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The Hunchback of Notre Dame is a 1996 animated feature produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation.


The film was released in theaters on June 21, 1996 by Walt Disney Pictures. The thirty fourth animated feature in the Disney animated features canon, the film is based on the basic story of Victor Hugo's novel of the same name, but changes most of its substance. The plot centers on Quasimodo, the main character of Notre Dame; he is the kindhearted deformed bell-ringer, but he struggles to gain acceptance into society. Quasimodo believes he was abandoned by his parents as an infant. He was rescued by the priests of Notre Dame. So he lives there as a bell ringer. When Quasimodo is crowned King of the Fools during Topsy Turvy Day, the hunchback is ordered beaten by the guards as punishment. But Esmerelda, a hot blooded but compassionate gypsy shows pity on him and helps free him from his punishment. The lovely Esmerelda is the first woman to show kindness to Quasimodo, and he soon falls in love with her.


The movie opens in 1482 Paris with Clopin, a gypsy puppeteer, telling a group of children the story of the Hunchback of Notre Dame. The story begins as three gypsies sneak illegally into Paris but are ambushed by a squadron of soldier-like thugs working for Judge Claude Frollo, the Minister of Justice and de facto ruler of Paris. A gypsy woman attempts to flee with her baby, but Frollo catches and kills her just outside Notre Dame, intending to kill her deformed baby (Frollo says to the Archdeacon that the baby is "an unholy demon" and that he is "sending it back to Hell where it belongs"), but the Archdeacon appears and accuses him of murdering an innocent woman. Frollo denies that he is in the wrong saying his conscience is clear, but the Archdeacon declares he can lie to himself all he wants, but he cannot hide his crime from heaven ('the eyes of Notre Dame', the statues of the saints outside the cathedral). Fearing for his soul and to atone for his sin, Frollo reluctantly agrees to raise the deformed child in the Cathedral as his son, naming him Quasimodo.

Twenty years later, Quasimodo has developed into a kind yet isolated young man with three gargoyles as his only company, he is constantly told by Frollo that he is a monster who would be rejected by the uncaring outside world. Despite these warnings, Quasimodo sneaks out of the Cathedral to attend the Feast of Fools, where he is crowned King of Fools but immediately humiliated by the crowd when Frollo's thugs start a riot. Frollo, in the audience, refuses to help Quasimodo, and the crowd only stops when a kind and beautiful gypsy, Esmeralda, frees Quasimodo from his restraints and openly defies Frollo. Frollo orders her arrested, but she escapes by means of illusions, which Frollo calls "witchcraft." Frollo scolds Quasimodo and sends him back inside the Cathedral.

Esmeralda follows Quasimodo to find him, but is herself followed by Phoebus, Frollo's Captain of the Guard. Phoebus, who himself does not approve of Frollo's methods, refuses to arrest her inside the Cathedral saying that she has claimed 'Sanctuary' and thus cannot be arrested as long as she remains in Notre Dame, Frollo finally leaves when the Archdeacon orders him out, but not before warning Esmeralda that his thugs will capture her the minute she leaves the Cathedral. Esmeralda finds Quasimodo in the bell tower and befriends him. As gratitude for helping him in the crowd, Quasimodo helps Esmeralda escape Notre Dame. In return, she leaves him with a map to the gypsy hideout, the Court of Miracles, should he ever choose to leave Notre Dame again. Frollo himself begins to realize his lustful feelings for Esmeralda and wishes to be free of them to escape eternal damnation. He soon learns of Esmeralda's escape, and orders a city-wide manhunt for her, burning down houses in his path. Realizing that Frollo has lost his mind, Phoebus defies Frollo, who orders him executed, but is aided in escape by Esmeralda. After being hit by an arrow, Phoebus falls into the river, but is rescued by Esmeralda, who takes him to Quasimodo for refuge.

