Disney / The Rescuers

Art Evolution at work.

A series of two films in the Disney Animated Canon (#23 and #29). Two mice, Miss Bianca (Eva Gabor) and Bernard (Bob Newhart), travel around the world to "R - E - S - C - U - E" cute human children while dealing with their own Unresolved Sexual Tension. The films were based on a series of children's books by Margery Sharp. The main similarities are between the first two books and first film, where an orphan girl called Patience is kidnapped and held as a cleaning slave by a cruel diamond-obsessed Duchess.

The first film, titled simply The Rescuers, was released in 1977. The flamboyantly evil Madame Medusa (Geraldine Page) is trying to get her hands on the world's largest diamond hidden in a gloomy swamp. Needing someone who will fit in a tiny grotto, she kidnaps a disconsolate orphan girl named Penny (Michelle Stacy). Penny sends out a Message in a Bottle asking for help, which is intercepted by the all-mouse Rescue Aid Society, who for some reason, do not put it somewhere the police might find it while they send out their own agents. Bianca (Eva Gabor) and Bernard (Bob Newhart) are then sent out to save her, with help from an albatross named Orville (Jim Jordan) and a dragonfly named Evinrude (James MacDonald).

In 1990, the film was followed by The Rescuers Down Under, which has the dubious honor of being Disney's first animated sequel. Set in the Australian Outback, the Evil Poacher McLeach (George C. Scott) has kidnapped a young boy named Cody (Adam Ryen) in order to snare Marahute, an endangered eagle large enough to ride around on. Naturally, Bianca and Bernard must come to the rescue, with help from Orville's brother Wilbur (John Candy) and Jake (Tristan Rogers), the mouse equivalent to Crocodile Dundee. Down Under was also a pioneer in the use of CGI. Unlike the first film, which was a huge success, Down Under actually failed at the box office, making it the only true failure of the Disney Renaissance.

What makes both the movies interesting in a Real Life sense is how each came during a time when Disney was facing changing fortunes. The first was almost a reflection of how the Disney company was facing up to the death of its founder — the late '70s Disney movies tended to be considerably darker than their forebears, reaching a nadir with the next movie, The Fox and the Hound. These movies both contained utterly gut-wrenching examples of Parental Abandonment. And Madame Medusa's casual nastiness towards Penny in the first movie ("What makes you think anyone would want a homely little girl like you?") comes up against the more outlandish behavior of any Disney villain in history simply because as a verbal shiv, to a freaking child, it has no equal (well, maybe one or two). On the technical side, this film was the first Disney animated film to move away from the hard scratchy outline look that was the norm for Disney animation since 101 Dalmatians thanks to improvements of xerography processing technology to allow a softer look. It was also one of the few box office successes for Disney in the post-Walt/pre-Renaissance era, being the highest grossing animated film of all time until one of its directors challenged Disney with An American Tail nearly a decade later. In addition, this helped give rise to Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers due to originally being a series based off the movie until Down Under was greenlit, at which point Tad Stones helped mold the series into what it was.

In the case of the 1990 movie, Disney was facing a future with computer animation rapidly changing the state of the art. They used the movie as a test bed of their new CAPS coloring system — instead of hand-painting cels, you could now use a computer program to color the animation. This saved a considerable amount of time and hand-drawn animation was now easier to integrate into CGI backgrounds and effects (and also allowed for extensive use of Cel Shading). In Down Under, the test run of this system had mostly decent, sometimes amazing (especially during Marahute's flight), and sometimes mixed results. They had mastered it brilliantly by the time of Beauty and the Beast, the following year.

These films provide examples of:

    open/close all folders 

  • Adventure Duo: Bernard and Miss Bianca.
  • Adult Fear: Both movies:
    • The first features Penny in danger of drowning or even being sucked out to sea through a hole in the cave, as well as running through a dangerous swamp on at least one occasion.
    • Cody's kidnapping in Down Under arguably features even more of this trope than Penny's did, since unlike orphan Penny, Cody has a mother. One powerful scene shows his house while his mother cries "Cody!"
  • All Animals Are Dogs: Joanna the Goanna acts more like a pet dog than anything. She begs, she whimpers, she wags her tail, she crawls through doggy doors, and she watches McLeach's catches like a guard dog. She also is as sneaky - and smart about it - as any hound dog. Medusa also seems to have both her alligators, Brutus and Nero, on leashes, ordering them to retrieve Penny (who is trying to escape their clutches), and the two gators are seen sniffing Bernard and Bianca out with their noses. That said, crocodilians have a very keen sense of smell all on their own.
