Full page view
HISTORY

According to director-producer Wolfgang Reitherman in a 26 Nov 1977 Screen International article, Walt Disney Productions tried unsuccessfully to develop Margery Sharp’s children’s novel series for several years before the script for The Rescuers was approved. As stated in production notes in AMPAS library files, the film took over four years to produce with a crew of nearly 250 people. On 25 Jul 1973, DV announced that Eva Gabor had been cast to perform the voice of “Miss Bianca” and on 4 Feb 1976, LAT reported that the production was nearly complete. Forty animators created approximately 330,000 drawing that were divided into fourteen sequences, each with 1,039 scenes, or “shots,” and 750 backgrounds. While production notes stated the budget was $6 million, Screen International listed the figure at $7.5 million, remarking that the amount was “staggering… for an animated feature” at that time.
       As noted in a 2 Mar 1978 Globe and Mail article, The Rescuers marked the last animated feature film that included all members of Walt Disney’s veteran “Nine Old Men,” as director John Lounsbery died during production. The film also introduced of a new wave of Disney animators, including Don Bluth, who was credited for the first time as directing animator. According to the 3 Jul 1977 LAT review, over thirty recent graduates from Disney’s Talent Development Program worked on the picture.
       The Rescuers was released in conjunction with the fortieth anniversary of Disney’s first feature-length animated film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937-1938, see entry), to ... More Less

According to director-producer Wolfgang Reitherman in a 26 Nov 1977 Screen International article, Walt Disney Productions tried unsuccessfully to develop Margery Sharp’s children’s novel series for several years before the script for The Rescuers was approved. As stated in production notes in AMPAS library files, the film took over four years to produce with a crew of nearly 250 people. On 25 Jul 1973, DV announced that Eva Gabor had been cast to perform the voice of “Miss Bianca” and on 4 Feb 1976, LAT reported that the production was nearly complete. Forty animators created approximately 330,000 drawing that were divided into fourteen sequences, each with 1,039 scenes, or “shots,” and 750 backgrounds. While production notes stated the budget was $6 million, Screen International listed the figure at $7.5 million, remarking that the amount was “staggering… for an animated feature” at that time.
       As noted in a 2 Mar 1978 Globe and Mail article, The Rescuers marked the last animated feature film that included all members of Walt Disney’s veteran “Nine Old Men,” as director John Lounsbery died during production. The film also introduced of a new wave of Disney animators, including Don Bluth, who was credited for the first time as directing animator. According to the 3 Jul 1977 LAT review, over thirty recent graduates from Disney’s Talent Development Program worked on the picture.
       The Rescuers was released in conjunction with the fortieth anniversary of Disney’s first feature-length animated film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937-1938, see entry), to positive reviews and box office success. One year after the film’s 6 Jul 1977 opening, a 14 Jul 1978 HR article estimated film rentals were $45 million, “the most ever taken in by a Disney film during its initial release.” On 1 Feb 1978, Var announced that the picture was 1977’s “champion grosser” in France, surpassing Star Wars (1977, see entry) after only five weeks of release, and on 7 Mar 1978, HR stated that The Rescuers was predicted to become Germany’s “top-grossing film of all time,” with rentals exceeding $11 million. A 22 Mar 1978 Var advertisement noted that the picture was “the all-time box office champion in animation” to date.
       The film was nominated for one Academy Award in the category Music (Original Song) for “Someone’s Waiting For You.” The Rescuers ranks #35 on AFI’s list of Top 50 Animated Movies.
       In 1990, Disney released its first feature length animated sequel, The Rescuers Down Under (see entry).


