The Fox and the Hound is a 1981 animated feature produced by Walt Disney Productions, first released to movie theatres in the U.S. on July 10, 1981. It is #5 on the all-time Disney cartoon rankings. The twenty-fourth animated feature in the Disney animated features canon, the film is loosely based on the Daniel P. Mannix novel The Fox and the Hound. The film centers around the story of two unlikely friends, a bloodhound and a red fox, who struggle to preserve their friendship. At the time of release it was the most expensive animated film produced to date, costing $12 million. A direct-to-video “midquel,” The Fox and the Hound 2, was released on December 12, 2006. Mickey Rooney's voice sounds simmliar to Arnold Stang's who is well-known as the voice of Top Cat from Top Cat.
After a young red fox is orphaned, Big Mama the owl, Boomer the woodpecker, and Dinky the finch arrange for him to be adopted by Widow Tweed. Tweed names him Tod, since he reminds her of a toddler. Meanwhile, Tweed's neighbor, a hunter called Amos Slade, brings home a young hound puppy named Copper and introduces him to his hunting dog Chief. Tod and Copper become playmates and vow to remain "friends forever". Slade grows frustrated at Copper for constantly wandering off to play and places him on a leash. While playing with Copper at his home, Tod awakens Chief. Slade and Chief chase him until they are confronted by Tweed. After a brief argument, Slade says that he will kill Tod if he enters his farm again. Hunting season comes, and Slade takes his dogs into the wilderness for the interim. Meanwhile, Big Mama, Boomer and Dinky explain to Tod that his friendship with Copper cannot continue, as they are natural enemies, but Tod refuses to accept this.
As months pass, both Tod and Copper reach adulthood. On the night of Copper's return, Tod sneaks over to meet him. Copper explains that while he still values Tod as a friend, he is now a hunting dog and things are different. Chief awakens and alerts Slade, a chase ensues and Copper catches Tod. Copper lets Tod go then diverts Chief and Slade. Chief maintains his pursuit onto a railroad track where he is struck by an oncoming train and wounded. Copper and Slade blame Tod for the accident and swear vengeance. Tweed, now realizing that her pet is no longer safe with her, leaves him at a game preserve. After a rough first night, Tod adjusts to life in the forest when Big Mama introduces him to a female fox named Vixey.
Slade and Copper trespass into the preserve and hunt Tod. He and Vixey narrowly escape and Slade and Copper inadvertently provoke an attack from a bear. Slade trips and gets caught in one of his traps, dropping his gun slightly out of reach. Copper fights the bear but is no match for it. Not willing to let his old friend die, Tod rushes in and fights the bear until they both fall down a waterfall. With the bear gone, a bewildered Copper approaches Tod as he lies exhausted near the bank of a waterfall-created lake. When Slade appears, Copper positions himself in front of Tod to prevent Slade from shooting him, refusing to move away. Slade lowers his gun and leaves with Copper. The two former friends share one last smile, and wave goodbye before parting. At home, Tweed nurses Slade back to health while the dogs rest. Copper, before resting, smiles as he remembers the day when he first met Tod. On a hill, Vixey joins Tod as he looks down on the homes of Slade and Tweed.