  • Amplified Animal Aptitude: Even animals that can't talk, such as Evinrude or Joanna, still tend to understand speech and act with human or near-human intelligence.
  • Animation Bump: Each movie was the first to utilize a new animation technique by Disney; Rescuers did away with most of the rough sketching that was used for the frame-by-frame save Medusa, while Down Under was the first in movie history to render 2D animation with computers.
  • Battle Couple: Bernard and Miss Bianca.
  • Butt Monkey: Orville and Evinrude from the 1st movie, and Wilbur from the 2nd.
  • Captain Crash: Both Orville and Wilbur.
  • Cowardly Lion: Bernard. He insists he's just a lowly janitor, he stutters and can be a nervous wreck, but if others are depending on him, he's unstoppable.
  • Evil Is Hammy: Geraldine Page as Medusa and George C. Scott as McLeach. Word of God (in this case Milt Kahl) has it that Geraldine Page nailed every single one of Medusa's lines in one take.
  • Giant Flyer:
    • Marahute is the closest to the trope, but Orville counts as well, at least compared to the size of the mice protagonists.
    • In one scene, Wilbur himself is dwarfed by a trio of massive pink stork-like birds.
  • Heroes "R" Us: The Rescue Aid Society.
    • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Especially in the second film, the Rescue Aid Society looks an awful lot like a rodent United Nations. Considering the Rescue Aid Society IS underneath the actual United Nations, this is probably not a coincidence.
  • I Don't Like the Sound of That Place: Devil's Bayou.
    • A flurry of these in Down Under. Of course, it's likely Jake was making it all up to impress Bianca...
    Jake: So, which way you taking? Suicide Trail through Nightmare Canyon, or the shortcut at Satan's Ridge?
    Bernard: S-s-suicide Trail?
    Jake: Good choice! More snakes, less quicksand. And once you cross Bloodworm Creek you're scot-free, that is until... Dead Dingo Pass.
  • Interspecies Friendship: Involves mice talking to and befriending humans. The first even has a cat talking to and befriending both humans AND mice. The sequel also has Cody feeling very attached to Marahute the eagle, though they can't communicate with each other.
  • Large Ham: Orville, Wilbur and Frank, albeit to a lesser extent than the villains.
  • Market-Based Title: Some international versions of both films either have "Bernard and Bianca" either replace "the Rescuers" or have it as a subtitle. You might also see the title preceded by "the Adventures of".
  • Meaningful Name: Evinrude, the name of the leaf-propelling dragonfly in the first movie, is a well-known manufacturer of boat engines. Could also be considered a Shout-Out.
    • Same with Orville, the albatross.
    • And in the sequel he is replaced by his brother Wilbur.
    • The name Cody is derived from an Irish word meaning "helper".
    • It would be criminal to forget Madame Medusa's pet alligators Nero and Brutus. Actually, Medusa herself qualifies since she's ostensibly named for a malevolent Greek monster.
    • The captive red kangaroo from Down Under named... Red.
  • Misplaced Wildlife: Albatrosses aren't normally found north of the equator, although they were present in Bermuda in prehistoric times. What two of them are doing in New York is anyone's guess.
    • Marahute is also called a golden eagle, which doesn't live in Australia (though the very similar wedge-tailed eagle does).
  • Mouse World: The movies have a secret society of intelligent mice who operate an international organization devoted to save people in trouble.
    • Down Under, at least, is notable for the sheer number of ways the movie shows the mice interacting with humans and their technology, as they go about their business.
  • Never Smile at a Crocodile: Brutus and Nero from the first film. Also the saltwater crocodiles from Down Under.
  • Nice Hat: McLeach and Bianca.
  • Nice Mice: In this world, mice are so nice that they run a planet-wide, clandestine search-and-rescue agency just so they can help people. Miss Bianca (and, by the second film, Bernard) stand out even in this company, risking life and limb for total strangers (who aren't even the same species as them!).
  • Official Couple: Bernard and Bianca.
  • Pretty in Mink: Bianca in Rescuers as well as Medusa.
  • Punny Name: Wilbur and Orville the air service birds.
