Characters: The Thief and the Cobbler

Characters who appear in The Thief and the Cobbler and tropes associated with them.

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     Tack 
Voiced by: Sean Connery (workprint), Steve Lively (Allied Filmmakers), Matthew Broderick (Miramax)

The Hero, and one of the two titular characters. Initially a simple cobbler working in the Golden City, he soon finds himself fighting along Princess Yum-Yum to save their city.

     The Thief 
Voiced by: N/A (original), Ed E. Carroll (Allied Filmmakers), Jonathan Winters (Miramax)

The other title character, a nameless very persistent thief. His theft of the Three Golden Balls kicks off much of the plot.
  • Amazing Technicolor Population: He's greenish-brown.
  • Born In The Theater: At the end of the movie, he literally steals the film off of the projector and makes off with it.
  • Butt Monkey/The Chew Toy: Nothing goes right for him until the end.
  • Chekhov's Gun: In the workprint and Recobbled Cut, he uses the back scratchers he stole from YumYum to escape getting his hands cut off.
  • Clutching Hand Trap: At one point, he sees a bottle filled with jewels. Unfortunately, the jewels are too big for him to get past the opening. He won't let go of the diamond, even when the palace guards have him surrounded.
  • Deadpan Snarker: His inner monologue as provided by Jonathan Winters in the "finished" versions. Tends to provoke a Love It or Hate It response, with some finding it obnoxious and distracting, while others think it (along with the animation) is the only thing that makes those cuts watchable
  • Determinator: When he sees something shiny, there's no stopping him.
  • Deuteragonist: To Tack's protagonist, as he's responsible for kicking off the plot.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: An old lady turns out to be a martial artist, a bed turns out to be a pack of giant, angry guard dogs, the polo players constantly hit him... and the giant war machine has such things as a giant flyswatter, a giant broom and a giant iron.
  • Five-Finger Discount: As openly stated in the Miramax cut, he'll steal anything. In one scene, he actually picks his own pocket.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em/Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: At the end of the workprint, when he has Tack and the golden balls cornered; having literally been through hell and back trying to get the balls, he decides the balls are more trouble than they're worth and walks off in a huff.
  • No Name Given: He's simply referred to as "the Thief." The narrator notes at the beginning that he "shall be nameless."
  • Not Distracted by the Sexy: When he comes across YumYum bathing, he is less concerned about the nude woman in front of him and more concerned about her jewel-encrusted backscratchers.
  • The Pig Pen: He's constantly surrounded by flies, and both Tack and YumYum smell him on different occasions, the latter thinking that the smell must be coming from a backed up sewage pipe.
  • Title Character: He's "the Thief" in the title.
  • The Voiceless: Unlike Tack, he is completely silent throughout the original. In the other versions, not so much.
  • Villain Protagonist: While he's not the Big Bad, he isn't exactly a good guy either, considering the whole mess is his fault. Miramax apparently felt pity for him and made him an Accidental Hero when the King believes that he recovered the golden balls for the city and he gives the balls back out of guilt (and not wanting to be attacked by the King's guards).

     Zigzag 
Voiced by: Vincent Price (all versions)

The Big Bad, an Evil Chancellor who has his eyes on the princess and the throne.
  • Agony of the Feet: He screams in agony and dances around when he steps on one of Tack's tacks.
  • Amazing Technicolor Population: He's blue-skinned.
  • Ambiguously Human: He has blue skin and six-fingered hands.
  • And Now You Must Marry Me: His plan amounts to him marrying the princess and becoming the king.
  • Beard of Evil: A goatee, no less.
  • Big Bad: Much of the plot is caused by him trying to take the throne by marrying Yum-Yum then allying with the Mighty One-Eye.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: Alongside the Mighty One-Eye after Zigzag gives him the the golden balls to destroy the Golden City.
  • Bifurcated Weapon: He has a stick that can sprout out hooks, forks and pointy bits from the top.
  • Catch Phrase: "Have no fear, Zigzag the Grand Vizier is here!"
  • Creepy Long Fingers: His fingers are long enough for him to easily fit rings on every joint.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: "Seeeiizze him! Take him! Seize him! Take him!"
  • Disproportionate Retribution: He has Tack arrested, thrown in prison, and tries to feed him to his vulture Phido simply because he stepped on a tack that Tack dropped by accident. And that's only because YumYum saved his life; Zigzag originally wanted to have him beheaded.
  • Eaten Alive: His final fate; he's torn apart by alligators, with his vulture Phido eating his head.
  • Evil Chancellor: He's the grand vizier of the Golden City, and as evil as they come.
  • Evil Sorcerer: He claims to be a sorcerer, but it's obvious that all his "magic" is really done by smoke bombs and sleight of hand.
  • Evil Wears Black: He wears a black robe.
  • Face Death with Dignity: Oddly enough, he calmly accepts his fate when the alligators are eating him.
  • Famous Last Words: "For Zigzag, then, it is... the end."
  • Faux Affably Evil: He speaks in rhymes and provides King Nod with a massage and a concubine... all for the purposes of manipulation and distraction.
  • Goofy Print Underwear: In a blink-and-you'll-miss-it scene when he pops up out of the throne room floor, he has pink boxers with purple "Z's" under his robe.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: He spends much of the film abusing his pet vulture Phido. In the end, Phido is the one to finish him off.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: After Vincent Price was cast as Zigzag's voice, his design was modified to resemble Price. This is more obvious when Williams shows his caricature of Price in The Animator's Survival Kit it resembles Zigzag quite a lot!
  • Large Ham: He's voiced by Vincent Price in all his glory ("FAT! FAAAAT! FAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT!").
  • Laughably Evil: Almost everything he does is horrible, yet he's still one of the funniest characters in the film.
  • Major Injury Underreaction: He takes being Eaten Alive by alligators quite calmly.
  • Not the Fall That Kills You: He meets his end by falling down a pit... right into the waiting jaws of the alligators.
  • Rhymes on a Dime: Constantly speaks like this.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Subverted. The Miramax dub states that he managed to earn King Nod's trust, but no one else's.

