Shrek 2001 poster.jpg
Original DVD Cover
General information



1 hour 30 minutes

Release Date

May 18, 2001

Release on DVD

November 2, 2001



Production information
Directed by

Andrew Adamson
Vicky Jenson

Produced by

Jeffrey Katzenberg
Aron Warner
John H. Williams
Steven Spielberg


Mike Myers
Eddie Murphy
Cameron Diaz
John Lithgow

Preceded by: Succeeded by:
Shrek Shrek 2
You may be looking for Shrek (character) or Shrek (franchise).

Shrek is the first feature film in the Shrek franchise, starring Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, and John Lithgow.

The film was critically acclaimed as an animated film worthy of adult interest, with many adult-oriented jokes and themes, but a simple enough plot and humor to appeal to children. It made notable use of pop music—the soundtrack includes music by Smash Mouth, Eels, Joan Jett, the Proclaimers, Jason Wade, the Baha Men, and Rufus Wainwright.

The film was extremely successful upon release in 2001 and it helped establish DreamWorks as a prime competitor to Disney and Pixar in the field of feature film animation, particularly in computer animation. Furthermore, Shrek was made the mascot for the company's animation productions.

It was the fourth highest grossing movie of the year behind Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, and Monsters, Inc. It was also the second highest grossing Animated movie of the year (right behind Monsters Inc.).

In 2020, the film was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant", making it the first DreamWorks Animation film to earn that honer and the first ever non-Disney animated feature to be in inducted as well. It was also the first work of animation from the 21st century to be inducted also.

Plot summary

Shrek (Mike Myers) leads a solitary life in his swamp. A group of peasants gathers in front of his house with the goal of hunting down the ogre in return for bounty. He scares them away, however, and as they leave, he notices they dropped a wanted poster offering a reward for capturing fairytale creatures. The next day he goes out into the nearby woods and meets Donkey (Eddie Murphy) who, having escaped from the guards of a fairytale creatures market, bumps into him. The soldiers, terrified of Shrek, run away, and Donkey tags along with his newfound friend. Since Donkey has nowhere to stay, Shrek agrees to let him sleep in his swamp for one night. That same night, Shrek's swamp becomes overrun by a host of fairytale creatures who have been displaced by Lord Farquaad (John Lithgow). Shrek decides to visit Farquaad at his palace to negotiate regaining his privacy with Donkey as a companion who knows the way to Duloc. The two make it to Duloc and come across a knight tournament which aims to select a man who will rescue Princess Fiona (Cameron Diaz) from a castle surrounded by lava and guarded by a fire-breathing dragon so that Farquaad may marry her and finally become a king. Shrek and Donkey easily best all the contestants, and Farquaad agrees to nullify his order and grant him rights to his land if Shrek brings Fiona, a deal that Shrek agrees to.

Shrek and Donkey travel to the Dragon's Keep and split up to find Fiona. Donkey manages to encounter the dragon (Frank Welker; uncredited), sweet-talking the beast to save himself when he finds out the dragon is a female, and she takes a liking to Donkey, taking him back to her chambers. Disguised as a knight, Shrek rescues Fiona from her tower, though she is appalled at his lack of romanticism. As they're leaving, Shrek manages to save Donkey, caught in the dragon's tender love, which makes the dragon angry. Subsequently, Shrek, Fiona, and Donkey, are being chased by the dragon; however, Shrek traps it in chains and the trio safely escapes the castle.

