Disney’s 1981 animated feature film, The Fox and the Hound, tells the heart-wrenching story of the unlikely friendship between Tod (Mickey Rooney), an abandoned fox taken in by the Widow Tweed (Jeanette Nolan) and Copper (Kurt Russell), a hound puppy who will soon grow up to be a hunter. As the two grow older, their friendship is put to the ultimate test in this animated classic based on a novel by author Daniel P. Mannix. Now, you can stream The Fox and the Hound on Disney Plus, which launched this morning, (and ball your eyes out).
Directed by Ted Berman, Richard Rich and Art Stevens, The Fox and the Hound was Disney’s most expensive animated featured at the time it was released, with a budget of $12 million. Watch The Fox and the Hound online to get the whole story and hear wonderful musical performances by Pearl Bailey (who voices Big Mama the owl), and read on in this The Fox and the Hound streaming guide to find out more about the all-star cast, what the critics thought and more.
Here’s how to stream The Fox and the Hound right now on Disney Plus:
How to Stream ‘The Fox and the Hound’ – Exclusively on Disney+
The Fox and the Hound is one of the classic animated Disney movies that will be streaming exclusively on Disney’s new subscription streaming service, Disney+.
You can sign up for Disney+ HERE, which will allow you to stream The Fox and the Hound and hundreds of other movies and shows on your computer, phone, tablet, smart TV or streaming device. The service costs $6.99/month. You may also opt for this discount bundle of Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+ for $12.99/month.
- 1. Sign up for Disney+ here
- 2. Go to Disneyplus.com or download the Disney+ app on your device
- 3. Log in using your information
- 4. Search for “Eddie’s Million Dollar Cook”
- 5. Start streaming
Disney+ also boasts a vast library of Disney-owned movies and series — plus several new original series coming soon. The service includes unlimited downloads so you can watch offline whenever and wherever you want. The list of compatible devices and smart TVs includes Apple iOS devices, Apple TV, Amazon devices, Amazon Fire TV, Android, Chromecast, Roku, PS4, and Xbox One.
‘The Fox and the Hound’: Overview
Release Date: July 10, 1981
Creators: Executive Producer Ron Miller; Producers Wolfgang Reitherman and Art Stevens; Writers Daniel P. Mannix (original book), Larry Clemmons, Ted Berman, David Michener, Peter Young, Burny Mattinson, Steve Hulett, Earl Kress, and Vance Gerry
Director: Ted Berman, Richard Rich, and Art Stevens
Starring: Mickey Rooney, Kurt Russell, Pearl Bailey, Jack Albertson, Sandy Duncan, Corey Feldman
Synopsis: Tod the fox and Copper the hound are two young best friends “who didn’t know they were supposed to be enemies”—but as they grow older and grow apart, their friendship is put to the ultimate test.
How Long Is ‘The Fox and the Hound’?
The 1981 animated adventure The Fox and the Hound is 83 minutes long.
‘The Fox and the Hound’ Plot
When a young fox becomes motherless, Big Mama the owl helps him find his way to the Widow Tweed, who takes him in, names him Tod, and cares for him like a pet. Meanwhile, the Widow Tweed’s neighbor, Amos Slade, brings home a new hound puppy, Copper, to train as a hunting dog. Tod and Copper meet and quickly become best friends, but when Tod enters Copper’s yard and accidentally wakes Chief, Slade’s experienced fox hound, Slade, and Chief chase him until Tweed intervenes. Slade tells Tweed he’ll kill Tod if the fox comes into his yard again.
Big Mama and others try to warn Tod that his friendship with Copper is dangerous, but he won’t listen. Months pass as Slade takes Copper and Chief to the wilderness to hunt and train. When they return, Tod sneaks over to see Copper and inadvertently wakes up Chief, who alerts Slade. The fox runs, the dogs give chase, and eventually, Copper catches Tod—but lets him go and tries to send Chief and Slade in the wrong direction.
When Tod runs onto the nearby train tracks and Chief is injured by a passing train, Copper and Slade vow revenge. Tweed realizes Tod isn’t safe with her anymore and brings him to a game preserve, where he immediately has trouble adapting to life in the wild. Luckily Big Mama introduces him to a female fox named Vixey, and after making a terrible first impression, Tod recovers and Vixey helps him learn how to survive. However, Copper and Slade decide to trespass into the preserve and take Tod anyway.
After a brutal pursuit, Tod and Vixey are cornered near a waterfall. Just as the foxes are about to meet their end, Slade and Copper encounter a bear. When Slade falls into one of his own fox traps, gun just out of reach, Copper tries to fight the bear, but he’s no match. Tod can’t watch his old friend be killed, so he intervenes and fights until he and the bear both fall down the waterfall.
Copper finds Tod at the bottom and, when Slade aims to shoot the fox, Copper protects Tod. Slade lowers his gun and heads home with Copper. As the movie ends, the Widow Tweed is nursing Slade back to health, Copper and Chief are content in the yard, and Tod and Vixey watch the whole scene from a nearby hilltop.
‘The Fox and the Hound’ Cast
The Fox and the Hound featured lovable animated characters voiced by some old-school Hollywood all-stars. Here are a few of the main players.
Mickey Rooney as Tod
An abandoned fox pup, Tod is adopted by the Widow Tweed and becomes best friends with the young hunting hound next door until reality intervenes. Rooney began his acting career in 1926 and continued acting until his 2014 death. He is beloved for his 1950s television series The Mickey Rooney Show and more recent classics like the 1974 television movie The Year Without a Santa Claus, the 1990s television series The New Adventures of the Black Stallion and Kleo the Misfit Unicorn, and his appearances in Night at the Museum (2006) and Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb (2014).
