The Rescuers

The Rescuers

Despite it’s reputation for stellar family entertainment, the 70s weren’t exactly the golden age for Disney animation. One notable exception was The Rescuers. A somewhat darker endeavor than their typical fare, the studio spent four years and eight million dollars, utilizing a team of forty animators to create this classic cartoon adventure.

A multinational coalition of mice dubbed the Rescue Aid Society receives a message in the bottle from a young girl named Penny, an orphan who has been kidnapped by a pair of alligator henchmen and is being held by their master – the evil, flaming-hair-laden Madame Medusa. The reason – a large diamond mine is hidden somewhere within an underground cave and Medusa is too big to fit through the entrance.

When the Rescue Aid society gets wind of the girl’s plight, a rescue mission is launched, led by affluent Hungarian, Miss Bianca (Eve Gabor) and skittish American, Bernard (Bob Newhart). Their chartered flight heads to the sinister Devil’s Bayou, stomping ground of Madame Medusa.

A number of indigenous critters, including a rabbit, turtle, and dragonfly offer their assistance and the animals eventually are able make their way into the sinister Medusa’s hidden hideout to rescue the kidnapped girl. The problem is, making an escape is complicated considerably by the pursuing Medusa and her menacing alligators.

First released in 1977, The Rescuers was based upon a series of nine children’s novels by Marjory Sharp. The animation team included an up-and-coming talent named Don Bluth, who would later produce such animated classics as An American Tail and The Land Before Time. He also helped to design the enormously popular animated arcade game, Dragon’s Lair.

The Rescuers did quite well at the box office upon its original release, breaking a record for largest amount made for an animated film on opening weekend (a record that stood until Don Bluth released An American Tail in 1986). It also fared well with critics, who felt it was one of the best animated features put out by Disney in recent years.

The movie was released again in 1983, helped by being paired with the first Mickey Mouse cartoon produced in three decades, Mickey’s Christmas Carol. The Rescuers made it’s way to theaters yet again in 1989, this time to help promote the release of Disney’s upcoming first-ever sequel, The Rescuers Down Under. The 1990 sequel brought back Bob Newhart and Eva Gabor to reprise their roles, and featured funnyman John Candy as a comical albatross named Wilbur.

If you have fond memories of this classic Disney offering, we hope you’ll take a moment to share your thoughts on The Rescuers with us in our comments section below.

One Response to “The Rescuers”

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  1. Gina says:

    Bernard & Bianca are one of my fave Disney couples, even if they are mice!

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