Tangled is a great Disney movie with the iconic girl with long hair and her love of painting. The original tale, by the Brothers Grimm is much darker.
The original is about a couple who long to have a child and next door there lived a much-feared sorceress. This is already very different. Rapunzel was a princess and there was no sorceress that lived next door. However, Mother Gothel was a sorceress as expressed in the original.
The wife in the story became very hungry for the plant known as Rapunzel, and the wife wanted it so bad that she became very ill. Well, now we know where the name came from. The man decided to climb over the wall and steal some Rapunzel, and he made his wife a salad. She liked it so much that she wanted some more. The sorceress catches him this time and is very angry about it.
The wife is pregnant by this stage and the sorceress tells the man, "if you want the Rapunzel, then I will have your first born child." The man was afraid, so he agreed to let the witch have his firstborn child.
In Disney, the child was abducted because of the magic hair that Rapunzel possessed. In this tale, there is no magic flower or hair that happens. Disney very loosely based this plot with the Brothers Grimm.
Then, the witch took away the baby and named her Rapunzel and once she was twelve years old, she locked away this child in a tower with no door and no way out. There was only a sad little window from which Rapunzel could look out from. Every time that the witch would visit, Rapunzel would let down her long hair over a hook, much like in Tangled. A few years later, the king's son was riding through the forest and he heard beautiful singing coming from the tower.
Flynn Rider as we remember was a thief and not a prince. Rapunzel had made a deal with him to go see the floating lights and he would protect her. Unfortunately, that is not the case we see in the original.
The prince wants to take her away because she is so beautiful and sings wonderfully. Rapunzel then says that she has no idea how to get down and the only way for anyone to come in is for her to let down her long hair. She then tells the prince to bring a piece of silk every time he visits her. This was not the case for Tangled. In Tangled, Rapunzel was better at problem-solving and she did not fall in love with Flynn till near the end.
Rapunzel then asks Gothel why is the harder to pull up than the prince. That was smooth Rapunzel. She lets the secret out that she has been seeing a prince. So, the witch cuts off Rapunzel's hair so he can't see her anymore. In the Disney film, Flynn cuts off Rapunzel's hair and then the witch dies because the magic hair no longer works. Gothel sends Rapunzel away into the woods, where she experienced hardship and she waits for the prince to come. The prince then climbs the tower and he sees it's not Rapunzel, and the witch tells him she killed her. Due to grief, the prince jumps out of the window. The Prince is then blind because there were thorn bushes at the bottom of the tower and for some years he wanders around blindly. Rapunzel, during this time, gives birth to twins and lives miserably in the forest. Eventually, the prince accidentally finds her and when Rapunzel cries from her happiness, two tears go into the prince's eyes and he is no longer blind. They live happily satisfied.
In Tangled there is more action and more role reversal and no one gets blind. Disney, however, wanted the movie to be longer and less gruesome and more dramatic. In my opinion, the movie was more dramatic with Flynn's escape, and Rapunzel and him wandering off together and exploring the world and learning to love each other. Gothel's plans and schemes just so she can live forever is far more admirable than the original story.