In a faraway land, there were two kingdoms. One was ruled by the ruthless King Henry, while the other - known as the Moors - was home to magical creatures and fairies, whom had no ruler due to their intensely close friendship and trust in one another. The strongest and most powerful fairy of all was named Maleficent.
One day, the Moors was disturbed by the presence of a young peasant boy named Stefan, who tries to steal a jewel from the pool of jewels. As the Two Border Guards corner him, Maleficent shows up and tells him to hand over the stolen jewel, which he reluctantly does. After tossing it back where it came from, she escorts Stefan to the border of the Moors. They admit to each other that they are both orphans, and meeting each other is forbidden to both their worlds. However, the two of them eventually become the best of friends, and on Maleficent's sixteenth birthday, Stefan shows her true love's kiss (but in fact it was not).
Over the next couple of years, Stefan stops visiting the Moors because of his ambition and some other reasons, and due to the threatening attacks on Moors by King Henry, Maleficent becomes her homeland’s sworn protector. With the forest army by her side, she engages the King's army in battle, defeating them and wounding the King. On his deathbed, the King demands to be avenged. He promises that whoever kills Maleficent shall become the new king and marry his beautiful daughter Leila. It is revealed that Stefan has become one of the king’s servants and, wanting to claim the throne, he journeys to the Moors to find Maleficent. She forgives Stefan for his folly and ambition and the two are reunited and spend the night together like they used to. Stefan tricks her into taking a drink that puts her to sleep and after she falls into her slumber, Stefan makes the attempt to kill. However, he hesitates and cannot bring himself to do it. Instead, he burns off her wings using iron (iron burns fairies) and presents them to the dying king, leaving Maleficent in agony. After creating a staff to help her walk, she journeys to an abandoned castle where she hides in the shadows, broken and alone.
One day, she comes across a farmer who has captured a raven. Taking pity on the small bird, she turns the raven into a man. After the farmer runs away in fear, Maleficent approaches the human bird, who introduces himself as Diaval. Since she saved him, he offers to be her humble servant and Maleficent gives him his first task; to find Stefan. Diaval flies to the castle and witnesses Stefan being crowned king, with a woman named Leila as his queen. When he informs Maleficent of what he has learnt, she becomes enraged. She returns to the Moors as dark clouds loom across the forest, then, after roots form a throne, Maleficent sits there as the new Evil Queen of the Moors.
One day, Queen Leila gives birth to a daughter, and she is named Aurora after the dawning of the sun. A royal christening takes place at the castle and the three pixies Knotgrass, Thistlewit, and Flittle bless the infant princess with magical gifts. Then, just before Thistlewit could present her gift, Maleficent shows up. Still disgusted by what Stefan did to her, she curses the princess to fall into a death-like sleep by pricking her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel on her sixteenth birthday. However when Stefan begs her to spare his daughter's life, Maleficent softens and includes that the curse can only be lifted by true love’s kiss. No power on earth can change it. Maleficent also makes an indestructible thorny border wall around the Moors to not suffer by humans’ access again. Stefan shuts himself behind the walls of his castle while his soldiers rode far and wide to hunt Maleficent down. He has every spinning wheel in the kingdom burned and locked away in the deepest dungeon of the castle. He also has the three pixies take Aurora into hiding. They take her to an old cottage in the woods and pose as her three human aunts.
As the years pass, Maleficent watches over the young princess and despite her initial hatred for the little “Beastie,” she reluctantly takes care of her from afar when the Pixies are incapable and struggling to live like humans. In the meantime, Stefan becomes extremely darkened, further consumes by paranoia, vengeance and obsession for hunting Maleficent down. He has his blacksmiths work nonstop to produce iron armory as he knows iron is lethal to fairies. Unfortunately, Queen Leila becomes gravely ill and dies, but Stefan is so consumed by his desire to kill Maleficent that he shows no grief over his queen’s death. By the time Aurora is fifteen, she finally comes in contact with Maleficent, believing she is her fairy godmother as she recalled being watched over by her all her life. Maleficent allows Aurora to spend more time in the Moors with her and the two eventually develop a mother and daughter-like relationship. After returning her home and putting her to bed, Maleficent tries to remove the curse from her herself, but she is unable to since no power on earth can lift it but true love’s kiss as she mentioned before.
On the day before Aurora’s sixteenth birthday, Aurora has decided to stay in the Moors with Maleficent, which she happily accepts. As Aurora returns home, she meets Prince Phillip and it instantly becomes love at first sight. Diaval sees him as the key to lifting the curse, but Maleficent disagrees as there is no such thing as true love. However, after the three fairies reveal the truth to Aurora that she is cursed, she furiously returns to her father after Maleficent admits the truth of her identity. Feeling ashamed, she decides to take the chance that true love will be her only hope and goes looking for Phillip.
Even though he is happy to see his daughter after nearly sixteen years, Stefan is still furious at the pixies because they were supposed to bring her back the day after her sixteenth birthday. He has her locked up in her room and prepares for Maleficent to arrive. As the sun begins to set, the curse of eternal slumber begins to attract Aurora. She follows a whispering voice to the castle’s dungeon where all the spinning wheels in the kingdom were burnt, while Maleficent hurries to the castle with Phillip in a trance. However, her attempts to reach her are all in vain; Aurora pricks her finger on a spindle and falls into her death-like slumber. As night draws, Maleficent and Diaval sneak inside the castle with Phillip and bring him to the sleeping Aurora. She hides and watches as Phillip approaches her and leans over to romantically kiss her lips. Unfortunately, nothing happens and Aurora remains asleep. After the Pixies drag Phillip out to find someone else to kiss her, Maleficent comes out of hiding and looks upon what she has done. She was lost in hatred and revenge that she forgot about love and happiness until she met Aurora. In tears, she kisses Aurora on the forehead and bids her goodbye, but before she can even leave, a miracle happens; Aurora wakes up happy to see her fairy godmother. Maleficent's close and strong motherly love for Aurora was enough to break the curse that she herself had cast.
As the three of them attempt to flee the castle, Maleficent is trapped in an iron net by Stefan’s men. Aurora tries to save her, but the castle guards overpower her and Diaval. Maleficent turns Diaval into a dragon, and he lifts the net off her and manages to fight off the guards. Aurora flees away from the orbit of skirmish and she accidentally finds Maleficent’s wings in the wings room and releases them. Diaval attacks the guards, but he is eventually chained by the soldiers. Maleficent is surrounded as Stefan enters the scene. Stefan brutally beats Maleficent and taunts her. Then, after pulling out his sword, he prepares to finish her off, but just before he can impale her, Maleficent’s wings reattach themselves to her after Aurora frees them. With her wings back, Maleficent is able to fly and she frees Diaval. She and Diaval easily take down Stefan’s guards. Only the treacherous king is left standing. Maleficent easily overpowers Stefan and carries him onto one of the castle’s towers. However, just as she is on the verge of killing him, she spares him, claiming, “It’s over.” However, Stefan refuses defeat and jumps on her. The two fall from the tower, but Maleficent manages to become airborne while Stefan falls to his death. With peace finally made between the two lands, Maleficent’s heart gets kind and bright again. She brings down her border wall and she passes her crown on to Aurora, making her Queen of both the human and fairy kingdoms, forever unifying them, as Phillip looks on. The story ends with Maleficent happily flying through the skies with Diaval by her side.
- Angelina Jolie as Maleficent
- Ella Purnell as Teen Maleficent
- Isobelle Molloy as Young Maleficent
- Elle Fanning as Princess Aurora
- Vivienne Marcheline Jolie-Pitt as Toddler Princess Aurora
- Eleanor Worthington Cox as Tween Princess Aurora
- Janet McTeer as elderly Princess Aurora (the film's narrator)
- Sharlto Copley as King Stefan, ruler of the human kingdom and Aurora's father
- Michael Higgins as young Stefan
- Sam Riley as Diaval, a raven who is Maleficent's confidant and minion.
- Imelda Staunton as Knotgrass, a pink pixie charged with raising Aurora in secret until her 16th birthday.
- Juno Temple as Thistlewit, a green pixie charged with raising Aurora in secret until her 16th birthday.
- Lesley Manville as Flittle, a blue pixie charged with raising Aurora in secret until her 16th birthday.
- Brenton Thwaites as Prince Phillip, a young prince who falls in love with Aurora while traveling through the forest.
- Kenneth Cranham as King Henry, a monarch determined to conquer the forest realm and Princess Leila's father.
- Hannah New as Queen Leila, King Henry's only daughter, Stefan's wife, and Aurora's mother.