At first, Fiona is thrilled to be rescued but quickly becomes disgusted to learn that Shrek is an ogre. The three make their return journey to Farquaad's castle, with Shrek and Fiona finding they have more in common with each other along the way, and falling in love. However, at night, Fiona doesn't want to camp with Shrek and Donkey, taking shelter in a nearby cave until the next morning. Then, Monsieur Hood and his Merry men ambush them and think they're rescuing Fiona from Shrek. But she beats them to a pulp, and they continue on. The next night, Fiona takes shelter in a nearby windmill. When Donkey hears strange noises coming from the windmill, he finds that Fiona has turned into an ogress. Fiona explains that she was cursed as a kid and turns into an ogress every night, which is why she was locked away in the castle, and that only a kiss from her true love will return her to her proper form. Shrek overhears them talking, and, thinking that they're talking about him being ugly, walks off angry and heartbroken, believing that she can't accept his appearance. Fiona promises Donkey to not tell Shrek, vowing to do it herself, but when the next morning comes, Lord Farquaad has arrived, led by a still angry Shrek, and he returns with her to the castle, while Shrek abandons Donkey, and returns to the now-vacated swamp.

Shrek soon realizes that despite his privacy, he's miserable and misses Fiona. Donkey shows up to tell him that Fiona will be getting married shortly, urging Shrek into action to gain Fiona's true love. The duo travel to the fortress quickly, thanks to Dragon, who escaped her confines and followed Donkey. They interrupt the wedding before Farquaad can kiss Fiona, but not before the sun sets, making Fiona turn into an ogress in front of everyone. Angry over the change, Lord Farquaad orders his guards to kill Shrek and Fiona, but Shrek calls Dragon and she gobbles up Farquaad whole, making the guards run away in terror while the crowd cheers for the death of their tyrannical lord. Shrek and Fiona admit their love for each other and share a kiss; Fiona is bathed in light as her curse is broken, but making her a real ogre, the form that she wasn't expecting, but that Shrek still finds her beautiful. The two get married and depart on their honeymoon, living "ugly ever after" and ending the film.

Shrek 1 Title Screen.png


Additional Voices

Uncredited Cast


  • In 2001, Shrek, Monsters Inc., and Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius were the first films nominated at the Academy Awards for "Best Animated Feature" and Shrek won. Making Shrek the first animated film to win an Oscar. It is also the only DreamWorks Animation film so far to win an Oscar.
  • Eddie Murphy become the first person nominated for Best Supporting Actor at the BAFTA for a voice performance
  • When Fiona is in the cave, she can slightly be seen in her ogre form.
  • Over 1,000 fairy tale and nursery rhyme creatures invade Shrek's swamp.
  • In the beginning of the film, all three bears from Goldilocks and the Three Bears are present. However, the second time one sees them, the boy is crying, the father is holding him, and the mother is nowhere to be seen. Later in the film, when the camera pans into Lord Farquaad's room, the mother's skin can be seen as a rug, implying that the mother was taken from the family by Farquaad and killed.
  • The film has been featured in the 2007 Warner Bros. film, I Am Legend.
  • In the swamp party after the movie, Lord Farquaad was shown to be still alive in the dragon (although he possibly got digested shortly after and perished).
  • The only film of the series not to be released the same year as another DreamWorks Animation film outside of the franchise.
  • This is the only Shrek film to not have any scenes set in Far Far Away, as it wasn't introduced until the next movie.
  • This is also the only film to not have Shrek with different clothes as on the other movies he has different ones excluding his Human Version and keeps the same clothes during the movie.
  • Shrek was one of the five CGI Animated Films to be released in 2001, the other 4 being "Monsters Inc." , "Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius", "Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within", & "The Living Forest".
  • Mama Bear can be seen alive and well in the Swamp karaoke dance party, despite her being made into a rug by Lord Farquaad.
  • The game Fairy Tale Freakdown is based on this movie.


The idea for a film based off the original Shrek book was first thought of by Steven Spielberg, whom before the founding of DreamWorks bought the rights to the film in 1991. The film would be traditionally animated and would cast Bill Murray as Shrek, Steve Martin as Donkey, and Robin Williams (unknown). When DreamWorks was founded in 1994, producer John H. Williams brought the book to the company, and after DreamWorks bought the rights in 1995, the film was put into active development.

Some sketches of Shrek were done in 1996-1997 using Photoshop, where they showed Shrek living in a garbage dump near a human village called Wart Creek. At one time it was thought that he lived with his parents and kept rotting fish in his bedroom.

