The Fox and the Hound

 
Heartwarming tale of friendship, but expect some peril.
  • Review Date: March 13, 2005
  • Rated: G
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 1981
  • Running Time: 83 minutes

What parents need to know

Educational value

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.

Positive messages

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.

Sexy stuff

Some flirting between foxes and Amos runs out his cabin door in his underwear.

Language

"Shucks," "dagnabit," "meddling female," "blasted female," "silly, empty-headed female."

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

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.

What's the story?

In Disney's 24th full-length animated movie, THE FOX AND THE HOUND, two best friends don't realize they are supposed to be enemies. A lonely widow (Jeanette Nolan) adopts an orphaned fox cub named Tod (voiced by Keith Coogan), who soon befriends Copper (Corey Feldman), a hound puppy who lives next door with Amos (Jack Albertson), a mean hunter. They become inseparable friends, but Amos keeps trying to catch Tod. Amos takes Copper and his other hunting dog, Chief (Pat Buttram), away for the winter, and Copper returns as a full-fledged hunting dog. Later, Amos' drive to kill Tod so worries the widow that she drives him to the animal preserve where she thinks he'll be safe. But Amos won't be thwarted that easily.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

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.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about Tod and Copper's friendship. Why was it hard for them to stay friends? How did their friendship when they were young help them when they grew up? Have you ever grown apart from a friend?

  • When the Widow Tweed drives Tod to the animal preserve she sings, "from our sadness, happiness grew," recalling when she found him orphaned. How does the same thing happen to Tod in the animal preserve?

  • A sequel was made 25 years later that shows Tod and Copper as kids again who never have to face tough choices as they grow up. Which story do you like better? Which one is more meaningful?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:January 1, 1981
DVD release date:May 2, 2000
Cast:Corey Feldman, Kurt Russell, Mickey Rooney
Directors:Art Stevens, Richard Rich
Studio:Walt Disney Pictures
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Friendship, Wild animals
Run time:83 minutes
MPAA rating:G

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Adult Written bydragoonlover April 9, 2008
Parent of a 15 year old Written byMarvin Martian May 14, 2011
age 7+
 
Ausome film, with a great imagination. However blood is shown, with gun violence, and attack. Very sad scene in the middle
What other families should know
Too much violence
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Kid, 12 years old April 9, 2008
age 0+
 

Good

Even if this might seem a dumb kids movie, I, 11 years old have enjoyed it. It can get emotional, but it is a good movie about making choices, with a kid appropriate amount of animal violence to spice it up. 5 of 5, any age.

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