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Fantastic Mr. Fox (film)

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Fantastic Mr. Fox (film)

Fantastic Mr. Fox
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Wes Anderson
Produced by
Screenplay by
Based on Fantastic Mr Fox 
by Roald Dahl
Music by Alexandre Desplat
Cinematography Tristan Oliver
Edited by Andrew Weisblum
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release dates
  • October 14, 2009 (2009-10-14) (London Film Festival)
  • November 13, 2009 (2009-11-13) (United States)
Running time
87 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $40 million[1]
Box office $46.4 million[1]

Fantastic Mr. Fox is a 2009 American Meryl Streep, Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray, Willem Dafoe, Michael Gambon, and Owen Wilson. For director Wes Anderson, it was his first animated film and first film adaptation. Development on the project began in 2004 as collaboration between Anderson and Henry Selick (who worked with Anderson on the 2004 film The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou) under Revolution Studios. In 2007, Revolution folded, Selick left to direct Coraline, and work on the film moved to 20th Century Fox. Production began in London in 2007. It was released in late 2009 to positive reviews.[2]


While raiding Berk's Squab Farm, Mr. Fox and his wife Felicity trigger a fox trap and become caged. Felicity reveals to Fox that she is pregnant and pleads with him to find a safer job if they escape. Two years later, the Foxes and their sullen son Ash are living in a hole. Fox, now a newspaper columnist, moves the family into a better home in the base of a tree, ignoring the warnings of his lawyer Badger about how dangerous the area is for foxes. The tree is located very close to facilities run by three farmers: Walter Boggis, Nathaniel Bunce, and Franklin Bean. Soon after the Foxes move in, Felicity's nephew Kristofferson Silverfox comes to live with them, as his father has fallen ill with double pneumonia. Ash finds this situation intolerable; his soft-spoken cousin is apparently superior to him at almost everything, and everyone, including Fox, is charmed by Kristofferson at Ash's expense. Longing for his days as a thief, Fox and his friend Kylie Opossum steal produce and poultry from the three farms.

Angered, the farmers decide to kill Fox. They camp out near his home. When Fox emerges, the farmers open fire, but only shoot off his tail. They then attempt to dig Fox out. After demolishing the site of the tree, the farmers discover the Foxes have dug an escape tunnel. Reasoning that the Foxes will have to surface for food and water eventually, the farmers wait at the tunnel mouth. Underground, Fox encounters Badger and many other local animal residents whose homes have also been destroyed by the farmers. As the animals begin fearing starvation, Fox leads Badger, Mole, Beaver, and Weasel in a digging expedition to tunnel to the three farms, robbing them clean. While the other animals feast, Ash and Kristofferson begin to reconcile after Kristofferson defends Ash from Beaver's son. The cousins return to Bean's farm, intending to reclaim Mr. Fox's tail. When they are interrupted by the arrival of Bean's wife, Ash escapes but Kristofferson is captured. Discovering that Fox has stolen their produce, the farmers flood the animals' tunnel network with cider.

The animals are forced into the sewers. Fox learns that the farmers plan to use Kristofferson to lure him into an ambush. The animals are confronted by Rat, Bean's security guard. Fox and Rat fight in an electrical room until Fox pushes him into an electric generator, severely electrocuting him. Before dying, Rat confesses Kristofferson's location. Fox asks the farmers for a meeting in town near the sewer hub where he would surrender in exchange for Kristofferson's freedom. The farmers set up an ambush, but Fox and the others anticipate it and launch a counterattack. Fox, Ash, and Kylie slip into Bean's farm. Ash frees Kristofferson and braves enemy fire to release a rabid beagle named Spitz to keep the farmers at bay. The animals become accustomed to living in the sewers with others considering moving in. Ash and Kristofferson settle their differences and become good friends. Fox leads his family to a drain opening built into the floor of a supermarket owned by the three farmers. Celebrating their new food source and the news that Felicity is pregnant again, the animals dance.


