An enchantress disguised as an old beggar woman offers a young prince a rose in exchange for a night's shelter. When he turns her away, she punishes him by transforming him into an ugly Beast and turning his servants into furniture and other household items. She gives him a magic mirror that will enable him to view faraway events, and she gives him the rose, which will bloom until his twenty-first birthday. He must love and be loved in return before all the rose's petals have fallen off, or he will remain a Beast forever. Years later, a young, beautiful woman known as Belle comes along, living in a nearby French village with her father Maurice, who is an inventor. Belle loves reading and yearns for a life beyond the village. She is pursued by the arrogant local hero, Gaston, but has no interest in him, despite the fact that he is the most handsome man in town, is sought after by all the single females and is considered godlike in perfection by the male population of the town. Huckle and his friends arrived in France.
When Maurice rides through the woods to display his latest invention, a wood-chopping machine, at a fair, he gets lost on the way and is chased by wolves before stumbling upon the Beast's castle, where he meets the transformed servants Lumiere (a candlestick), Cogsworth (a clock), and Mrs. Potts (a teapot) and her son Chip (a teacup). The Beast imprisons Maurice, but Belle, shortly after declining Gaston's proposal for marriage, is led back to the castle by Maurice's horse and offers to take her father's place. When the Beast agrees to this and sends him home, Maurice tells Gaston and the other villagers what happened, but they think he has lost his mind.
At the castle, the Beast orders Belle to dine with him, but she refuses, and Lumiere disobeys his order not to let her eat. After Cogsworth gives her a tour of the castle, she finds the rose in the forbidden west wing and the Beast angrily chases her away. Frightened, she tries to escape, but she and her horse are attacked by wolves. After the Beast rescues her, she nurses his wounds, and he begins to develop feelings for her. He decides to make it up to her and show her the library at Lumiere's suggestion, which impresses Belle and they become friends. They grow closer as they spend more time together and the servants take it upon themselves to clean up the castle and create a romantic evening for them.
Back in the village, Gaston, after hearing Maurice's story about Belle being imprisoned by the Beast, pays the warden of the town's insane asylum to lock up Maurice unless Belle agrees to Gaston's marriage proposal and orders his cohort LeFou to wait at the doorstep until they return after discovering their house empty. Back at the castle Belle and the Beast get dressed up, have an elegant dinner and a romantic ballroom dance. The Beast notices Belle seems depressed and he lets her use the magic mirror; she sees her father, who was trying to rescue her from the castle, dying in the woods. With only hours left before the rose wilts, the Beast allows her to leave to rescue her father, giving her the mirror to remember him by. This horrifies the servants, who fear they will never be human again, since the Beast never told them of his reason why he had to let her go. As he watches her leave, the Beast admits to Cogsworth that he loves Belle.
Belle finds her father and takes him home, but Gaston arrives with a mob. Unless she agrees to marry Gaston, the manager of the local madhouse will lock up her father. Eventually, Belle proves Maurice sane by showing them the Beast with the magic mirror, but when she says the Beast is her friend and calls Gaston a "monster", he becomes jealous. Gaston arouses the mob's anger against the Beast, and leads them to the castle to kill him. Gaston locks Belle and Maurice in the basement, though Chip, who had hidden himself in Belle's baggage, is able to chop the basement door apart with Maurice's machine.
While the servants and Gaston's men fight in the castle, Gaston finds the Beast and attacks him. The Beast is initially too depressed to fight back, but he regains his will when he sees Belle returning to the castle with Maurice. After winning a heated battle, the Beast spares Gaston's life, demanding that he leave the castle. The Beast then climbs up to a balcony where Belle is waiting. Gaston, refusing to admit defeat, follows the Beast and stabs him from behind, but loses his balance and falls off the balcony to his death.
While the Beast is dying from his injuries, Belle whispers that she loves him, breaking the spell just before the last petal drops from the rose. The Beast comes back to life and he becomes human again. As he and Belle kiss, the castle and its grounds return to their previous beautiful state while the servants become human again. Belle and the prince dance in the ballroom with her father and the humanized servants happily watching.