Set late in the 15th century in Paris, a group of gypsies sneak into the city, but are ambushed by Judge Claude Frollo and arrested. A young gypsy woman tries to flee with her baby son and into the cathedral of Notre Dame, but is chased by Frollo and killed. The baby survives, and is raised by the judge and forced to live in the bell tower in the cathedral. Not only that, he is given a new name -- Quasimodo, which means "half-formed." For his first 20 years of his life including his entire childhood, Quasimodo continues to live in the bell tower, with his gargoyle friends to keep him company. One day, the hunchback dreams of going to the Festival of Fools, which Frollo does not like even one bit. Down into the square, a captain of the Guards named Phoebus meets Esmeralda, another gypsy, and her goat, Djali. As it turns out, Esmeralda has magical powers that can often be used to evade being arrested by the soldiers. On the day of the Festival of Fools, Quasimodo disguises himself before attending, and much to his luck, is crowned the King of Fools by Clopin and the crowd. Then things start to go really awry for the hunchback as soldiers pelt him with tomatoes, followed by the entire crowd. They even tie him up and spin him around as he continues being pelted with all kinds of food. Esmeralda comes up onstage and frees Quasimodo, when Frollo tries to stop her. But Esmeralda disappears again, and Frollo orders the soldiers to guard every door in the cathedral, the place where she is to be arrested. When Esmeralda finds Quasimodo and befriends him, Quasimodo offers to help the gypsy by climbing down the cathedral so she can escape safely. When Frollo finds out about this, he searches everywhere in Paris to find Esmeralda, and orders Phoebus to burn down every house, even if they don't know where Esmeralda is. But Phoebus refuses, and at the end is sentenced himself. Phoebus tries to escape, but is struck by an arrow shot from one of Frollo's men. Esmeralda rescues him and takes him to the bell tower. Quasimodo hides Phoebus so Frollo can't see him, and Frollo declares that he will attack the Court of Miracles -- home of the gypsies -- at dawn. Quasimodo and Phoebus set out to find the Court of Miracles to warn all the gypsies about Frollo's attack, but when they get there, Frollo shows up as well, and arrests all the gypsies and even ties Quasimodo up in chains in the bell tower. Just as Frollo is about to burn Esmeralda to death, Quasimodo breaks free from his chains and rescues Esmeralda, then climbs back up to the cathedral and claims sanctuary really loudly that everyone in Paris could hear him, even Frollo. Then the judge orders his soldiers to attack the cathedral, while Phoebus releases all the gypsies, starting a war between them and Frollo's soldiers. Quasimodo and the gargoyles defend the cathedral by pouring molten copper onto the streets, but Frollo manages to enter. He pursues Quasimodo and Esmeralda to the balcony. Both he and Quasimodo fall off the edge, but Frollo manages to hang on to another gargoyle while Esmeralda holds on tight to Quasimodo's hand. Just as Frollo is about to kill them, the gargoyle breaks, sending Frollo falling to his death. Quasimodo's hand slips from Esmeralda, and as he is about to fall to his own death, Phoebus catches him at the last second. The next day, all the people in Paris hail Quasimodo and accepts him into society.


Character's name Voiced by

Tom Hulce

Esmeralda Demi Moore
Judge Claude Frollo Tony Jay
Captain Phoebus

Kevin Kline

Clopin Paul Kandel
Hugo Jason Alexander
Victor Charles Kimbrough
Laverne Mary Wickes
The Archdeacon David Ogden Stiers
Djali Frank Welker

In Other Languages

Language Title
Spanish El Jorobado de Notre Dame
Portuguese O Corcunda de Notre Dame
Japanese ノートルダムの鐘
Chinese 鐘樓怪人
Korean 노틀담의 꼽추
Thai คนค่อมแห่งนอเทรอดาม

Production timeline

  • October 1993: Production began on this date.
  • 1994: The film was set for a release date of Christmas 1995.
  • January 1995: The film was delayed to its final release date of June 21, 1996.
  • October 1995: During voice acting, Jane Withers provided the voice of Laverne following Wickes' death, starting from the scene where the gargoyles try to break open Quasimodo's chains.

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Release timeline

Format Country of origin Date
Original theatrical USA June 21, 1996
VHS USA March 4, 1997
DVD USA March 19, 2002
Blu-ray Disc USA March 12, 2013

Television broadcast timeline

Before the film was released, a featurette called "The Making of The Hunchback of Notre Dame" premiered on the Disney Channel on June 16, 1996, and aired several more times there through July 3. The Hunchback of Notre Dame aired on the Disney Channel from March 14, 1998 to March 25, 1999, and on ABC on October 18, 1998.

Home video timeline