Alfy Boyd

Written by Alfy Boyd

Modified & Updated: 30 May 2024

Jessica Corbett

Reviewed by Jessica Corbett


Released in 1970, “The Aristocats” is a beloved Disney animated film that has captivated audiences of all ages for decades. This charming movie follows the adventures of Duchess, an elegant and refined cat, and her three kittens, as they navigate the streets of Paris and encounter a host of colorful characters along the way.

With its memorable characters, catchy musical numbers, and heartwarming story, “The Aristocats” has secured its place as a timeless classic in the Disney canon. In this article, we will delve into 46 fascinating facts about this iconic film, shedding light on its production, behind-the-scenes anecdotes, and hidden gems that even the most die-hard fans may not know. So, get ready to dive into the world of whiskers and purrs as we explore the enchanting world of “The Aristocats!

Key Takeaways:

  • “The Aristocats” was the last Disney film approved by Walt Disney himself, and it continues to charm audiences with its timeless story, captivating characters, and enchanting animation.
  • This heartwarming film celebrates the importance of family, teamwork, and self-belief, while showcasing the beauty of Paris and the art of dance. It’s a purr-fect choice for a delightful family movie night!
Table of Contents

The Aristocats was released in 1970.

This delightful animated film made its debut on December 11, 1970, captivating audiences with its enchanting storyline and memorable characters.

It was the last Disney film to be approved by Walt Disney himself.

Before his passing in 1966, Walt Disney was involved in the early stages of development for “The Aristocats.” His creative input and stamp of approval make this film even more special.

The story was inspired by a true-life family of cats.

The idea for “The Aristocats” came about when one of the film’s writers, Tom McGowan, noticed a family of stray cats living near his apartment in New York City. This unlikely encounter sparked the inspiration for this heartwarming tale.

Eva Gabor provided the voice of Duchess.

Eva Gabor, renowned for her role in the TV series “Green Acres,” brought the elegant and sophisticated Duchess to life with her distinctive voice.

The character of Duchess was originally written for another famous actress.

In the early stages of development, the role of Duchess was intended for legendary actress and singer, Julie Andrews. However, due to scheduling conflicts, Andrews was unable to take on the role.

It was the first Disney animated feature to be set in contemporary times.

Unlike many of Disney’s other animated films, which were set in fairy tale worlds or historical settings, “The Aristocats” took place in 1910s Paris.

The film features a jazzy musical score.

The catchy tunes in “The Aristocats” were composed by George Bruns and Richard M. Sherman. The upbeat jazz music adds to the film’s lively and charming atmosphere.

Maurice Chevalier provided the voice for the opening song.

The legendary French actor and singer, Maurice Chevalier, added his iconic voice to the film by performing the opening song, “The Aristocats.

It was the first Disney film to be produced without Walt Disney.

After Walt Disney’s passing, his brother Roy O. Disney took over as the head of the studio. “The Aristocats” marked the first film to be released under his leadership.

The film was a commercial success.

“The Aristocats” grossed over $191 million worldwide, making it one of the highest-grossing animated films of the 1970s.

The film was initially intended as a live-action/animated crossover.

In the early stages of development, “The Aristocats” was envisioned as a mix of live-action and animation. However, the concept eventually evolved into a full-length animated feature.

The animators studied real cats for reference.

To ensure that the cat characters in “The Aristocats” moved and behaved realistically, the animators observed real cats and incorporated their movements and mannerisms into the animation.

Duchess was originally planned to have a Russian accent.

In early drafts, Duchess was written as a Russian cat, and her dialogue was supposed to reflect this. However, the decision was made to not include the accent in the final version of the film.

The film drew inspiration from classic Disney films.

The Aristocats” pays homage to previous Disney classics such as “Lady and the Tramp” and “101 Dalmatians” in terms of its animation style and themes centered around beloved animal characters.

The film was reissued in theaters multiple times.

Due to its enduring popularity, “The Aristocats” was re-released in theaters in 1980, 1987, and 1996, allowing new generations of fans to experience the magic on the big screen.

Edgar, the butler, was inspired by a real-life person.

The character of Edgar, the bumbling butler and the film’s main antagonist, drew inspiration from a real-life person. The story goes that one of the Disney animators had a particularly clumsy butler and incorporated those traits into Edgar’s character.

The film was dedicated to Sterling Holloway.