    • Also, Joanna the goanna. (Goanna being the local Australian name for monitor lizard.)
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Brutus and Nero in the first one, Joanna and some wild crocodiles in the sequel. Frank the frilled lizard is harmlessly insane, so he's an exception to the trope.
  • Reckless Gun Usage: For a poacher, McLeach does not handle his rifle properly, the first instance of this being when he uses it (already loaded and cocked) to pull Cody out of a trap.
  • Scavenged Punk: Much of the equipment in the films is built from human materials, but it's almost purely a background element.
  • Speaks Fluent Animal: Penny and Cody.
  • Suggested By:
    • The Rescuers: ..."The Rescuers" and "Miss Bianca" by Margery Sharp.
    • Down Under: ...characters created by Margery Sharp.
  • Suddenly SHOUTING!: Both movies' respective villains speak like this toward their respective child captives.
    • In the first movie, Medusa demands of Penny after stealing her teddy bear, "You get down there and find the big diamond, or you will NEVER SEE THAT TEDDY AGAIN!!!"
    • In the second movie, McLeach, seeing Cody shaking the cage and demanding to be let go, tells him, "You need to be QUIET!! ...or the rangers might hear you."
  • Talking Animal: Watching the movies, it would seem to be left uncertain whether anyone other than Cody and Penny can actually understand the animals in the series. However Word of God ("Disney's Wonderful World of Reading", 1977) states that the only reason Rufus the cat never told another child or adult at the orphanage about what had happened to Penny was that nobody asked him.
    • The alligators in the first movie and Joanna in the second don't talk, though.
  • 13 Is Unlucky: Meta-example. Thirteen years passed between the theatrical debuts of the two movies, and Down Under ended up being the least successful movie of the Disney Renaissance. (it's the only one to be a clear Box Office Bomb due to opening against Home Alone, and while it did make up some of the loss as a The Classics title on video, it convinced Disney to make the remaining Disney Renaissance films musicals in some part and other sequels outside the canon until Frozen and Wreck-It Ralph.)
    • Humorously, Bernard has a fear of the number thirteen, such as complaining when a stepladder has thirteen steps.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Cute?: The protagonists are cute little mice who ally with a pair of albatrosses, a cat, an army of small swamp animals, a kangaroo rat, and a dragonfly. Meanwhile, the animals serving as the antagonists' Right Hand Attack Dogs are a pair of alligators and a Laughably Evil monitor lizard. The crocodiles that appear in the second film are portrayed as mindless, savage beasts.
  • Would Hurt a Child: The Big Bad of both films most definitely would. Apparently, this is Wilbur's Berserk Button.

    The Rescuers 
  • And the Adventure Continues: Bernard and Bianca are deployed at the end of the movie.
  • Animation Bump: ANY scene with Medusa in the original. She was a notoriously difficult character to draw and animate for anyone whose name wasn't Milt Kahl.
  • Artistic License Geology: As the mice and Penny try to salvage the diamond, they are nearly drowned by a rising tide, even though, during the film's production, one animator pointed out that there is hardly ever any tide in the bayou.
  • As You Know: The viewers learn about the Rescue Aid Society's origin when their current head reminds the other members about it. He even starts with "As you know,".
  • Award Bait Song: "Someone's Waiting For You".
  • Battle Butler: Mr. Snoops appears to be this to Medusa, working as both her hired underling and the guy she sends to chase off anything coming after her.
  • Big "SHUT UP!": Medusa seems to be fond of yelling this at Snoops.
  • Bitch Alert: The movie lets you know very quickly that you're not supposed to like Madame Medusa.
  • The Cameo: Stock Footage of Bambi and his mother grazing in a field can be seen during "Someone's Waiting For You." Some of the birds seen in that film make an appearance as well.
  • Carnivore Confusion: Hand Waved; Rufus says that he's "too old to be chasing mice".
  • Cats Are Mean: Subverted and lampshaded, again by Rufus. Ironically, Don Bluth worked on this film.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • Penny's teddy bear; Medusa puts the Devil's Eye diamond in it to smuggle out of the bayou.
    • Luke's potent "swamp juice" also proves to be strong enough to bump-start the "swampmobile".
  • Creator Cameo: Ollie Johnston modeled Rufus after himself.
  • Companion Cube: Penny's teddy bear.
  • Cool Boat: Madame Medusa's "swampmobile".
