Based on the stories by Alan Milne, Winnie the Pooh is Disney's 22nd animated feature. Even though now it is considered a feature film (since it has been released as a single movie) the original version was divided three separate short films, Winnie the Pooh and the honey tree, Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day, Winnie the Pooh and the Tigger Too, released from 1966.
Pooh was created by AA Milne based on his son (Christopher Robin) favourite stuffed animal, and named after the bear Winnipeg from the London Zoo. The various stories of Pooh and his friends started as bedtime stories for Christopher, but soon where compiled in a book called "When we were very young". Accompanied by the beautiful illustrations by EH Shepard, the book has a huge success in the UK.
1961, Walt Disney bought the rights to Winnie the Pooh and in 1964 production on the film started. But instead of working on a feature length animation, Walt decided to work on three separate shorts. The reason behind this decision was that Walt considered that Pooh wasn't popular enough in the US for it to be a great success. So dividing the story in three, the audience could get to know the characters in the first one, and love them by the end of the last.
When production started, Walt wanted to stay true to the original characters designed by EH Shepard, but the animators at Disney couldn't fully animate the original characters because they where not designed to be in movement. So they made some modifications, but in the end the essence of the originals are still there.
The backgrounds developed for the film were almost identical to the original ones, using a color base under a rough line art, similar to what the studio had done in The Aristocats.
The movie is amazingly well-rounded. The story is great, the script is perfect and the characters are fantastic. I think that Winnie the Pooh probably has one of the best Voice castings in Disney history. With Sterling Holloway doing the voice of Pooh and Paul Winchell as Tigger, the characters really come to life.
If you also add to this list the amazing talent of the Sherman brothers, there is nothing that could go wrong. Their music was accompanied by Buddy Baker's score. Similar to Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf, each character was played by a different instrument.
The film today is a classic and Pooh is probably one of the most popular Disney Characters.