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"THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME"
(1996) (Voices of Tom Hulce, Demi Moore) (G)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Minor None Moderate Moderate Moderate
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Mild None Moderate None None
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Moderate Minor Mild Minor Heavy


QUICK TAKE:
Animated/Children's: A young bell ringer, hidden from public view all of his life, risks all that he knows to defend a gypsy woman who has befriended him.
PLOT:
Quasimodo (voice of TOM HULCE) is the misshapen bell ringer of the Notre Dame cathedral. Quasi has lived there all of his life under the supervision of the despicable Frollo (voice of TONY JAY), who wants to keep Quasi from public view, but an upcoming public festival is too much for Quasi to resist. There he's discovered, made fun of, and publicly humiliated. He finds an ally in Esmeralda (voice of DEMI MOORE) who befriends and defends Quasi from the public and Frollo. Captain Phoebus (voice of KEVIN KLINE), is ordered by Frollo to find and arrest Esmeralda, but he soon join forces with her and Quasi to oppose Frollo and his quest to find Esmeralda at any cost.
WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Yes, after the track record of previous Disney animate films, they'll line up for this one.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: G
For not containing material to warrant a higher rating.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • QUASI is a loner who's good at heart and who learns that there's more than just outward appearance. He's a good role model.
  • ESMERALDA is a liberated woman who easily befriends Quasi without judgement, and stands up for what she believes. She's also a good role model.
  • FROLLO is the despicable leader of the town who will harm innocent people and destroy property to attain his goals. He's a bad role model.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    OUR TAKE: 7 out of 10
    While it's been quite some time since we saw this film (and it was reviewed before we started giving our artistic "take"), it's a rather enjoyable production. Whether it's for younger kids is up to you, as there is more violence and sexual content than in any of the other recent Disney animated films. The other issue we remember is that there are a few, but not very many "fun" songs for kids to enjoy. This production seems aimed more for an older audience, with its serious tone and occassional somber songs. Still, in our screening (Summer '96) the kids in the audience applauded at the end, so either they enjoyed it or have become conditioned to applaud at the end of a performance. While the artistic quality continues to progress at amazing rates, this film is nowhere as enjoyable or as well made as "Beauty and the Beast" or "The Lion King." We give it a 7 out of 10.
    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    As stated above, this is a much more mature animated feature than Disney has released in the past. Parents should be cautioned that some of the material may be unsuitable for younger children. Of note, focus on the "Bad Attitude," "Sex/Nudity," and "Violence" categories for specific content. While everything turns out okay by the film's end, the title character is harassed and made fun of for most of the film because of his appearance, and this may be upsetting to kids who may think that will happen to them. Since your kids will want to see/own this film, we suggest that you first read through the scene listings to determine if it's appropriate for them.