The summary and note for this entry were completed with participation from the AFI Academic Network. Summary and note were written by participant Megan Gruchow, a student at the University of California, Los Angeles, with Jonathan Furner as academic advisor.
More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
25 Jul 1973.
---
Globe and Mail
2 Mar 1978
p. 14.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Mar 1978.
---
Hollywood Reporter
10 Jun 1977
p. 2, 7.
Hollywood Reporter
14 Jul1978
p. 1, 25.
Los Angeles Times
4 Feb 1976
Section F, p. 7.
Los Angeles Times
3 Jul 1977
Section O, p. 1, 33, 35-36.
New York Times
7 Jul 1977
p. 18.
Screen International
26 Nov 1977
p. 6.
Variety
15 Jun 1977
p. 20.
Variety
1 Feb 1978.
---
Variety
22 Mar 1978
p. 55.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod mgr
Asst dir
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Exec prod
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
FILM EDITORS
MUSIC
Mus score comp and cond
SOUND
VISUAL EFFECTS
Titles
Titles
ANIMATION
Dir anim
Dir anim
Dir anim
Char anim
Char anim
Char anim
Char anim
Char anim
Char anim
Char anim
Char anim
Char anim
Char anim
Char anim
Eff anim
Eff anim
Eff anim
Eff anim
Eff anim
Key asst anim
Key asst anim
Key asst anim
Key asst anim
Key asst anim
Key asst anim
Key asst anim
Col styling
Background painting
Background painting
Background painting
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col by
SOURCES
LITERARY
Suggested by the novels The Rescuers (Boston, 1959) and Miss Bianca (Boston, 1962) by Margery Sharp.
AUTHOR
SONGS
"The Journey," written by Carol Connors and Ayn Robbins, sung by Shelby Flint
"Rescue Aid Society," written by Carol Connors and Ayn Robbins, sung by Shelby Flint
"Tomorrow Is Another Day," written by Carol Connors and Ayn Robbins, sung by Shelby Flint
+
SONGS
"The Journey," written by Carol Connors and Ayn Robbins, sung by Shelby Flint
"Rescue Aid Society," written by Carol Connors and Ayn Robbins, sung by Shelby Flint
"Tomorrow Is Another Day," written by Carol Connors and Ayn Robbins, sung by Shelby Flint
"Someone's Waiting for You," music by Sammy Fain, lyrics by Carol Connors and Ayn Robbins, sung by Shelby Flint
"The U.S. Air Force," written by Robert Crawford.
+
PERFORMER
DETAILS
Release Date:
6 July 1977
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 6 July 1977
Copyright Claimant:
Disney Enterprises, Inc.
Copyright Date:
21 June 1977
Copyright Number:
LP49678
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Photophone sound recording
Color
Animation
Duration(in mins):
77
MPAA Rating:
G
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

On a dilapidated steamboat in the swamps of Devil’s Bayou, a little girl named Penny throws a bottle overboard with a note stuck inside, asking for help. In New York City, a group of mice discover the bottle and bring it to the United Nations building, where mice from all over the world gather underground for an emergency meeting of the Rescue Aid Society. There, a mouse janitor, Bernard, climbs inside the bottle to retrieve the note and Miss Bianca, a mouse delegate from Hungary, deciphers the message. Declaring that Penny is in great danger, Bianca volunteers to spearhead the mission and selects Bernard as her colleague. When the two mice visit Penny’s former home, the Morningside Orphanage, to look for clues, they meet an elderly cat named Rufus, who tells them that Penny ran away. However, Rufus remembers that a suspicious pawnshop owner named Madame Medusa was interested in Penny, and Bianca and Bernard go to Medusa’s store. Inside, they find one of Penny’s books and overhear Medusa on the phone with her partner-in-crime, Mr. Snoops. Medusa is furious that Snoops has not found the diamond they seek, and outraged to hear that their prisoner, Penny, has been sending messages in bottles. Taking matters into her own hands, Medusa goes to Devil’s Bayou. The next day, Bianca and Bernard follow, catching a flight with an albatross named Orville. Meanwhile, Penny attempts to escape from Medusa’s steamboat hideout. As the rescuers crash land at Devil’s Bayou and meet swamp critters Ellie Mae and Luke, they see Penny captured by Medusa’s pet alligators, Brutus and Nero. Bernard and Bianca give ... +


