Shrek Poster 02
The movie poster
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:
None Shrek Shrek 2
You may be looking for Shrek (character) or Shrek (series).

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 on 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.

Plot summary

The movie opens at Shrek's swamp. Shrek (Mike Myers) takes a mud shower and then travels into the woods to hang up signs to keep people away from his land. Shrek decides to travel the country to see Lord Farquaad to try to regain his privacy, but an energetic and talkative donkey named Donkey (Eddie Murphy) who escaped from guards who went after him, and was saved by Shrek, tags along. The two make it to Farquaad (John Lithgow)'s palace in Duloc and come across a knight tournament to decide who will rescue Princess Fiona from a castle surrounded by lava and protected by a fire-breathing dragon so that Farquaad may marry her. Shrek and Donkey easily best the other knights, and Farquaad agrees to nullify his order if Shrek goes on to rescue Fiona (Cameron Diaz), 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. When Shrek finds Fiona, she is appalled at his lack of romanticism. As they're leaving, Shrek manages to save Donkey, caught in the dragon's tender love, and making the dragon become irate, chasing Shrek, Fiona, and Donkey out of the castle, but unable to follow.

At first, Fiona is thrilled to be rescued, but quickly becomes disgusted to find out 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 next morning. 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 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 knights to kill Shrek and Fiona, but Shrek calls Dragon and she gobbles up Farquaad whole, making the knights 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 beautiful. The two get married and depart on their honeymoon, living "ugly ever after" and ending the film.


Shrek 1 Title Screen

Non-speaking characters include Snow White, Cinderella, the Pied Piper, and several other characters (and thus, they are uncredited).


  • In 2001, Shrek, Monsters Inc., and Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius were nominated in the 2001 best animation award and Shrek won.
  • 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 Faarquad'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.
  • The only film of the series not to be released the same year as another Dreamworks animation film outside of the franchise.


The idea for a film based off the original Shrek book was first thought of by Steven Speilberg, 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 re-casted 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, 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.



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