The film was originally titled Rapunzel after the fairy tale it was based on, but the title was changed to Tangled, reportedly to market the film as gender-neutral. A short sequel, Tangled Ever After, was released on January 13, 2012.
A drop of sunlight falls to Earth and transforms into a magical golden flower, capable of healing injuries and retaining youth. An aging woman, Mother Gothel, is the sole witness to the scene and uses the flower to retain her youth. Centuries later, a kingdom is created and the pregnant queen falls sick with a fatal illness. The flower is rooted and turned into a soup that is consumed by the queen, healing her. When she gives birth, her daughter, named Rapunzel, has the flower's healing properties passed onto her unusually long hair. Gothel breaks into the castle and cuts off a lock of Rapunzel's hair, but it turns brown and loses its power. Out of desperation, Gothel abducts Rapunzel and locks her away in a tower, posing as her mother. The king and queen, heartbroken, release golden lanterns into the sky, hoping that their daughter will see them and return.
Eighteen years later, three bandits, Flynn Rider and the Stabbington Brothers, steal the royal tiara and are pursued by the royal guards and Maximus, the captain's horse. A teenage Rapunzel attempts to ask Gothel to leave the tower so she can see the lanterns, which she has connected to her birthday. However, the paranoid Gothel refuses and instills fear in Rapunzel of the dangers of the outside world. Shortly after Gothel leaves, Flynn hides away in the tower to avoid capture, and is promptly knocked unconscious by Rapunzel and locked in her closet. Rapunzel hopes to prove to Gothel that her capturing Flynn will prove she is strong enough to handle herself, but upon Gothel returning, Gothel becomes aggravated and yells at Rapunzel, leading Rapunzel to keep quiet about Flynn's capture and convinces Gothel to go on a three day long journey to get paint, which Gothel reluctantly agrees to.
Upon Gothel leaving, Rapunzel hides Flynn's satchel holding the crown and forces him to guide her to the kingdom to see the lanterns or she'll never return it. Flynn agrees, but instead leads Rapunzel to the Snuggly Duckling, a tavern filled with thugs. However, the thugs warm up to Rapunzel and direct her and Flynn to a secret passageway when the guards arrive. Flynn and Rapunzel are attacked by Maximus, the guards, and the Stabbington Brothers, who Flynn had earlier betrayed. A dam collapses and the duo are trapped in a cave slowly filling with water. Losing hope, Flynn admits to Rapunzel that his real name is Eugene Fitzherbert. Rapunzel uses her hair to illuminate the cave and find an escape route.
Gothel, who had discovered Rapunzel's absence as well as the satchel, partners with the Stabbington Brothers. After Eugene leaves to get wood, Gothel returns the satchel to Rapunzel and challenges her to return it to him and test his loyalty. In the morning, Eugene is attacked by Maximus, but Rapunzel befriends him. Rapunzel and Eugene, joined by Maximus, enter the kingdom of Corona. While touring the kingdom, Rapunzel and Eugene begin to fall in love. At nightfall, Rapunzel and Eugen witness the release of the lanterns, and Rapunzel returns the satchel to Eugene. Eugene gives the satchel to the Stabbington Brothers to avoid further trouble, but they instead tie him to a boat and cast it off before tricking Rapunzel into believing he had intentionally left with the satchel. The brothers attempt to kidnap Rapunzel, but Gothel betrays them and knocks them unconscious before convincing Rapunzel to return to the tower while Eugene is captured by the guards.
The next morning, as Rapunzel is back within the tower, she identifies herself as the lost princess and confronts Gothel, who admits the truth and reveals that Eugene will be sentenced to death for his crimes. Rapunzel rejects Gothel's attempts to console her and attempts to leave to rescue Eugene, but Gothel overpowers her and chains her to the wall. Meanwhile, in the castle, Eugene confronts the incarcerated Stabbington Brothers, who admit to having been aligned with Gothel. Shortly afterwards, Maximus and the pub thugs arrive in the castle and rescue Eugene, who sets off into the forest to find Rapunzel. Upon arriving at the tower, however, he is stabbed by Gothel, who prepares to remove Rapunzel from the tower. However, Rapunzel promises to be Gothel's willing slave if she allows her to heal Eugene. Before she can heal him, Eugene cuts Rapunzel's hair short with a mirror shard, removing her powers and causing Gothel to rapidly age to death.
Eugene dies of his injuries, but as Rapunzel mourns, her tears revive him. The two return to Corona, where Rapunzel's parents celebrate her return. In the aftermath, Maximus becomes the new Captain of the Guard, and Eugene narrates, explaining that he and Rapunzel eventually married.
- Mandy Moore as Princess Rapunzel of Corona.
- Zachary Levi as Flynn Rider/Eugene Fitzherbert.
- Donna Murphy as Mother Gothel.
- Ron Perlman as the Stabbington Brothers.
- M. C. Gainey as the Captain of the Guards.
- Brad Garrett as Hook-Hand Thug.
- Jeffrey Tambor as Big Nose Thug.
- Paul F. Tompkins as Short Thug.
- Richard Kiel as Vladamir.