  • Covers Always Lie: The 1989 theatrical re-release poster has Rufus in the motorboat. Not once does he set paw in Devil's Bayou. Same goes for the Rescue Aid Society members in the same poster.
  • Cut Lex Luthor a Check: Snoops points out the many, smaller jewels Penny found in the cave and it's revealed there's even more in there. Snoops points out that those gems are worth a fortune, but Medusa is not interested in them. She only wants the Devil's Eye. Though to be fair, the Devil's Eye appears to be the size of a grapefruit (the Hope Diamond, for reference, is the size of walnut).
  • Didn't Want an Adventure: Bernard. "Sure wish we'd taken the train!"
  • The Dog Bites Back: Brutus, Nero and Snoops eventually have had enough of Medusa and she is last seen being attacked by Brutus and Nero while Snoops paddles off without her, laughing.
  • Drives Like Crazy: Madame Medusa. In Cruella De Vil's car, even.
    • This becomes a bit of Fridge Brilliance when you consider she was originally intended to be Cruella De Vil.
    • Implied with Bianca. When Bernard grumbles that they just went through a red light, Bianca replies that she does it all the time.
  • Eek, a Mouse!!: Madame Medusa is so terrified at the sight of Bernard and Bianca that she pulls a gun on them. This despite having two pet alligators.
  • Establishing Character Moment: They're all clear as day. Bernard politely greeting ambassadors and staying in his role as a janitor where people can see him but wistfully singing along with them when he's alone; Miss Bianca charming every male ambassador in the room and being so moved by a child's cry for help that she pleads to have the assignment despite the organization's sexist policies; Medusa answering her phone, not letting Mr. Snoops get a word in edgewise and going from squealing with glee when she thinks she's getting her way to screaming and making demands when a delay comes up...
  • Evil Redhead: Madame Medusa.
  • Excessive Evil Eyeshadow: Madame Medusa.
  • Expecting Someone Taller: Penny is surprised, to say the least, that her rescue party is a pair of mice.
    "Didn't you bring somebody big with you? Like the police?"
  • Expy: One early draft of the film cast Cruella de Vil as the villain. Consequently, Madame Medusa bears more than a passing resemblance to her in both appearance and mannerisms, and she even drives the same car... just as insanely as Cruella did too. Incidentally, Milt Kahl also based Medusa on his ex-wife.
    • The only song from the movie to show up in Cruella's Bayou was "Someone's Waiting For You".
    • It's said that Penny was going to be in Oliver & Company to show how she turned out after getting adopted, but they decided against it and renamed her Jenny.
    • Interestingly; you can notice that Ursula in The Little Mermaid has some scenes with similar animation to Medusa, and like Ursula, she has a pair of dragon-like pets.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Medusa puts on a facade of being sweet and kindly to Penny, apparently in an attempt to make the girl willing to listen to her.
  • Finger in a Barrel: During the climax, an owl stuffs a lit rocket down Medusa's shotgun, leaving her with an Ash Face and tearing the gun to shreds.
  • Flight of Romance: Flying on the back of an albatross brings Bernard and Bianca closer together, but it takes until the sequel for Bernard to confess his feelings.
  • Foreshadowing: In Medusa's pawn shop there's a small sign that says 'NRA'.
  • Gargle Blaster: Luke's "swamp juice".
  • Girlish Pigtails: Penny.
  • Happily Adopted: Penny at the film's end.
  • I Have Your Wife: Madame Medusa eventually resorts to this with Penny's teddy bear to get her to retrieve the Devil's Eye.
  • Kick the Dog: Madame Medusa's line "What makes you think anyone would want a homely little girl as you?" It's a line almost shocking in its cruelty towards a young child, especially when you remember how Medusa throws it at Penny without even thinking about it.
  • Leaf Boat: Bernard and Bianca use a large leaf propelled by Evinrude the dragonfly in order to find and rescue Penny.
  • Light is Not Good: Mr. Snoops wears a yellow sportcoat and pants.
  • Losing a Shoe in the Struggle: Bianca loses her hat as Brutus and Nero try to catch them in the organ.
  • Maybe Ever After: Bernard and Bianca don't explicitly become a couple, but there are clear hints of an attraction between them and they stay working together, while also being very affectionate to each other. They get together in the sequel, although it's implied they have been dating for a while before getting engaged.
