Following the tragic death of his mother, a young fox cub named Todd is raised under the care of the motherly Widow Tweed and a wise owl named Big Mama. As he grows up, Todd encounters a playful hound pup named Copper and the pair form an instantaneous friendship; a friendship that grows stronger over time in spite of everyone warning them that it will not last.
Friendship is one of the most powerful themes in this film and nowhere is it illustrated more perfectly than in the promise that Todd and Copper make as children; a heartfelt and innocent vow that they will remain friends forever. When Todd and Copper are children, this promise is easy to keep because neither of them yet realizes that they are supposed to be enemies. In spite of everything, their innocence allows them to just be friends.
When Copper leaves to go on a hunting trip with his master, Big Mama warns Todd that their friendship is over and that Copper will grow up to be a hunting dog, but Todd remains hopeful that the friendship he shares with Copper will remain strong. Sadly, his hopes are dashed when a tragic accident ignites a bitter quest for revenge and the friendship that they shared as children is overshadowed by animosity.
In the end, although their paths have diverged, the friendship between Todd and Copper – while it does change in a sense – still remains infinite and unbreakable. There is a moment at the end of the film, after Copper saves Todd’s life, when Copper starts to follow his master as he walks away and Todd looks completely heartbroken. In that moment, Copper stops and looks back at his friend and they smile at each other. Neither of them says anything, but that silent and heartfelt exchange conveys a very clear message; a message that says, “it’s OK…we are still friends” They aren’t children anymore, but their friendship endures even though they have to be apart.
It is no secret that I have always had a very deep love of Disney films and as with many of Disney’s greatest animated masterpieces, I grew up watching “The Fox and the Hound”. This movie waxes especially nostalgic for me because the essence of the story is so deeply emotional. As I watched this movie again as an adult, I found those emotional moments in the film even more powerful because I truly understood their meaning. The animation of this film is stunning and the casting is exceptional. This is definitely a Disney film that I would highly recommend.