  • red fox and bird thief who now is a newspaper columnist, Mrs. Fox's husband, Ash's father, and Kristofferson's uncle.
  • Meryl Streep as Felicity Fox, Mr. Fox's wife, Ash's mother, and Kristofferson's aunt.
  • Jason Schwartzman as Ash Fox, the son of Mr. Fox and Felicity Fox.
  • Bill Murray as Clive Badger,[3] Mr. Fox's lawyer who works at the Badger, Beaver, & Beaver firm. Even though he is identified as a European badger, he has an American accent.
  • Willem Dafoe as Rat, a black rat who works as Franklin Bean's security guard in his Secret Cider Cellar.
  • Owen Wilson as Coach Skip, an albino river otter who leads the school's Whack-Bat team.
  • Wally Wolodarsky as Kylie Sven Opossum, an opossum who is Mr. Fox's best friend and personal assistant. He is the building superintendent of Mr. Fox's tree house.
  • Eric Anderson as Kristofferson Silverfox, a silver fox who is the nephew of Felicity Fox and the cousin of Ash.
  • Michael Gambon as Franklin Bean, a skinny turkey and apple farmer that Mr. Fox steals from.
  • Jarvis Cocker as Petey
  • Wes Anderson as Stan Weasel, a savvy real estate agent who sells Mr. Fox the home at the base of a tree.
  • Karen Duffy as Linda Otter, a secretary at the Badger, Beaver, & Beaver firm.
  • Robin Hurlstone as Walter Boggis, a fat chicken farmer that Mr. Fox steals from.
  • Hugo Guinness as Nathan Bunce, a dwarfish duck and goose farmer that Mr. Fox steals from.
  • Helen McCrory as Mrs. Bean, the wife of Franklin Bean.
  • Juman Malouf as Agnes, a fox who is Ash's lab partner.
  • Garth Jennings as Bean's Son
  • Brian Cox as Daniel Peabody, an Action 12 Reporter.
  • Tristan Oliver as Explosives Man
  • James Hamilton as Phil Mole, a mole musician who helps Mr. Fox.
  • Steven M. Rales as Mr. Beaver, a beaver lawyer at Badger, Beaver, & Beaver who helps Mr. Fox.
  • Jeremy Dawson as Mr. Beaver's Son, the unnamed son of Mr. Beaver who is Kristofferson's lab partner.
  • Adrien Brody as Rickity, a meadow vole tailor.
  • Roman Coppola as Nelson Squirrel, a contractor who oversees the modification of Mr. Fox's tree house.
  • Mario Batali as Mr. Rabbit,[4] a chef in Mr. Fox's community that helps Mr. Fox.
  • Rob Hersov as Pilot
  • Jennifer Furches as Dr. Badger, a pediatrician who is the wife of Clive Badger.
  • Allison Abbate as Mr. Rabbit's Ex-Girlfriend, a rabbit who works as an accountant.
  • Molly Copper as Rabbit Girl
  • Martin Ballard as Fire Chief


Joe Roth and Revolution Studios bought the film rights to Fantastic Mr Fox in 2004. In 2006, Mark Mothersbaugh stated that he was working on the soundtrack.[5] Wes Anderson signed on as director with Henry Selick, who worked with Anderson on The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, as animation director. Anderson stated that he signed on because Roald Dahl was one of his heroes.[6] Originally, Cate Blanchett was prearranged to voice Mrs. Fox, but she left the role for undisclosed reasons.[7] The story the novel covers would amount to the second act of the film. Anderson added new scenes to serve for the film's beginning and end.[8] The new scenes precede Mr. Fox's plan to steal from the three farmers and follow the farmers' bulldozing of the hill, beginning with the flooding of the tunnel. Selick left the project, to work on the Neil Gaiman story Coraline in February 2006.[9] He was replaced by Mark Gustafson.[10] 20th Century Fox became the project's home in October 2006 after Revolution folded.[11] In September 2007, Anderson announced voice work would begin.[12] The director chose to record the voices outside rather than in a studio: "we went out in a forest, [..] went in an attic, [and] went in a stable. We went underground for some things. There was a great spontaneity in the recordings because of that."[10] He said of the production design, "we want to use real trees and real sand, but it's all miniature."[12] Great Missenden, where Roald Dahl lived, has a major influence on the film's look.[6] The film mixes several forms of animation but consists primarily of stop motion.[11] Animation took place in London,[10] on Stage C at 3 Mills Studio,[13] with Anderson directing the crew, many of whom animated Tim Burton's Corpse Bride.[14] Selick, who kept in contact with Anderson, said the director would act out scenes while in Paris and send them to the animators via iPhone.[15]


Fantastic Mr. Fox
Soundtrack album by various artists
Released November 3, 2009
Genre Film score
Length 43:41
Wes Anderson film soundtrack chronology
The Darjeeling Limited
Fantastic Mr. Fox
Moonrise Kingdom

The score for the film was composed by The Rolling Stones, and other artists. A soundtrack album for the film was released on November 3, 2009. It contains the following tracks:[17]

No. Title Artist Length
1. "American Empirical Pictures"   Alexandre Desplat 0:15
2. "The Ballad of Davy Crockett" (from Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier, 1954) The Wellingtons 1:40
3. "Mr. Fox in the Fields"   Alexandre Desplat 1:03
4. "Heroes and Villains" (from Smiley Smile, 1967) The Beach Boys 3:37
5. "Fooba Wooba John" (from Little White Duck, 1959) Burl Ives 1:07
6. "Boggis, Bunce, and Bean"   Alexandre Desplat 0:51
7. "Jimmy Squirrel and Co."   Alexandre Desplat 0:46
8. "Love" (from Robin Hood, 1973) Nancy Adams 1:49
9. "Buckeye Jim" (from Little White Duck, 1959) Burl Ives 1:19
10. "High-Speed French Train"   Alexandre Desplat 1:26
11. "Whack-bat Majorette"   Alexandre Desplat 2:57
12. "The Grey Goose" (from Little White Duck, 1959) Burl Ives 2:49
13. "Bean's Secret Cider Cellar"   Alexandre Desplat 2:07
14. "Une Petite Île" (from Two English Girls, 1971) Georges Delerue 1:36
15. "Street Fighting Man" (from Beggars Banquet, 1968) The Rolling Stones 3:15
16. "Fantastic Mr Fox AKA Petey's Song"   Jarvis Cocker 1:21
17. "Night and Day" (recorded 1946, released 1984 on Masters of Jazz) Art Tatum 1:28
18. "Kristofferson's Theme"   Alexandre Desplat 1:36
19. "Just Another Dead Rat in a Garbage Pail (Behind a Chinese Restaurant)"   Alexandre Desplat 2:34
20. "Le Grand Choral" (from Day for Night, 1973) Georges Delerue 2:24
21. "Great Harrowsford Square"   Alexandre Desplat 3:21
22. "Stunt Expo 2004"   Alexandre Desplat 2:28
23. "Canis Lupus"   Alexandre Desplat 1:16
24. "Ol' Man River" (recorded 1968, released 2001 on Hawthorne, CA) The Beach Boys 1:18
25. "Let Her Dance" (single, 1965) The Bobby Fuller Four 2:32



The film had its world premiere as the opening film of the 53rd edition of the London Film Festival on October 14, 2009.[18]

Theatrical release

The film was released theatrically on November 13, 2009 by 20th Century Fox and Regency Enterprises.

Home media

The film was released on DVD and Blu-ray on March 23, 2010 by 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.[19] The Criterion Collection released the film on Blu-ray and DVD on February 18, 2014.[20]


Critical response

Fantastic Mr. Fox received positive reviews from a vast majority of critics.[21] The film currently has a 92% "Certified Fresh" rating on [28] Ann Hornaday from the Washington Post calls it a "self-consciously quirky movie that manages to be twee and ultra-hip at the same time, it qualifies as yet another wry, carefully composed bibelot in the cabinet of curios that defines the Anderson oeuvre."[29] Peter Howell from the Toronto Star states that "[i]n an age when everything seems digital, computer-driven and as fake as instant coffee, more and more artists (Spike Jonze and John Lasseter among them) are embracing the old ways of vinyl records, hand-drawn cartoons and painstaking stop-motion character movements."[30] In 2011, Richard Corliss of TIME Magazine named it one of "The 25 All-TIME Best Animated Films".[31]

Box office

Despite its critical success, the film's box office receipts were overshadowed by other films, particularly The Twilight Saga: New Moon and Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel. Fantastic Mr. Fox grossed $21,002,919 in the U.S., and $25,468,104 worldwide, making a total of $46,471,023.[1]


The film was nominated for the 2010 Critics Choice Awards for Best Animated Feature,[32] the 2010 Golden Globe Award for Best Animated Feature Film,[33] the 2010 Academy Award for Best Animated Feature and Academy Award for Best Original Score;[34] but ultimately lost all the nominations to Up. It was also nominated for the Grand Prix of the Belgian Syndicate of Cinema Critics. Alexandre Desplat won Soundtrack Composer of the Year and World Soundtrack of the Year at the 2010 World Soundtrack Awards[35] On January 14, 2010, the National Board of Review awarded Anderson a Special Filmmaking Achievement award.[36] After giving his acceptance speech, the audio of the speech was used in a short animation of Anderson's character (Weasel) giving the speech, animated by Payton Curtis, a key stop-motion animator on the film.[37]


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  23. ^ Roger Ebert – Fantastic Mr. Fox Review
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  28. ^ AMY BIANCOLLI, Houston Chronicle accessdate=2011-09-03
  29. ^ Ann Hornaday, Washington Post, Friday, November 27, 2009,1158822/critic-review.html accessdate=2011-09-03
  30. ^ Peter Howell. Toronto Star accessdate=2011-09-03
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