    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • A gargoyle friend says "Pour the wine and cut the cheese."
  • A gargoyle friend states that there will be "wine, women, and song" at the festival.
  • Frollo describes the festival as "...a drunken stupor."
  • Wine and/or champagne is seen in bottles and mugs during the festival.
  • Phoebus states "...good, I could use a drink," as Esmeralda brings out brandy. She, however, pours it on his wound.
  • The gargoyles celebrate with champagne.
  • BLOOD/ GORE
  • None.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Frollo has both throughout the movie and it's apparent from the beginning when he plans on dropping the infant Quasi into a well. Later he keeps Quasi hidden from the public and forbids him to leave the cathedral. And to top it off, he orders the burning of the gypsies' homes in order to find Esmeralda.
  • During the festival there is a contest to find the ugliest face, and of course Quasi wins.
  • Quasi is placed on a pedestal during the festival. A soldier throws and hits Quasi with a tomato. Soon, everyone is pelting him with vegetables. Then, ropes are thrown around him and he's tied to the pedestal where the pelting continues. And the townspeople laugh at this treatment.
  • Frollo sets fire to a house with its family locked inside (thinking that they harbored Esmeralda).
  • FRIGHTENING/TENSE SCENES
  • Frollo chases a gypsy woman through the town on horseback. He grabs her baby from her, knocking her to the ground where she falls lifeless. He's shocked by the baby's appearance and prepares to drop it down a well, but is stopped by a priest.
  • Quasi is placed on a pedestal during the festival. A soldier throws and hits Quasi with a tomato. Soon, everyone is pelting him with vegetables. Then, ropes are thrown around him and he's tied to the pedestal where the pelting continues. Some children may be frightened by this scene.
  • Frollo's lustful song about Esmeralda has ominous, dramatic music, weird shadows and hooded, faceless characters that may be scary to some kids.
  • Frollo sets fire to a home with its family still inside. Phoebus bursts in and saves the family. Frollo then considers him a traitor and has a soldier hit him on the head with the butt of his sword. The soldier then prepares to behead Phoebus, but rocks thrown by Esmeralda distract him. Phoebus then punches the soldiers in the face and flees on horseback. They chase him and fire arrows, one of which strikes him in the back. He falls from the bridge he's crossing and disappears underwater (Esmeralda saves him).
  • Phoebus and Quasi enter the catacombs which are filled with many skeletons and skulls. Suddenly they're confronted by several men wearing skeleton outfits and are apprehended.
  • The whole end of the movie might be frightening/tense for kids. Frollo prepares to burn Esmeralda at the stake, but is saved by Quasi. Frollo then enters the Cathedral and tries several times to kill Quasi and Esmeralda, including when they hang from the statues and he swings his sword at them. During this time, Frollo appears very menacing looking.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Arrow: Shot into a gypsy's walking stick.
  • Spears: Used to threaten a group of gypsies.
  • Knife: Used to threaten Esmeralda.
  • Sword: Used by Phoebus to defend Esmeralda from the soldiers.
  • Knife: Used by Esmeralda to free Quasi who's tied to a pedestal.
  • Knives/Swords: Used by soldiers as they chase Esmeralda through the festival.
  • Sword: Used by Esmeralda to threaten Phoebus.
  • Sword: Used by Phoebus to defend himself from Quasi who's carrying a lit torch.
  • Sword/Arrows: Used to knock Phoebus to the ground and then raised to behead him. He escapes, but is fired at with arrows, one of which strikes him.
  • Knife/Sword: Used by Frollo to attempt to kill Quasi, and then both he and Esmeralda.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • A gargoyle friend says "Pour the wine and cut the cheese," and places his hand under his armpit and makes farting sounds.
  • Quasi makes a habit of dangling or swinging from the ledges of the cathedral. Kids might think they can do the same.
  • Phoebus balls up a map and throws it to the ground. This is a bad example for kids regarding littering.
  • Several belches are played for laughs.
  • Phrases: "Idiot," and "You're the fat, stupid one with the big mouth."
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • There are several scenes where the music is downright tense and at other times it's very dramatic which some kids might find scary including the final tense scene.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • None.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • The townsfolk lust after Esmeralda as she dances in the festival.
  • Frollo, having twisted Esmeralda's arm behind her back, smells her in a sensual way.
  • Frollo really lusts after Esmeralda. During a musical number, he sees a curvaceous apparition of her and sings about the temptation of sin and of the "...burning desire in his skin..." and he states "...be mine or you'll burn..."
  • Phoebus and Esmeralda make out in front of the romantically crushed Quasi.
  • SMOKING
  • Esmeralda's goat is occasionally seen with a pipe in his mouth as he and Esmeralda move about the town in disguise as an old man.
  • A gargoyle is briefly seen smoking a cigar during a musical number.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • Quasi's mother is killed by Frollo at the beginning, but he's not aware of it (since he's an infant).
  • Quasi thinks that Esmeralda is dead (as do we) after he's saved her. For a while she's lifeless (but of course she turns out to be all right).
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Why Quasi looks the way he does.
  • The topic of judging people by their looks, and treating them differently or laughing at them if they look different.
  • VIOLENCE
  • A puppeteer hits his puppet on the head with a stick and later makes the puppet hit Quasi on the head with a stick.
  • Soldiers shoot an arrow into a gypsy's walking stick and then harass a group of gypsies, threatening them with spears.
  • Frollo chases a gypsy woman through the town. He grabs her baby from her, knocking her to the ground where she falls lifeless. He's shocked by the baby's appearance and prepares to drop it down a well, but is stopped by a priest.
  • Esmeralda kicks a soldier in the face and her pet goat butts others as the soldiers attempt to take her money from her. A soldier then pulls out his knife and threatens her, but Phoebus arrives, brandishes his sword and stops the theft.
  • A prisoner is lashed at Frollo's request. This is heard, but not seen.
  • Frollo squashes insects with his fingers and then with a stone block as he describes how he'll squash the gypsies.
  • Quasi is placed on a pedestal during the festival. A soldier throws and hits Quasi with a tomato. Soon, everyone is pelting him with vegetables. Then, ropes are thrown around him and he's tied to the pedestal where the pelting continues.
  • Frollo orders his soldiers to apprehend Esmeralda and they chase her through the town. A performer on stilts kicks several soldiers in the crotch with his long leg. Esmeralda then throws a metal helmet which knocks several soldiers from their horses.
  • Thinking he's there to arrest her, Esmeralda grabs Phoebus' sword and threatens him with it. He kicks her to the floor, regains his sword and then must defend himself from the candle stand she uses as her weapon. She finally hits him on the head with the stand.
  • Frollo twists Esmeralda's arm behind her back and says, "I'm just imagining a rope around that beautiful neck."
  • On several occasions, the gargoyles hit each other.
  • Quasi chases Phoebus with a lit torch. Phoebus eventually uses his sword to knock the torch into a wall.
  • Soldiers ransack the town looking for Esmeralda.
  • Frollo sets fire to a home with its family still inside. Phoebus bursts in and saves the family. Frollo then considers him a traitor and has a soldier hit him on the head with the butt of his sword. The soldier then prepares to behead Phoebus, but rocks thrown by Esmeralda distract them. Phoebus then punches them in the face and flees on horseback. They chase him and fire arrows, one of which strikes him in the back. He falls from the bridge he's crossing and disappears underwater (Esmeralda saves him).
  • In a musical number, three puppets hang from nooses as they swing under the opened trap door.
  • Quasi kicks Phoebus who's hiding under a table to keep him quiet.
  • Frollo's men burn much of the town while searching for Esmeralda.
  • Phoebus and Quasi enter the catacombs and are captured by men who later prepare to hang the two of them. Esmeralda stops that, but Frollo's men arrive and arrest everyone.
  • Frollo begins to burn Esmeralda at the stake (for being a "witch"), but she's saved by Quasi and then a huge fight breaks out between the townspeople and the soldiers. Quasi and his gargoyle friends then drop stones and finally molten lead onto the soldiers below, sending them running for safety.
  • There is then the final fight scene between Frollo and Quasi that occurs in the cathedral. Frollo prepares to knife Quasi (in the back), but Quasi wrestles the knife away. Frollo then pulls his sword and swings it at him and Esmeralda as they step out onto the ledge and finally dangle from it. Frollo prepares to slice them when his footing breaks loose and he falls to his death.



  • Reviewed June 21, 1996

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