The two friends struggle to preserve their friendship despite their emerging instincts and the surrounding social pressures demanding them to be adversaries, as they are enemies by nature. The film was directed by Ted Berman, Richard Rich, and Art Stevens, marking the directorial debuts of Berman and Rich. Ron Miller, Wolfgang Reitherman, and Art Stevens produced it. The ensemble voice cast consists of Mickey Rooney and Kurt Russell as Tod and Copper, respectively, with Pearl Bailey, Jack Albertson, Sandy Duncan, Jeanette Nolan, Pat Buttram, John Fiedler, John McIntire, Dick Bakalyan, Paul Winchell, Keith Mitchell, and Corey Feldman providing the voices of the other characters of the film. Mitchell and Feldman in particular voiced the young Tod and the young Copper.
The instrumental musical score to the film was composed and conducted by Buddy Baker, with Walter Sheets performing the orchestration. Walt Disney Productions first obtained the film rights to the novel by Daniel P.
Mannix in 1967; however, actual development on the film would not occur until spring 1977. The Fox and the Hound marked the last involvement of the remaining members of Disney's Nine Old Men, which included Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston. Though the old animators were involved in early development of the film, the film was ultimately handed over to a new generation of animators following the retirement of the old animators.
As such, it was the first film for future directors including Tim Burton, Brad Bird, and John Lasseter. During production, the film's release was delayed by over six months following the abrupt departure of Don Bluth and his team of animators. Was released to theaters on July 10, 1981 by Buena Vista Distribution.
However, it initially received mixed reviews from critics, who praised the animation and voice acting of the film, but believed that the film was not groundbreaking enough. Over time, however, the film became known as an underrated classic, and it was nominated for three awards, of which it won one. It was re-released to theaters on March 25, 1988. An intermediate follow-up, The Fox and the Hound 2, was released directly-to-DVD on December 12, 2006.
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