Ever After

1998 film by Andy Tennant

Ever After: A Cinderella Story is a 1998 film adaptation of the classic fairy tale Cinderella. Treated as a servant by her cruel stepmother Baroness Rodmilla de Ghent, strong-willed Danielle de Barbarac wins the heart of Crown Prince Henry II.

Directed by Andy Tennant. Screenplay by Susannah Grant, Andy Tennant, and Rick Parks; Based on the fairy tale Cinderella by Charles Perrault.
Desire. Defy. Escape. Tagline

Danielle de Barbarac

  • [to Henry] If you suffer your people to be ill-educated, and their manners corrupted from infancy, and then punish them for those crimes to which their first education disposed them, what else is to be concluded, sire, but that you first make thieves and then punish them?
  • [about the prince] Honestly, I think he and Marguerite deserve each other.
  • [to Le Pieu] My father was an expert swordsman, monsieur. He taught me well. Now hand me that key or I swear on his grave I will slit you from navel to nose.
  • [to Henry] Why did you have to be so wonderful?
  • [at the ball] Breathe. Just breathe.

Baroness Rodmilla de Ghent

  • [to Henry] She's an imposter, sire! Her name is Danielle de Barbarac, and she's been a servant in my home for the past ten years.
  • [to Henry] Ask her yourself! She is a grasping, devious little pretender, and it is my duty, Your Highness, to expose her as the covetous hoax she is.
  • [to Danielle] Bow before royalty, you insolent fraud!
  • [to Danielle] How can anyone love a pebble in their shoe?
  • [to Danielle] The slightest turn of phrase can have a thousand meanings.
  • No matter how bad things get, they can always get worse.

Crown Prince Henry II

  • [to Danielle] Stay aloft, madame, there are games afoot.
  • [To Jacqueline] Tell no one we have spoken, for all shall reveal itself in due course.
  • [to Danielle] I kneel before you not as a prince, but as a man in love... But I would feel like a king if you, Danielle de Barbarac, would be my wife.
  • I should leave walking on water with the Son of God. Fortunately, I tripped over an angel.
  • I shall be down in history as the man who opened a door!


  • Queen Marie: Choose wisely, Henry. Divorce is only something they do in England.
  • Pierre Le Pieu: [to Danielle] I may be twice your age, but I'm well endowed. As evidenced by my estate, I've always had a soft spot for the less fortunate. You need a wealthy benefactor - and I need a young lady with spirit.


Grand Dame: I find your collection of folk tales quite brilliant, actually.
Jacob Grimm: Thank you.
Grand Dame: But I must say, I was terribly disturbed when I read your version of the Little Cinder Girl.
Jacob Grimm: Well, there are those who swear that Perrault's telling with its Fairy Godmother and um... [laughs] magic pumpkins would be closer to the truth.
Wilhelm Grimm: Some claim the shoe was made of fur. Others insist it was glass. Well, I guess we'll never know.
[The Grand Dame silently orders her footman to bring her a box; Jacob Grimm notices a painting of a beautiful young woman]
Jacob Grimm: Forgive me, Your Majesty, might I inquire about the painting? She's really quite, um... extraordinary.
Grand Dame: Her name was Danielle de Barbarac. [reaches inside the box the footman has brought to her] And this was her glass slipper. [The Grimm Brothers look at each other in shock] Perhaps you will allow me to set the record straight.
Wilheim Grimm: Then it's true, the story.
Grand Dame: Yes, quite. Now then, what was that phrase you use? Oh, yes. Once upon a time, there lived a young girl who loved her father very much.

Young Danielle: Gustave, I told you, not today!
Young Gustave: You look like a girl!
Young Danielle: That's what I am, half-wit!
Young Gustave: Yeah, but today you look it!
Young Danielle: Boy or girl, I can still whip you!

Danielle: Forgive me, Your Highness, I did not see you.
Henry: Your aim would suggest otherwise.
Danielle: And for that, I know I must die.
Henry: Then speak of this to no one, and I shall be lenient.
Danielle: We have other horses, Your Highness. Younger, if that is your wish.
Henry: I wish for nothing more than to be free of my gilded cage.

Marguerite: I said I want four-minute eggs, not four one-minute eggs. And where in GOD'S name is our bread?
Rodmilla: Marguerite, precious, what do I always say to you about tone?
Jacqueline: A lady of breeding ought never to raise her voice any louder than the... [quietly] gentle hum of a whispering wind.
Rodmilla: Jacqueline, dear, do not speak unless you can improve the silence.
Marguerite: I was not shrill, mother. I was resonant. A courtier knows the difference.
Rodmilla: I very much doubt your style of resonance would be permitted in the Royal Court.
Marguerite: Well, I'm not going to the Royal Court, am I, Mother? No one is, except some Spanish pig they have the nerve to call a princess.
Rodmilla: Darling, nothing is final until you're dead, and even then, I'm sure God negotiates.

