Starring: Kurt Russell, Mickey Rooney, Pearl Bailey
Director: Ted Berman, Richard Rich, Art Stevens
Running Time: 83 mins
The Fox And The Hound is an American film about a young fox and a young dog who grow up as best friends. However, when they are fully grown, social pressures begin to turn them into enemies by nature.
Good old Disney can tug at your heartstrings better than most, and The Fox And The Hound is yet another example of the legendary studio’s never-ending efforts to rip your heart out and leave you in floods of tears. For the most part, The Fox And The Hound is a really touching, bittersweet tale, although it’s perhaps not quite on the level of Disney’s most heartbreaking stories.
What’s interesting about this film, however, is that it strikes a pretty perfect balance between harsher, more emotional drama and fun-loving entertainment aimed at young children. The 1970s and ’80s weren’t the best period for Disney, often straying too far towards more simplistic and superficial stories, but The Fox And The Hound is one of their better outings from that era.
From their beginnings as young friends, the fox and the hound grow up together in an idyllic part of nature where all can come together and really appreciate the joys in life. Once they are fully grown, however, social pressures around them turn the once best friends against one another in utterly devastating fashion.
It all links into the film’s central message about being true to your friends and true to yourself, a wonderful story that’s a vital thing for young children watching the film to learn, but also a healthy reminder for older viewers who may have experienced the negative effects of growing up and having become subject to so many external pressures.
With wonderful voice performances from Kurt Russell and Mickey Rooney as the adult fox and hound, there is an underlying warmth to their relationship that never goes away, and the strength of that is what keeps you hooked on their story until the finish – with the prospect that friendship might just win out.
On the flipside, it’s fair to say that The Fox And The Hound is occasionally a little one-note in its core emotional themes, lacking the range of challenging drama of classics like Bambi and Dumbo, albeit managing to make its central themes work exceptionally well.
In short, The Fox And The Hound is an excellent blend of all of Disney’s very best strengths, with both a beautiful portrayal of an innocent and carefree childhood, and an emotionally gripping demonstration of how the world changes as we grow up. It’s not necessarily the most heart-wrenching Disney film ever made, but it’s certainly a powerfully moving watch, and that’s why I’m giving the film a 7.6 overall.