Animators Ollie Johnston and Frank Thomas, in their book The Disney Villain, describe animating Audley's voice as "a difficult assignment but a thrilling one, working to that voice track with so much innuendo mixed in with the fierce power." Maleficent transforms into a dragon in the original film, which was animated by Eric Cleworth, who said that the dragon was modeled on a rattlesnake, with "powerful muscles moving a bulky body over the rocky terrain." Sound effects man Jim Macdonald searched for the sound of a dragon's fiery breath by asking the U. Army to send him some training films on flame throwing. In the animated film, Maleficent arrives at King Stefan and Queen Leah's castle during the christening of their newborn daughter, the Princess Aurora.
She expresses displeasure about not receiving an invitation, to which the good fairy Merryweather replies that she was unwanted. Queen Leah asks her if she is offended, causing Maleficent to deny her rage, and subsequently offers to bestow a "gift" on Aurora to show that she "bears no ill will".
After healing a tree, Maleficent befriends and falls in love with a young peasant boy named Stefan, upon being alerted to his presence by Knotgrass, Thistletwit and Flittle, a trio of pixies.
Merryweather, who still has a gift to bestow, is unable to dispel Maleficent's power, but is able to weaken the curse so that Aurora will fall into a deep sleep instead, with only a kiss from her true love needed to awaken her.
Later, at her castle in the Forbidden Mountains, a frustrated Maleficent asks her bestial army why they have been unable to find Aurora, who had been hidden by the three good fairies.
She climbs to the top of one of her castle's towers and proceeds to blast Philip with lightning, and after the good fairies foil these attempts, she summons a forest of thorns, through which Philip slices his way out.
Enraged, she blows away and confronts him in front of King Stefan's castle, and transforms into a huge dark dragon.
Taking a raven named Diaval as a servant, a now hate-filled Maleficent names herself ruler of the Moors and her outfit changes to a darker one.
When she learns that Stefan is now king and has had a newborn daughter named Aurora (Elle Fanning) with his wife, Queen Leila, acting on the notion that true love is nonexistent, Maleficent places a curse on the newborn Aurora to sleep forever unless she receives the kiss of true love, as revenge on Stefan.
Maleficent learns that they have focused on searching for a baby the entire time, even though years have passed.
Maleficent flies into a destructive rage, and soon desperately instructs her pet raven, Diablo, to find Aurora.
Maleficent is based on the evil fairy godmother character in Charles Perrault's fairy tale "Sleeping Beauty", as well as the villainess who appears in the Brothers Grimm's retelling of the story, "Little Briar Rose".