Henry: [as Danielle hurries away] Have we met before?
Danielle: I-I do not believe so, Your Highness.
Henry: I could have sworn I knew every courtier in the province.
Danielle: Well... I am visiting a cousin.
Henry: Who?
Danielle: My cousin.
Henry: Yes, you said that. Which one?
Danielle: Th-the only one I have, sire.
Henry: Are you coy on purpose or do you honestly refuse to tell me your name?
Danielle: [stops quickly] No. [quickly heads towards the gate] And yes.
Henry: Well, then, pray tell me your cousin's name so that I might call upon her to learn who you are. For anyone can quote Thomas More is well worth the effort.
Danielle: [stops, surprised] The Prince has read Utopia?
Henry: I found it sentimental and dull. Honestly, the plight of the everyday rustic bores me.
Danielle: I take it you do not converse with many peasants.
Henry: Heh, certainly not, no. Naturally.
Danielle: [starts walking again] Forgive me, Your Highness, but there is nothing "natural" about it. A country's character is defined by its "everyday rustics", as you call them. They are the legs you stand on and that position demands respect, not...
Henry: Am I to understand that you find me arrogant?
Danielle: Well, you gave one man back his life, but did you ever glance at the others?
[Danielle tries to get away while Henry is distracted by the criminals' wagon.]
Henry: Please, I beg you, a name. Any name.
Danielle: I... I fear the only name to leave you with... is Comtesse Nicole de Lancret.
Henry: [smiling] There now. That wasn't so hard.

King Francis: You, sir, are restricted to the grounds.
Henry: Are you putting me on house arrest?
King Francis: Do not mock me, boy, for I am in a foul disposition. And I will have it my way--
Henry: Or what? You'll ship me off to the Americas like some criminal? All for the sake of your stupid contract?
King Francis: You are the Crown Prince of France!
Henry: And it is my life.
Queen Marie: Francis, sit down before you have a stroke. Really, the two of you. [to Henry] Sweetheart, you were born to privilege and with that comes specific obligations.
Henry: Forgive me, Mother, but marriage to a complete stranger never made anyone in this room very happy.
[Stunned silence]
King Francis: You will marry Gabriella by the next full moon or I will strike you in any way I can.
Henry: What's it to be, Father, hot oil or the rack?
King Francis: I will simply deny you the crown and... live forever.
Henry: Good. Agreed. I don't want it. [leaves]
King Francis: [to Queen Marie, frustrated] He's your son!

Henry: Do you really think there is only one perfect mate?
Leonardo: As a matter of fact, I do.
Henry: Well then how you can be certain to find them? And if you do find them, are they really the one for you or do you only think they are? And what happens if the person you're supposed to be with never appears, or, or she does, but you're too distracted to notice?
Leonardo: You learn to pay attention.
Henry: Then let's say... God... puts two people on Earth and they are lucky enough to find one another. But one of them gets hit by lightning. Well then what? Is that it? Or, perchance, you meet someone new and marry all over again. Is that the lady you're supposed to be with or was it the first? And if so, when the two of them were walking side by side were they both the one for you and you just happened to meet the first one first or, was the second one supposed to be first? And is everything just chance or are some things meant to be?
Leonardo: You cannot leave everything to Fate, boy. She's got a lot to do. Sometimes you must give her a hand.

Henry: Where are your attendants?
Danielle: I... decided to give them the day off.
Henry: [incredulously] A day off? From what, life?
Danielle: Don't you ever tire of having people wait on you all the time?
Henry: Well, yes, but... they're servants, it's what they do.
Danielle: [coldly] Well, I wish I could dismiss mine as easily as you do yours. [rises] I must be going.
Henry: [following her] You're angry with me!
Danielle: No.
Henry: Admit it!
Danielle: Well, yes, if you want to know.
Henry: Why?
Danielle: Because you are trying to bait me with your snobbery.
Henry: I fear, mademoiselle, that you are a walking contradiction, and I find that rather fascinating.
Danielle: Me?
Henry: Yes, you. You spout the ideals of a Utopian society and yet you live the life of a courtier!
Danielle: And you own all the land there is and yet you take no pride in working it! Is that not also a contradiction?
Henry: Hmm, first I am arrogant, and now I have no pride; however do I manage that?
Danielle: You have everything, and still the world holds no joy; and yet you insist on making fun of those who would see it for its possibilities.
Henry: How do you do it?
Danielle: Do what?
Henry: Go through each day with this kind of passion? Don't you find it exhausting?
Danielle: Only when I'm around you. Why do you like to irritate me so?
Henry: Why do you rise to the occasion?