  • Message in a Bottle: Sent by Penny to start all the action.
  • Mineral MacGuffin: The Devil's Eye.
  • Minion with an F in Evil: Mr. Snoops, to his credit, does seem somewhat concerned with Penny's welfare at points - he's not willing to keep her down in the cave when the tide is rising, for instance.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Madame Medusa and her pet alligators, Brutus and Nero.
  • No Pronunciation Guide: Evinrude's name is interchangeably pronounced "EEE-vin-rude" and "EH-vuhn-rude".
  • Panty Shot:
    • Penny. Medusa's alligator holds her upside down by her bloomers, then later she shows Bernard and Bianca the tooth-holes in them.
    • Medusa has two: once when she's on the chair screaming about the mice and once when the fireworks are used as a diversion when Penny's starting up the swamp-mobile.
  • Parasol Parachute: Bernard and Bianca employ this after Orville gets shot at with fireworks and spirals out of control
  • Parental Abandonment: Penny is an orphan.
  • Product Displacement: Every home release for Rescuers from 1999-2003 omits the first Buena Vista logo and replaces it for Disney's (by this time outdated) white castle Vanity Plate. The 35th Anniversary Edition Blu-Ray and DVD, released 2012, restore Buena Vista's name to the opening.
  • Rouge Angles of Satin: In-Universe. Penny's letter is littered with spelling mistakes like "orfanage" and "trubble."
  • Sequel Hook: The first movie ends with them setting off on another mission; however, an actual sequel had not been planned at the time. When one did finally come out, it featured an almost identical departure scene, from the weather to Wilbur's, er, vertical takeoff.
  • Shout-Out: The alligators have a significant three-tone brass motif, used for dramatic effect. The theme is in fact snitched from The Rite of Spring, used in Fantasia at the dramatic victory of the Tyrannosaurus. A fitting Mythology Gag, come to think of it.
  • Skin Tone Sclerae: Bernard and Bianca (less noticeable on her, since she's already white-furred).
  • Sleep Cute: Bianca falls asleep on Bernard's shoulder. And heads right into a snuggle.
  • Spelling Song: The Rescue Aid Society theme song.
  • Stock Footage:
    • The shots of Medusa driving may have used recycled cels from 101 Dalmatians given that she drives the exact same car as Cruella de Vil. Either that, or they just recycled the rotoscope model.
    • Several voice clips are repeated throughout the movie, two notable clips by Medusa and Bianca respectively being "Snoops? Snoops, get down here!" and "Help! Bernard!"
    • Some shots of Penny running through the swamp during an unsuccessful escape attempt are re-used from a scene of Mowgli running through the jungle.
    • Bambi can be seen grazing with his mother in the "Someone is Waiting for You" scene.
  • Take That!: Milt Kahl based Madame Medusa on his ex-wife, who he particularly hated.
  • 13 Is Unlucky: A reoccurring motif. Bernard is afraid of the number thirteen, especially when it came to the number of steps on a ladder or stairs. The movie also ended on a Friday the 13th if you look at the calendar shown.
  • Truth in Television: The Devil's Eye ends up on display at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History - exactly where the Real Life Hope Diamond was donated, and is displayed to this day.
  • Umbrella of Togetherness: Bernard and Bianca share an umbrella a couple of times while they are under the rain.
  • Villainous Breakdown: "There goes my diamond!"
  • Weaksauce Weakness: Madame Medusa's fear of mice. Especially since she has pet alligators.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Medusa would do anything to get that diamond, even at the risk of Penny drowning in the rising tide.

    Down Under 
  • The Ace: Jake.
  • Airplane Arms: Cody doing a Marahute impression.
  • All There in the Script: The captive Kangaroo is a Red Kangaroo named Red.
  • Animation Bump: The thirteen years between movies helps out a lot, obviously. Most of the animals avoid the "dots for eyes" thing, and the Skin Tone Sclerae thing is avoided with the main characters.
  • Anything but That!: Being killed and skinned is bad enough, but Frank really doesn't want to be made into a lady's purse.
  • Artistic License Biology: Under no circumstances would a modern-day eagle grow to the dimensions of Marahute, whose head is larger than most of Cody. Her wingspan could easily be estimated at well over twenty feet long in some shots (the biggest eagles would be a stretch to reach nine feet), which puts her on par with teratorns and giant pterosaurs. She's also very smart and way more friendly then a typical bird of prey (which would probably attack anyone that tried to touch them).
