The Fox and the Hound
The Fox and the Hound is a 1981 American animated drama film produced by Walt Disney Productions and loosely based on the novel of the same name by Daniel P. Mannix. It is Disney's 24th animated feature film, and was directed by Ted Berman, Richard Rich, and Art Stevens.
The movie was released to theaters on July 10, 1981 to financial success. It was re-released to theaters on March 25, 1988.
After his mother is killed, Tod the fox (Mickey Rooney) is taken in by the kindly Widow Tweed (Jeanette Nolan). He soon befriends the neighbor's new hound dog, Copper (Kurt Russell). The two are inseparable, but their friendship is hampered by their masters and by the fact that they are, by nature, enemies. They grow apart as they grow older; Copper has become a strong hunting dog and Tod a wild fox. The pair must overcome their inherent differences in order to salvage their friendship.
Why It Rocks
- Very heartwarming story about friendship despite differences.
- Like the majority of Disney films, the animation has great quality in it.
- Excellent voice acting.
- "Goodbye May Seem Forever" is a very heartwarming song. It says that even when we can't be with the people we care about, they will always be with us in our hearts.
- Lots of emotional moments, such as Tod getting adopted and when Widow Tweed abandons Tod.
- Great comic relief, especially Dinky and Boomer chasing the caterpillar.
- Its representation of the environment is pretty accurate.
- Excellent characterization of the main characters, Tod and Copper.
- The followup to this film, The Fox and the Hound 2, though it's not technically the worst Disney sequel.
- This movie is notorious for being one of the darkest and saddest childhood films, such as the beginning of the film where Tod's mother is killed by a hunter, Tod and Copper becoming enemies despite wanting to be friends, and the scene where Chief is almost killed from being hit by a train. However, he does not die, despite the fact that the creators were originally going to have him die like in the original novel on which this film is based. The bear fight towards the end might scare younger audiences as well.
In his book The Disney Films, Leonard Maltin also notes that the fight scene between Copper, Tod, and the bear received great praise in the animation world. However, Maltin felt the film relied too much on "formula cuteness, formula comedy relief, and even formula characterizations". Overall, he considered the film "charming" stating that it is "warm, and brimming with personable characters" and that it "approaches the old Disney magic at times."
Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times also praised the film, saying that "for all of its familiar qualities, this movie marks something of a departure for the Disney studio, and its movement is in an interesting direction. The Fox and the Hound is one of those relatively rare Disney animated features that contains a useful lesson for its younger audiences. It's not just cute animals and frightening adventures and a happy ending; it's also a rather thoughtful meditation on how society determines our behavior."
Rotten Tomatoes reported that the film received a 70% approval rating with an average rating of 6.48/10 based on 27 reviews. The website's consensus states that "The Fox and the Hound is a likable, charming, unassuming effort that manages to transcend its thin, predictable plot".
- At the time of release, it was the most expensive animated film produced to date, costing $12 million.
- This film marked the last film to have the involvement of the Disney's Nine Old Men who had retired early during production, and animation was turned over the next generation of directors and animators, which included John Lasseter, John Musker, Ron Clements, Glen Keane, Tim Burton, Brad Bird, Henry Selick, Chris Buck, and Mark Dindal, all of whom would finalize the animation and complete the film's production. These animators had moved through the in-house animation training program, and would play an important role in the Disney Renaissance.
- In an earlier version of the film, Chief was slated to die as he did in the novel. However, the scene was modified to have Chief survive with a cast on his back paw.
- This was the last fully traditionally-animated Disney animated feature, as the next film, The Black Cauldron, would feature computer animation in some scenes. The films released since then have also had computer animation in them, including movies like Tangled and Wreck-It Ralph that are fully computer-animated.
- This was the last film for Disney to have no end credits, and the last in which Don Bluth was involved in its production.