Disney: The Fox and the Hound
"... 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, very loosely 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-DVD midquel
, 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 sexual tension
The first film provides examples of:
- Animal Nemesis: Tod becomes this to Slade.
- 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.
- Anti-Villain Song: "A Huntin' Man".
- Apron Matron: Widow Tweed is kind and caring towards her animals, especially Tod, but if you mess with any of them, you will face the consequences.
- 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).
- Bears Are Bad News: The climax of the film says it all.
- Bear Trap: Amos employs some of these in his hunts. This has some unforeseen consequences later on...
- Big Bad: Amos Slade, anti-villainy or not.
- Bigger Bad: The bear.
- Big Damn Heroes: Tod manages to save Copper in time from the bear near the end of the movie. It is because of this Copper had a Heel Realization.
- 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?
- Butt Monkey: Dinky and Boomer. Later copied by Tip and Dash in The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea.
- 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 is 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.
- Children Are Innocent: Tod and Copper as kids, and in the midquel.
- Convenient Cranny: Todd and his new mate dive into a burrow to avoid the snapping jaws of Copper. However, this cranny proves useless when the hunter finds a way to drive them out.
- Cool Old Lady: Widow Tweed, who isn't afraid to grab Slade's gun and shoot his car's engine down.
- Corrupt Hick: Copper's owner is willing to hunt foxes in a nature preserve. To be fair, he's only hunting this one fox and for personal reasons.
- A Dog Named Dog: Tod the tod. Vixey the vixon is a lesser example.
- David Versus Goliath: Tod, a fox, takes on a bear.
- Disney Death: Chief, though it initially appears certain he won't survive, after the train accidentally hits him.
- Disneyfication: The story the film is based on ends with both main characters amongst others dead.
- Disney Villain Death: The bear, who falls off the log and down a steep waterfall.
- Curiously, Tod was also shown to fall and yet was clearly shown to survive. Truth in Television: The bigger they are, the harder they fall.
- Distressed Dude: Amos and Copper after the bear shows up.
- 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.
- Downer Beginning / Dramatic Chase Opening: The film starts with Tod's mother running away from hounds, and ultimately getting shot.
- 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.
- Face-Heel Turn: Copper pulls this off after Chief was nearly killed.
- Falling in Love Montage: "Appreciate the Lady".
- Forbidden Friendship / Interspecies Friendship: Between, well, a fox and a hound.
- 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.
- Giant Black Bear From Nowhere: The grizzly that appears in the climax.
- 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.
- Heel Realization / Heel-Face Turn: Amos has these when Copper prevents him from shooting Tod at the end.
- Copper himself had one after the Black Bear battle.
- Hero Antagonist:
- Copper becomes this.
- Chief may count as well.
- Heroic Dog: Copper becomes this when he does his best to protect Amos from a bear. It then switches to Heroic Fox.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Amos gets caught in his own bear trap.He survives.
- Humans Are Bastards: Averted with the kind and protective widow. Played straight with the hunters at the beginning and with Amos until the end.
- Hypocritical Humor: Chief tries to milk his leg injury for sympathy, but later thinks Amos is making too big a deal out of his own leg pain when the Widow is dressing his wounds.
- Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: Amos, fortunately for Tod (and Vixey later on).
- Ink-Suit Actor: Amos bears more than a little resemblance to Jack Albertson.
- In Name Only: How Walt Disney Studios managed to look at what reads like a fictionalized documentary about the life and times of a mongrel hunting dog and a human-reared wild fox who live through bear hunts, rabies epidemics, and the rise of suburbia among other things and thought it would make a wonderful talking animals musical about racism is a mystery for the ages.
- 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.
- Copper also falls into this when he is sniffing for Tod up the cliff and picks up a new scent...From a giant bear!.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Amos and Chief.
- Jerkass: The badger.
- Knight of Cerebus: The huge, dark bear eventually appearing during Amos and Copper's chase.
- Lighter and Softer: Compared to the book.
- Mama Bear: Tweed when Slade tries to shoot Tod for thinking the fox was chasing his chickens.
- The Matchmaker: Big Mama is this with Tod and Vixey.
- Meaningful Background Event: Most of the posters feature the bear in the background.
- 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.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Tod saves Copper from the bear, nearly drowning in the process and leaving him, weak and exhausted, collapsing at the riverbank. As Copper approaches, he is amazed that the very fox he tried to track down saved his life, despite everything that happened, and now feels genuinely remorseful for what he's done to him. He then steps in between Amos' gun & Tod, causing Amos to come to his senses and lower his gun
- 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.
- Old Dog: Chief.
- Pet the Dog: Literally. Amos Slade's family-like devotion to both his dogs serves to make him Not So Different from Widow Tweed and brings him closer to Anti-Villain territory.
- 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 very few animated Disney movies to have a Bittersweet Ending.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: The Bear has a pair of frightening ones.
- Ridiculously Cute Critter: Squeaks the caterpillar who becomes a butterfly at the end.
- Sassy Black Woman: Big Mama, voiced by Pearl Bailey.
- Satellite Love Interest: Vixie.
- Shoo The Fox: The saddest freaking scene in the film.
- Spared by the Adaptation: Tod, Copper and Chief.
- TWO mates of Tod and TWO litters of his puppies!
- The End: This is the last Disney animated film to end with these two words, along with "A Walt Disney Production".
- The Speechless: Squeaks the Caterpillar and the bear.
- Those Two Guys: Dinky and Boomer. They are also kinda similar to Timon and Pumbaa from The Lion King, Rutt and Tuke from Brother Bear, and Tip and Dash from the previously mentioned The Little Mermaid II.
- Ungrateful Bastard: Amos still insists on shooting Tod even after he saved both his and Copper's lives. Thanks to Copper's Go Through Me action however, he comes to his senses.
- You Killed My Father: Okay, maybe not (thanks to Executive Meddling), but Copper and Slade blame Tod for crippling Chief for a while.
- 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: