Disney: The Hunchback of Notre Dame
♪ Morning in Paris, the city awakes
to the bells of Notre Dame... ♫
"Up there, high, high in the dark belltower, lives the mysterious bellringer. Who is this creature? What is he? How did he come to be there? Hush, and Clopin will tell you. It is a tale, a tale of a man... and a monster... "
Entry #34 in the Disney Animated Canon
In medieval France, the corrupt and sinister Judge Claude Frollo
once uncovered several Gypsies trying to enter Paris with an unidentified and bundled object. One of them attempted to escape with it and Frollo ran her down, indirectly causing her death. It is then that Frollo realized that the woman was carrying a baby, and, disgusted by the infant's deformity, nearly drowned the child in a well when he is stopped by the Archdeacon
. He warned Frollo that his sin of spilling innocent blood must be atoned for and has Frollo care for the child as his own. Fearful for his own eternal soul, Frollo agrees to do so, with the stipulation that the child - whom he names Quasimodo (meaning "half-formed"
) — reside in the bell tower of the cathedral, never to be seen by public eyes.
Twenty years pass, and the kindhearted but isolated Quasimodo
strongly desires to have one day of freedom
beyond the walls of Notre Dame to see the Feast of Fools festival and decides to act on his decision after receiving encouragement from his animate stone gargoyle friends Victor, Hugo, and Laverne. However, when Quasimodo's identity is revealed, he is publicly scorned and humiliated by the townspeople until he is rescued by the beautiful and strong-willed Gypsy Esmeralda
, who has no tolerance for Frollo's ill-treatment of Quasimodo and her people. This encounter results in an unlikely friendship between Quasimodo and Esmeralda (as well as a one-sided love
from Quasimodo to Esmeralda) and an unsettling lust
in Frollo, whose inner conflict over his piety to God versus his growing sexual lust for Esmeralda drives him to hunt the Gypsy girl down with the intention of having her for himself or not letting anyone have her at all
. With Esmeralda and the other Gypsies' lives in danger, and the whole city of Paris in the grip of Frollo's corruption, Quasimodo must team up with Esmeralda's love interest Captain Phoebus
in order to stop Frollo and rescue Esmeralda.The Hunchback of Notre Dame
is one of the most mature works that Disney has taken to adapting in their history. Obviously, they changed the plot
, but it is still one of the Darker and Edgier
pieces in the canon with one of the most cruel, depraved, and downright sexual
villains to grace a Disney film. It is also regarded as having one of the best soundtracks among the Disney animated films
. For these and a few other reasons, this film is considered an unsung classic
by many fans.
In 1999, the film was translated into German for a stage musical, Der Glöckner von Notre Dame
, which backtracks a bit from Disney and is somewhat Darker and Edgier
than the film. A new stage adaptation of the film (with a book by Peter Parnell rather than the one James Lapine wrote for the German production) will debut at San Diego's La Jolla Playhouse in 2014, and intends to get to Broadway at some point.
In 2002, a direct-to-video sequel was made that was Lighter and Softer
than the original film.
This film provides the following tropes:
- Absurdly Sharp Blade: Near the climax, Frollo pursues Quasimodo and Esmeralda on the balcony of Notre Dame, all the while cleanly slicing through stone gargoyles attempting to slash at them.
- Action Girl: Esmeralda openly insults Frollo and his guards, can outrun and outwit many soldiers (even if they are rather stupid), and is shown to have better-than-average combat skills when she fights Phoebus. While at the stake facing certain death, she spits onto Frollo's face and gives him a Kubrick Stare when he says, "Choose me or the fire."
- Adaptational Badass: Original!Esmeralda was a docile Damsel in Distress. Disney!Esmeralda is an Action Girl and a Defiant Captive.
- Adaptational Heroism:
- Original!Quasimodo was not the tenderhearted Adorkable boy seen in this movie.
- You'd never see the book version of Phoebus jump into a burning building to save a family condemned by his boss.
- Adaptation Personality Change: Many characters had vastly different personalities in comparison to the original novel.
- Hugo's Esmeralda was, for most of the time, naive, trusting and clueless, especially when it came to Phoebus. Disney's Esmeralda is a smart, snarky, resourceful Action Girl.
- Hugo's Phoebus was a drunkard, a womanizer and a liar, who swore like sailor. His interest in Esmeralda was only sexual. Disney's Phoebus is a noble, heroic and benevolent young warrior, who is genuinely in love with Esmeralda.
- Hugo's Quasimodo was mostly rude, angry and implied to be mentally challenged. He only showed kindness to Frollo and Esmeralda. Disney's Quasimodo is shy, demure and gentle.
- Hugo's Frollo was a Tragic Villain: he was a genuinely good guy, who had to take care of his young orphaned brother, while being a young orphan himself. He willingly took in and raised Quasimodo. His Start of Darkness began only when he fell in love with Esmeralda, because of his repressed sexuality and the widespread belief that Gypsy = witch and witchcraft = evil. He most certainly never aspired to be a Knight Templar; he preferred purifying himself and devoting himself to science (or whatever passed for science those days). Disney's Frollo is evil long before he even met Esmeralda, he has absolutely no Freudian Excuse and his only redeemable moment throughout the entire movie is a short "God have mercy on her..." at the end of Hellfire which is then immediately followed by adding that if she won't be his, then she could burn in Hell.
- Adaptational Villainy: Claude Frollo, while he becomes an Anti-Villain, is a much more sympathetic character in the original book. To begin with, he voluntarily takes in Quasimodo in the beginning instead of killing his mother and threatening to hurl him down a well.
- Added Alliterative Appeal: "Why her smoldering eyes still scorch my soul?"
- Aerith and Bob: Victor, Hugo, and... Laverne. The first two double as Shout-Out Theme Naming, to Victor Hugo obviously.
- Age Lift: Frollo was only in his mid-thirties in the book yet seems to be around 20 years older in the movie. Esmeralda also seems to be in her mid-twenties rather than 16 like in the book.
- All-Loving Hero:
- The Archdeacon extends the same compassion to the despised and the deformed as he does to everyone else.
- Esmeralda. If her "God Help the Outcasts" doesn't fill the bill, her treatment of Quasimodo does.
- All Your Base Are Belong to Us: Frollo and his men invade the Court of Miracles after he tricks Quasimodo into revealing its location.
- Amazon Chaser: Watching Esmeralda single-handedly trounce Frollo's guards makes Phoebus exclaim "What a woman!" despite nearly being decapitated.
- Angry Mob Song: "The Court of Miracles" is sung primarily by Clopin, but it includes all the people in the court, and they're all angry.
- Annoying Arrows: Averted. It only takes one shot to down the armoured Phoebus. Though not long after being downed by the arrow (approximately a couple hours in movie-time), he's fine. The wound was cleaned, stitched and still hurts him, but he's using the affected muscles to catch falling hunchbacks with no difficulty.
- Anti-Hero: Esmeralda is a Knight in Sour Armor (jaded but still acts heroically) while Clopin is an Unscrupulous Hero (happy to kill perceived enemies).
- Apologetic Attacker:
- Phoebus tries one on Esmeralda, while she has him pinned to the floor with his own sword at his throat, and it works!
- Victor goes so far as to cover his eyes as he drops a single brick on a soldier from atop the cathedral. After it impacts, he peeks over the edge of the cathedral and calls down an apology.
- Archnemesis Dad: Frollo takes Quasimodo in after killing his mother, but only to save his own soul and keep Quasi for later use. He raises his erstwhile son to hate himself, tells him that the world is dark and cruel, and keeps him locked away from sight to prevent being associated with him. When Frollo's atrocities increase, Quasi realizes the man's evil, calls him out on his abusive parenting, and saves Esmeralda from the murderously insane Frollo.
- Arc Words:
- "Who is the monster, and who is the man?"
- "Kyrie eleison, kyrie eleison..."
- Artistic License – History: The real Notre Dame de Paris has never - at any point in its' history - had steps leading up to the front doors. Presumably the film makers added them for dramatic effect (and so it would be easier to Frollo to 'accidentally' kill Quasimodo's mother when she falls and breaks her neck.)
- Barefoot Poverty/Does Not Like Shoes: Esmeralda, as a poor Gypsy woman. At the end of the film, she falls in love with the clearly wealthy-looking Captain of the Guard, Phoebus, and in the sequel she inexplicably gains shoes.
- Batman Gambit: How Frollo finds the Court of Miracles. He knows that Quasimodo is in league with the Gypsies and so likely has a means of communicating or meeting with them. Thus, he tells him that his men have found the court and that he plans to advance upon it in the near future. This is a lie, as Frollo has no idea where the court is. Quasi buys it, though, and heads off to warn the Gypsies. Frollo covertly follows him and ends up discovering the court.
- Because You Were Nice to Me: Esmeralda's act of kindness of defending Quasimodo during the Feast of Fools is what makes Quasimodo fall for her.
- Betty and Veronica: A complicated case. While Quasimodo's personality (shy, humble, etc) is normally Betty, his station is the ugly and mysterious bell ringer, and while Phobeus' personality (cocky, charming etc) is more Veronica, he is a well-respected knight instead of something exotic. Finally, Esmeralda, as an exotic and beautiful roma, makes her 'off-limits' to both of them.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Quasimodo is sweet and kind, almost to a fault, but if you cross him, look out; he can break steel chains.
- Beware the Silly Ones: Clopin acts like a silly jester on the streets, but underground, in his own territory, he is a terrifying authority figure.
- Big Bad: Judge Claude Frollo is responsible for all the movie's conflict because of his hatred towards gypsies.
- Big Damn Heroes:
- The Archdeacon steps in to save Baby!Quasimodo from drowning.
- Quasimodo rescues Esmeralda in the climax.
- Phoebus for that family in the burning building and also when he rescues Quasimodo from falling.
- Big Good: The Archdeacon opposes Frollo and keeps him to a certain degree of civility.
- Big "NO!": Happens three times in the climax. Played completely straight, given the horrific circumstances behind it.
- Big "Shut Up!": Frollo yelling "Silence!" towards Esmeralda for calling him out for his cruelty. She counters this with "Justice!"
- Big Word Shout: "STOP!" cried the Archdeacon!
- Bilingual Bonus:
- During the "Hellfire" sequence, the Ominous Latin Chanting in the background is the Confiteor, a prayer Catholics recite during the Mass that is an admission of guilt and wrongdoing. Most awesomely, when Frollo is proclaiming that it's not his fault, what the red hoods of doom chant back at him is "mea culpa" and "mea maxima culpa", Latin for "through my fault" and "through my most grievous fault" respectively.
- During "Hellfire", when Frollo says "God have mercy on her/God have mercy on me", you can hear the "kyrie eleison", Greek for "Lord, have mercy", being chanted in the background.
- The Latin lyrics to the piece that plays as Frollo hunts Quasimodo and Esmeralda is "dies irae" or "Day of Wrath", which is about how the wicked shall be punished in eternal fire. It gets even better when you realize that the same lyrics were used in the score much earlier while Frollo was chasing down Quasimodo's mother, as in both cases, he is using his religious fundamentalism to justify hunting down an innocent who is trying to protect someone who cannot defend themselves.
- 'Notre Dame' is not the name of the cathedral. The full name is Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris — often translated as "Our Lady of Paris" or simply "Notre Dame Cathedral," where Our Lady (Notre-Dame) refers to the Virgin Mary. This means that the Archdeacon's line about 'the very eyes of Notre Dame' might refer to the 'eyes of Our Lady', the Virgin Mary, rather than the Genius Loci of the cathedral. A statue of Mary is featured quite prominently in the accompanying animation sequence. This is brought up again and made even more brilliant with Phoebus' line "and now [Frollo] has declared war on [Our Lady] herself!" As in Frollo, the fundamentalist hypocrite longing for the extermination of another race of human beings, has declared war on the principles of Christianity itself. note
- The lyrics of the choir in Sanctuary, the score that plays while Quasimodo saves Esmeralda from being burned at the stake, match up perfectly with the animation when translated - such as "Libera me Domine de morte aeterna" ("Free me, Lord, from everlasting death") while Quasimodo is breaking from the chains holding him; "Sit sempiterna gloria" ("May You always be praised") as he climbs Notre Dame while carrying her; and "Sanctus, sanctus in excelsis" ("Holy, holy, in the highest") as he claims sanctuary. The entire set of verses as he's freeing Esmeralda is basically a prayer for strength and salvation:
O, salutaris hostia ("Oh saving victim")
Quae caeli pandis ostium ("Who expand the door of heaven")
Bella premunt hostilia ("Hostile wars press us")
Da robur, fer auxilium ("Give us strength, bring us aid")
- "O Salutaris Hostia" has the verse rendered in English as
O saving Victim, open wide
The gate of heav'n to us below,
Our foes press on from ev'ry side;
Your aid supply, your strength bestow.
- Birds of a Feather: Played with. Esmeralda and Quasimodo bond over their mutually restricted freedom, and while Esmeralda and Phoebus are both sarcastic and rebellious to do what is right, Phoebus doesn't rebel against Frollo until Frollo attempts to burn down a house with an innocent family still inside.
- Blatant Lies:
- "Besides, knights in shining armour aren't her type", and the entire song following that line.
- Many of Frollo's lies are quite blatant to the audience, but some of them are blatant to Esmeralda as well. Consider the scene where he sniffs her hair.
Esmeralda: What are you doing?
Frollo: I was just imagining a rope around that beautiful neck.
Esmeralda: I know what you're imagining.
Frollo: ... Such a clever witch. So typical of your kind to twist the truth, to cloud the mind with unholy thoughts.
- Bloodstained Glass Windows: No bloodier than you'd expect for a Disney animated film, but Phoebus lampshades it in his fight with Esmeralda inside the cathedral's sanctuary: "Candlelight, privacy, music! Can't think of a better place for hand-to-hand combat!" It's done much more seriously in the climax, as Frollo and Quasimodo fight on the parapets of the bell tower.
- Book Ends: "Bells of Notre Dame" is played at the beginning of the film, and its reprise plays at the end of the film.
- On the Disney Sing Along Songs video released to promote this movie, the title track is a sanitized version of "Topsy Turvy". Not only did they cut out Esmeralda's dance, but they also rewrote the lyrics so that Clopin wouldn't mention devils and beer. See for yourself here.
- The film straddles the line in between playing this straight and averting this. On one hand, Phoebus is a good guy, the gargoyles are comic relief, Esmeralda is old enough to make Phoebus' attraction to her natural, and there's a happy ending. On the other, gypsies are portrayed as both entertainers and cutthroats, genocide is implied, and Frollo's sexual desires conflicting with his religious beliefs is only downplayed enough to make it as a family film.
- Brick Joke: "I'm free! I'm free! ... Dang it."
- But I Would Really Enjoy It: Frollo's sexual frustration.
- Calling the Old Man Out: During the film's climax in the cathedral, Quasi says to Frollo, "All my life you've told me that the world is a dark, cruel place, but now I see the only thing dark and cruel about it is people like YOU!"
- Can't Kill You, Still Need You: Frollo spares Quasimodo, though the main reason Frollo can't kill Quasimodo as a baby is that the Archdeacon caught him trying and guilt-tripped him out of it. He does, however, state that he's going to find a use for the "foul creature".
- Catch a Falling Star: Phoebus manages to catch Quasimodo as he falls off of Notre Dame and haul him inside. It's an especially egregious example of snatching someone out of midair since he'd gotten shot through the shoulder the day before.
- Cerebus Callback: During "A Guy Like You", a borderline Disney Acid Sequence, the gargoyles give Quasimodo the Ace of Hearts card while they're trying to convince him that Esmeralda would love him. Shortly after this when he sees Esmeralda kissing Phoebus, he pulls out the card and rips it up.
- Character Development:
- Quasimodo goes from passive to more assertive with his oppressive guardian.
- Phoebus is initially the pawn who loathes injustice. In the opening, he discreetly rescues Esmeralda from arrest but never quite speaks out against injustice, and Frollo refuses to let Phoebus intervene when Quasimodo undergoes public humiliation. It's when he witnesses Frollo's attempted execution on an innocent family that Phoebus starts intervening explicitly from then on.
- Esmeralda initially starts off as confrontational and distrustful due to the hardships she and the other gypsies have endured, but her interactions with Quasimodo and Phoebus gradually soften her and teach her how to trust.
- Frollo, while always evil, is initially much more collected and methodical. He also shows at least some fear of God and respect for the institution of the Church, as when the Archdeacon reminds him that God knows of his sins as much as he denies it and this spurs him to adopt Quasimodo out of repentance. By the end of the film he's so angry and insane that he has no problems burning down the homes of random citizens, attacking Notre Dame, and throwing the archdeacon off a staircase.
- Chekhov's Gun:
- The amulet that Quasimodo receives from Esmeralda. It is a perfect map of Paris with the Ile de la Cite (the island in the River Seine where Notre Dame stands) as the reference point. Phoebus and Quasimodo uses it to locate the Court of Miracles.
- That gargoyle head that breaks under Frollo's feet during the climax? He sliced halfway through it a few moments earlier.
- Children Are Innocent: The little girl who hugs Quasimodo at the end, plus infant Quasimodo.
- Chivalrous Pervert: Phoebus. He's obviously very excited by Esmeralda's dancing, but is able to look beyond just that to her kindness and spirit.
- Chromatic Arrangement: It's subtle, but Laverne is slightly reddish, Victor is slightly bluish, and Hugo is slightly greenish.
- Churchgoing Villain: Frollo will recite prayers while plotting genocide.
- Climbing Climax: The Final Battle takes place on Notre Dame.
- Cold-Blooded Torture: During Phoebus' introduction, Frollo explains to him that the previous captain of the guard was "a disappointment." Cue a whip crack in the background as a man screams in agony as Phoebus looks disturbed and Frollo just smirks.
- Color-Coded for Your Convenience:
- Frollo and his soldiers (with the exception of Phoebus) are all in very dark, faded colors, while Quasimodo, Esmeralda, Phoebus, and any given Gypsy wear much brighter clothing. At the end, Phoebus and Esmeralda are both wearing white, which stands for purity and is the customary color to get married in.
- In the sequel both of Madellaine's outfits match Quasimodo's-Love Interest ahoy!
- Comically Missing the Point: The gargoyles ward off the soldiers with the help of a catapult. Instead of shooting projectiles with it, they throw the entire thing at the enemy.
- Companion Cube:
- A minor example, but the bells are this to Quasimodo. He has names for all of them, and refers to them in terms of gender. note
- Assuming that the gargoyles are truly in Quasimodo's imagination, then they'd be these too.
- Composite Character:
- Conspicuous CG: The crowd in the ending zoom-out.
- Conspicuously Light Patch:
- The ant-infested tile Frollo picks up.
- Played with in that the gargoyles, when they aren't "alive", appear as matte paintings, but then look like this when they come to life.
- Cool Horse:
- "Achilles! Heel!" According to the DVD Commentary, when asked "What's the horse's name?", someone finally answered "Achilles!" just for this joke.
- Frollo's horse. When Phoebus steals it, he tells the guards to avoid hurting the horse in the process of taking down Phoebus.
- Crowd Song: "Topsy Turvy" is the official song of the Festival of Fools and so is song by many people there.
- Curse Cut Short:
Esmeralda: You sneaky son of a...
Phoebus: Ah ah ah, watch it. We're in a church.
- Cut Song: "Someday" was moved to the end credits to be replaced by the softer "God Help the Outcasts". It was cut because it was one or the other, and "God Help The Outcasts" won. "In a Place of Miracles" and "As Long as There's a Moon" were to be sung in an extended wedding scene in the Court of Miracles (before Frollo arrives), but were both cut for time.
- Darker and Edgier:
- This film is much darker than the standard Disney Animated Canon fare. The villain sings about lusting after a woman and burning her alive if he can not have her. It is even worse in the (German) stage version, where Esmeralda ''dies'', which has yet to make it to Broadway. Alan Menken said he's been working on making an American version using the same book.
- The villain's a genocidal racist (as demonstrated when he crushes ants beneath a stone block while talking to Phoebus to show what he will do when he finds the Gypsies) and telling the Gypsies he's just rounded up, "There's a bonfire tomorrow. You're all invited."
- Dark Reprise: Inverted when the closing music quotes a major-key version of "Hellfire", which is in itself a Dark Reprise of the opening motif in "The Bells of Notre Dame".
- Deadpan Snarker:
- Death by Cameo: In one of the shots of the streets of Paris during the song "Out There", Pumbaa from The Lion King is being carried off on a pole, presumably to be roasted.
- Defiant Captive: Esmeralda when she is captured and about to be burnt at the stake. She's Defiant to the End.
- Death by Irony: "And He shall smite the wicked and plunge them into a fiery pit!" Ask and ye shall receive...
- Decomposite Character: Disney decomposed Frollo. The book's conflicted Archdeacon Claude Frollo is split into the good Archdeacon and the evil Justice Minister Claude Frollo.
- Deconstructed Trope:
- The movie takes Madonna–Whore Complex and shows how unrealistic it is to look at a woman from either standard. Frollo sees Esmeralda only as a Whore who represents lust and danger (plus he hates Roma), so he decides that he shall have her or she'll be burned to death; on the other hand, Quasi sees her solely as the super kind and gentle Madonna who saved him, thus he idealises her. Therefore both of their views are very inaccurate... and this is the reason why she was drawn to Phoebus: because he saw Esmeralda's true personality and went beyond these strict definitions.
- This is Lampshaded by Esmeralda who is drawn to the Madonna because she sees her as a strong, caring woman who's seen her share of hardship - someone she can relate to, not a paragon.
- Descent Into Darkness Song: Frollo's "Hellfire" song counts as a Dark Reprise of "Heaven's Light", but it also counts alone as this trope. A sacred chant leads into the song, With composure, Frollo sings to the Virgin Mary, "You know I am a righteous man..." and then the song gets darker as he sings of how desire for Esmeralda tempts him. The accompanying chants turn ominous, and Frollo pictures himself condemned. He concludes: "She'll be mine or she will burn!"
- Deus ex Machina: A literal case:
- Frollo spends the movie on a reign of terror that he proclaims to be for a higher cause, sings a Villain Song that's an inverted confession of sins, and assaults a cathedral. When he's swinging a sword and raving about how He shall cast down the wicked, the gargoyle under his feet roars at him and breaks off.
- Did Not Get the Girl: Quasimodo. He's not bitter about it.
- Disney Death:
- Esmeralda is briefly unconscious due to smoke inhalation, not dead.
- In the stage version, it's not so Disney. She revives long enough to look at him and weakly say, "I... think you are a good friend", then dies, probably from carbon monoxide poisoning. All in all, the chain-yanking makes it worse than in Hugo's novel.
- Disney Villain Death: Frollo falls, all right, but it's given a fair bit more detail than the usual Disney Villain Death. You see the splash as Frollo falls into the pool of molten lead below him. In the musical, Quasimodo throws him (as in the book).
- Distressed Dude: Phoebus and Quasi find the Court of Miracles. They are Bound and Gagged by Clopin and the Gypsies, mistaking them for "Frollo's spies", leaving Esmeralda to save them from an untimely execution.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?:
- Doorstop Baby: Frollo accidentally (but remorselessly) kills his mother and is forced to adopt Quasimodo by the Archdeacon, for penance.
- Establishing Character Moment:
- The very first thing we see Frollo do is murder an innocent woman and attempt to drown her defenseless child.
- Quasimodo demonstrates his compassion for living things and a longing to get out of the bell tower by helping a little bird learn how to fly.
- Everyone Hates Mimes: Victor has to stop Hugo from spitting on one during the Feast of Fools (although it's more to console Quasi than to protect the mime).
- Evil Sounds Deep: Frollo with the cold, baritone voice of Tony Jay.
- Evil Plan: Initially Frollo was all about arresting and killing the Gypsies. After the Festival of Fools this is expanded to include possessing Esmeralda.
- Expy: There's a good chance someone on staff either REALLY liked or worked on Gargoyles. Clopin to Puck, Esmeralda looked a LOT like Elisa, and the prevalence of gargoyles in both works.
- Evil Versus Evil: While Frollo is clearly a genocidal maniac it is interesting to note that the gypsies themselves live in the Court of Miracles (where all the criminals in Paris hang out) and try to murder Quasimodo and Phoebus for discovering them, all the while singing a jaunty tune about their crimes and deception. On the other hand, some of the lines in "Court of Miracles" imply that the gypsies are doing to (what they think are) Frollo's spies what Frollo did to them. So the lines about how criminals live in the Court might have been their way of mocking Frollo's prejudices, along the lines of "You say we're criminals? We'll give you criminals."
- Extreme Omni Goat: Djali, though this trope was not used in the original.
- Family-Unfriendly Death: Judge Frollo falls to his death off of a crumbling gargoyle and into a pit of molten copper. It may be clouded by smoke, but it is certain that he died from the impact only to have his corpse immolated. Not to mention there are strong implications that this was the result of divine intervention.
- Fan Edit: There's a fan edit with some of the gargoyles' scenes edited out or shortened to prevent the Mood Whiplash. The edit makes the film much darker.
- Fashionable Asymmetry: Esmeralda's outfit isn't symmetrical (she has a decorated wrap on one side of her skirt and only one ankle bracelet), and both she and most of the other Gypsies such as Clopin (who themselves are hardly symmetrical in dress) only have one earring in. Esmeralda is actually sharing a pair of earrings with Djali. Quasimodo is a bizarre subversion of this—his simple outfit is symmetrical, but his body (his hump is slightly offset to the right) and facial asymmetry aren't very attractive.
- First Guy Wins: Esmeralda ends up with Phoebus, the first love interest that she meets in the film.
- Foil: Many, but the main foils are Quasimodo and Frollo, which is invoked in "Bells of Notre Dame".
Now here is a riddle to guess if you can, sing the bells of Notre Dame:
Who is the monster and who is the man?
- Foreshadowing: "Remember, Quasimodo, this is your sanctuary."
- The Fundamentalist: Frollo goes about killing a racial minority for no reason than his own bigotry.
- Funny Background Event: After Esmeralda pulls Quasimodo into line for the crowning of the king of fools and moves away; Clopin can be seen mimicking Quasimodo behind his back.
- Friend to All Children: The story opens with Clopin entertaining some children with the story of Quasimodo's backstory, and at the end of the film he is seen carrying a little girl as he reprises the opening song with the crowd carrying Quasimodo.
- The Gadfly: Clopin during the Feast of Fools. The second he spots Quasi, you can see plainly on his face that mentally he's saying "This is going to be fun."
- Getting Crap Past the Radar:
- God Is Good: Everyone from Frollo to the Archdeacon believes that God will always punish the wicked and aid the righteous.
- Good Shepherd: The Archdeacon is well named; he's the most benevolent character in the story. A lesser man would give a minister with armed soldiers what he wanted but he denies Frollo with a simple rebuke and assures Esmeralda of her safety. He'll put the fear of God into anyone who violates the sanctity of the Cathedral.
- Gosh Dang It to Heck!: Averted. It's the second Disney film that refers to "hell"/"Hell" and the first that outright mentions "Damnation".... Twice in the same scene.
- Green Eyes: Esmeralda. Her name even means emerald.
- Groin Attack: Quite a few, once notably with a bottle cork. Also, pity those poor guards who ran afoul of the guy in stilts. Ouch.
- The Grotesque: Quasimodo won a prize for being the ugliest person in Paris.
- Hair Decorations: Esmeralda wears a pink ribbon in her hair.
- Handicapped Badass: For a guy with a spine like a boomerang, Quasimodo is surprisingly nimble and strong. Not only can he lift a grown woman over his head, he broke solid iron chains with his bare hands. All this from years of ringing big, heavy bells and leaping around the cathedral (see Le Parkour below).
- Hanging Judge: The only way Frollo will not pronounce you "guilty" is if you agree to sleep with him.
- Happy Harlequin Hat: The points of the King of Fools crown droop and have bells on the end like the flaps of a jester's cap.
- Heel Realization: Frollo, for a fraction of a second toward the end of the opening sequence. He gets over it.
- He Who Fights Monsters: Clopin was perfectly willing to execute a pair of Esmeralda's friends because he thought they were spies of Frollo. That kind of "justice" is similar to the kind of thing Frollo does.
- Holier Than Thou: Frollo again, during his song "Hellfire".
Beata Maria, you know I am a righteous man; of my virtue I am justly proud,
Beata Maria, you know I'm so much purer than the common, vulgar, weak, licentious crowd.
- Homeschooled Kid: Poor Quasimodo—Frollo royally sucks as a teacher, seeing that Quasimodo is still learning the alphabet at age 20. Then again, this is set at a time when most people were completely illiterate, so he's still ahead of the curve. It's possible that he's purposefully not teaching Quasimodo everything so he could keep him as uneducated as possible. He doesn't want Quasi to get any ideas... (after all, "damnation" is listed twice).
- Horsing Around: Phoebus' horse, when he was told to "sit". His face seemed well smug. Self-satisfied maybe?
- Hot Gypsy Woman: Esmeralda status as such informs the plot; Frollo wants to both kill her and possess her.
- Humiliation Conga: Quasimodo undergoes one after Frollo's guards incite a riot.
- Hypocrite: Frollo as laid out in his villain song; he repeatedly says it's not his fault while the red robes point out that it is.
- If I Can't Have You:
Hellfire, dark fire. Now Gypsy, it's your turn!
Choose me or your pyre,
Be mine, or you will burn!
God have mercy on her...
God have mercy on me...
But she will be mine, or she... will... burn!
- Incredibly Long Note:
- "The Bells of Notre Dame" (and its reprise), "Out There", and "Hellfire".
- Clopin holds the A of Esmeralda's name for an incredibly long time in "Topsy Turvy" too.
- Improbable Aiming Skills: Frollo tells his soldiers to not hit his horse when stopping Phoebus. To their credit they DON'T hit the horse!
- In the Hood: Esmeralda uses a cloak to disguise herself and evade the guards.
- Ironic Name: According to the DVD Commentary, Frollo apparently named his big scary black horse "Snowball".
- I Should Have Done This Years Ago: During the climax, Frollo admits that Quasimodo's mother risked her life trying to save him, rather than abandoning him like Frollo had claimed. While Quasi is still reeling, Frollo says that he's going to do what he should have done "TWENTY YEARS AGO!" and tries to kill him.
- It's All About Me: Frollo only spares Quasimodo because he believes he may be useful to him later. He also seems to have no problem committing mass murder and destroying Paris to get rid of a single woman who isn't even to blame for his own problems.
- It's Quiet... Too Quiet:
[While searching for the Court of Miracles]
Phoebus: Speaking of trouble, we should have run into some by now.
Quasimodo: What do you mean?
Phoebus: You know, a guard, a booby trap...
[His torch goes out, leaving them in complete darkness]
Phoebus: ... Or an ambush.
- I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Quasimodo does what he can to make Esmeralda happy, including blessing her relationship with Phoebus at the end.
- "I Want" Song:
- Played straight with "Out There", in which Quasimodo sings about wanting a day of freedom.
- Inverted with "God Help the Outcasts" as Esmeralda specifically does not want anything for herself, but asks God to help others who are worse off than she is.
- Played for drama with "Hellfire", a mix between an Obsession Song, a Sanity Slippage Song, a Villain Song, and a Villain Love Song that ultimately conveys that wanting something can turn you into even more of a depraved person that you already are.
- Jerkass Has a Point:
- Phoebus calls the Gypsies "criminals and dangerous". He's not entirely wrong; the Court of Miracles is a hang out for "scoundrels".
- Also, Frollo warns Quasimodo that people will be cruel to him if he goes out of Notre Dame, and boy, is he right.
- Joker Jury: Quasimodo's and Phoebus' trial in the Court of Miracles. It is a mockery of Frollo's corruption of justice where the Gypsies are concerned, but ends up coming dangerously close to what it is mocking. This is reinforced when, while pronouncing sentence on Phoebus and Quasimodo ("I am the lawyers and judge all in one!"), one of Clopin's split-second costume changes is into a reasonable facsimile of Frollo's, though since he believes them to be Frollo's spies, he probably did it deliberately for the irony.
- Just for Pun: Frollo of all people!
Frollo: I'm sure you'll... whip my men into shape.
- Karmic Death: It's heavily implied that God himself is smiting Frollo. The molten lead Frollo falls into also suspiciously resembles Hell, and the gargoyle that comes alive to drag him down reminds us of someone. The fact that Frollo had said, "And He shall smite the wicked and plunge them into the fiery pit" right before all this reinforces the idea.
- Kick the Dog: Frollo does this a lot in the movie. Especially shoving the Archdeacon down a flight of stairs. It's far from being the worst thing he does, but it's still considered one of those things that you're not supposed to do, and gets bonus points for showing his contempt for religious authorities who get in the way in a way that contrasts with his role as The Fundamentalist at the same time.
- Knight in Shining Armor: Phoebus. Not only does he look the part with his armor and horse but he acts the part in protecting Esmeralda and saving the family trapped in a burning house.
- Knight Templar: Judge Claude Frollo in a nutshell. He is very much convinced that he is a righteous man of God, but there is nothing righteous or godly about what he does throughout the movie. Clopin tells us all we need to know about him during his introduction:
Judge Claude Frollo longed to purge the world of vice and sin,
And he saw corruption everywhere... except within.
- Kubrick Stare:
- When Quasimodo finally decides that he's taken enough crap from Frollo, and that violin starts softly playing in the background...
- Esmeralda gives one to Frollo just after spitting in his face while tied to the stake. Later in that same scene, Frollo manages a chilling stare himself. From Esmeralda's point-of-view, she sees Frollo through the distorted air above the flames grinning maniacally through the smoke.
- Lack of Empathy: Frollo believes that gypsies are incapable of real love and tells Quasimodo that Esmeralda was simply using him the entire time so that she could escape from the judge.
- Lady in Red: Esmeralda wears an alluring red dress during her performance at the Feast of Fools.
- Large Ham: Clopin. "Court of Miracles" has him dancing and costume changing and arguing with his puppet while singing.
- In 90% of the music accompanying Frollo, whether song or score, the choir chants "kyrie eleison", which means "Lord, have mercy" in Greek.
- The opening fanfare is also reintroduced at the end of "Heaven's Light", makes up the melody during the chorus of "Hellfire", and plays in the instrumental "Sanctuary!" Also, along with "kyrie eleison", "dies irae" is also thrown in at times. "Dies irae" translates into "Day of Wrath".
- It's very subtle, but in the scene where Quasimodo is chained up in Notre Dame, and the gargoyles are trying to convince him to save Esmeralda, there is a brief reiteration of a melody from "Out There", in particular the line "Every day they shout and scold, and go about their lives, heedless of the gift it is to be them." The same reiteration first appeared in Frollo's line from "Bells of Notre Dame" when he sings, "Just so he is locked away where no one else can see. Even this foul creature may yet prove one day to be of use to me." Then it briefly comes back in "Topsy Turvy", when the crowd discovers that Quasimodo's face is no mask. Finally, you can last hear it when Quasimodo, Esmeralda, and Phoebus step out of the cathedral in front of a crowd at the end of the movie. It can be safely assumed that this melody from "Out There" is Quasimodo's leitmotif.
- Phoebus has his own motif as well, a five note, military sounding fanfare on the brass. However, it lets us know from the get-go that Phoebus is a decent man, as unlike Frollo's theme, which is dark and moody, Phoebus' theme is in a major key, and has an uplifting tone to it.
- Lean and Mean: Frollo's thin stature is more severe than anyone else. His foil is more stout.
- Lighter and Softer: It's definitely lighter in tone than the book. Many of the elements and themes presented in the novel—like Quasimodo's hate and contempt for most people or Phoebus being a jerk trying to take advantage of an innocent young girl—were either changed or taken out completely. This is even more the case with the sequel in comparison to the original movie.
- Lightning Bruiser: For such a stocky, barrel-chested guy Quasi is remarkably agile and fast.
- Listing The Forms Of Degenerates: Frollo's description of the feast of fools...
"Thieves, cutpurses, the dregs of humankind, all meshed together in a shallow drunken stupor..."
- Loophole Abuse: Frollo tries to pull this when Esmeralda indirectly claims sanctuary via Phoebus; since they can't arrest her inside the cathedral, he orders Phoebus to drag her outside. Fortunately, the Archdeacon comes along and tells Frollo off.
- Lost in Imitation: The film is based quite strongly on the 1939 film version, which is also one of the furthest from the book. Ranging from Frollo being a judge rather than the archdeacon, Phoebus being a genuinely heroic character rather than the jerkass he was in the novel, and the overall story and plot structure changed completely. It is still generally considered an enjoyable movie.
- Love at First Sight: Poor Esmeralda must have had some Love Potion No. 9 before the Feast of Fools because everyone wants her immediately. Inverted with Esmeralda personally; though she falls in love with Phoebus at first sight in the book, in this adaptation she's both distrusting but fascinated by Phoebus and doesn't necessarily fall for him until she witnesses him saving an innocent family from a burning house after refusing Frollo's order to burn it himself.
- Love Hurts: When Quasimodo witnesses Esmeralda's and Phoebus' kiss and realizes that they are in love with each other.
- Lovely Assistant: Esmeralda is this to Clopin; after he gives the introduction he calls her out and she dances for the crowd.
- Love Makes You Evil: Frollo's unhealthy obsession with Esmeralda drives the plot. Although in this adaptation, all it did was send him completely over the edge; the man was pretty evil to begin with.
- Loves the Sound of Screaming: Frollo, if his reaction to overhearing a prisoner's torture is anything to go by.
- Love Triangle: Quasimodo falls in love with Esmeralda, who in turn falls for Phoebus. Frollo's lust for Esmeralda forces it into a tetrahedron.
- Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: The film remains ambiguous as to whether Quasimodo's gargoyle friends are really magical stone creatures that only Quasimodo can hear or just his imaginary friends. On one hand, no one else interacts with them (except for that quick kiss gag) but on the other hand, who pushed the catapult off if not them?
Frollo: Can stone... talk?