Chris Farley was originally going to be the voice of Shrek, being able to record 80% to 90% of the character's dialogue (or what his brother Tom believes 95%) before his death. DreamWorks later recast Mike Myers to voice Shrek, who then decided to re-record his lines in a Scottish accent.

The film was originally planned to be a motion capture film slated for a 1999 release. With unsatisfactory results, Katzenberg said "It looked terrible, it didn't work, it wasn't funny, and we didn't like it." The company later made a visit to PDI in 1998 to help Shrek get its final computer animated look and the film was pushed back to 2001.


Critical Response

    The film received massive critical acclaim upon release, with many calling it one the best films of 2001 .Roger Ebert praised the film, giving it four stars out of a possible four and describing it as "jolly and wicked, filled with sly in-jokes and yet somehow possessing a heart".  USA Today's Susan Wloszczyna praised Eddie Murphy's performance, stating it "gives the comic performance of his career, aided by sensational digital artistry, as he brays for the slightly neurotic motormouth". Richard Schickel of Time also enjoyed Murphy's role, stating "No one has ever made a funnier jackass of himself than Murphy." Peter Rainer of New York magazine liked the script, also stating "The animation, directed by Andrew Adamson and Vicky Jenson, is often on the same wriggly, giggly level as the script, although the more "human" characters, such as Princess Fiona and Lord Farquaad, are less interesting than the animals and creatures—a common pitfall in animated films of all types."  Peter Travers of Rolling Stone wrote "Shrek is a world-class charmer that could even seduce the Academy when it hands out the first official animation Oscar next year." James Berardinelli of ReelViewsgave the film three and a half stars out of four, saying "Shrek is not a guilty pleasure for sophisticated movie-goers; it is, purely and simply, a pleasure." Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times wrote "The witty, fractured fairy tale Shrek has a solid base of clever writing." Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly gave the film an A-, saying "A kind of palace coup, a shout of defiance, and a coming of age for DreamWorks." Jay Boyar of the Orlando Sentinel wrote "It's a pleasure to be able to report that the movie both captures and expands upon the book's playful spirit of deconstruction.


The film has since received many awards and nominations following its release the following it's release.

The following are just. the most notable ones.

2002 Academy Awards

  • Best Animated Feature (WON)
  • Best Adapted Screenplay (Nominated)

2002 Golden Globes

  • Best Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical (Nominated)

2002 British Academy Film Awards

  • Best Adapted Screenplay (WON)
  • Best Film (Nominated)
  • Best Supporting Actor: Eddie Murphy (Nominated)
  • Best Sound (Nominated)
  • Best visual effects (Nominated)

2002 Annie Awards

  • Outstanding Achievement in an Animated Theatrical Feature (WON)
  • Outstanding Individual Achievement for Directing in an Animated Feature Production (WON)
  • Outstanding Individual Achievement for Music Score an Animated Feature Production (WON)
  • Outstanding Individual Achievement for Production Design in an Animated Feature Production (WON)
  • Outstanding Individual Achievement for Storyboarding in an Animated Feature Production (WON)
  • Outstanding Individual Achievement for Writing in an Animated Feature Production (WON)
  • Outstanding Individual Achievement for Voice Acting by a Male Performer in an Animated Feature Production: Eddie Murphy (WON)
  • Outstanding Individual Achievement for Character Animation (Nominated)
  • Outstanding Individual Achievement for Character Animation (Nominated)
  • Outstanding Individual Achievement for Production Design in an Animated Feature Production (Nominated)

American film institute

  • Winner of AFI's Top 10 films of 2001 list
  • Ranked Number 8 on American film institutes to ten greatest American animated films of all time.
  • Nominee for AFI's 100 Years...100 Heroes & Villains list
  • Nominee for AFI's 100 Years...100 for the song I'm a Believer
  • Nominee for AFI's top 100 Greatest American films of all time list

National Film Preservation Board, USA

  • 2020 - National Film Registry inductee