Sterling Holloway, the voice of characters like Winnie the Pooh and the Cheshire Cat, was originally cast as the voice of Roquefort in “The Aristocats.” However, due to illness, he had to be replaced by Disney veteran actor Pat Buttram. The film is dedicated to Holloway in the end credits.

The kittens were named after famous French composers.

The three adorable kittens in “The Aristocats” were named Toulouse, Berlioz, and Marie after renowned French composers Toulouse-Lautrec, Hector Berlioz, and Marie Antoinette.

The film features an iconic dance sequence.

One of the most beloved scenes in “The Aristocats” is the dance sequence between Thomas O’Malley and Duchess. The elegant, romantic choreography is a highlight of the film.

The film’s release was met with mixed reviews.

While “The Aristocats” enjoyed commercial success, critics had varying opinions on the film. Some praised its charming story and engaging characters, while others felt it lacked the depth of previous Disney classics.

The film showcases the beauty of Paris.

The Aristocats” beautifully captures the essence of Paris, from its iconic landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower to the charming cobblestone streets. The animation brings the city of love to life on the screen.

The film has a strong female lead.

Duchess, the elegant and graceful mother cat, serves as a strong and nurturing figure throughout the film. Her character challenges traditional gender roles and showcases the strength of motherly love.

The film’s score includes a memorable song by Scatman Crothers.

Scatman Crothers, who voiced the alley cat Scat Cat, performed the lively and memorable song “Everybody Wants to Be a Cat.” The song became an instant hit and remains a fan favorite.

The film was reimagined as a live-action remake.

Fans of “The Aristocats” were excited when news broke that Disney was planning a live-action remake of the film. While the project is still in development, anticipation for the modern retelling is high.

It was the first Disney film to be dubbed in multiple languages.

“The Aristocats” set a precedent for future Disney films by being the first to be dubbed in multiple languages, allowing audiences worldwide to enjoy the magic of the film in their native tongues.

The film celebrates the importance of found family.

In “The Aristocats,” the bond between the feline characters emphasizes the importance of family, even if they come from different backgrounds. The film teaches us that love and acceptance can create a strong and lasting family unit.

The film was inspired by a jazz musician’s cat.

When jazz musician Ward Kimball’s cat had kittens, Walt Disney was so charmed by them that he got the idea for “The Aristocats.” Kimball’s cat became the inspiration for the film’s mischievous character, Toulouse.

The film’s production faced challenges.

During the production of “The Aristocats,” Disney studios faced a strike by animators and technical staff. Despite this setback, the film managed to be completed and released on schedule.

The film features a memorable villain song.

Edgar, the film’s antagonist, gets his own catchy villain song called “The Butler Did It.” This song showcases the comically sinister nature of his character.

The film draws inspiration from classic literature.

The Aristocats” is influenced by the classic fable “The Town Musicians of Bremen” by the Brothers Grimm. The idea of unlikely animal companions forming a band of their own resonates throughout the film.

The film was a return to musical storytelling.

After the success of “101 Dalmatians,” which focused more on the narrative than the musical elements, “The Aristocats” embraced the musical format once again, featuring memorable songs and dance sequences.

The film was popular with audiences of all ages.

While “The Aristocats” can be enjoyed by children, it has also proven to be a nostalgic favorite for adult audiences who grew up with the film.

The film features a talented voice cast.

In addition to Eva Gabor and Maurice Chevalier, “The Aristocats” boasts a cast of talented voice actors including Phil Harris, Sterling Holloway, and Scatman Crothers, who bring each character to life with their distinct voices.

The film has inspired merchandise and spin-offs.

Just like many other Disney films, “The Aristocats” has left a lasting impact on popular culture, with merchandise ranging from toys to clothing. The film has also had spin-offs in the form of books and animated TV specials.

The film was nominated for two Academy Awards.

The Aristocats” received nominations for Best Original Song and Best Original Score at the 44th Academy Awards, solidifying its place as a beloved animated film.

It was one of the last films to use traditional hand-painted cell animation.

As technology advanced, traditional hand-painted cell animation gradually gave way to computer-generated imagery (CGI). “The Aristocats” stands as one of the final films to utilize this classic animation technique.

The film has a timeless appeal.

Decades after its release, “The Aristocats” continues to captivate audiences with its timeless story, memorable characters, and beautiful animation.

