Mother Pig sends her three little pig children out into the world to live on their own.
The first little pig builds a house of straw, but a wolf blows it down and eats the pig. The encounter between wolf and pig features many phrases that have become common:
The third pig builds a house of bricks. The wolf cannot huff and puff hard enough to blow the house down. He attempts to trick the third little pig out of his house, but the pig outsmarts him at every turn. Finally, the wolf threatens to come down the chimney, whereupon the third little pig boils a pot of water into which the wolf plunges. The little pig cooks the wolf and eats him.
The phrases used in this story, and the moral that the first idea that pops into your head may not be the best one, have become enshrined in western culture.
Three Little Pigs is an animated short film produced by Walt Disney and first released on May 27, 1933. It was phenomenally successful with audiences of the day, so much that theaters ran the cartoon for months after its debut. A number of theaters added hand-drawn "beards" to the movie posters for the cartoon as a way of indicating how long its theatrical run lasted.
Among animation historians, Three Little Pigs is considered to be the first cartoon where the characters display individual, unique personalities; as opposed to simple "good guys" and "bad guys". The straw and stick pigs are frivolous and care-free; the brick pig is cautious and earnest.
One sequence in the cartoon, which showed the Big Bad Wolf dressing up as a caricature of a Jewish lady, was excised from the film after its release and replaced with a less offensive sequence, with the Wolf pretending to be the Fuller Brush man instead.
The original song composed for the cartoon, "Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?", was a best-selling single. When the Nazis began expanding the boundaries of Germany in the years preceding World War II, the song was used to represent the complacency of the Western world in allowing Hitler to make considerable acquisitions of territory without going to war.
Disney produced several sequels to Three Little Pigs, though none were nearly as successful as the original.