  • Ask a Stupid Question...: When Cody asks Frank the frilled lizard the following question:
    Cody: Hey! Where did you come from?
  • Awesome Aussie: Jake, a kangaroo rat and champion outdoorsman with whom Bernard battles for Bianca's affection.
    • The villain, McLeach, is an evil version of the Awesome Aussie, a poacher and trader in Australian wildlife who keeps a pet goanna and is able to fight off a horde of hungry crocodiles.
    • And Cody is a kid version of the trope; despite being 8 years old, he scales large cliffs with ease, travels around the outback all by himself, and isn't the least bit impressed by McLeach' tactics to try and make him reveal Marahute's location.
  • Ax-Crazy: McLeach, who clearly enjoys being a violent murderous thug even beyond wanting to make himself rich.
    (as he lowers a helpless child into a crocodile pit) "Now this is what I call fun!"
  • Bald of Evil: A variant; McLeach has notable male-pattern baldness.
  • Big "NO!":
    • McLeach gives off one as he plummets to his doom down the waterfall.
    • So does Cody the moment he's accidentally swept off the cliff when he frees Marahute.
    • And when McLeach says to Cody that someone shot Marahute right out of the sky...
  • Book Dumb: Percival "I didn't make it all the way through third grade for nuthin'!" McLeach is quite uneducated, but don't let that ever make you think he isn't cunning or insidiously clever—especially when you consider he probably built that "truck" of his. That's an impressive piece of engineering.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: Bernard has a very hard time working up the nerve to propose to Bianca. Jake does not help.
  • Code Emergency: The Rescue Aid Society calls a Code Red Emergency Meeting to announce that Cody has been kidnapped.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Jake tames a snake through intimidation to get the gang a lift through marshlands. Bernard pulls the same trick on a razorback boar to save the others.
  • Close-Up on Head
  • Conspicuous CG:
    • The opening sequence.
    • Even more conspicuous: The scenes where Wilbur is flying over the Sydney Opera House and through New York City.
    • Any scene featuring McLeach's half-track.
  • Continuity Nod: Orville's flight number is 13 in the first movie, where Bernard makes a big deal out of it. Even though the superstition never comes up in Down Under, when Wilbur is attempting to land, he identifies himself as Albatross One-Three.
  • Cool Car: McLeach's half-track.
  • Cute Giant:
    • Marahute the giant eagle.
    • To mice, humans are giants, so naturally human children will qualify as cute giants from the perspective of the mice as well.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Krebbs the koala, one of the many animals trapped in McLeach's hideout, seems to be one of these.
    Cody: Frank, you're free!
    Frank: I'm free? I'm free, I'm free, I'm free, I'm free!
    Kangaroo: Shhh... Joanna will hear.
    Krebbs: Double or nothing, he's caught in 5 minutes.
  • Digital Destruction: Some prints of the movie edit the knife throwing scene by replacing the shots where the knives come within inches of hitting Cody with cuts to Joanna in her bathtub, eating animal crackers... probably because the knives were too scary for children.
  • Disappeared Dad: Cody mentions that his dad is "gone" and empathizes with the unborn eagles whose father was shot pre-movie.
  • Disney Villain Death: McLeach narrowly avoids being eaten by crocodiles only to fall off the edge of a waterfall.
  • The Dragon: Joanna, almost literally.
  • Don't Explain the Joke: Wilbur. "Get it? A fair fare? It's a... a play on... never mind."
  • Evil Has a Bad Sense of Humor: Apparently, feeding Cody to crocodiles is McLeach's idea of fun.
  • Evil Poacher: McLeach.
  • Eureka Moment: McLeach realizing Marahute's eggs are Cody's weakness.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Crocodile Falls turns out to be well-named.
  • The Faceless: Cody's mom's face was never shown in the movie. However, in all other productions based on Down Under, she was completely visible.
  • False Reassurance: The mouse doctor on the prospects of his patient: "Now now, my dear. Keep a stiff upper lip. They all come in with a whimper, and leave with a grin." Think about it a minute.
  • Faux Affably Evil: McLeach often acts in a way that is almost charming, but his true, brutish traits always shine through.
  • Fed to the Beast: McLeach tries to feed Cody to crocodiles in the film's climax.