[Danielle is looking at the books in the Franciscan monastery]
Danielle: It makes me want to cry.
Henry: Pick one.
Danielle: I could no sooner choose a favorite star in the heavens.
Henry: What is it that touches you so?
Danielle: I suppose it is because when I was young, my father would stay up late and read to me. He was addicted to the written word and I would fall asleep listening to the sound of his voice.
Henry: What sort of books?
Danielle: Science, philosophy. I suppose they remind me of him. He died when I was eight. Utopia was the last book he brought home.
Henry: Which explains why you quote it.
Danielle: I would rather hear his voice again than any sound in the world. [Henry smiles, then the smile fades and he begins walking down the stairs away from Danielle] Is something wrong?
Henry: [turns to face her] In all my years of study, not one tutor ever demonstrated the passion you have shown me in the last two days. You have more conviction in one memory than I have... in my entire being.
[Henry laughs slightly and walks away. Danielle follows]
Danielle: Your Highness, if there is anything I have said or done...
Henry: Please... don't. It's not you.

Jacqueline: Marguerite gets to do everything.
Marguerite: Oh, don't be daft, the Queen doesn't even know you exist.
Rodmilla: What Marguerite does is for all of us, my dear. We are counting on you to help her get ready.
Jacqueline: [sardonically] Lovely. Next thing you know I shall be cleaning the fireplace with Danielle!

[Henry and Danielle sit around a fire at the gyspies' camping ground]
Henry: I have no desire to be king.
Danielle: [looks at him strangely] Oh but think of all the wonderful things you could do, for your country, for the world.
Henry: But to be so defined by your position. To only be seen as what you are, you have no idea how insufferable that is!
Danielle: You might be surprised!
Henry: Really?
Danielle: A Gypsy, for example, is rarely painted as anything else. They are defined by their status as you are, yet it is not who they are. [Pause] You have been born to privilege, and with that come specific obligations. [Henry smiles from fascination at her words] [smiles at him] I am sorry. My mouth has run away with me again.
Henry: [smiling] No, me lady. It is your mouth, that has me hypnotized.
[He slowly advances towards her and they share a kiss]

[Prince Henry has been attacked by the Gypsies while he was out walking with Danielle; The head Gypsy has taken her dress which she had taken off to climb up some rocks to see where they were because she and the Prince were lost]
Danielle: [to the head Gypsy] I demand you return my things at once. And since you have deprived me of my escort, I demand a horse as well.
Gypsy: My lady, you can have anything you can carry.
Danielle: [glances at Prince Henry] May I have your word on that, sir?
Gypsy: [considers for a moment] On my honor as a Gypsy, anything you can carry. [Danielle walks to Prince Henry and picks him up over her back; She turns and bows toward the head Gypsy and walks away] [laughing] Come back. I'll give you a horse.

Henry: You saved my life you know, back there, in the woods.
Danielle: A girl does what she can, sire.
Henry: Henry.
Danielle: Henry.

King Francis: [half-asleep] Off... with his head.
Queen Marie: Francis, wake up. Our son has something he wants to tell us.
Henry: Mother, Father, I want to build a University, with the largest library on the continent, where anyone can study no matter their station.
King Francis: All right. Who are you and what have you done with our son?
Henry: [laughs] Oh, and I want to invite the gypsies to the ball.

