaim.[125][126] They were, however, still box office hits.[127][128] There were also two holiday specials entitled Shrek the Halls and Scared Shrekless, a spin-off Puss in Boots (a prequel to the Shrek series, exploring Puss's origin story and his life before meeting Shrek and Donkey), and several shorts.[129] A fifth feature film was also planned for release, but was later cancelled in 2009, after it was decided that Shrek Forever After (originally titled Shrek Goes Fourth) was to be the last film in the series.[129] However, in July 2016, the fifth film was announced and is set for release in 2019.[130]


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  • Blair, Iain (May 5, 2001). "The Making of Shrek". pp. 1 2. Missing or empty |url= (help); |access-date= requires |url= (help)CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • Neuwirth, Allan (2003). Makin' Toons: Inside the Most Popular Animated TV Shows and Movies. Skyhorse Publishing Inc. Cite has empty unknown parameter: |coauthors= (help)

External links[]

Template:Shrek Template:DreamWorks animated films

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