Frollo soon returns to the Cathedral, forcing Quasimodo to hide Phoebus. Knowing that Quasimodo helped Esmeralda escape, Frollo bluffs that he knows where the Court of Miracles is and that he intends to attack it at dawn with a battalion. After he leaves, Phoebus requests Quasimodo's help in finding the Court before Frollo. Using the map Esmeralda left, they find it and are almost hung by the gypsies as spies, but are saved when Esmeralda intervenes and clears up the misunderstanding. However, Frollo's army appears and captures them all, with Frollo revealing that he followed Phoebus and Quasimodo.

Frollo then orders Esmeralda burned at the stake after she refuses his proposal of her becoming his mistress. Quasimodo, tied up in the bell tower, initially refuses to help, but when he sees Esmeralda in pain he gives in to his anger and rescues her, yelling "Sanctuary." As Frollo orders his men to attack the cathedral, Phoebus ignites a mutiny among the people of Paris who have had enough of Frollo's tyranny and a battle ensues in the street between the citizenry and Frollo's thug army. Quasimodo places Esmeralda's unconscious body on a bed and pours a cauldron of molten copper onto the streets to ensure nobody gets inside. Frollo, however, manages to break in and force his way past the Archdeacon. Quasimodo, believing Esmeralda to be dead, breaks down beside her body as Frollo comes into the room to kill him with a dagger. Quasimodo, in his fury, fights back and almost kills Frollo but stops when Esmeralda wakes up. Frollo chases them on to the balcony, where he and Quasimodo fight for the final time. The battle ends with both Frollo and Quasimodo falling from the balcony. While Frollo falls to his death, Quasimodo is caught by Phoebus on a lower floor, and the three friends reunite.

As the citizens celebrate their victory over Frollo, Quasimodo however reluctantly emerges from the Cathedral to face the populace again, only this time, he is hailed as a hero.

Plot (Live Action)

Voice Cast

  • Kanji Ishimaru as Quasimodo
  • Chizu Hosaka as Esmeralda
  • Soma Suzuki as Captain Phoebus
  • Takeshi Kusaka as Judge Claude Frollo
  • Toshihide Mura as Frollo's singing voice
  • Akihiko Mitsueda as Clopin
  • Kiyotaka Imai as Victor
  • Atsushi Haruta as Hugo
  • Misao Suetsugu as Laverne
  • Goro Matsumiya as The Archdeacon
  • Morimasa Sagawa as the archdeacon's singing voice
  • Suetsugu Misao as Quasimodo's Mother
  • ??? as Quasimodo's Father
  • ??? as Djali
  • ??? as The Baby Bird
  • ??? as Frollo's Guards

Cast (Live Action)

  • ??? as Quasimodo
  • ??? as Esmeralda
  • ??? as Judge Claude Frollo
  • ??? as Captain Phoebus
  • ??? as Clopin
  • ??? as the voice of Victor
  • ??? as the voice of Hugo
  • ??? as the voice of Laverne
  • ??? as The Archdeacon
  • ??? as Quasimodo's Mother
  • ??? as Quasimodo's Father
  • ??? as the voice of Djali & The Baby Bird

Difference Between Live Action and Animated Film


Note : In a Place full of Miracles & As Long as There's a Moon are two deleted songs that are more about Esmeralda and Phoebus's romantic love.

Live Action Film

Video Games

In 1996, to tie in with the original theatrical release, The Hunchback of Notre Dame: Topsy Turvy Games was released by Disney Interactive for the PC and the Nintendo Game Boy, which is a collection of mini games based around the Festival of Fools that includes a variation of Balloon Fight. Another game call The Hunchback of Notre Dame animated storybook was release on Computer ROM that same year.

A world based on The Hunchback of Notre Dame, La Cité des Cloches (The City of Bells), made its debut appearance in the Kingdom Hearts series in Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance. It was the first new Disney world confirmed for the game. All of the main characters except Clopin, Djali and the Archdeacon appear. Jason Alexander and Charles Kimbrough were the only actors to reprise their roles from the movie, while the other cast members from the film were recasted.