    Princess YumYum 
Voiced by: Sara Crowe (workprint), Bobbi Page (Allied Filmmakers), Jennifer Beals (Miramax)

The princess of the Golden City and Tack's Love Interest.

     Mighty One-Eye 
Voiced by: Paul Matthews (workprint), Kevin Dorsey (Allied Filmmakers/Miramax)

The other main villain of the film, the leader of a race of one-eyed marauders with designs on the Golden City.
  • Atop a Mountain of Corpses: He and his men are first introduced as such, standing atop a mountain of Golden City soldiers' corpses.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: With Zigzag after Zigzag gives him the the golden balls to destroy the Golden City. Its clear he has little to no respect for the sorceror however, even forcing him to lead the attack on the city from the front lines.
  • Bigger Bad: Though the climax revolves around stopping him from razing the Golden City, he doesn't get involved in the plot until Zigzag comes to him.
  • Cain and Abel: In the Miramax dub, he's the Cain to the Witch's Abel.
  • Disney Villain Death: In Calvert's version, he's thrown off a cliff.
  • Evil Twin: In the Miramax dub, he's the Witch's evil twin brother.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: His original fate in the workprint; his own slave girls surround him and crush him to death by sitting on him in revenge for being used as a throne.
  • Generic Doomsday Villain: Sort of, the One Eyes have no backstory whatsoever, and only their leader is given anything resembling a name. They also look identical, the only thing that sets Mighty One Eye apart from his men is that he is given speaking lines.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard/Karmic Death: In both the workprint and Calvert versions, he's killed by his own abused slave women.
  • More Teeth than the Osmond Family: He has rows upon rows upon rows of sharp yellow teeth. As in, you cant see the back of his throat even with his mouth wide open
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: He and his army use these colors to overkill. Even his eye is red.

     King Nod 
Voiced by: Anthony Quayle (workprint), Clive Revill (Allied Filmmakers/Miramax)

The sleepy king of the Golden City.
  • Big "NEVER!": Lets one out when Zigzag asks for YumYum's hand in marriage in return for the golden balls.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: He has a prophetic dream of the One-Eyes' upcoming invasion.
  • Get Out: What he screams to Zigzag after letting out the Big "NEVER!".
  • Large Ham: Complete with incongruous close-up shots of his face and mouth.
    King Nod: "The BALLS are GONE! My KINGDOM will COME to destruction AND DEATH!"
  • Meaningful Name: His name is King Nod, and he's always nodding off.
  • Papa Wolf: In the original cut. When Zigzag fools the King into thinking he can "magic the balls back," he requests Princess YumYum's hand in marriage as compensation. The king vehemently refuses to send off his daughter to him. Note that, as far as the king is concerned, this is his only chance to get the balls back and keep his kingdom safe. It's honestly rather badass of the King to do so.
  • Sleepy Head: Several of his scenes begin with him snoozing.

    Phido 
Voiced by: Donald Pleasence (workprint and Allied Filmmakers), Eric Bogosian (Miramax)

Zigzag's much abused pet vulture.

     Nanny 
Voiced by: Joan Sims (workprint), Mona Marshall (Allied Filmmakers), Toni Collette (Miramax)

Princess YumYum's nanny.

     The Witch 
Voiced by: Joan Sims (workprint), Mona Marshall (Allied Filmmakers), Toni Collette (Miramax)

An old witch whom Tack and YumYum consult for advice on how to defeat the One-Eyes.
  • Cain and Abel: In the Miramax dub, she's stated to be the Mighty One-Eyes benevolent twin sister.
  • How Unscientific!: In contrast to Zigzag, who is clearly using sleight of hand and smoke bombs, the Witch's magic is legit.