1981’s The Fox and the Hound represented both beginnings and ends in Walt Disney Animation. The film is notable for being one of the last to feature the talents of several of the Nine Old Men. It was also one of the first to showcase some new and upcoming animators, several of whom would go on to make significant impacts in the Disney Renaissance and beyond. Among them include Glen Keane (animator of Ariel) duo of John Musker and Ron Clements (directors of The Little Mermaid), Chris Buck (co-director of Frozen), Tim Burton, Brad Bird and more.
The era in which it was released also put it among an interesting array of Disney films. Sandwiched between The Rescuers and The Black Cauldron, The Fox and the Hound doesn’t get the love from audiences or Disney that I believe it deserves. It is a deep, allegorical tale but sadly, gets no attention in the parks and almost no merchandise. However, The Fox and the Hound was a big success upon its release and it is a shame that it is one of the lesser watched movies of the Disney animated canon.
Watching it again, I was struck with how relatable the themes presented here are to adults, particularly the idea of how a friendship changes over time. At a young age, we see people through a much different eye than we do as we grow older and this is a very powerful thing and something that I appreciate Disney explored with this movie. Though animals, Tod and Copper are characters that we can relate to when we are both young and grown up which gives this film a maturity that I think makes it appeal to a larger audience.
Live-action remake: There is currently no live-action remake planned for The Fox and the Hound.
The Fox and the Hound in the theme parks: Unfortunately, there has been virtually no sign of The Fox and the Hound in any of the theme parks since a brief stint as part of The Main Street Electrical Parade in 1980.
Sequel: A direct-to-video sequel released by DisneyToon Studios was released in 2006.
The Fox and the Hound is available to stream on Disney+.