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The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle (film)

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The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle
Theatrical release poster
Directed byDes McAnuff
Written byKenneth Lonergan
Based onThe Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Friends
by Jay Ward
Produced byRobert De Niro
Jane Rosenthal
CinematographyThomas E. Ackerman
Edited byDennis Virkler
Music byMark Mothersbaugh
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release date
  • June 30, 2000 (2000-06-30)
Running time
92 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$76 million[2]
Box office$35.1 million[2]

The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle is a 2000 American live-action/animated adventure slapstick comedy film directed by Des McAnuff and produced by Universal Pictures, based on the television cartoon of the same name by Jay Ward. Animated characters Rocky and Bullwinkle share the screen with live actors portraying Fearless Leader (Robert De Niro, who also co-produced the film), Boris Badenov (Jason Alexander) and Natasha Fatale (Rene Russo) along with Randy Quaid, Piper Perabo, Kenan Thompson and Kel Mitchell. June Foray reprised her role as Rocky, while Keith Scott (no relation to original voice actor Bill Scott) voiced Bullwinkle and the film's narrator. It also features cameo appearances by performers including James Rebhorn, Paget Brewster, Janeane Garofalo, John Goodman, David Alan Grier, Don Novello, Jon Polito, Carl Reiner, Whoopi Goldberg, Max Grodenchik, Norman Lloyd, Jonathan Winters and Billy Crystal. The film follows a young rookie FBI agent named Karen Sympathy enlisting the help of Rocky and Bullwinkle to stop Boris, Natasha, and Fearless Leader from taking over the United States.

Released on June 30, 2000, the film underperformed at the box-office, grossing $35.1 million worldwide against its $76 million budget.[2] It received mixed reviews with criticisms toward its writing, plot, and humor while praising the performances, visual effects, and faithfulness to its source material.



Rocky the Squirrel and Bullwinkle J. Moose live a melancholic life ever since their television series was cancelled in 1964. Their animated home, Frostbite Falls, is deforested, Rocky can no longer fly, and their show's unseen Narrator lives with his mother. Meanwhile, their archenemies, Fearless Leader, Boris Badenov, and Natasha Fatale, have all lost power in Pottsylvania following the end of the Cold War. They escape by tunneling to a Hollywood film studio, where they trick executive Minnie Mogul into signing a rights contract to their series and green-lighting a potential movie, dragging the villains out of the animated world and transforming them into live action characters.

Six months later, Fearless Leader and his minions have founded RBTV ("Really Bad Television"), a cable television network in New York City that is programmed to control the population by brainwashing American audiences into voting Fearless Leader in as the next President of the United States. FBI Director Cappy von Trapment deploys rookie agent Karen Sympathy to recruit Rocky and Bullwinkle to stop RBTV's intended broadcast. Karen travels to a movie-generating lighthouse in Los Angeles, summoning Rocky, Bullwinkle, and the Narrator into the real world.

Upon learning of Rocky and Bullwinkle's return, Fearless Leader deploys Boris and Natasha to destroy them. They are given the CDI ("Computer-Degenerating Imagery"), a laptop-like weapon that can trap cartoon characters within the Internet. Their truck is stolen by Karen, who is swiftly arrested by Oklahoma State Police troopers when Natasha poses as her. Boris and Natasha later steal a helicopter to continue their pursuit. Karen is sent to prison but manipulates a love-struck Swedish guard named Ole to help her escape. Rocky and Bullwinkle are picked up by teens Martin and Lewis, who are students from Bullwinkle's alma mater Wossamotta U. Boris and Natasha launch an elaborate plan to assassinate Bullwinkle, donating a check to the university in his name, inspiring the academic board to award Bullwinkle with an honorary "Mooster's Degree". As Bullwinkle addresses the students, Rocky regains his ability to fly, stopping Boris from killing Bullwinkle with the CDI.

Boris and Natasha chase Rocky and Bullwinkle through Chicago, but inadvertently disintegrate their helicopter in the process. Karen reunites with Rocky and Bullwinkle, but the trio is arrested again by numerous state troopers. They are trialed for numerous misdemeanors in ten states, but the presiding Judge Cameo has the charges dropped upon recognizing Rocky and Bullwinkle, informing the district attorney that celebrities are above the law. The trio buys a rickety biplane and escapes Boris and Natasha once again. The two villains consider retiring, lying to Fearless Leader that they had defeated Rocky and Bullwinkle, confident that they have already won. Meanwhile, the heroes' plane begins to lose altitude due to the combined weight. Rocky flies Karen to New York to stop the broadcast, but they are captured by Boris and Natasha. Fearless Leader initiates his plan and broadcasts programs to brainwash most of the country.

Bullwinkle crash-lands the plane outside the White House in Washington, D.C., and finds the President to be brainwashed by the RBTV programs, which Bullwinkle is immune due to his natural stupidity. Cappy finds Bullwinkle and scans him into the White House's computer system, then e-mails him to the studio just as Fearless Leader addresses the nation, disrupting the broadcast, and a chaotic fight breaks out, leading to the capture of the villains. Karen, Rocky, and Bullwinkle then ask the American public to replant Frostbite Falls, and Bullwinkle accidentally activates the CDI, transforming the villains back to their animated forms and banishing them to the Internet once and for all.

In the aftermath, Rocky and Bullwinkle's careers are renewed in RBTV, renamed to "Rocky and Bullwinkle Television", and Karen goes on a date with Ole as Rocky, Bullwinkle, and the Narrator return home to a rejuvenated Frostbite Falls.





In October 1998, it was announced Monica Potter had been cast as the lead.[4] Robert De Niro was also announced to be in negotiations for the role of Fearless Leader, with Des McAnuff set to direct from Kenny Lonergan’s screenplay.[4] In November 1998, Jason Alexander was cast as Boris Badenov.[5] In January 1999, Rene Russo was cast as Natasha Fatale.[6] In February 1999, Potter dropped out from the lead role and was replaced by Piper Perabo.[7]

Visual effects and animation


Both visual effects and animation services for the film were provided by Industrial Light and Magic. The animators took inspiration from Who Framed Roger Rabbit, to help incorporate cartoon characters in a live-action setting. Director Des McAnuff wanted "to maintain the simplicity of the original characters" and he also wanted Rocky and Bullwinkle to move more three-dimensionally, to go with the three-dimensional real-world space they occupy in most of the film. As a result, the animators adapted the characters into the modeling and movements of 3D animation but incorporated cel-shaded techniques to help maintain their cartoony overall rendering in their models.[8]



Box office


Rocky & Bullwinkle opened in 2,460 venues,[when?] earning $6,814,270 in its opening weekend and ranking fifth in the North American box office and third among the week's new releases.[9] It closed on October 5, 2000 with a domestic total of $26,005,820 and $9,129,000 in other territories for a worldwide gross of $35,134,820.[2]

The failure of the film was attributed to the film not being fresh enough for young audiences or appealing to the nostalgia of Baby boomers.[10]

Critical response


On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 43% based on 100 reviews, with an average rating of 4.81/10. The critical consensus stated, "Though the film stays true to the nature of the original cartoon, the script is disappointing and not funny."[11] On Metacritic the film has a score of 36 out of 100 based on reviews from 30 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".[12] Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film a grade "B" on scale of A to F.[13]

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave it 3 out of 4 stars and wrote: "Has the same mixture of dumb puns, corny sight gags and sly, even sophisticated in-jokes. It's a lot of fun."[14]



Award Category Subject Result
Stinkers Bad Movie Awards Worst Resurrection of a TV Show Universal Pictures Nominated
Worst Supporting Actress Rene Russo Nominated
Golden Raspberry Award Worst Supporting Actress Nominated
Saturn Award Best Supporting Actress Nominated
Best Supporting Actor Jason Alexander Nominated

Home media


The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle was released on VHS and DVD on February 13, 2001, and on Blu-ray on May 15, 2018.[15]

See also



  1. ^ "The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle (U)". British Board of Film Classification. August 31, 2000. Retrieved December 10, 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d "The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle (2000)". Box Office Mojo. Amazon.com. October 5, 2000. Retrieved December 10, 2016.
  3. ^ Scott, Keith. "Keith Scott". Voice Chasers. Keith Scott. Archived from the original on October 18, 2006. Retrieved August 26, 2015.
  4. ^ a b "Potter to join Moose, Squirrel". Variety. Retrieved September 1, 2021.
  5. ^ "Alexander Badenov for 'Bullwinkle' pic". Variety. Retrieved September 1, 2021.
  6. ^ "Russo takes 'Rocky' road". Variety. Retrieved September 1, 2021.
  7. ^ "Players". Variety. Retrieved September 2, 2021.
  8. ^ Robertson, Barbara (June 2000). "Hokey Smoke!". Computer Graphics World. Barbara Robertson. Retrieved April 6, 2024.
  9. ^ "Weekend Box Office Results for June 30-July 2, 2000". Box Office Mojo. Amazon.com. July 3, 2000. Retrieved December 10, 2016.
  10. ^ Goldstein, Patrick (July 11, 2000). "The Misadventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Other Tales From Remake Hell". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 10, 2016.
  11. ^ "The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle (2000)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved September 30, 2019.
  12. ^ "The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved December 10, 2016.
  13. ^ "Cinemascore". Archived from the original on December 20, 2018.
  14. ^ Ebert, Roger (2000). "The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle movie review (2000)". Chicago Sun-Times.
  15. ^ "The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle DVD Release Date February 13, 2001". DVDsReleaseDates.com. Retrieved May 14, 2018.