Beauty and the Beast is my all-time favourite Disney film.
Belle is the first Disney princess (though, thankfully, not the last) to have a brain and value reading over chasing down a man. She pursues her dreams, challenges authority, stands up for herself and is whip-smart while doing it. The Beast, meanwhile, is the first deeply flawed hero the studio celebrates. He must overcome his internal pain to grow as a person and deserve to be loved, not simply handed love for the simple merit of being a prince.
Combining the two of them, the studio does a startlingly good job of telling young people that they must value themselves as people first and learn to love honestly in order to be loved truly in return. It condemns those who value themselves only through superficial standards like beauty and desirability. When Gaston says Belle is “the most beautiful girl in town. That makes her the best! And don’t I deserve the best?” the statement is comical, silly but almost dangerous. Better lessons are rare in modern film.