On a dilapidated steamboat in the swamps of Devil’s Bayou, a little girl named Penny throws a bottle overboard with a note stuck inside, asking for help. In New York City, a group of mice discover the bottle and bring it to the United Nations building, where mice from all over the world gather underground for an emergency meeting of the Rescue Aid Society. There, a mouse janitor, Bernard, climbs inside the bottle to retrieve the note and Miss Bianca, a mouse delegate from Hungary, deciphers the message. Declaring that Penny is in great danger, Bianca volunteers to spearhead the mission and selects Bernard as her colleague. When the two mice visit Penny’s former home, the Morningside Orphanage, to look for clues, they meet an elderly cat named Rufus, who tells them that Penny ran away. However, Rufus remembers that a suspicious pawnshop owner named Madame Medusa was interested in Penny, and Bianca and Bernard go to Medusa’s store. Inside, they find one of Penny’s books and overhear Medusa on the phone with her partner-in-crime, Mr. Snoops. Medusa is furious that Snoops has not found the diamond they seek, and outraged to hear that their prisoner, Penny, has been sending messages in bottles. Taking matters into her own hands, Medusa goes to Devil’s Bayou. The next day, Bianca and Bernard follow, catching a flight with an albatross named Orville. Meanwhile, Penny attempts to escape from Medusa’s steamboat hideout. As the rescuers crash land at Devil’s Bayou and meet swamp critters Ellie Mae and Luke, they see Penny captured by Medusa’s pet alligators, Brutus and Nero. Bernard and Bianca give chase with the help of Evinrude, a dragonfly, and discover Medusa’s boat. There, the mice learn that Medusa is using Penny to search for the Devil’s Eye diamond because the girl is small enough to fit through the opening to the pirate’s cave. As the rescuers resolve to find Penny, Brutus and Nero detect Bianca’s perfume and attack the mice. The rescuers escape but Bernard loses hope; however, Bianca convinces him to continue their mission. They later find Penny in her room, praying someone finds her message so she can return to the orphanage to be adopted. The mice inform Penny that they found her message, and the three plan to trap Brutus and Nero later that day in a wrought iron elevator. Bernard orders Evinrude to recruit help from Ellie Mae, Luke and their friends, but Evinrude is trapped by bats on his way back to the swamp. Meanwhile, Medusa swipes Penny’s beloved teddy bear and forces the girl into the cave to look for the Devil’s Eye. Bernard and Bianca hide in Penny’s pocket and help her find the diamond in a pirate skull. As Penny pries open the skull with a sword, the cave floods with the ocean tides, but the friends escape. Medusa is delighted by the treasure and argues with Snoop over its ownership while Penny is dragged back to the boat by Brutus and Nero. Elsewhere, Evinrude finally escapes from the bats and gathers the swamp critters to rescue Penny. Back on the boat, Medusa hides the diamond in Penny’s teddy bear and plans to run away with it, leaving Snoops empty handed. However, the rescuers lure Brutus and Nero into the elevator trap with Bianca’s perfume as the swamp critters distract Medusa and Snoops with fireworks. Penny and the animals escape on Medusa’s swamp mobile. Back at the United Nations building in New York City, Bianca and Bernard meet with the Rescue Aid Society to watch a television news program that reports Penny has donated the Devil’s Eye diamond to the Smithsonian Institution, and that Penny, and her teddy bear, have been adopted. As Bianca kisses Bernard in celebration, Evinrude arrives with a new S.O.S. message. Bianca volunteers herself and Bernard to carry out the mission. Reuniting with Orville the albatross, the rescuers and Evinrude take flight in a snowstorm, off to rescue another person in distress. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

TOP SEARCHES

CASABLANCA

During World War II, Casablanca, Morocco is a waiting point for throngs of desperate refugees fleeing Nazi-occupied Europe. Exit visas, which are necessary to leave the country, are at ... >>

CITIZEN KANE

Seventy-year-old newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane dies in his palatial Florida home, Xanadu, after uttering the single word “Rosebud.” While watching a newsreel summarizing the years during which Kane ... >>

REAR WINDOW

Laid up with a broken leg during the height of summer, renowned New York magazine photographer L. B. “Jeff” Jeffries enters his last week of home confinement, bored and ... >>

RAGING BULL

In 1941, at a boxing match in Cleveland, Ohio, pandemonium breaks out when Jake La Motta, an up-and-coming young boxer, loses a decision to Jimmy Reeves, suffering his first ... >>

CITY LIGHTS

At an outdoor dedication ceremony, a tramp is discovered sleeping in the arms of a statue as it is being unveiled before a crowd. He is chased into ... >>

The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.