Rodmilla: Are you ill?
Danielle: [half-asleep] No, yes.
Rodmilla: Where were you?
Danielle: I got lost.
Rodmilla: I don't believe you. You're hiding something from me, I can feel it. I demand to know what it is.
Danielle: Why don't you tell me so I can go back to sleep?
Marguerite: What about our breakfast?
Danielle: [sighs] You have two hands, make it yourself.
Marguerite: Why you lazy little leech!
Rodmilla: Jacqueline, go and boil some water.
Jacqueline: Me? Boil water? [to herself] Oh, I knew it, I just knew it! [walks away]
[The scene changes to show Danielle collecting water from the well]
Paulette: [quietly, from the second-floor manor window] Mistress, you better get in here, quick!
[Danielle comes inside to find Rodmilla and Marguerite stealing her mother's dress]
Rodmilla: [in a sarcastic tone of voice] Oh, look who finally decided to grace us with her presence.
Danielle: What do you think you're doing?
Marguerite: Trying on my dress.
Rodmilla: Did you honestly think that after that performance this morning I'd let you go anywhere?
Danielle: [appalled] Do you honestly think these games, these intrigues are going to win you a crown? To hunt royalty like some sport, it's disgusting!
Marguerite: You're just jealous.
Danielle: [picks her mother's shoes up off the table] These are my mother's.
Marguerite: [smirks callously] Yes. And she's dead.
[Angered, Danielle marches right up to Marguerite and punches her in the eye, toppling her over the bed. Marguerite immediately charges out the door]
Danielle: [enraged] I'M GOING TO RIP YOUR HAIR OUT!!! [charges after Marguerite]
Jacqueline: [horrified] Mother, do something!
[Danielle chases Marguerite down the stairs and into the manor's front room. Marguerite grabs Danielle's father's book off a nearby chair, threatening to throw it into the fire]
Marguerite: Get away from me or so help me, God...
Danielle: No, Marguerite, don't! Put it down!
Marguerite: Gimme the shoes!
Danielle: PUT IT DOWN!!
[Rodmilla and Jacqueline enter the room]
Rodmilla: Consider carefully, Danielle. Your father's book, or your mother's shoes, though neither will save you from a sound lashing.
[Danielle looks in anguish at Marguerite, who is holding the book directly above the fire. Not wanting anything bad to happen to the book, Danielle reluctantly holds out the shoes. Rodmilla snatches them. However, instead of putting the book back where it was, Marguerite spitefully throws it straight into the fire before making her getaway]
Danielle: NO!!!! [reaches for the book, only for Rodmilla to hold her back] NO! No! NO!!! NO!! No! [sobbingly turns and leaves. Jacqueline watches with pity as the book burns. The scene changes to show Jacqueline treating the huge, bloody lash-marks on Danielle's back]
Jacqueline: Now, you've really brought this upon yourself, you know. First with breakfast, then that horrid display downstairs.
Danielle: I don't know what's come over me.
Jacqueline: Of course, I shall never forget the way Marguerite's feet went up over her head like that! [giggles] She should not have said that about your mother.
Danielle: Thank you.

Rodmilla: Of all the insidious jokes, turning your mother into a Comtesse. Why it's almost as absurd as a prince who spends his days with a servant that sleeps with pigs.
Danielle: What bothers you more, stepmother? That I am common? Or that I am competition?
Rodmilla: Where is the dress, Danielle?!
Danielle: I don't know what you're talking about.
Marguerite: The gown, the slippers, they were in my room this morning, and now they're gone. You hid them, I know it!
Rodmilla: Where did you put the gown, Danielle?
Danielle: Where are the candlesticks, and the tapestries, and the silver?! Perhaps the dress is with them!
Rodmilla: You will produce that gown!
Danielle: I would rather die a thousand deaths than to see MY MOTHER'S dress on that SPOILED, SELFISH COW!!!!
Rodmilla: Well, perhaps we can arrange that.

Jacqueline: Mother, it's only a ball.
Rodmilla: Yes, and you're only going for the food.

[Leonardo and the others are trying to convince Danielle to go to the ball and tell Prince Henry the truth]
Danielle: [to Leonardo] A bird may love a fish, Signor, but where would they live?
Leonardo: Then I shall have to make you wings.

Leonardo: [after discovering that Danielle has left the masquerade ball humiliated] What have you done?
Henry: I have been born to privilege, and with that comes specific obligations.
Leonardo: Horse shit!
Henry: You are out of line, old man.
Leonardo: No, you are out of line. Have you any idea what that girl went through to get here tonight?
Henry: She lied to me.
Leonardo: She came to tell you the truth, and you fed her to the wolves!
Henry: What do you know? You build flying machines and you walk on water, and yet you know nothing about life!
Leonardo: I know that a life without love is no life at all.
Henry: And love without trust? What of that?
Leonardo: She's your match, Henry.
Henry: I am but a servant to my crown and I have made my decision. I will not yield!
Leonardo: [sighs sadly] Then you don't deserve her. [leaves behind Danielle's glass slipper]

[The Spanish Princess hysterically sobs and begs Henry to stop the wedding]
Henry: Madame, madame, madame. I know exactly how you feel. [gives her a kiss on the cheek and gestures her to leave the altar]
[The Spanish Princess excitedly runs to her lover and kisses him. Marguerite and Rodmilla happily hug each other. The Spanish King and Queen argue over who is to blame for the aborted wedding]
King Francis: [to Queen Marie] And I thought I had problems.
[Both he and Queen Marie look on and laugh at the Spanish King and Queen arguing]

[Henry and Danielle meet outside Pierre Le Pieu's castle]
Henry: Hello.
Danielle: Hello. [pause] What are you doing here?
Henry: [sheepishly] I, uh... I came to rescue you.
Danielle: Rescue me? A commoner? [starts to walk away]
Henry: [going after her] Actually, I came to beg your forgiveness. I offered you the world and at the first test of honor, I betrayed your trust. Please, Danielle.
Danielle: [stops, turns around] Say it again.
Henry: I'm sorry.
Danielle: No. [smiles] The part where you said my name.
Henry: [smiling] Danielle.