  • Free-Range Children: Cody lives in a very sparsely inhabited area of Australia, and his mom doesn't have any problem with him running around. It's pretty viciously deconstructed when he walks into McLeach.
  • Friend to All Living Things: The opening scenes establish Cody as somebody who has many friends among the local animals and goes out of his way (and puts himself in danger) to rescue animals in trouble. At age eight (see Free-Range Children, above).
  • Gale-Force Sound: Wilbur's radio.
  • Gallows Humor: Krebbs the koala, convinced that escape is hopeless, indulges in some. It's implied he regularly teases Frank about being made into a "lovely lady's purse."
  • Gilligan Cut: Bernard getting Wilbur to sit on Marahute's eggs.
  • Glove Snap: "All right, girls, snap to it! (snap) Oh! That smarts..."
  • Green Aesop: Anti-poaching.
  • Guns Do Not Work That Way: McLeach apparently has a double-barrelled, pump action, side-by-side shotgun with a scope. And a foresight.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Cody, who tries his hardest to protect Marahute from McLeach.
  • Help Mistaken for Attack: During the scene with Marahute the eagle trapped under rope, when Cody arrives to free her, and takes out a knife, Marahute seems to (temporarily) interpret this as an attempt to wound or kill her rather than to free her.
  • Ignoring by Singing: Frank the frill-necked lizard covers his ears and sings "Waltzing Matilda" when Krebbs the koala starts describing what the poacher is going to do to them.
  • Inevitable Waterfall: The site of the aforementioned Disney Villain Death.
  • Ink-Suit Actor:
    • Wilbur bears quite a resemblance to John Candy in terms of facial features.
    • George C. Scott seems like the performance model of McLeach.
  • I Want My Mommy: Wilbur gets scared in the hospital, and calls for mother.
  • Knife Nut: McLeach throws, flourishes, or menaces Cody with a variety of large, unpleasant skinning knives. Of course, as a professional poacher he's got to be skilled with such implements, but does he have to enjoy it so much?
  • Knife Outline: Done intentionally by McLeach when he's trying to intimidate Cody into revealing Marahute's whereabouts.
  • Land Down Under: Naturally.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: McLeach's version of "Home On The Range" mentioned below. The melody is still cheerful, but the words... well, don't ask.
  • Mad Doctor: The unnamed mouse doctor that is assigned to cure Wilbur's back problems is clearly a few eggs short of a dozen. Who else but a Mad Doctor would load syringes in a double-barreled shotgun and use a chainsaw in surgery?
  • Match Cut: Marahute returning Cody to the ground, after they visit her nest.
  • The Millstone: Joanna is one to McLeach.
  • Misplaced Wildlife:
    • Although Australia does have a large native eagle species (the wedge-tailed eagle, which can have a wingspan of over eight feet), she's referred to in the film as the 'great golden eagle', which is either a conflation with a (much smaller) North American species, or more likely a species made up for the purposes of the film.
    • A downplayed example — the presence of crocodiles clearly indicates being set in the Northern Territory, but wombats, only found in the southeast of the continent and Tasmania, are shown among the wild animals early on.
  • Mundane Utility: Though not fully shown, McLeach intends to use a blowtorch to cook his dinner during the "eggs" scene.
  • Musicalis Interruptus: Bernard and Bianca can't get Wilbur's attention until Bernard turns off his stereo.
  • Musical Nod: When the delegates are summoned, a snippet of the Rescue Aid Society's theme (from the first film) features in the score.
  • National Animal Stereotypes: Jake is an Awesome Aussie "kangaroo mouse" who wears a khaki shirt and a slouch hat, uses a boomerang, and talks with an Australian accent. Krebbs the koala and some of the kangaroos have the accent too.
  • Never Smile at a Crocodile: McLeach tries to feed Cody to the crocodiles.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Adam Ryen as Cody and George C. Scott as McLeach. Most of the animals in Down Under as well; only Jake, Krebs the Koala and a handful of kangaroos have noticeable Australian Accents.note 
  • Nothing Can Save Us Now: Jake to Bianca, during the climax.
  • One Dialogue, Two Conversations: Happens to Bernard and Bianca the first time he tries to propose. Bernard tries to propose to Bianca, but misplaces the ring. While he looks for it, Bianca receives word of the mission to Australia, and when Bernard returns and tries to propose again, she thinks he's talking about the mission and accepts. He is delighted, but is perplexed that she wants to do it now, and that she only needs to wear khaki shorts and hiking boots.