Quasimodo: No, it can't.
- Madonna–Whore Complex: Quasimodo idolizes Esmeralda (who is a good person but is still human), seeing her as a perfect angel in "Heaven's Light", while Frollo sees her as a sinful seductress for giving him lustful thoughts, as evidenced best by "Hellfire". These two songs go straight from one to the other as well. Phoebus is the only one who sees her as a good-but-flawed human being.
- Meaningful Echo: "Nobody wants to stay cooped up here forever." First said by Quasimodo to a little baby bird that he is encouraging to fly, later said by Laverne to Quasi when she, Victor, and Hugo encourage him to go to the Feast of Fools.
- Meaningful Name: Quasimodo means "half formed", Esmeralda means "emerald", and Phoebus means "sun god" (aka Apollo, who was the patron god of many things, including truth and healing).
- Midword Rhyme:
- In "The Bells of Notre Dame":
Dark was the night when our tale was begun
On the docks near Notre Dame.
Four frightened gypsies slid silently un-
-der the docks near Notre Dame.
- And in "Out There":
Out there, sitting in the sun,
Give me one day
Out there; all I ask is one,
To hold forever
Out there, where they all live un-
What I'd give, what I'd dare
Just to live one day out there.
- And in the reprise of "The Bells of Notre Dame":
Whatever their pitch, you
Can feel them bewitch you,
The rich and the ritu-
Of the bells of Notre Dame.
- Mildly Military: Frollo's authority is vaguely defined and appears to have no limits, as it seems as far as the movie's concerned he is the Knight Templar dictator of Paris. He commands a sizable garrison in the city, and can slaughter suspects and burn property at will. The movie makes mention of the King and that there is a war that Phoebus was called back from. It's possible that the King is off leading the war effort and Frollo is in charge in his absence.
- Mondegreen: An in-universe one. Laverne mishears "Frollo's wrong about both of us" as "Frollo's nose is long and he wears a truss."
- Mood Whiplash:
- The gargoyles' goofy jokes often seem out of place, especially when Frollo's running around trying to slaughter the Gypsies:
Hugo: Paris, the City of Lovers, is glowing this evening.
True, that's because it's on fire, but still, there's l'amour.
- Used intentionally in the "Heaven's Light/Hellfire" sequence: High among the clouds, Quasimodo sings a heartbreakingly beautiful song of love and hope, having finally found some acceptance and affection from Esmeralda, which segues immediately into Frollo all but masturbating over Esmeralda's scarf and fantasizing about burning her at the stake.
- Done in the Feast of Fools sequence. It starts out with a light-hearted, fun musical number, with a dance interlude from Esmeralda but once the song's over and Quasimodo has been crowned the King of Fools, some Jerkass in the crowd tosses a rotten vegetable at him to see if he can make Quasimodo any uglier. Clopin and the other cheerful characters abruptly disappear, replaced by a cruel mob that ties Quasimodo to a pillory and continues to verbally and physically abuse him until Esmeralda puts a stop to it and rescues him.
- Morality Chain: There is only one thing keeping Frollo in check for a good 50% of the movie: the Archdeacon. He constantly reminds Frollo of his mortality, and also that even though he can deny his atrocities to his subordinates, he can never hide his crimes against the Almighty. He's constantly reminding Frollo of his place.
- Ms. Fanservice: Esmeralda, so much that all three of the other main characters want her. Sick of drawing petite princesses like Ariel and Belle, Disney decided what they really needed was a heroine who looked like a Victoria's Secret model who pole dances.
- Mythology Gag: With the novel in that two of the gargoyles are named Victor and Hugo, and with the rest of the Disney Animated Canon in that Aladdin's flying carpet, Belle, and Pumbaa (Death by Cameo on a spit) can be glimpsed in the "Out There" sequence.
- Narrator: Clopin is an All-Knowing Singing Narrator because unlike most narrators, Clopin is a significant part of the story, though he enjoys himself far too much considering what is going on.
- Never My Fault: One of Frollo's defining personality traits. Anything bad that he does, he blames it on someone else. This includes killing Quasimodo's mother (she ran from his soldiers to protect her son, he ran her down with his horse) and his lust for Esmeralda (blaming Esmeralda herself for the way he feels, even blaming God for allowing the Devil to tempt him). See Blatant Lies. When he figures out Quasimodo helped her escape, he tells Quasimodo that all of Paris is burning because of him, despite the fact that Frollo is the one burning it!
- Never Say "Die": Averted in the Swedish dub of Hellfire.
(English) Frollo: But she will be mine or she will BUUUURN!
(Swedish) Frollo: If she won't be mine then she'll DIIIIE!
- Nice Hat:
- Frollo wears one. The commentary bemoans its existence because it was so difficult to draw. Towards the end of the movie the animators had it randomly fall off Frollo's head just so they wouldn't have to draw it anymore.
- Clopin gets a pretty darned nice hat himself. Big blue pirate number, and a feather that has got to be sentient.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Frollo's Batman Gambit might have failed had Quasi not had his epiphany and led Frollo directly to the Court of Miracles.
- Non-Human Sidekick: Believe it or not, Djali, Esmeralda's adorable and intelligent goat, is not a Disney creation.
- Not a Mask: Happens to Quasimodo during the festival. That horrendous visage is HIS FACE!
- Oblivious to Love: Esmeralda has no idea of Quasimodo's crush.
- Obsession Song: "Hellfire" again. "She will be mine or she will BUUURNN!"
- Oh, Crap:
- One of the Gypsies very clearly has this expression when Frollo first arrives in the Court of Miracles.
- Frollo also has it after Quasimodo throws down a wooden block that smashes his carriage.
- Ominous Latin Chanting: Given the setting, this happens often. A good deal of it is during Frollo's Villain Song where it quotes Latin Catholic prayers.
- Opposite Day: The Feast of Fools. "Once a year we turn everything upside down; every man's a king and every king's a clown!"
- Our Gargoyles Rock: The Plucky Comic Relief trio, and the bat-head-from-hell that turns on Frollo in the climax.
- Parental Abandonment: Frollo claims that Quasimodo's mother abandoned Quasimodo when he was an infant when in reality Frollo murdered her. His dad is presumably dead as well, since he was captured by Frollo's thugs the same night Quasimodo's mom was murdered.
- Parental Bonus: The movie is loaded with it but the best example is probably Esmeralda's pole dance.
- Le Parkour: How Quasimodo gets around the Cathedral exterior. Apparently he gets it from his mother, who was able to vault over fences, one-handed and carrying a baby.
Esmeralda: You're quite the acrobat.
- Perverted Sniffing: Frollo sniffs Esmeralda's hair at one point. Both the audience and Esmeralda herself know that he was not imagining a rope around her neck, as he claims he did.
- Pet the Dog: Averted. Frollo sparing Quasimodo's life in the prologue and raising him might have been an act of kindness for an otherwise wicked person and even become a redeeming factor if his reasoning wasn't screwed up in the first place and he did right by it. Frollo twists it around for the following reasons. First off, he only does it after the Archdeacon tells him to. Second, he does it simply because he fears God may punish him for his sins. Third, he refuses to allow Quasi into his household, and exiles him to the belltower for the rest of his life. Fourth, he simply sees Quasi as a pawn he may use later on, and never truly accepts him as his son. Fifth, he lies about the death of Quasi's mother instead of revealing the truth when Quasi's ready that he raised him to atone for her death. Sixth, he's emotionally abusive towards Quasi, drilling it into his head that he's just a monster whom no one but him could "love".
- Politically Incorrect Villain: Frollo compares Gypsies to ants earlier in the movie, and alludes to his genocidal intentions by squishing an ant nest.
- Power Trio: Hugo is led by whims, Victor is very moral, and Laverne is in the middle—Id, Ego, Superego.