Kurt Russell as Copper
Copper is Amos Slade’s new hunting hound who becomes best friends with Tod the fox and ultimately has to choose between loyalty to his friend or his human companion. Russell’s well-known work includes Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood (2019), The Christmas Chronicles (2018) and Guardians of the Galaxy and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017), Sky High (2005), Tombstone (1993) and nearly 100 other acting credits dating back to the early 1960s.
Pearl Bailey as Big Mama
Big Mama is the motherly owl who brings Tod to the Widow Tweed and watches over him throughout the story. Bailey (1918-1990) was an actress and musical performer who got her start in 1947. Bailey appeared in a number of well-known television shows including As the World Turns (1982), The Love Boat (1978), The Ed Sullivan Show (1949 and 1961) and The Muppet Show (1978), as well as the television movie Carol Channing and Pearl Bailey: On Broadway (1969).
Jack Albertson as Amos Slade
Owner of Copper, the new hunting pup, and Chief, his experienced counterpart, Amos Slade lives nearby the Widow Tweed and is all about hunting, especially for Tod. Albertson has more than 180 acting credits between 1938 and 1982, including his role as Grandpa Joe in the 1971 favorite Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.
‘The Fox and the Hound’ Songs and Soundtrack
The Fox and the Hound treats audiences to several numbers by famed musical performer and actress Pearl Bailey: “Best of Friends,” written by Richard O. Johnston and Stan Fidel; and “Lack of Education” and “Appreciate the Lady” by Jim Stafford. Stafford also wrote “A Huntin’ Man,” performed by Jack Albertson. Finally, the tear-jerking “Goodbye May Seem Forever” was written by Richard Rich and Jeffrey C. Patch and performed by Jeanette Nolan, voice of the Widow Tweed.
‘The Fox and the Hound’ at the Box Office
The Fox and the Hound ranked #10 for 1981’s national box office earnings (behind movies like the top three earners Raiders of the Lost Ark, On Golden Pond and Superman II), bringing in nearly $43.9 million in total domestic box office sales. The movie opened in more than 1,000 theaters nationwide, earning more than $4.2 million on its opening weekend. The movie was re-released in theaters in 1988, when it brought in more than $13.9 million in the first two weeks.
‘The Fox and the Hound’ Reviews – What the Critics Said
In more recent reviews, audiences have called The Fox and the Hound boring and consistently ranked it near the bottom in terms of best Disney animated movies, saying the real highlight of the movie is Pearl Bailey’s singing. Roger Ebert gave the movie three stars, though, calling it “a rather thoughtful meditation on how society determines our behavior.” Others agree that while the movie may not be Disney’s best, kids will generally like it.
Where ‘The Fox and the Hound’ Fits in the Disney Movie Pantheon
The Fox and the Hound was Disney’s 24th animated feature film, based on a novel by Daniel P. Mannix. The movie was well-received at the box office, ranking nationally as the #10 top earner for 1981—which was a good thing, since, at $12 million, it was Disney’s most expensive animated film yet. The movie was re-released in theaters in 1988 when it brought in more than $13.9 million in the first two weeks. The Fox and the Hound 2 was released directly to video in 2006, with estimated total DVD sales of about $20 million. Though the movie initially was well-received and has become a beloved Disney classic, a 2019 Collider.com ranking of all 57 Disney animated features placed The Fox and the Hound nearly last, at 56 (ahead of only 2005’s Chicken Little); a similar Buzzfeed ranking from 2015 places the movie in an only slightly better position at number 50.
‘The Fox and the Hound’ Trailer
‘The Fox and the Hound’ Trivia: 5 Fast Facts
The Fox and the Hound marked a moment of transition for Disney as the “old guard” of animators prepared for retirement and new team members were brought in—some whose names we know from more contemporary Disney favorites. Here’s what you need to know.
1. The Fox and the Hound Marked a Transition for Disney Movies—and 11 Animators Walked Out
The Fox and the Hound began production in 1977 and was to premier during the 1980 Christmas season. Longtime pioneering Disney staff created the initial animation, but as these “nine old men” were nearing retirement, a younger team of animators was brought in to help finish the film. Following conflicts between the old and new crews, animator Don Bluth and 11 others quit the film, and Bluth formed his own production company, which became a main rival to Disney through the 1980s.
2. John Lasseter Cut His Teeth at Disney on ‘The Fox and the Hound’
Now known for producing nearly 100 films and television series—including Monsters, Inc. (2001), The Incredibles (both films, 2004 and 2018), Big Hero 6 (2014), Moana (2016) and numerous other favorites—John Lasseter‘s first assignment at Disney was as an animator on The Fox and the Hound. This was also the first Disney movie for Tim Burton, an uncredited animator on the film.
3. Ever Wondered What It Takes to Complete an Animated Film Like ‘The Fox and the Hound?’
According to one source, 180 people worked on the film, including 24 animators, and the finished product includes about 360,000 drawings, 110,000 painted cells, and 1,100 painted backgrounds. My hand hurts just thinking about it…
4. After ‘The Fox and the Hound, ‘Disney Moved the Credits to the End of Its Films.
You know how early Disney movies have a long opening theme with credits right up front? The Fox and the Hound marked the last time Disney approached credits this way. In productions that followed, the film credits were placed at the end, usually supported by pop and/or instrumental music.
5. In the Book by Daniel P. Mannix—and in the Original Screenplay —Chief Dies.
But Director Art Stevens didn’t want to have a death in the film, so the story was changed so Chief survives—just like Ballou in The Jungle Book and Trusty in Lady and the Tramp.
Disclaimer: Heavy Inc. has affiliate relationships with various streaming content providers and may receive a commission if you sign up for a service via a link on this page.