[Rodmilla, Marguerite and Jacqueline walk in the throne room curtsying all of the nobles and finally bow to King Francis, Queen Marie and Prince Henry]
King Francis: Baroness, did you or did you not lie to Her Majesty, the Queen of France?
[Rodmilla and Marguerite stand up with shocked expressions on their faces]
Queen Marie: Choose your words wisely, madame. For they may be your last.
Rodmilla: A woman would practically do anything for the love of a daughter, Your Majesties. [pause] Perhaps I did get a little carried away.
Marguerite: Mother, What have you done?! Your Majesty, like you, I am just a victim here. [Jacqueline rolls her eyes] She has lied to us both and I am ashamed to call her family.
Rodmilla: [pushes her] How dare you turn on me, you little ingrate!
Marguerite: You see? You see what I have to put up with?!
King Francis: Silence, both of you! Good Lord! [to Jacqueline] Are they always like this?
Jacqueline: Worse, Your Majesty.
Rodmilla: Jacqueline, darling, I'd hate to think you that had anything to do with this.
Jacqueline: [sarcastically] Of course not, Mother. I'm only here for the food.
Queen Marie: Baroness de Ghent, you are forthwith stripped of your title and you and your horrible daughter are to be shipped to the Americas on the first available boat. Unless by some miracle, someone here will speak for you?
[Rodmilla begins looking desperately at the other nobles; they look back coldly]
Rodmilla: [nervously] There seem to be quite a few people out of town.
Danielle: I will speak for her. [All the courtiers kneel (including a stunned Marguerite). Rodmilla turns around and sees Danielle walk up to her dressed like a princess] She is after all, my stepmother.
Rodmilla: [kneels] Your Highness.
Henry: Marguerite, I don't believe you've met... my wife.
Danielle: [to Rodmilla, smiling] I want you to know that I will forget you after this moment and never think of you again. But you, I am quite certain will think about me every single day for the rest of your life.
Rodmilla: And how long might that be?
Danielle: [looks up] All I ask, Your Majesties... is that you show her the same courtesy that she has bestowed upon me.
[Cut to the royal laundry room, where Marguerite and Rodmilla are now working as servants]
Laundry Room Supervisor: [to Marguerite and Rodmilla] After you wash the table cloths, you can start on the napkins and move those over there.
Rodmilla: Marguerite.
Marguerite: What?
Rodmilla: You heard the woman.
Marguerite: So did you.
Rodmilla: Yes, but I'm management.
Marguerite: [frustrated] Like Hell you are! You're just the same as me, a big NOBODY!!!
Rodmilla: [enraged] How dare you speak to me that way! I am of noble blood!
Laundry Room Supervisor: [irritated] And you are getting on my nerves. [smacks Marguerite and Rodmilla with a huge bag of table cloths, knocking the two into a vat of purple lye water. The other servants laugh at them] Ha-ha! Now get to work. [walks away]
[Marguerite bursts out crying, while Rodmilla flaps her arms around in anger]

[Last lines]
Danielle: You, sir, are supposed to be charming.
Henry: And we, Princess, are supposed to live happily ever after.
Danielle: Says who?
Henry: You know... I don't know.
Grand Dame: [voiceover] My great-great grandmother's portrait hung in the University up until the Revolution. By then, the truth about their romance had been reduced to a simple fairy tale. And while Cinderella and her prince did live happily ever after, the point, gentlemen, is that they lived.

Main cast

Actor Role
Drew Barrymore Danielle de Barbarac
Dougray Scott Crown Prince Henry II
Anjelica Huston Baroness Rodmilla de Ghent
Megan Dodds Marguerite de Ghent
Melanie Lynskey Jacqueline de Ghent
Patrick Godfrey Leonardo da Vinci
Lee Ingleby Gustave
Richard O'Brien Monsieur Pierre Le Pieu
Timothy West King Francis
Judy Parfitt Queen Marie
Jeroen Krabbé Auguste de Barbarac
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