A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The movie is based on a book by Daniel P. Mannix. It's also a look at the lives of hunting dogs and foxes. However, when a caterpillar turns into a butterfly after a whole year, it may be worth looking up the real life cycle of butterflies with young ones.
Shows the power of friendship over the expectations and prejudices of others. There's also a line in a song, "from our sadness, happiness grew," showing that sorrow over loss and loneliness can be a window to new beginnings.
Positive Role Models
Tod and Copper model a dedicated friendship that, even as circumstances push them apart, still has them looking out for each other. Copper at one point is driven by revenge but eventually chooses friendship over it. Amos is shown as trigger-happy and sometimes unusually cruel, but a softer side eventually emerges.
Violence & Scariness
Tod is orphaned at the beginning of the movie when his mom runs dogs away from Tod and a gunshot sounds in a field. He's later abandoned in the forest by his human caretaker in hopes that it will save him from getting hunted. Amos is constantly shooting at Tod and seems obsessed with hunting gear -- his shed is full of traps and pelts, and he tries to use a trap on Tod and sets fire to Tod's burrow to fish him out. Chief the dog is hit by a train, falls off a trestle, and breaks his leg -- his eyes close in a stream and it looks like he's died. The fox and the hound have a ferocious fight with a bear ending in a fall off a waterfall cliff. Birds and a caterpillar get electrocuted.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Some flirting between foxes and Amos runs out his cabin door in his underwear.
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"Shucks," "dagnabit," "meddling female," "blasted female," "silly, empty-headed female."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this animal tale develops into a thoughtful examination of friendship and includes some mature themes, especially loss. The movie opens with the (off-screen) shooting death of the fox's mother and he is later abandoned by his human caretaker in a forest to try to keep him safe. There's lots of hunting imagery -- snapping leg traps, pelts -- and a very trigger-happy character named Amos who, after awhile is so bent on catching the fox that he breaks into an animal preserve and tries traps and fire to catch him. The most intense scene involves a ferocious bear chase and a jump from a cliff. Families looking for something for younger viewers with the same cute characters and less violence should try The Fox and the Hound 2. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
While the movie isn't quite in the same category as some of the studio's vintage classics, it's an entertaining, touching, and vibrantly animated tale that the whole family is sure to enjoy. The animation features a blend of old-fashioned, hand-drawn imagery with dynamic, colorful action. The excellent voice cast includes Kurt Russell as the grown Copper, Mickey Rooney as the grown Tod, Paul Winchell (the longtime voice of Tigger in Winnie the Pooh), Corey Feldman as the young Copper, and Pearl Bailey as a motherly owl.
Although the plot deals with the serious subjects of maturity and loss of innocence, there's also plenty of humor. However, the climactic fight with the bear is pretty realistic, and may be a little too intense for younger kids. The bittersweet finale, where the fox and the hound smile at each other, then go their separate ways, knowing they can never really be friends anymore, is particularly poignant and will bring a tear to the eye of anyone who has grown up and lost a friend.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.