"... you're not even aware, you're such a funny pair..."
Released in 1981, The Fox and the Hound is the 24th movie in the Disney Animated Canon, very, very, veryloosely based on a book of the same name.The plot feautures an old woman finding an infant orphaned fox whom she adopts and names Tod. Meanwhile, her neighbor, a hunter, brings home a hound puppy named Copper intent on raising him to be a hunting dog. Tod and Copper soon meet and quickly become best friends, which raises conflict between their respective owners, but the two promise to remain friends forever. Later, once the two are grown up, Copper is actively participating in his master's hunts, and the friendship between the two is put into jeopardy.A Direct-to-DVDmidquel, The Fox and The Hound 2, was released in 2006.Compare Arashi No Yoru Ni (which has been interpreted as The Fox and the Hound with sexualtension).
Anti-Villain: Amos Slade is a Jerkass but not a bad guy, and he doesn't see his career of hunting as a bad thing. The only time he actually does anything illegal is when Chief almost dies thanks to Tod and he's determined to get Tod's pelt even though hunting isn't allowed in that area, but backs off when Copper shows Amos that Tod is his friend.
Chief also counts, as the viewer is supposed to care about him even though he is antagonistic towards Tod. It helps that he does have some sort of genuine affection for Copper, even after it turns to jealousy when Copper grows older.
A-Team Firing: It gets a bit narmy after a while when Amos can't get a single hit towards Tod despite all the clear shots he has. Makes you wonder how he became such a good hunter in the first place (if his winter hunt results are anything to go by).
Bittersweet Ending: Tod and Copper go their separate ways, but they remember what good friends they used to be. And Tod lives happily with his mate Vixie.
Bloodless Carnage: Double subverted twice in the bear fight. Amos manages to shoot the bear with visible blood, and Copper bites its muzzle with more visible blood, but afterwards neither of the wounds are visible. Maybe they didn't want to push their luck?
Cerebus Retcon: When Tod and Copper meet, they bond by playing hide and seek, with Tod hiding and Copper tracking. This takes a dark turn later in the movie when Tod (with his mate) has to escape and hide from Copper who're persistently tracking him down with the intent to kill him.
Tod and Copper as pups saying they're going to be best friends forever. For maximum Gut Punch, it's played as a voiceover at the end when we see Tod looking at Copper from afar, knowing that they have to go their separate ways.
Double Take: The chicken looks over to her little chicks, for a second, who are curious about that furry red thing that has its paw reaching up to them, as if to...Cue the chicken freaking out and chasing Tod in the barn shed.
End of an Age: It's been said by many that The Fox and the Hound was the end of an era when it came to Disney animated films (as a couple of Nine Old Men worked on part of it), but also the start of a new one (as they handed the film down to a new generation of animators, who would eventually usher in the Disney Renaissance).
Evil Poacher: Aversion, as Slade only poaches once in the film, but that is out of revenge.
Friendship Song: "Best Of Friends" is this for the film it's a song about best friends having fun together.
Genre Savvy: Vixie, who tells Tod they should stay away from a copse because it's "too quiet". Tod is in turn Genre Blind and scoffs at her. Justified however, since Tod was raised by a human he has little clue how cautious he should be in the wild.
Go Through Me: At the very end, when Copper positions himself against Tod to prevent Amos from shooting him.
Green-Eyed Monster: Chief and Copper's roles are reversed from the original novel; here Chief is the aging hound and Copper the new favorite who he becomes jealous of.
Have You Tried Not Being a Monster?: The original story was an allegory for racism separating two friends. The film is sometimes interpreted as a depicting an innocent summer romance between two boys torn asunder by divergent career paths and the folly of machismo. Sometimes it is seen as showing how men repress their feelings as they come of age, and lose touch with their innocence.
Irony: Amos and Copper goes hunting for Tod but ends up running into a giant, pissed off bear. It's up to Tod to save them.
It's Quiet... Too Quiet: Vixey is afraid to enter a copse when she realizes it's too quiet, while Tod has no such qualms and narrowly avoids falling foul of Copper, Amos' shotgun and a shitload of bear traps.
Knight of Cerebus: The bear does not appear until the climax of the film which until then only Amos Slade and Chief who were not frightening appeared. When the bear came in, the film became darker when he was terrifying.
Meaningful Name: Tod(d) is an old English word for a fox. However, he is named by Tweed because he's "such a little toddler". Vixey sounds very similar to "vixen" which is a female fox.
Mentor Occupational Hazard: Played with - Chief is sort of a father/big brother figure to Copper and is nearly mortally wounded while chasing Tod.
Missing Mom: Tod's mom is shot during the opening credits. Who shot her is unknown (it is unlikely that Amos Slade shot her because at that time he is buying Copper and his original hunting dog Chief was asleep in his introduction), however.
Oh Crap: Chief gets one before getting hit by the train. Copper gets one when he's sniffing around for Tod and smells a bear. Amos gets one in the same scene when he sees it.
Plucky Comic Relief: Dinky and Boomer - and considering how incredibly sad this movie can be, their comic relief is very much needed.
Puppy-Dog Eyes: Naturally. When standing up to Slade at the end Copper gives a defiant but earnest use of this trope. Tod, the more idealistic of the two, gives a lot of these over the course of the film as well.
Raised by Humans: Tod is raised by an old widow woman after his real mother is killed by hunters.
Reality Ensues: Despite the obvious child-friendly changes from the original book, at the end the most Tod and Copper can do is treasure the friendship they once had, while they'll likely never be together again. It still remains one of the very few animated Disney movies to have a Bittersweet Ending.
Originally, Chief was supposed to die, as in the book, which would've justified Slade and Copper's anger. This was changed for being too dark.
As a result it makes Copper and Slade look like jackasses, as they're hunting Tod for injuring Chief unintentionally, as opposed to the book, where he deliberately tricks Chief into taking a train to the face.
Your Size May Vary: Adult Todd has a tendency to shrink slightly whenever he's in a scene where Widow Tweed has to carry him.
The second film provides examples of:
A Truce While We Gawk: Near the start of the film, Chief stops chasing Tod when both notice Amos on the back of an out-of-control cow with a bucket on his head, and both watch, with Copper joining them, as it gets worse for him; after he throws off the bucket, a bee's nest takes its place. And then he throws that off, only to be thrown into a pig pen. All three say "Uh-oh" immediately before that last one. And it continues for a few more seconds, as they all get "oh, no" expression right before Tweed adds insult to injury:
Tweed: Well, as long as you're wasting my milk, you may as well have some pie to go along with it. (grabs a blueberry pie from the windowsill)