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The Aristocats

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The Aristocats
Directed byWolfgang Reitherman
Produced byWinston Hibler
Wolfgang Reitherman
Written byKen Anderson
Larry Clemmons
Eric Cleworth
Vance Garry
Tom McGowan
Tom Rowe
Julius Svendsen
Frank Thomas
Ralph Wright
StarringPhil Harris
Eva Gabor
Liz English
Gary Dubin
Dean Clark
Sterling Holloway
Roddy Maude-Roxby
Music byGeorge Bruns
Richard and Robert Sherman
Georges Bizet (songs)
Distributed byBuena Vista Pictures
Release date
December 11, 1970 (premiere)
December 24, 1970 (regular)
Running time
78 minutes
CountryUnited States United States
France France
Australia Australia
Budget$4,000,000 (estimated)

The Aristocats is an animated feature produced and released by Walt Disney Productions in 1970. The twentieth animated feature in the List of Disney animated features, the movie is based on a story by Tom McGowan and Tom Rowe, and is about a family of cats, and how an alley cat helps them after their butler Edgar has catnapped them to gain his mistress' fortune which was meant to go to them. It was originally released to theaters by Buena Vista Distribution on December 11, 1970, with a regular release on December 24, 1970. The title is a pun on the word aristocrats. The VHS of The Aristocats was first released on April 24, 1996.

The movie's basic idea — an animated romantic musical comedy about talking cats in France — had previously been used in the UPA animated feature Gay Purr-e.

Disney planned to release a sequel, The Aristocats II, in December 2005, set to release in 2007, but production was canceled in early 2006.

The movie is noted for being the last movie to be approved by Walt Disney himself. Disney died before the movie was released.

The story

Retired madame Adelaide Bonfamille enjoys the good life in her Paris villa with even classier cat Duchess and three kittens: pianist Berlioz, painter Toulouse and sanctimonious Marie. When loyal butler Edgar overhears her will leaves everything to the cats until their death, he drugs and kidnaps them. However retired army dogs make his sidecar capsize on the country. Crafty stray cat Thomas O’Malley takes them under his wing back to Paris. Edgar tries to cover his tracks and catch them at return, but more animals turn on him, from the cart horse Frou-Frou to the tame mouse Roquefort and O’Malley’s jazz friends.


This movie was the last one to be approved by Walt himself, and the first one produced after his death in 1966. The movie took four years to produce, at a budget of 4,000,000. Five of Disney's legendary "Nine Old Men" worked on it, including the Disney crew that had been working 25 years on average.



  • Story adaptation: Ken Anderson, Larry Clemmons, Eric Cleworth, Vance Gerry, Julius Svendsen, Frank Thomas, Ralph Wright
  • Based on a story by Tom McGowan and Tom Rowe
  • Supervising animators: Milt Kahl, Ollie Johnston, Frank Thomas, John Lounsbery
  • Animators: Hal King, Eric Cleworth, Fred Hellmich, Eric Larson, Julius Svendsen, Walt Stanchfield, David Michener
  • Effects animators: Dan MacManus, Dick Lucas
  • Layout: Don Griffith, Basil Davidovich, Sylvia Roemer
  • Backgrounds: Al Dempster, Bill Layne, Ralph Hulett
  • Production manager: Don Duckwall
  • Assistant directors: Ed Hansen, Dan Alguire
  • Supervising sound editor: Robert O. Cook
  • Film editor: Tom Acosta
  • Music editor: Evelyn Kennedy
  • Music composed and conducted by George Bruns
  • Score orchestrated by Walter Sheets
  • Produced by Wolfgang Reitherman and Winston Hibler
  • Directed by Wolfgang Reitherman


The Aristocats was re-released to theaters on December 19, 1981 and April 10, 1987. It was released on VHS in Europe on January 1, 1990.

It was first released on VHS in North America in the Classics series on April 10, 1986 and January 1, 1992 and Masterpiece Collection series on April 24, 1996 and DVD on April 4, 2000 in the Gold Classic Collection line. The Aristocats had its Gold Collection disc quietly discontinued in 2006.

A new single-disc Special Edition DVD (previously announced as a 2-Disc set) was released on February 5, 2008.

The film will also be released on Blu- ray in August 2012. This release will contain all the 2008 DVD bonus features, but with more language tracks and special features.

International release dates


  1. "The Aristocats" - Maurice Chevalier "The Aristocats" is the title song from the movie. It was written by Robert & Richard Sherman at the end of the eight year tenure working for Walt Disney Productions. Actor and singer Maurice Chevalier came out of retirement to sing this song for the movie's soundtrack. He recorded it in English as well as in French translation ("Naturellement - les Aristocats!").
  2. "Scales and Arpeggios" - Liz English, Gary Dubin, Dean Clark, Robie Lester
  3. "Thomas O'Malley Cat" - Phil Harris
  4. "Everybody Wants to Be a Cat" - Phil Harris, Scatman Crothers, Thurl Ravenscroft, Vito Scotti, Paul Winchell This song is sung by Scatman Crothers as Scat Cat, Phil Harris as Thomas O'Malley Cat, and Thurl Ravenscroft as Billy Boss the Russian Cat. It was also released as a now rare 45 rpm single, in a version sung only by Phil Harris, which lacks the cartoon voices of the common release. The soundtrack CD released in 1996 contains an edited version of the song. The now politically incorrect lines sung by "Chinese Cat" voiced by Paul Winchell are removed.
  5. "She Never Felt Alone" - Robie Lester
  6. "Ev'rybody Wants to Be a Cat (reprise)" - Phil Harris, Scatman Crothers, Thurl Ravenscroft, Vito Scotti, Paul Winchell, Ruth Buzzi, Bill Thompson

On Classic Disney: 60 Years of Musical Magic, this includes "Thomas O'Malley Cat" on the purple disc and "Everybody Wants to Be a Cat" on the orange disc. On Disney's Greatest Hits, this includes "Ev'rybody Wants to Be a Cat" on the red disc.


  • At one point, O'Malley was planned to have stripes, as evidenced by some early pencil tests.


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