The Hunchback of Notre Dame Turns 20: 8 Fun Facts You Probably Didn't Know

Disney's darkest animated film is filled with trivia

By Francesca Bacardi Jun 21, 2016 4:52 PMTags
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Happy birthday, The Hunchback of Notre Dame! The classic Disney animated film turns 20 today, and in honor of that milestone we're going to give you some fun facts you may or may not know about the beloved movie.

The movie takes place in 15th century Paris and tells the story of misshapen Quasimodo who is in charge of ringing the grand Notre Dame's bells. Eventually he meets and becomes friends with a gypsy, Esmeralda, and must assert his independence from an evil government minister in order to protect her.

Although the movie-musical features many upbeat moments, The Hunchback of Notre Dame happens to be one of Disney's darker films.

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Here are eight other fun facts you might not know about it: 

1. Due to the movie's dark and sexual themes, it almost became the first animated Disney movie to receive a PG rating since 1985's The Black Cauldron; however, it managed to obtain a G rating.

2. All in the Disney family! While Quasimodo is singing "Out There," the camera pans over Paris and zooms in on a street. Viewers can see Belle from Beauty and the Beast, Pumbaa from The Lion King and another man is shaking out the Carpet from Aladdin.

3. It is the last Disney animated movie to use "hell," "damn" and other mild bad language.

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4. Esmeralda is barefoot the entire movie.

5. Filmmakers considered having Quasimodo killed off, as he was in the original novel. But fans of the novel agreed the ending filmmakers chose was way more appropriate for the movie. 

6. Animators were told to downplay the novel's religious themes so as not to offend Christian organizations. "[We] were told not to make the movie too religious—a pretty daunting task when you consider how much of this story takes place inside a big church," animator Floyd Norman later said.

7. Jason Alexander, who voices Hugo, wouldn't take his children to see the movie when it was released. "Disney would have us believe this movie's like the Ringling Bros., for children of all ages," said the Seinfeld alum. "But I won't be taking my four year-old. I won't expose him to it, not for another year."

8. "Hellfire," one of the darkest Disney songs ever written, was nearly cut from the film.

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