- Pragmatic Adaptation: Admittedly, it isn't an accurate adaptation of the book, but on its own merits, it is a very enjoyable film.
- Prayer of Malice: Frollo's song "Hellfire" includes a prayer to the Virgin Mary for Esmeralda to burn in hell or else become his.
- Produce Pelting: After Quasimodo is crowned the "King of Fools", he is strapped to a pillory and spun around while the crowd throws vegetables at him, such as tomatoes.
- Public Execution: The climax of the film involves Quasimodo trying to rescue Esmeralda from being burned at the stake in public by Frollo.
- Punished for Sympathy: Frollo orders Phoebus to burn down a mill with the miller and his family still inside. Not only does Phoebus refuse, but when Frollo sets the fire himself, he goes in to rescue the family. Frollo would have had him executed for treason right then and there, had Esmeralda not come to the rescue.
- Putting a Hand over His Mouth: Victor does this to prevent Hugo from spitting on a mime.
- Rescue Romance: Played with. Quasimodo falls in love with Esmeralda after she rescues him; Frollo ironically develops his lust for her due to this incident. Esmeralda, on the other hand, is oblivious to the former and is disgusted by the latter. After they rescue each other several times, Esmeralda and Phoebus end up falling for each other, but only when they rescue other people (Phoebus falls for Esmeralda when she rescues Quasimodo, and Esmeralda falls for Phoebus when he rescues the miller's family).
- Rivals Team Up: Quasimodo and Phoebus team up to warn Esmeralda of Frollo's ambush on the Gypsy hideout at dawn. Frollo followed Quasimodo and Phoebus, leading him straight to the hideout.
- Roma: Clopin, Esmeralda, Quasimodo, and Quasimodo's mother.
- Rousing Speech: Phoebus in the climax. "Our people" in this context likely refers to the French that Frollo terrorized, made homeless, and (probably) murdered innocent people in his obsessive search for Esmeralda. At the very least, a pretty large section of Paris was burning because of Frollo's actions.
Phoebus: Citizens of Paris! Frollo has persecuted our people! Ransacked our city! And now, he has declared war on Notre Dame herself! Will we allow it?
- Sadistic Choice: Frollo gives Esmeralda one last chance to decide her fate before her execution: "Choose me or the fire." She spits in his face.
- Saintly Church: The cathedral itself, since there are hints that it has a life of its own and is silently watching everything. The fact that a gargoyle on it comes to life to make Frollo fall to his death would back this up. That also applies to the 3 gargoyles. They were sent/brought to life to watch over Quasimodo, thus setting up all the events that have occurred through the film. Finally, Genius Loci (in the form of a patron saint) is Church doctrine.
- Samaritan Relationship Starter: Esmeralda and Phoebus are initially attracted to but wary of each other, but they only fall for each other after each witnesses the other committing a noble and selfless act (e.g. Esmeralda defending Quasimodo from Frollo; Phoebus refusing to burn an innocent family in their house and rescuing them).
- Sanity Slippage Song: "Hellfire" is like a visual metaphor of Frollo's religious hypocrisy collapsing in on itself.
- Scenery Porn: The Cathederal of Notre Dame is drawn with perfect accuracy. When you visit her IRL and slowly come to the realization that the artist painted every single statue correctly as possible, it gets even better. The medieval statues which were once part of the facade of the cathedral and are now stored in a small museum on the other bank of the Seine.
- Seeking Sanctuary: Esmeralda does this when Frollo tries to capture her inside Notre Dame.
- Sex Is Evil and I Am Horny: Frollo is a pure case of this (Flanderized from the book version, who too had more than a hint of this), believing Esmeralda to be a evil witch who has enchanted him — since that's the only reason he could be in love with her — and trying to have her burnt at the stake for it.
- Laverne near the end tells the pigeons that are always bugging her to "fly my pretties, fly, fly!" (which is a Beam Me Up, Scotty!) complete with the original backing music from The Wizard of Oz. Also a shout out to one of Alfred Hitchcock's movies, "The Birds".
- Quasi and the gargoyles' relationship (and the fact that they can move (and shoot crunched-up rocks at rapid fire speed) even though they are probably imaginary (although Djali and quite a few soldiers would argue)) is similar to the relationship of Calvin and Hobbes.
- Beauty and the Beast, considering her brief cameo in the beginning, when Paris is panned and Belle is seen strolling along reading yet another book. She does live in France, after all.
- Two of the gargoyles are named "Victor" and "Hugo".
- During the scene when Frollo goes out on the parapet after Quasimodo and Esmeralda, Pumbaa appears again as one of the gargoyles. Subverted in that it is modeled after an actual gargoyle on Notre Dame.
- The climax, with the dramatic Notre Dame battle between Quasimodo, Esmeralda, and Frollo, may have been inspired by the end of Batman, which has Batman, Vicki Vale, and The Joker in a very similar situation atop a gargoyle-filled Gotham Cathedral. And like the Joker, Frollo is sent to his doom by a gargoyle statue and Screams Like a Little Girl too. Both even had an ironic choice of last words (Frollo: "And He shall smite the wicked and plunge them into the fiery pit!"; Joker: "Sometimes I just kill myself!") In the rare moments when Frollo smiles, he strikingly resembles the Joker.
- There are numerous Shout Outs to both Singin' in the Rain and King Kong in Quasimodo's climbing and acrobatics throughout the film.
- One can hear the Goofy yell at one point during the film.
- Silent Snarkers: Djali and Achilles, being a goat and a horse respectively, do not talk but their snark is clear regardless.
- Simpleton Voice: That guard voiced by Bill Fagerbakke.
- Sitting Sexy on a Piano: Laverne during their Disney Acid Sequence.
- Slasher Smile: Frollo briefly sports one as the fire is set to burn Esmeralda at the stake. He also sports one at the climax when he's about to kill Quasimodo and Esmeralda during his "And He shall smite the wicked, and plunge them into the fiery pit!" line.
- Smoke Out: Esmeralda disappears and reappears in a puff of smoke at will.
- The Smurfette Principle: Only Esmeralda, making the main cast at a 3:1 male-to-female ratio. Likewise in the gargoyles, it's 2:1 with Laverne as the only female.
- Spared by the Adaptation: Quasimodo, Esmeralda, and Clopin.
- Spiteful Spit: When Frollo offers Esmeralda a choice between him or death by burning, she chooses the latter by spitting on his face.
- Stalker with a Crush: Frollo, and to a more innocent extent, Quasimodo.
- Straight Edge Evil: Frollo prides himself on his disdain for worldly pleasures, unlike the crowds that debauch in the Festival of Fools. Then he gets horny...
- Straw Hypocrite: Technically Frollo (in this version) is a judge, and is simply religious (or finds religion convenient for his racism and holier-than-thouness). It's implied several times in the film that his religiousness degrades along with his sanity. It is best demonstrated by the first line of his Villain Song "Beata Maria, you know I am a righteous man, of my virtue I am justly proud", since Pride is considered to be the worst of the seven deadly sins in Christianity and especially Catholicism, this line is essentially an oxymoron even if it wasn't Frollo saying it.
- The Storyteller: The introductory sequence is presented as Clopin singing the story of Quasimodo's adoption to a brace of children.
- Sudden Principled Stand: Phoebus against Frollo.
Phoebus: With all due respect, sir, I was not trained to murder the innocent.
- Suffer The Slings: Esmeralda uses a makeshift sling to rescue Phoebus.
- Tempting Fate:
- Frollo says, "And He shall smite the wicked, and plunge them into the fiery pit!" ... whilst standing above a fiery pit.
- Phoebus saying there should be an ambush waiting for them. He considers bad things that could happen, then mentions an ambush only when he realizes that they're about to be ambushed.
