If you're a writer or director looking for material, you can use the public domain to your advantage. One of the deepest sources of public-domain ideas, look no further than fairy tales. People love them, recognize them, and you can use them to your advantage to put your spin on stories.

Fairy tales were told and retold through generations, passing down from one storyteller to another. Nowadays, we can read and enjoy these stories in books, watch adaptations on the big and small screens, and even listen to them in audiobooks.

The beauty of fairy tales lies in their ability to captivate audiences with their magical worlds, fantastical creatures, and timeless lessons.

Thanks to the public domain, we have access to over 100+ fairy tales that have stood the test of time and are free for anyone to use, adapt, and enjoy.

From beloved classics like Cinderella and Little Red Riding Hood to lesser-known gems like The Wild Swans, these stories have inspired countless works of literature, film, and art. So whether you're a fan of fantasy or just looking for a good bedtime story, join us on a journey through the wonderful world of fairy tales in the public domain.

Let's dive in.

A list of public domain fairy tales you can adapt for film and TV shows.'The Company of Wolves'Credit: ITC Entertainment

What Are Some Advantages of Adapting Fairy Tales in the Public Domain?

Adapting fairy tales in the public domain for film and TV can have several advantages, including:

  1. Familiarity: Fairy tales are well-known stories that many people are familiar with. Adapting them for film or TV can draw in viewers who already have an attachment to the story.
  2. Established storylines: Because fairy tales have been around for generations, their storylines are well-established. Adapting them for film or TV can make it easier for filmmakers to create a coherent and compelling narrative.
  3. Endless source material: There are hundreds of fairy tales in the public domain, so filmmakers have a wide range of stories to choose from. They can also combine elements from different stories to create something new.
  4. Themes and messages: Many fairy tales have themes and messages that are still relevant today. Adapting them for film or TV can allow filmmakers to explore these themes and messages in a modern context.
  5. Multigenerational appeal: Fairy tales are often enjoyed by people of all ages. Adapting them for film or TV can create a product that appeals to both children and adults.
  6. Universal appeal: Fairy tales often have universal themes that are not tied to a specific culture or time period. Adapting them for film or TV can create a product with global appeal.

A list of public domain fairy tales you can adapt for film and TV shows.'Cinderella'Credit: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

100+ Fairy Tales That Are In The Public Domain

  1. Cinderella
  2. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
  3. Beauty and the Beast
  4. Sleeping Beauty
  5. Rapunzel
  6. Hansel and Gretel
  7. Little Red Riding Hood
  8. The Frog Prince
  9. The Little Mermaid
  10. The Emperor's New Clothes
  11. The Ugly Duckling
  12. The Tortoise and the Hare
  13. The Boy Who Cried Wolf
  14. The Three Little Pigs
  15. Jack and the Beanstalk
  16. Goldilocks and the Three Bears
  17. The Pied Piper of Hamelin
  18. The Gingerbread Man
  19. The Musicians of Bremen
  20. The Goose Girl
  21. The Princess and the Pea
  22. The Emperor and the Nightingale
  23. The Snow Queen
  24. The Three Billy Goats Gruff
  25. The Lion and the Mouse
  26. The Fisherman and his Wife
  27. Thumbelina
  28. The Brave Little Tailor
  29. The Little Match Girl
  30. The Magic Fish
  31. The Golden Goose
  32. The Wolf and the Seven Little Kids
  33. The Red Shoes
  34. The Steadfast Tin Soldier
  35. The Wild Swans
  36. The Elves and the Shoemaker
  37. The Princess on the Glass Hill
  38. The Twelve Dancing Princesses
  39. The Bremen Town Musicians
  40. The Three Feathers
  41. The Valiant Little Tailor
  42. The Snow-White Dove
  43. The Little Red Hen
  44. The Girl Without Hands
  45. The Magic Porridge Pot
  46. The Frog Princess
  47. The Dragon and the Princess
  48. The Master Cat; or, Puss in Boots
  49. The Story of Bluebeard
  50. The Story of Tom Thumb
  51. The Queen Bee
  52. The Singing Bone
  53. The Water of Life
  54. The Wolf and the Crane
  55. The Wolf and the Sheep
  56. The Young Giant
  57. The Golden Bird
  58. The Straw, the Coal, and the Bean
  59. The Swineherd
  60. The Three Princesses of Whiteland
  61. The White Cat
  62. The Wishing-Table, the Gold-Ass, and the Cudgel in the Sack
  63. The White Snake
  64. The Boy Who Wanted More Cheese
  65. The Drummer
  66. The Golden Crab
  67. The Golden Key
  68. The Little Glass Slipper
  69. The Old Woman and Her Pig
  70. The Story of the Three Bears
  71. The Travelling Musicians
  72. The Two Brothers
  73. The Witch in the Stone Boat
  74. The Witch's Daughter
  75. The Woodcutter's Daughter
  76. The Young Slave
  77. The Seven Ravens
  78. The Blue Light
  79. The Brave Little Parrot
  80. The Glass Mountain
  81. The Golden Goose of the Wonderful Garden
  82. The Golden Lion
  83. The Lazy Spinner
  84. The Little Good Mouse
  85. The Little Nut-Tree
  86. The Old Woman in the Wood
  87. The Seven Foals
  88. The Sun, the Moon, and Talia
  89. The Thief and His Master
  90. The Two Brothers and the White Bearded Old Man
  91. The White Bird
  92. The White Duck
  93. The Wise Little Girl
  94. The Witch and Her Servants
  95. The Magic Mirror
  96. The Wild Man
  97. The Fairy Gifts
  98. The Fire-Bird, the Horse of Power, and the Princess Vasilissa
  99. The Juniper-Tree
  100. The King of the Golden Mountain
  101. The Little Mermaid and the Prince
  102. The Master Thief
  103. The Nightingale
  104. The Six Swans
  105. The Twelve Huntsmen
  106. The Golden Bird and the Good Hare
  107. The Iron Stove
  108. The Milk-White Doo
  109. The Nettle Spinner
  110. The Princess and the Goblin
  111. The Princess Mayblossom
  112. The Rose Tree
  113. The Sea-Maiden
  114. The Sleeping Beauty in the Wood

A list of public domain fairy tales you can adapt for film and TV shows.'Mirror Mirror'Credit: Relativity Media

Summing Up 100+ Fairy Tales in the Public Domain

The fairy tales in the public domain offer us a treasure trove of enchanting stories that have captivated audiences for centuries. With over 100 tales to choose from, there's no shortage of magical worlds to explore, brave heroes to root for, and cunning villains to outsmart.

Whether you're a fan of the classics or seeking something new and undiscovered, these stories have something for everyone. So take a journey through the pages of these beloved tales, and rediscover the magic of storytelling that has captivated generations before us.

With their timeless lessons and enduring appeal, these stories will continue to inspire and delight readers, young and old, for generations to come.

Now go get writing.