  • This was Tom Hulce's final film performance before his retirement from being a actor in films. Hulce was the voice of Quasimodo in this film, and in the sequel. Hulce also did Quasimodo's singing voice, however Hulce was succeeded by Ari Rubin for voicing Quasimodo in the Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance video game.
  • This was also Mary Wickes (Laverne) last film. She died of cancer on October 10, 1995 before the film was released. Jane Withers, who was hired to complete the role following the death of Mary Wickes, Withers had to match Wickes' voice and performance so that audiences wouldn't detect the difference. Withers provided the voice for Laverne once again in The Hunchback of Notre Dame 2.
  • During the song "A Guy Like You", the gargoyles put a wig on Quasimodo, similar to wig that Tom Hulce wore in the movie Amadeus.
  • The song Heaven's Light (Reprise) was the only song that wasn't added in the soundtrack it was too short. However the song is heard only in the film, but in Quasimodo's mind.
  • According to the song "Topsy Turvy", the story takes place during and after the 6th of January. However, there is no sign in the atmosphere that it is winter with the exception of the opening sequence.
  • Counting this film, Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz also worked on the music for Pocahontas and Enchanted.
  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame was the first Disney animated film to contain a production budget around $100 million dollars at the time, so in theory, it was the most expensive Disney animated film, until Tarzan three years later.
  • Belle also makes a cameo appearance in the film. During the song Out There, Belle is seen walking through the streets reading her book, which would make some believe that both films take place at the same time. However, this is clearly impossible, based on the fashions, technology and politics seen in Beauty and the Beast, which placed her film in the latter half of the 18th century, pre-revolutionary (pre-1789) France. Glen Keane confirmed that Belle's cameo in the film was not canonical. However, both time periods are similar in the fact that married women were viewed not as equal human beings under God (and the law of today), but as personal property and as obedient, servile slaves to their husbands that (in some extreme cases) can be bought and sold like any purchase (Gaston's behavior towards Belle and all women in his village is a testament to this, and Judge Claude Frollo exudes a similar treatment to Esmeralda in the film as well).
  • Directors Wise, Trousdale, and Hahn have noted that the three gargoyles might exist only in Quasimodo's imagination and thus may well be split-off pieces of his own identity. However, most of their characteristics, including Hugo's infatuation with the goat Djali, seem unique to their manifestations when present (and there is of course the question of how the gargoyles can be moving around and even helping defend the cathedral if they are not really alive).
  • Since Quasimodo's mother is voiced by someone in multiple languages by having the voice actress's name reveal. Quasimodo's Father is the only minor character that doesn't have his voice actor's name reveal in all multiple languages.
  • So far this film is the first time that, Mary Kay Bergman voiced Esmeralda's pet goat, Djali. However the directors decided not reveal that Bergman voiced Djali and instead Bergman was credit for doing Quasimodo's Mother. This is why Frank Welker was credited for doing the voice of The Baby Bird during the end credits. After Bergman's tragic sucicide in 1999, Welker succeeded her by voicing Djali in the sequel.
  • Two of the gargoyles, Victor and Hugo are named after Victor Hugo, the author of the hunchback of notre dame novel. Whereas the third gargoyle, Laverne, is named after Laverne Andrews, one of The Andrews Sisters.
  • According to the audio commentary on the DVD, the gargoyle that resembles a warthog (which can be seen during the climactic battle atop Notre Dame Cathedral) is actually not Pumbaa from The Lion King, but the actual gargoyle that can be seen in that location on the real Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.
  • This was Michael Eisner's (former Disney CEO) favorite film. Not only that, this film along with other Disney films that were made in the 1990s belong to the era known as Disney Renaissance.
  • The opening scene, in which Clopin sings "The Bells of Notre Dame", was originally all spoken dialogue. After two revisions, it was decided that it was too dry and boring, and so was turned into a musical number.
