Rebel Without Claws

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Rebel Without Claws
Looney Tunes (Tweety and Sylvester) series
Directed by Friz Freleng
Story by Friz Freleng
Voices by Mel Blanc
Music by Milt Franklyn
Animation by Gerry Chiniquy
Virgil Ross
Art Davis
Tom Ray
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures
Release date(s) July 15, 1961
Color process Technicolor
Running time 7 mins
Language English

Rebel Without Claws is a "Looney Tunes" cartoon animated short starring Tweety and Sylvester. Released July 15, 1961, the cartoon is written and directed by Friz Freleng. The voices were performed by Mel Blanc.

The cartoon, one of a number of Warner Bros. cartoons set during the American Civil War, is a play on the movie title Rebel Without a Cause.


Although the American Civil War was not an unheard-of subject in the Looney Tunes/Merrie Melodies series, Rebel Without Claws is unusual in that it portrays the Confederate States Army in a sympathetic light, while casting a negative focus on the Union and its Army. Likewise, the short is a remake of the 1944 short Plane Daffy, albeit with World War II references replaced by Civil War environment and other politically correct changes.

Here, the Confederates want to get an "important message" to General Robert E. Lee, but all the carrier pigeons have been shot down. The soldiers realize that Tweety is their last hope and turn to him for their mission. The Union soldiers learn of the Confederates' attempt and counter with their "Messenger Destroyer," who turns out to be none other than Sylvester. "I tawt I taw a damn Yankee tat," says Tweety just before the chase begins.

The bulk of the cartoon uses battle gags, such as Sylvester getting blown out of a cannon; Tweety momentarily tricking Sylvester into thinking Union soldiers are marching to battle (Sylvester tries to confront the canary but is blown away by Confederate soldiers); and Tweety hiding behind cannons on a fighter ship (Sylvester takes the brunt of more explosions, just like in Buccaneer Bunny).

Eventually, Sylvester disguises himself as General Lee and grabs Tweety. The bird is taken to the firing line for execution. He states that his only regret is that he has "but one wife to give foh my countwy" (paraphrasing Nathan Hale), to which Sylvester says that he has nine lives, But the commander and his soldiers prove incompetent — they shoot Sylvester instead! "It's a good thing I have got nine lives! With this kind of an army, I'll need 'em!"


  • Animation: Virgil Ross, Art Davis, Gerry Chiniquy, Tom Ray
  • Assistant Animation: Art Leonardi
  • Layouts: Hawley Pratt
  • Backgrounds: Tom O'Loughlin
  • Film Editor: Treg Brown
  • Voice Characterizations: Mel Blanc
  • Music: Milt Franklyn
  • Written and Directed by: Friz Freleng


  • Friedwald, Will and Jerry Beck. "The Warner Brothers Cartoons." Scarecrow Press Inc., Metuchen, N.J., 1981. ISBN 0-8108-1396-3.

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Preceded by
Trip For Tat
Tweety and Sylvester cartoons
Succeeded by
The Last Hungry Cat