The film showcases the importance of teamwork.

Throughout the film, the characters learn the value of working together and embracing their differences. This message of teamwork and unity resonates with viewers of all ages.

The film’s iconic opening sequence was hand-painted.

The elegant and whimsical opening sequence of “The Aristocats,” featuring sketches of the characters set against a pastel background, was beautifully hand-painted by the animators.

The film’s release coincided with the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney Productions.

As one of the first films released after the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney Productions, “The Aristocats” marked a milestone for the studio and its enduring legacy.

It was the first Disney film to feature predominantly animal characters since Bambi.

Following in the footsteps of the beloved film “Bambi,” “The Aristocats” focused on the adventures of an all-animal cast, creating a charming and enchanting world.

The film features a memorable villain duo.

Edgar, the bumbling butler, is accompanied by two cunning and mischievous henchcats, Napoleon and Lafayette. These two feline troublemakers add a touch of humor to the film.

The film highlights the art of dance.

From the graceful ballet steps of Duchess to the energetic jazz moves of Scat Cat, “The Aristocats” beautifully incorporates various dance styles to enhance the storytelling.

The film has a strong message of self-belief.

Throughout the film, the characters face obstacles and doubts, but they find strength within themselves to overcome adversity. “The Aristocats” encourages viewers to have confidence in their abilities.

The film features stunning background artwork.

The detailed and visually captivating backgrounds in “The Aristocats” were meticulously hand-painted by Disney’s talented team of background artists, adding depth and richness to each scene.

The film continues to be cherished by fans worldwide.

Even after more than five decades, “The Aristocats” remains a beloved Disney classic, with dedicated fans of all ages who appreciate its enchanting story, memorable characters, and timeless animation.

From its memorable soundtrack to its heartwarming story, “The Aristocats” has left an indelible mark on the world of animation. This film continues to entertain and inspire audiences of all ages, proving that the magic of Disney knows no bounds.

Whether you’re rediscovering this beloved film or experiencing it for the first time, “The Aristocats” is a purr-fect choice for a delightful family movie night. So gather your loved ones, pop some popcorn, and let the adventures of Duchess and her exquisite family whisk you away into a world of charm and enchantment!


In conclusion, The Aristocats is a timeless animated film that continues to captivate audiences of all ages. With its memorable characters, catchy tunes, and heartwarming story, it has cemented its place in cinematic history. The film’s stunning animation and attention to detail bring to life the charming world of aristocratic Paris and the adventures of Duchess and her feline family. Whether you’re a fan of classic Disney films or simply looking for an enjoyable movie to watch, The Aristocats is definitely worth checking out. So, grab some popcorn and get ready to be whisked away on a purr-fectly delightful journey with these lovable feline friends.


1. When was The Aristocats released?

The Aristocats was released on December 24, 1970.

2. Who are the main characters in The Aristocats?

The main characters in The Aristocats are Duchess, Thomas O’Malley, Toulouse, Marie, Berlioz, and Edgar.

3. Who provided the voices for the characters in The Aristocats?

The voices were provided by Phil Harris, Eva Gabor, Sterling Holloway, Scatman Crothers, and Roddy Maude-Roxby, among others.

4. What is the plot of The Aristocats?

The Aristocats follows the story of a family of aristocratic cats who are kidnapped by their jealous butler and left in the countryside. With the help of a smooth-talking alley cat named Thomas O’Malley, they embark on an adventurous journey back home.

5. Is The Aristocats a musical film?

Yes, The Aristocats features several memorable musical numbers, including “Everybody Wants to Be a Cat” and “Thomas O’Malley Cat.

6. Did The Aristocats receive any awards?

Yes, The Aristocats was nominated for an Academy Award in the category of Best Original Song for “The Aristocats” by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman.

7. Is The Aristocats a good movie for children?

Yes, The Aristocats is a family-friendly film that is suitable for children of all ages. It offers a heartwarming story, memorable characters, and delightful animation.

From the enchanting world of The Aristocats, why not explore more captivating facts? Discover the hidden gems within the Royal College of Music Library, where musical treasures await. Uncover the secrets behind the art of animation, bringing beloved characters to life. And dive deeper into the magical realm of Disney, where dreams come true and stories come alive. Each journey offers a unique perspective, inviting you to embark on a fascinating adventure through the realms of music, animation, and Disney magic.

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