  • One Steve Limit: Averted. Usually only noticeable on a second viewing, but one of the R.A.S. members is named Frank, who is clearly not the frilled lizard we meet later on.
  • Parental Abandonment: Cody mentions to Marahute that he 'lost' his father. There are strong implications that he was another victim of the notoriously dangerous Australian Outback, but it could have been actual abandonment.
  • Parrot Expo-what?:
    Mouse Doctor: Bring me the Epidermal Tissue Disruptor!
    [cue chainsaw]
  • The Patient Has Left the Building: Wilbur tries escaping from the hospital in which he was confined after hurting his back, with the Doctor Mouse and his nurses chasing after him, trying to bring him back to the operating room.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: "Your spine needs tender! Loving! Care!"
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: McLeach figuring out how to get Cody to hand over the eagle.
  • Romantic False Lead: Jake for Bianca.
  • Scared of What's Behind You: the Big Bad, McLeach, starts bragging about having "whooped" a bunch of crocodiles...only to turn around and see that they were really trying to avoid the Inevitable Waterfall.
  • Seldom-Seen Species: Australia - it's not just for kangaroos! Tons of seldom-seen species are present, but they're all extras: the three prominent Australian animals are Marahoute (who's called a golden eagle, but seems to be either a fictional species or a massively oversized wedge-tailed eagle), Jake (who could be a member of any of several small hopping mouse-like species), and Joanna (a monitor lizard, most likely a Spence's monitor given her size). Additionally, the bird chart Jake looks at when Wilbur is about to land shows such rarities as scrubbird, lorikeet, honeyeater, butcherbird, galah, noisy miner, rufous whistler (misspelled as "rufus whistler"), crested bellbird, freckled duck and flowerpiercer (the last one being a South American species - it was probably confused with the similarly-named flowerpecker, which does live in Australia).
  • Sequel Goes Foreign: As you can tell from its name, the second movie shifts the action to Australia.
  • Shark Pool: The waters near Croc Falls, which, appropriately enough, are infested with crocodiles!
  • Shoot the Rope: How McLeach tries to drop Cody in with the crocs. He doesn't find it as easy as it is in most movies.
  • Soft Water: Averted when McLeach falls of a waterfall to his death.
  • Something We Forgot: The film ends with Wilbur as an unwilling babysitter to Marahute's newly-hatched chicks.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Wilbur is Orville's previously unknown brother as Jim Jordan, who voiced Orville, died before the second film was produced.
  • That Liar Lies
    McLeach: It's over boy, your bird's dead. Someone shot her. Shot her right out of the sky! [makes a shooting gesture] BANG!
    [Joanna pretends to be shot and falls dead on Cody's lap]
    Cody: [backs away] NO!
    McLeach: What do you mean "no"? Calling me a liar?
  • Took a Level in Badass: Happens to Bernard the moment he decides to wrestle a razorback to the ground.
  • Underside Ride:
    • Bernard, Miss Bianca and Jake get under McLeach's truck to follow him when he goes after Cody.
    • Wilbur pulls off a variant when he taxis in an airplane wheel compartment.
  • Villain Song: McLeach sings his own short one to the tune of Home on the Range without musical accompaniment.
    McLeach: Home, home on the range, where the critters are tied up in chains! I cut through their sides, and I rip off their hides, and the next day I do it again! Everybody!
  • Wham Line: "I've already got the father."
  • With This Ring: The first time Bernard tries to propose, the ring falls off his pocket and he has to go through some awkward moments to get it back.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Ironically, in this film we know what happened to the mice: it's a bunch of other creatures that drop off the movie's radar. What happened to the rest of the animals caged up in McLeach's hideout? They get plenty of screen time, names and personalities start getting established, and then... we never see them again.
    • Possibly intended and lampshaded example: No-one returned for Wilbur or Marahute's eggs, either. We also never get shown a different joyful reunion between parent and off-spring at the end: Cody and his mother. It doesn't help that the latter of whom likely still thinks Cody's dead.
  • The World Is Just Awesome: Ahem. Marahute's Flight.
  • Vocal Evolution: Miss Bianca's voice in the sequel sounds more quiet and slower then in the first film.

Alternative Title(s): The Rescuers Down Under