Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
Snow White was the first Disney princess when her film was released in 1937. Snow White’s physical appearance seems to be an essential throughout the movie.
First, her beauty is what drives her evil stepmother, the antagonist of the film, to attempt to murder Snow White. And when her first attempt fails, the evil Queen even transforms her own body into to a creepy hag to trick Snow White, simultaneously making the Queen’s exterior match her evil motives.
But the Queen is not the only one to notice Snow White’s looks. The seven dwarfs are instantly captivated by Snow White when they stumble across her sleeping in their beds and don’t even mention her home invasion. The way the men trust her even before they first speak to her shows how their love her is initiated by beauty.
Their preoccupation with her looks continues even after her sleeping-death. The dwarfs put her in a glass coffin so to keep watch over her and her beauty. As such it is Snow White's beauty that gives her seven guardians from her evil Stepmother and the outside world even after her death.
Beauty and the Beast
Though many years older than her Disney sister Snow White, Belle of Beauty and the Beast (1996) invokes similar responses to her beauty
Take her relationship with the villain Gaston. The self-obsessed manly-man seeks to make Belle his wife and will stop at nothing to achieve this goal. He claims that "in town there's only she who's as beautiful as me" and this idea inspire him to pursue her despite multiple rejections.
Belle’s beauty is also essential to the Beast’s change. As soon as Belle arrive at the Beast's castle, the house servants all are given hope that the spell can still be broken. And Belle does not disappoint: the Beast, who once crawled on all-fours like an animal, begins to stand up straight and eat with a fork and spoon thanks to Belle’s patient teachings and the initial spark of hope she gave him.
The Hunchback of Notre-Dame
Take the way the male protagonists (and the antagonist Frollo) fawn over Esmeralda. Phoebus, the Captain of the guard, leaves his job to help fight for her cause. And let's not forget Quasimodo, who breaks chains to dramatically rescue Esmeralda in the scene below.
And on the villain side, we have Frollo, who has an odd lustful longing for Esmeralda. Although Frollo despised gypsies before meeting Esmeralda, catching her becomes a personal vendetta of his. Follo begins to burn down most of Paris in search of Esmeralda, as his unquenchable and almost animalistic desire for Esmeralda transforms his actions into a truly evil tirade.
The last and most recent example of Tangled (2010) puts a new spin on the old concept of beauty as a motivator
To start, look at Mother Gothel, the villain of the tale who is obsessed with Rapunzel's beauty (albeit indirectly). Mother Gothel is after the magical powers of youth and beauty that Rapunzel's hair has. But since those powers are manifest in Rapunzel's hair and beauty, it is really Rapunzel herself that Mother Gothel is obsessed with.
On the other hand Flynn Rider (aka Eugene Fitzherbert) takes note of Rapunzel's beauty and not her magic powers. He is so inspired by Rapunzels beauty along with her passion and kindness that he changes his thieving ways to be with her. The once selfish Flynn who only wanted money end up saving the day by cutting Rapunzel's hair and freeing her of Mother Gothel's control.