The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996 movie)

1996 American animated musical drama film

The Hunchback of Notre Dame is a 1996 American-French animated musical drama movie based on Victor Hugo's novel. It was produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation and released by Walt Disney Pictures. It is the 34th Disney animated movie. It follows the deformed bell-ringer attempting to gain acceptance into society.

The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Directed byGary Trousdale
Kirk Wise
Written byTab Murphy
Irene Mecchi
Bob Tzudiker
Noni White
Jonathan Roberts
Produced byDon Hahn
Edited byEllen Keneshea
Music byAlan Menken
David Newman
Distributed byBuena Vista Pictures
Release date
  • June 21, 1996 (1996-06-21)
Running time
91 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$100 million[1]
Box office$325.3 million[1]

The movie stars Tom Hulce, Demi Moore, Tony Jay, Kevin Kline, Paul Kandel, Jason Alexander, Charles Kimbrough, David Ogden Stiers and Mary Wickes in her final movie role. Produced during a period known as the Disney Renaissance, the movie is considered to be one of Disney's darkest animated movie because its narrative explores such mature themes as infanticide, lust, damnation, genocide, and sin, despite the changes made from the original source material in order to ensure a G rating received by the MPAA. The musical score was written by Alan Menken, with songs written by Menken and lyricist Stephen Schwartz, who had previously collaborated on Pocahontas.

The movie was released on June 21, 1996 to largely positive reviews and was a commercial success, grossing over $325 million worldwide and becoming the fifth highest-grossing release of 1996. The movie received Academy Award and Golden Globe Award nominations for Menken's musical score. A darker, more Gothic stage adaptation of the movie, was rewritten and directed by James Lapine and produced by Walt Disney Theatrical in Berlin, Germany, as Der Glöckner von Notre Dame, and ran from 1999 to 2002. A direct-to-video sequel, The Hunchback of Notre Dame II, was released in 2002.

In 1482 Paris, Clopin, a Gypsy puppeteer tells a group of children the origin of the titular hunchback. Twenty years earlier, a group of gypsies are arrested by Judge Claude Frollo, the corrupt and fanatical Justice Minister, who pursues a woman and her deformed baby. After killing her near the Notre Dame Cathedral, Frollo attempts to drop the baby in the well, but the archdeacon stops him. Frollo decides to raise the child at the cathedral and atone for his sin. He names him Quasimodo.

Twenty years later, Quasimodo became a goodhearted but isolated young man living in the cathedral. His only friends are a trio of sentient gargoyles, Victor, Hugo and Laverne. They encourage him to attend the annual Feast of Fools. Frollo attempts to discourage him, telling him he would be shunned for his deformities. Undeterred, Quasimodo attends the festival where he is celebrated for his deformities, but is humiliated and surrounded by everyone. After freeing Quasimodo, the kind Gypsy dancer Esmeralda uses witchcraft to evade capture.

As Quasimodo returns to the cathedral, Esmeralda meets Phoebus, the captain of the guard, who has her confined, instead of arresting her. Esmeralda befriends Quasimodo. He helps her escape the cathedral, and she gives him a pendant with a map to the Court of Miracles, the home of the gypsies. Frollo develops lustful feelings towards Esmeralda, calling on the Virgin Mary to protect him from her spell and avoid eternal damnation. The next day, Frollo and the guards arrest one of the civilians and burn every buildings. Phoebus defies Frollo, when he attempts to burn down the house. Phoebus falls unconscious at the river Seine, but Esmeralda rescues him and they head to the cathedral for refuge. The gargoyles try to encourage Quasimodo, but he becomes heartbroken when Esmeralda has loved Phoebus. When Frollo returns to the cathedral, he bluffs to Quasimodo that he knows the location of the gypsy hideout and Frollo will attack at dawn with a thousand men. Using Esmeralda's map, Quasimodo and Phoebus travel to the Court of Miracles, where Frollo and the guards capture everyone.

Frollo prepares to burn Esmeralda at the stake after she rejects him, but she is saved by Quasimodo and is brought into the cathedral. Phoebus releases himself and the gypsies, and unites the citizens of Paris while opposing Frollo and the guards. Quasimodo and the gargoyles pour molten lead into the streets to prevent everyone from entering the cathedral. Frollo sneaks inside, and pursues Quasimodo and Esmeralda onto the balcony, where he reveals to Quasimodo that he killed his mother. Frollo falls to his death into the lake of molten copper, while Phoebus saves Quasimodo. Esmeralda and Phoebus receive a blessing for their relationship, and Quasimodo is accepted into Parisian society.

Voice cast


Release date

Country Premiere
  Canada June 21, 1996
  Mexico June 21, 1996
  United States June 21, 1996
  Japan August 24, 1996
  Turkey January 24, 1997


  1. 1.0 1.1 "The Hunchback of Notre Dame". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2012-01-05.
  2. Stewart, Jocelyn (February 10, 2008). "Artist created many famous film posters". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 10, 2008.