The Hunchback of Notre Dame is an American film produced in the year 1996 by Walt Disney Feature Animation for Walt Disney Pictures. The film is basically a musical animated drama and is based on the novel written by Victor Hugo in 1831. The plot of the film is centered around Quasimodo and his hard work to gain the approval of society. In the film, the character of Quasimodo is shown to be the deformed bell-ringer of Notre Dame. The narrative of the film has explored some of the very mature themes such as damnation, lust, sin, genocide and infanticide, a reason why this film is considered to be Disney’s darkest animated movie.
The story is about the beautiful gypsy girl, Esmeralda. Esmeralda is loved by three people, Archdeacon Frollo, Quasimodo (the bell ringer of Notre Dame and also the adoptive son of Archdeacon Frollo) and Captain Phoebus. Quasimodo is a kind, yet isolated man who has lived within the cathedral all his life. He is adopted by Archdeacon Frollo. Archdeacon Frollo is consumed by the forbidden lust and obsession for Esmeralda. He urges Quasimodo to kidnap her, but his actions are foiled by Captain Phoebus who also falls in love with Esmeralda. In the story, Quasimodo has been shown to be very much devoted towards Frollo, whereas, Frollo’s character has been given a negative and meaner side.
Quasimodo is pilloried and beaten by an angry mob and is pitied by Esmeralda (she offers him a glass of water), this is when he falls in love with her. In the book, Archdeacon Frollo is showed to be someone who is obsessed with Esmeralda and when he finds out that Esmeralda favours Captain Phoebus, he stabs him and Esmeralda is considered to be guilty of the crime. Quasimodo tries to save Esmeralda and provide her shelter in the cathedral, but she hangs. After this incident, Quasimodo is shattered and engulfed in pain and grief, and throws Archdeacon Frollo from the cathedral tower.
The film received a Golden Globe Award nomination and Academy Award for Menken’s musical score. It is considered to be a film that portrays love, redemption, lust and lessons.