  • GOOFY HOLLER: as the soldiers fall after Quasimodo pulls the rope they were climbing. Hugo also breaks the fourth wall, after the end credits, by telling the audience good night.
  • This is the 34th full-length animated film from Walt Disney, and originally was going to be released as a PG rated movie.
  • The song Heaven's Light is the only short song in the franchise. However the soundtrack combines it with Frollo's theme song in order to make song be longer.
  • The song "Hell Fire" is considered one of the darkest songs written for a Disney film. Not only that the song itself was nearly cut from the film.
  • For the scene where Judge Frollo sings "Hellfire" and sees Esmeralda dancing in the fire before him, the MPAA insisted that the Disney animators make Esmeralda's clothing more well-defined, as she seemed nude.
  • The last Disney animated film to use harsh language (***, ***, hellfire), and is the only Disney animated film that does not feature any trees.
  • While Quasimodo is singing 'Out There', the camera pans over Paris and zooms in on a street. In this scene, Belle from Beauty and the Beast is seen walking and reading her book (walks out the bottom of the screen, to the right of the well), Pumbaa from The Lion King is being carried on a pole by two men (carried out of the bottom of the screen, but left of the well), and another man (in a gray-blue tunic) is shaking out the Carpet from Aladdin.
  • The film, due to its dark and sexual themes, nearly became the first animated Disney film to receive a PG rating from the MPAA in the US since The Black Cauldron. However this film was release as a rated G film instead.
  • Blue and red were used to symbolize good and evil, respectively. Quasimodo's and Esmerelda's disguising cloaks are blue while the firelight Frollo is near as he plots evilly to himself reflects off his face as red.
  • Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, and Derek Jacobi were considered for the role of Frollo. But the Directors Kirk Wise and Gary Trousdale cast Tony Jay as Frollo because they loved his voice when they worked with him on Beauty and the Beast, where he voiced Monsieur D'Arque.
  • According to the commentary of the DVD onto when Kevin Kline did the voice of Phoebus, the directors gave Kline a sword so that he'd portray the role. They also named the horse Achilles because it was funny to hear him say "Achilles, heel".
  • According to the audio commentary on the DVD, Frollo's horse's name is Snowball. Not only that, during a commercial promo for when the movie use to air on Toon Disney (aka Disney XD), it shows a fully animated deleted scene of Quasimodo and the townspeoples celebrating Frollo's defeat at night time.
  • To stay consistent to the architecture and details of Notre Dame, animators spent several weeks in and around the actual cathedral. They were given office space at the recently-opened Disneyland Paris in the interim.
  • At one point, the three gargoyles were going to be all male and named Chaney, Laughton, and Quinn - the three actors who have played Quasimodo in other adaptations of the story (Lon Chaney, Charles Laughton, Anthony Quinn).
  • Quasi's monologue, which begins with "What? What am I supposed to do?" and ends with "And I'm tired of trying to be something I'm not". was recorded in one take.
  • The Latin chants heard throughout the movie are adapted from actual Gregorian chants, including a portion of the Dies Irae music can be heard in the scene where Frollo kills Quasimodo's mother. It was part of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozarts famous last compositions, Requiem in D Minor. Tom Hulce played Mozart in the movie Amadeus (1985).
  • When supervising animator Michael Surrey (Clopin) heard the song "Court of Miracles" he noted that a portion of it was similar to "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" music used in Fantasia. After this he animated Clopin lifting up his robe to skip towards the lever after Mickey Mouse's movements.
  • Two other songs that were not added in the film (during the Court of Miracles sequence) because it focused more about Esmeralda and Phoebus's love, instead of Quasimodo was a song call In a Place of Miracles, and another song call As Long as There's a Moon.
