Steamboat Willie, released on November 18, 1928, is an animated cartoon featuring Mickey Mouse. The cartoon is a parody of the Buster Keaton film Steamboat Bill Jr and was written and directed by Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks. However like most age old parodies, it has become more famous than what it is parodying.
Music for Steamboat Willie was put together by Wilfred Jackson, one of Disney's animators (and not as sometimes reported by Carl Stalling). It comprises popular melodies including Steamboat Bill and Turkey in the Straw.
Although other cartoons with synchronized pre-recorded soundtracks had been produced and exhibited before (notably by Max Fleischer, My Old Kentucky Home, 1926), Steamboat Willie was the first sound cartoon to attract widespread notice and popularity. The film has been close to entering the public domain several times; each time, copyright protection in the United States has been extended. (See U.S. copyright law.)
The film has been selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry.