In 1916 Petrograd, Russia, at a ball celebrating the Romanov tricentennial, Dowager Empress Marie bestows a music box and a necklace inscribed with the words “Together in Paris” as parting gifts to her youngest granddaughter, eight-year-old Grand Duchess Anastasia. The ball is suddenly interrupted by Grigori Rasputin, a sorcerer and the former royal adviser until he was exiled for treason. Seeking revenge, Rasputin sells his soul in exchange for an unholy reliquary, which he uses to curse the Romanovs, sparking the Russian Revolution. As revolutionaries besiege the palace, Marie and Anastasia escape through a secret passageway, aided by 10-year-old servant boy Dimitri. Rasputin confronts the two royals outside on a frozen river, only to fall through the ice and drown. The pair manage to reach a moving train, but as Marie climbs aboard, Anastasia falls and hits her head on the platform, subsequently suffering amnesia.
Ten years later, Russia is under communist rule and Marie has publicly offered 10 million rubles for the safe return of her granddaughter. Now working as a conman, a grown Dimitri and his friend/partner-in-crime, Vlad, search for an Anastasia look-alike to bring to Paris so they can collect the reward. Elsewhere, an 18-year-old Anastasia (now called “Anya”) leaves the rural orphanage where she grew up, and begins a search for her family with her necklace as the only clue she has to finding them. Accompanied by a stray puppy she names Pooka, she decides to head to Paris, inspired by the inscription on her necklace, but finds herself unable to leave Russia without an exit visa. An old woman advises her to see Dimitri at the abandoned palace; there, the two men are impressed by Anya’s resemblance to the “real” Anastasia, and decide to take her with them to Paris, completely unaware of her identity.
Meanwhile, Rasputin’s albino bat minion, Bartok, is nearby and notices his master’s dormant reliquary suddenly revived by Anya’s presence; it drags him to limbo, where he finds an undead Rasputin has been confined. Enraged to hear that Anastasia escaped the curse, Rasputin sends his demonic minions from the reliquary to kill her. The demons sabotage the trio’s train as they leave St. Petersburg, and later try to lure Anya into sleepwalking off their ship to France. The trio unwittingly foil both attempts, forcing Rasputin and Bartok to travel back to the surface to kill Anya personally. During their journey, as Dimitri and Vladimir teach Anya court etiquette and her family’s history, Dimitri and Anya begin to fall in love.
The trio eventually reach Paris and go to see Marie, who has given up the search after meeting numerous impostors. Despite this, Marie’s cousin Sophie quizzes Anya to confirm her identity. Though Anya offers every answer taught to her, Dimitri finally realizes she is the real Anastasia when she (without being taught) vaguely recalls how he helped her escape the palace siege. Sophie, also convinced, arranges a meeting with Marie at the Paris Opera House. There, Dimitri tries to establish an introduction but Marie refuses, believing Anya will be another imposter and has already heard of Dimitri’s initial scheme to con her. Anya overhears the conversation and angrily leaves. Dimitri later abducts Marie in her car to force her to see Anya, finally convincing her when he presents the music box Anastasia dropped during their escape. As Marie and Anya converse, Anya regains her memories, and the two sing the lullaby the music box plays, a secret only the two of them knew. Marie recognizes Anya as Anastasia, and the two are joyfully reunited.
Marie offers Dimitri the reward money the next day, recognizing him as the servant boy who saved them, but he refuses it, surprising her, and leaves for Russia. At Anastasia’s return celebration, Marie informs her of Dimitri’s gesture, leaving Anastasia torn between staying or going with him. Anastasia walks off to the Pont Alexandre III, where Rasputin traps and attacks her. Dimitri returns to save her, but is attacked by a Black Pegasus statue enchanted by Rasputin. In the struggle, Anastasia manages to get hold of Rasputin’s reliquary and crushes it under her foot, avenging her family as Rasputin’s demons turn on him and destroy him, thus ending the Romanov curse forever.
In the aftermath, Anastasia and Dimitri reconcile; they elope, and Anastasia sends a farewell letter to Marie and Sophie, promising to return one day, which Marie happily accepts. Bartok shares a kiss with a female bat before bidding the audience farewell.
While this movie was created by Fox, it is now under the Disney Wing through the acquisition. While Anastasia is not officially a Disney Princess, she is an honorary by many fans. This movie is beautifully well done. It pulls on heart strings, scary, funny and every little girl and maybe boy, breaks out into song while watching this. My absolute favorite song from this movie is Journey to the Past.