- Tenor Boy: Contrast here. Quasimodo looks nothing like a typical tenure but his personality (innocent, kind, etc) is spot on and suits his tenor voice.
- Third-Person Person: Clopin, to judge by his opening narration, although this may have been included solely so the audience would know what his name was (since he isn't called by name at any other point in the movie).
- This Is no Time to Panic: When Quasimodo helps Esmeralda and Djali escape the cathedral.
Quasimodo: Don't be afraid.
Esmeralda: I'm not afraid.
[Quasimodo jumps and the trio is dangling over the ground a second later]
Esmeralda: Now I'm afraid.
- The Stinger: A twelve-second clip of Hugo telling the audience "Goodnight, Everybody!" and engaging in some insane banter plays as the last roll of the credits pops up on the screen.
- Timmy in a Well: Djali saves Phoebus and Quasi from hanging by running to get Esmeralda.
- Title Drop:
- In the middle of the Feast of Fools, Clopin crowns Quasimodo with one of these.
Clopin: Ladies and gentlemen, don't panic! We asked for the ugliest face in all Paris, and here it is! Quasimodo, the hunchback of Notre Dame!
- Several non-English dubs share this title drop, such as Swedish ("Det är Ringaren i Notre Dame!") and Finnish ("Se on Notre Damen kellonsoittaja!"). The Japanese dub of the film, however, changed the movie's title to "The Bells of Notre Dame" because "hunchback" is too much of an insult to say. This introduces other Title Drops, however; particularly the opening and ending song.
- Too Dumb to Live: Frollo, when he is telling Quasimodo the truth in how the former killed the latter's mother, then attempted to kill Quasi. At that point, he's just begging to be thrown into the fires below.
- Totem Pole Trench: Esmeralda is known for doing this to hide from the soldiers. She does this by carrying Djali on her shoulders and wrapping a blanket around them so they could pass as an old man.
- Trick-and-Follow Ploy: How Frollo finds the Court of Miracles; he tells Quasi that he's already found it so Quasi goes to warn them, thus enabling Frollo to find it.
- Two Guys and a Girl: Quasimodo, Phoebus, and Esmeralda for a Love Triangle.
- Victoria's Secret Compartment: Esmeralda pulls a hankie from her cleavage to use it for a magic trick to escape from Frollo's guards.
- Villain Has a Point: Downplayed, but present. The gypsies all hang out in the Court of Miracles, a bunch of gypsy thieves who make up the criminals of Paris, and who indeed attempt to murder Phoebus and Quasimodo out of hand for finding them, all the while singing a jaunty tune about their crimes. While not all the gypsies are evil, they clearly are aligned with a bunch of bad guys who appear to be mostly gypsies. The problem is that Frollo doesn't care about their crimes.
- Villainous Breakdown: When Quasimodo grabs an unconsciousness Esmeralda from the fire Frollo put her in, climbs up Notre Dame, and declares Sanctuary, Frollo snaps and orders his men to break down the front door and attack. Notable because before Frollo had respected the rules of the Church. Even the Archdeacon asks if he's lost his mind.
- Villainous Crush: Frollo for Esmeralda.
- Villain Song and Villain Love Song: "Hellfire" speaks of Frollo's lust for Esmeralda but it's more than that. It's also about Frollo's Holier Than Thou attitude and his Evil Plan to reconcile the two.
- The Villain Sucks Song: "The Bells of Notre Dame" becomes this in one part.
- Villain World: With the king out fighting a war, Big Bad Frollo runs the show here, he is a genocidal Gypsy-hating tyrant who kills people for committing petty crimes.
- Wham Line: Happens when Quasimodo and Phoebus warn the Gypsies in the Court of Miracles about Frollo's impending attack at dawn.
Phoebus: (to Esmeralda) Don't thank me. Thank Quasimodo. Without him, I would've never found my way here.
Frollo: Nor would I.
- What the Hell, Hero?: During the climax, when Quasimodo has given up on trying to save Esmeralda and tells the gargoyles, who are trying to encourage him to save the day, to leave him alone, the gargoyles respond with disappointment. As they revert back to inanimate stone one by one, they deliver this powerful punch to the gut:
Hugo: Okay. Okay, Quasi. We'll leave you alone.
Victor: After all, we're only made out of stone.
Laverne: We just thought maybe you were made of something stronger.
- While Paris Burns: When Frollo is threatening to burn down all of Paris (and seems to have already burned down quite a bit of it), the gargoyles are singing about how Quasimodo might have a chance with Esmeralda after all.
Paris, the City of Lovers, is glowing this evening.
True, that's because it's on fire, but still, there's l'amour.
- White Stallion: Achilles. It helps with the characterization of Phoebus as a Knight in Shining Armor.
- Wholesome Crossdresser: At one point, Clopin wears a skirt.
- Woman in White: Esmeralda in the climax when she's sentenced to be burnt at the stake. It's the symbol of purity and hence 'innocent victim'.
- Would Hit a Girl/Would Hurt a Child: Frollo shows us within the first five minutes of the film that he is perfectly willing to murder a woman and then drown her infant in a well. He later tried to burn down an innocent family alive in their house and burn a woman at the stake because he couldn't have her.
- X Must Not Win: The gargoyles use this on Quasimodo, who responds to "You can't let Frollo win" with "He already has." Then, upon hearing Frollo's words as he tries to burn Esmeralda alive, Quasimodo changes his mind and keeps fighting anyway.
- Yandere: Frollo and his mad lust....
- You Monster!: An indirect version. In the opening song, narrator Clopin asks "Now here is a riddle to guess if you can: Who is the monster and who is the man?" Frollo does call baby Quasimodo a monster when he sees that the child is misformed, and tries to kill him for it. You can probably figure out on your own to which character the riddle alludes.
The Hunchback of Notre Dame II provides the following tropes (along with many of the above):
- Adult Fear: Zephyr's disappearance and Sarousch using him as a hostage.
- Art Evolution: Inverted. Despite coming out after The Lion King 2, which contained some decent animation, the animation in Hunchback 2 is usually considered to be some of the worst amongst the Disney sequels, along with The Return of Jafar and Pocahontas 2.
- Becoming the Mask: Madellaine, who initially is friendly to Quasi only to find out information, but comes to love him after he treats her with genuine respect and affection.
- Big Brother Instinct: Quasimodo towards Zephyr. While he is already friendly to kids, this kid in particular is his honorary nephew.
- Chekhov's Skill: Madellaine's tightrope walking. Early on she confides to Quasi that she wants to learn it, and he encourages her. At the end, she pulls it off to save Zephyr.
- Crisis Makes Perfect: Madellaine struggles with her ambition to become a tightrope walker. At the end, she pulls it off to save Zephyr.
- Crocodile Tears: Sarousch, when he tries to pin the thefts on Madellaine.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: Madellaine escapes her abusive father figure and finds true love.
Der Glöckner von Notre Dame provides the following tropes (along with many of the above):
- Hollywood Fire: Interestingly averted; it's not the fire that kills Esmeralda but the smoke she inhaled.
- Mad Dreamer: Quasimodo. Here it's made explicit the gargoyles are in his imagination to help him cope with his loneliness.
- Pet the Dog: Instead of saying Quasi would be "of use to him" when he takes him in an act of guilt because of killing his mother (in the film), Frollo says he will take him in as a son. However, Frollo still only visits Quasi in the bell tower to bully him, telling him that he should stay in "sanctuary" in the bell tower because he is "ugly" and "deformed."
- Playing Gertrude: Frollo is now played by a actor who looks to be middle-aged, rather than as an old man like in the Disney film.
- White Stallion: Captain Phoebus rides a white horse because he's the captain.
"Now here is a riddle to guess if you can, sing the bells of Notre Dame, who is the Monster and who is the man?"
The Bells Of Notre Dame