In Rococo-era France, a coldhearted prince is cursed by an enchantress disguised as a beggar to take the form of a beast and his servants transformed into household objects after he rejects her pleas for shelter. The enchantress gives the prince an enchanted rose and tells him that to break the spell, he must learn to love another and earn their love in return before the past petal falls, or he will remain a beast forever.
Years later, in the village of Villeneuve, peasant woman Belle lives with her widower father Maurice, and is an outcast among the villagers due to her independent personality. Former soldier Gaston pines for Belle's hand in marriage, but she declines due to his arrogant personality. Maurice becoms lost in the forest and is pursued by wolves, taking refuse in the Beast's castle, where he is captured and imprisoned. Belle ventures into the castle and frees Maurice, remaining as the Beast's prisoner. Maurice, meanwhile, seeks help from the villagers to rescue Belle. Gaston agrees, hoping to win Belle's hand in marriage, but when Maurice refuses, Gaston ties him up in the forest and leaves him for dead.
Belle, meanwhile, makes plans to escape from the castle. Though she and the Beast find themselves at odds with one another, she befriends the castle servants. When Belle wanders into the forbidden west wing and discovers the rose, the Beast chases her out of the castle, where she is attacked by wolves. The Beast rescues her, but is injured. Returning to the castle, Belle nurses the Beast's wounds, and the two begin to bond. Meanwhile, Maurice is rescued by a beggar, Agathe, and returns to the village, accusing Gaston of attempting to murder him. However, Gaston and his companion, LeFou, convince the townfolk that Maurice is lying and that he must be sent to an insane asylum.
At the castle, the Beast reveals to Belle one of the enchantress' gifts, a book that transports the reader to wherever they wish. Belle uses it to visit her childhood home in Paris, where she learns that her mother died of the plague years prior. Returning to the castle, Belle and the Beast share a romantic dance, but Belle learns of her father's predicament back at the village using a magic mirror, and is forced to return to the village to save him. Belle reveals to the townsfolk of the Beast's existence using the magic mirror, but Gaston rallies the townsfolk to kill the Beast, imprisoning Belle and her father to keep them from interfering.
Gaston leads the townsfolk in attacking the Beast's castle, and a battle ensues between the villagers and the castle servants. Belle frees herself and arrives at the castle in the midst of the chaos, pursuing Gaston to the castle tower as he attempts to kill the Beast. A fight between Belle, the Beast and Gaston ensues, and the Beast is mortally injured by Gaston, who soon after falls to his death. The Beast succumbs to his injuries as the last petal falls, and the servants become inanimate objects. As Belle tearfully professes her love for the Beast, Agathe reveals herself to be the enchantress and undoes the curse, restoring the Beast and the servants to human form, as well as restoring the villagers' memories.
Now human again, the Prince and Belle host a ball in the restored castle, where they dance happily.