The Dot and the Line

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The Dot and the Line
A Romance in Lower Mathematics
The dot and the line.jpg
Directed byChuck Jones
Maurice Noble (co-director)
Produced byChuck Jones
Les Goldman
Story byNorton Juster
Based onThe Dot and the Line
by Norton Juster
Narrated byRobert Morley
Music byEugene Poddany
Animation byDon Towsley (supervising)
Ken Harris
Ben Washam
Dick Thompson
Tom Ray
Philip Roman
Backgrounds byPhilip DeGuard
Don Morgan
Color processMetrocolor
Distributed byMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date
December 31, 1965 (1965-12-31)
Running time
10 minutes 1 second
CountryUnited States

The Dot and the Line: A Romance in Lower Mathematics (ISBN 1-58717-066-3) is a book written and illustrated by Norton Juster, first published by Random House in 1963. The story was inspired by Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions, in which the protagonist visits a one-dimensional universe called Lineland, where women are dots and men are lines.

In 1965, the animator Chuck Jones and the MGM Animation/Visual Arts studio worked with Norton Juster to adapt The Dot and the Line into a 10-minute animated short film for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, narrated by Robert Morley with the narration almost verbatim to the book. The Dot and the Line won the 1965 Academy Award for Animated Short Film.[1] It was entered into the Short Film Palme d'Or competition at the 1966 Cannes Film Festival.[2]

The cartoon was released as a special feature on The Glass Bottom Boat DVD in 2005.[3] The cartoon is also featured on the 2008 release of Warner Home Video Academy Awards Animation Collection and the 2011 release of the Looney Tunes Platinum Collection: Volume 1 Blu-ray box-set on the third disc as a special feature. In 2005, Robert Xavier Rodriguez made a musical setting of the book for narrator and chamber ensemble with projected images, and in 2011 he made a version for full orchestra.


The story details a straight line who is hopelessly in love with a dot. The dot, finding the line to be stiff, dull, and conventional, turns her affections toward a wild and unkempt squiggle. The squiggle then takes advantage of the line's stiffness by reminding him that he's a lot more fun for the dot. The line's friends try to get him to settle down with another female line, but he refuses. He tries to dream of greatness until he finally understands what the squiggle meant and decides that he needs to be more unconventional. Willing to do whatever it takes to win the dot's affection, the line manages to bend himself and form angle after angle until he was nothing more than a mess of sides, bends and angles. After he straightens himself out, he tries this new ability again, creating shapes so complex that he has to label his sides and angles in order to keep his place. When competing again, the squiggle claims that the line still has nothing to show for the dot. He proves his rival wrong and is able to show the dot what she's really worth with him. She realizes that she has made a mistake after seeing what the line was really offering her. The dot wondered what she had thought she saw in the squiggle to be freedom and joy was nothing more than chaos and sloth. The squiggle tries to reclaim her love by trying to do what the line did, but to no avail, as no matter how hard he tries to re-shape himself, he still remains the same tangled, chaotic mess of lines and curves. Fed up, the dot tells him how she really feels about him. She leaves with the line, having realized that he has much more to offer, and the punning moral is presented: "To the vector belong the spoils." [4]


The Dot and the Line served as the inspiration for a collection of jewelry by designer Jane A. Gordon.[5] The short film also inspired The Dot and Line, a blog that publishes essays about cartoons and interviews with voice actors and creators like Fred Seibert, Natalie Palamides, and Brandon Vietti.[6]


  • This was one of only two non-Tom and Jerry animated short subjects to be released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer post-1958. The other one is The Bear That Wasn't, released in 1967 as the last-ever MGM animated short.
  • "The Dot and the Line" won the final award for an animated short for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, and Chuck Jones' only award as a producer.[7]
  • This would be one of two Juster books to be adapted for the big screen by Chuck Jones, although Juster had no involvement with the other, The Phantom Tollbooth.
  • Unlike other MGM Cartoons from 1963–67, the lion in this film is Leo.

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