Asterix the Gaul (Astérix le Gaulois in French) is a 1967 French-Belgian animated film directed by Ray Goossens.
It is the first feature length Animated Adaptation of the Asterix comic books, and is based on the namesake album, Asterix the Gaul, which is the first entry in the comic-book series. Gérard Calvi composed the film's score, and Roger Carel voiced Asterix for the first time.
For the tropes common to both the comic book and the film, see the comic book's page.
Asterix the Gaul provides examples of:
- Anachronism Stew: During the traditional end feast to celebrate the heroes' return, Cacofonix plays a chord instrument looking like a violin, and sounding like it. The first clear historical traces of violin-like instruments date back to the 16th century, over 1500 years later.
- Art Evolution: In an inversion of the Depending on the Artist entry below, Getafix and Obelix look very much like their later, more classic depictions here, when compared to the namesake comic-book album.
- Artistic Title: The first part of the film's opening has the faces of the main Gaulish characters (in order: Cacofonix, Vitalstatistix, Getafix, Obelix and Asterix) drawing themselves, with only Asterix's face moving, doing a small wink to the viewer.
- Covers Always Lie: While the poster claims it to be "A film by Goscinny and Uderzo", the film's actual director was Ray Goossens. In fact, Goscinny and Uderzo had nothing to do with the film's production, and publicly disowned it. The nearest it gets to living up to this moniker is the fact that the storyline is practically a 1:1 adaptation of the comic, with only very minor differences.
- Diegetic Soundtrack Usage: When going into the forest, Asterix whistles the film's theme.
- Early Installment Character-Design Difference:
- The design of Asterix's face (with a much bigger nose and a much longer moustache) by Belvision is a bit jarring since it was made when Albert Uderzo had already settled on a definitive and iconic character design for him in the comic books (this was the year Asterix the Legionary was published, and Asterix's design in it has not changed much since), which is explained by the fact that both Uderzo and Goscinny were not consulted when the film was made. It's made even weirder by the fact that Asterix's comic-book accurate face is in the first part of the film's opening titles.
- It's even more noticeable for Julius Caesar, who doesn't look like his album counterpart, let alone his later depictions in the series. Notably, he has black hair instead of white hair.
- Vitalstatistix is much slimmer than in the comic books, and his head is bigger.
- Early-Installment Weirdness:
- Like it was the case with the album itself, the Art Evolution is noticeable when compared to further installments. The animation work by the Belgian studio Belvision was also cruder, similarly to their early animated adaptations of Tintin in the late 1950s and early 1960s. The Animation Bump was noticeable right away between this film and the next one, Asterix and Cleopatra, which came out the following year.
- The English dub also has an example, with none of the characters called their standard English translation names, as the dub was done before the albums were released in English but released afterwards. Notably, Getafix is called by his original French name, Panoramix.
- Four-Fingered Hands: Unlike in the comics and the subsequent animated movies, the characters are drawn here with four fingers instead of five.
- Sleepyhead: Centurion Phonus Balonus (Caïus Bonus in French) is first seen taking a nap on his chair when the Roman patrol that just got curb-stomped by Asterix comes back at the camp for report. This part is not in the comic book.
- Theme Tune: This one, which can also be interpreted as Asterix's personal leitmotif. It was composed by Gérard Calvi, and would be rearranged for the next film, Asterix and Cleopatra. Calvi returned for the score of The Twelve Tasks of Asterix, but did not reuse the theme this time around.