The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1986 film)

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The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Written by Victor Hugo (novel)
Eddy Graham
Based on The Hunchback of Notre Dame
by Victor Hugo
Distributed by Image Entertainment
(United States)
The Rank Organisation
(United Kingdom)
Release date
  • August 27, 1986 (1986-08-27) (United States and Australia)
Running time
52 minutes
Country Australia
United States
Language English

The Hunchback of Notre Dame is a 1986 Australian/American fantasy animated film and an adaptation of the 1831 novel of the same name by Victor Hugo.


Claude Frollo is attempting alchemy, but cannot concentrate due to his thoughts of Esmeralda, the gypsy dancer. He informs Quasimodo, his hunchbacked and deaf servant, that he needs him to assist in kidnapping Esmeralda. In the Paris streets is the poet Gringoire, who also pines for Esmeralda, and laments his dilemma through poetry. Esmeralda herself passes by, and Quasimodo tries to kidnap her on Frollo's orders. Gringoire tries to save her, but is knocked to the ground instead. Esmeralda is successfully rescued by Captain Phoebus, who has the hunchback arrested, while Frollo escapes. Esmeralda takes a liking to Phoebus, and remarks on the beauty of his name when he leaves.

Gringoire is chased by faux cripples into the court of miracles, the den of beggars and thieves. Clopin, the king of these people, decides to hang Gringoire. Gringoire, to avoid death, has to perform a test, which he quickly fails. He is then offered to women to avoid hanging. Esmeralda marries him, but only out of pity. The next day, the archbishop visits Frollo in his cell and informs him that Quasimodo has been arrested. Frollo refuses to testify at the trial, using the false excuse of not wanting to disgrace the church. At the Palis de Justice, the deaf judge assumes he is being mocked, as Quasimodo is unable to properly answer the judge's questions, and sentences him to a flogging.

Quasimodo is whipped, and mocked by the people around him. He begs for water, and Esmeralda gives him some. She performs tricks with her goat Djali, but stops in order to pursue Phoebus. At the inn, Esmeralda is reunited with Phoebus, but only a short while after this, he is stabbed by Frollo. Esmeralda is blamed and arrested. At her trial, she is accused of sorcery. Charmlalou manages to have Djali perform a trick, which is used as damning evidence against her.

She is sentenced to burn at the stake. Frollo offers her to come with him into the cathedral so he can have the responsibility of cleansing her soul. Esmeralda sees through this lie and says that she "would prefer to die" than be with him. Before the execution can proceed, Quasimodo swoops down, snatches Esmeralda, and saves her, crying "sanctuary" over and over. Frollo curses both Esmeralda and "the deformed monster (he) adopted and raised all of these years."

Quasimodo pours his heart out to Esmeralda, and she begins to pity him, apologizing for "judging (him) ugly because of (his) face." The next day, Frollo visits Esmeralda when she is alone. He offers himself to her once more, and Esmeralda rejects his hateful advances. Frollo pulls out a dagger, with the intent of killing Esmeralda. Quasimodo stops him, and Frollo leaves, saying that if he can't have Esmeralda than no other man shall.

Enraged townspeople then attack the cathedral, wanting to hang Esmeralda themselves. Quasimodo defends the church vigorously. Frollo grabs Esmeralda, trying to push her to her death and "give these people what they want." Quasimodo runs to her aid, throwing Frollo aside. After a brief struggle, Frollo is thrown to his doom by Quasimodo. Down below, Phoebus makes his way through the crowd. The people are amazed to see that he is alive. He proves Esmeralda's innocence, saying that she "has commuted no sin in her entire life...except to be born beautiful."

Esmeralda says that Quasimodo is "the most beautiful and innocent man who was ever born." Quasimodo, touched, walks off to a gargoyle, looking into the sunset.


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