  • This movie is full of computer animation and CGI backgrounds. All the bells appearing throughout the movie are 3D-rendered. When Quasimodo sings "Out There" and slides down the flying buttress, it appears 3D. During "Topsy Turvy", the confetti and the crowd of hundred people are digital images. While Esmeralda sings "God Help The Outcast", the reflection of the rose window is computer-rendered. During "Hellfire", the background flames are one example of CGI. When we see the miller's home getting burned, the flames that big and appearing too fast were hard to animate traditionally, so probably the animators used computer generated images for this. When Quasimodo rappels down from Notre Dame to save Esmeralda, we can see hand-drawn animation combined with 3D scenes.
  • Early on in the movie during "Out There", there is an overhead shot of Notre Dame and the courtyard from a bird's-eye view. During this shot, look closely at one of the buildings in the bottom left corner of the screen - one building has a satellite dish on it.
  • After the film's initial release a limited edition printing of Victor Hugo's novel was also released. It contained original artwork and an introduction by producer Don Hahn.
  • The film had its premiere on June 19, 1996 at the Superdome in New Orleans, utilizing six enormous screens, and was preceded by a parade through the French Quarter. The song "Someday" was sung over the credits by the group All-4-One, but the European version replaced them with the British band Eternal.
  • The multiplane effect was used in several scenes. When Quasimodo sings "Out There", the camera pans over Paris and seems to look three-dimensional. Additionally, the camera pans through the Parisian buildings and we see the Palace of Justice.
  • At the end of the film as the camera zooms out from the Notre Dame cathedral, the pigeons all gather on Laverne again. She shoos them off and asks them if they ever migrate. The fact is, rock doves (the most common breed of pigeon seen in urban areas) do NOT migrate, at least not in the same sense other birds migrate. They may move from one part of a city to another, but for the most part they stay in the same area.
  • Bette Midler sang another version of 'God Help the Outcasts' for the soundtrack release. Various words are changed in this (such as instead of 'gypsy' the word 'humble' is used), in addition to these changes, the parts sung by the people in the church are not in this version and the song is also much longer.
  • One of two movies released in 1996 in which Demi Moore plays an exotic dancer who catches the eye of, and ultimately brings down, a man in a position of power. The other film is Striptease (1996).
  • Esmeralda is barefoot for the entire movie. Not only that, this film is mostly copy off from the 1939 black and white Hunchback of Notre Dame film but with minor differences. Tony Jay also admits that he only remembers the 1939 film.
  • Eric Idle was considered for the role of Clopin. While Mandy Patinkin was originally cast as Quasimodo, but dropped out due to clashes with the producers regarding the character, he would later went on to play Quasimodo in the TV movie, The Hunchback the following year.
  • Supervising animator Andreas Deja really wanted to animate Esmeralda from the beginning of the film's conception, which would've been a stark departure for him - he is best known for animating villains like Gaston in Beauty and the Beast, Jafar in Aladdin, and Scar in The Lion King. When that position went to Tony Fucile, Deja went on to supervise the animation of the titular character in Walt Disney Pictures' next animated film, Hercules.
  • The filmmakers briefly considered having Quasimodo killed off, since that is his fate in the original novel. He was originally supposed to be stabbed by Frollo, then Esmeralda regains consciousness and tries to save him by killing Frollo. Phoebus was then supposed to meet up with them, and Quasimodo's last wish was to ring the bells one last time. They take him to the bells, then Esmeralda and Phoebus help him ring the bells as he dies. The final shot was going to include Esmeralda and Phoebus crying over their best friend as the people of Paris cheer for their success, unaware of Quasimodo's death. Luckily; this is not the ending that was used, because even hardcore fans of the novel agree that the ending they used instead was a more suitable conclusion for the theme of this film.
  • Back then when the movie would air on Toon Disney, for a commercial promo it would show a fully animated deleted scene of Quasimodo and the townspeople, celebrating Frollo's defeat at night time outside of the Notre Dame cathedral.
Live Action Film
  • Josh Gad who is a huge fan of the Disney film will produce the live action film. And the film will be base of of the hit 1996 version of the franchise. The film will also have a little mix of the hit novel as well.

all information on Disney's The Hunchback of Notre Dame came from http://disney.wikia.com/wiki/The_Hunchback_of_Notre_Dame