The Hunchback of Notre Dame

Critics Consensus

Disney's take on the Victor Hugo classic is dramatically uneven, but its strong visuals, dark themes, and message of tolerance make for a more-sophisticated-than-average children's film.



Total Count: 56


Audience Score

User Ratings: 125,718
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Movie Info

After the critical and commercial success of The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King, the Walt Disney Pictures animation studio embarked on their most serious and ambitious animated feature to date with this adaptation of Victor Hugo's classic novel Notre Dame de Paris. Quasimodo (voice of Tom Hulce) is a grotesquely deformed but kind-hearted young man who was abandoned by his parents as an infant and thrown down a well; he was rescued by the priests of Notre Dame, the massive cathedral in the heart of Paris, and he lives there, earning his keep as a bell ringer. Quasimodo has become the ward of Judge Frollo (voice of Tony Jay), an outwardly pious but deeply hateful man who treats Quasimodio with indifference and violently loathes the Gypsies who spend their days in the cathedral's courtyard. Frollo hopes to clear the Gypsies out of Paris with the help of Phoebus (voice of Kevin Kline), leader of the troops under Frollo's command. However, Phoebus does not share Frollo's racist views and harbors no ill will against the Gypsies. When Quasimodo is crowned King of the Fools after leaving Notre Dame during the annual festival of Topsy Turvy Day, the hunchback is ordered beaten by the guards as punishment, but Esmerelda (voice of Demi Moore), a hot-blooded but compassionate gypsy beauty, shows pity on him and helps free him from his chains. The lovely Esmerelda is the first woman to show kindness to the unfortunate Quasimodo, and the hunchback soon falls in love with her. However, the dashing Phoebus is also infatuated with her, and Esmerelda is attracted to Phoebus as well, though she feels a motherly affection for the hunchback. Judge Frollo finds that he also desires Esmerelda, which only inflames his hatred for the Gypsies when she refuses his proposals. Darker and less outwardly comic than most of Disney's features, The Hunchback of Notre Dame does feature comic relief in the form of Victor (voice of Charles Kimbrough) and Hugo (voice of Jason Alexander), a pair of gargoyles who befriend Quasimodo, as well as several songs from Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi


Tom Hulce
as Quasimodo
Demi Moore
as Esmeralda
Tony Jay
as Frollo
Kevin Kline
as Phoebus
Mary Wickes
as Laverne
Tim Pigott-Smith
as Pierre Gringoire
Mary Kay Bergman
as Quasimodo's Mother
Corey Burton
as Brutish Guard
Bill Fagerbakke
as Oafish Guard
Patrick Pinney
as Misc. Guards and Gypsies
Gary Trousdale
as The Old Heretic
Jane Withers
as Laverne in additional dialogue
Jack Angel
as Additional Voices
Joan Barber
as Additional Voices
Scott Barnes
as Additional Voices
Bob Bergen
as Additional Voices
Susan Blu
as Additional Voices
Maureen Brennan
as Additional Voices
Rodger Bumpass
as Additional Voices
Victoria Clark
as Additional Voices
Philip L. Clarke
as Additional Voices
Jennifer Darling
as Additional Voices
Debi Derryberry
as Additional Voices
Jonathan Dokuchitz
as Additional Voices
Bill Farmer
as Additional Voices
Laurie Faso
as Additional Voices
Merwin Foard
as Additional Voices
Dana Hill
as Additional Voices
Judy Kaye
as Additional Voices
Eddie Korbich
as Additional Voices
Alix Korey
as Additional Voices
Michael Lindsay
as Additional Voices
Sherry Lynn
as Additional Voices
Mona Marshall
as Additional Voices
Mickie T. McGowan
as Additional Voices
Anna McNeely
as Additional Voices
Bruce Moore
as Additional Voices
Denise Pickering
as Additional Voices
Phil Proctor
as Additional Voices
Jan Rabson
as Additional Voices
Peter Samuel
as Additional Voices
Kath Soucie
as Additional Voices
Stanley Gordon
as Additional Voices
Mary Stout
as Additional Voices
Marcelo Tubert
as Additional Voices
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Critic Reviews for The Hunchback of Notre Dame

All Critics (56) | Top Critics (17) | Fresh (40) | Rotten (16)

Audience Reviews for The Hunchback of Notre Dame

  • Dec 30, 2014
    Finally saw this. Great stuff, but why Phoebus gotta c--- block?
    Jared H Super Reviewer
  • Oct 11, 2014
    Disney bastardizes Victor Hugo's literary classic The Hunchback of Notre Dame as a romantic musical. The story follows a hunchback named Quasimodo who befriends a gypsy named Esmeralda who seeks sanctuary in the Notre Dame cathedral after being hunted by Minister Frollo, who's attempting to rid the city of gypsies. Featuring the voice talents of Demi Moore, Kevin Kline, and Jason Alexander, the film has a bit of an eclectic cast. And the music, despite being written by legendary Disney composer Alan Menken, is fairly unremarkable and lacks any standout songs. However, the real problem is that this is not Disney material, and Disney misses the point of this beautiful tragedy by Disneyfying it. The Hunchback of Notre Dame isn't a bad film, it's just the wrong film.
    Dann M Super Reviewer
  • Jul 05, 2013
    One of Disney's boldest and darkest animated films (there certainly hasn't been anything like it since), "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" is surprising in both the level of thematic substance and the detail in the animation. It tries to juggle the sophisticated Victor Hugo plot with Disney conventions to far less success (those gargoyles are less comic relief and more an annoying tonal inconsistency), but like its protagonist, this film goes largely hidden within Disney's sparkling legacy -- and that's a shame.
    Sam B Super Reviewer
  • Jun 29, 2013
    "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" is one of the darkest Disney movies to date. With enough animated detail, action sequences, and character development, the film catapults light years beyond anything before its time. This film is often a struggle to endure at times, as you witness the brutal mistreatment of Quasimodo and the quarrel between the handsome and gentle Phoebus and Quasimodo, both vying for the hand of Esmeralda. Many of the characters face developments of an adult nature. The villain, Frollo, whose animated details are beyond anything I've quite seen before, wants the gypsies dead, but cannot deny the beauty of Esmeralda and wants her all to himself, so much so that he'll kill her if she doesn't comply. This is a whole new level of animosity and, yes, we've faced this before with Disney, as Jafar captures the Princess, but you're never under the impression that lives are at stake. In "The Hunchback", the serious nature of the film often has you at extremes. Although the songs match the style of the film, there's nothing quite memorable enough to latch on to and the comedy is mainly lost on the three gargoyles, there's a sincerity and emotional tension built throughout the film that causes a deeper connection to the material compared to most animated films. "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" is stunning on most levels, and with such a dark nature, Disney ushers in a new level of animated entertainment.
    Christopher H Super Reviewer

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