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Hugo the Hippo (Template:Lang-hu) is a 1975 animated film produced by the Pannónia Filmstúdió of Hungary and co-produced in the United States by Brut Productions, a division of French perfume company Faberge.[1] It was released in Hungary in 1975 and in the United States in 1976 by 20th Century-Fox (as its first animated feature film distribution).[2] The film was directed by William Feigenbaum and József Gémes (who directed the animation).[3]


The harbor of Zanzibar becomes infested with a group of vicious sharks, which makes it impossible for trading ships to dock. In an attempt to fix the problem, the Sultan charges his advisor, Aban-Khan, to bring twelve hippos from Africa into the harbor to keep the sharks away. His idea works well enough, but once the hippos are no longer a novelty and the people no longer feed them, they begin to starve. After the hungry hippos rampage through the city looking for food, Aban-Khan viciously slaughters all the hippos except one, a little baby hippo named Hugo. Hugo escapes across the sea to the city of Dar es Salaam, on the African mainland.

A group of children, led by a farmer boy named Jorma, find Hugo and attempt to hide him as best they can, building a garden to feed and take care of him. However, Hugo is discovered, and the garden is burned by the angry parents to prevent their children wasting their time with him and neglecting their schoolwork. As a result, Hugo is forced to scavenge from the local farms for food. When Aban-Khan, still obsessed about catching Hugo, hears of the incident, he travels to Dar es Salaam and with the aid of the Sultan's court wizard converts the farm of Jorma's family into an enchanted garden filled with gigantic fruits and vegetables. Once Hugo is lured into the trap, the plants turn into bizarre monsters thirsting to kill both Hugo and Jorma, who has come to Hugo's aid. Despite their best efforts to get away, they end up overwhelmed and captured by Aban-Khan.

Hugo is put on trial for the damage his nighttime raids caused. Fortunately, the children manage to contact the Sultan, who agrees to appear in court to speak for Hugo. The ruler makes a powerfully impassioned speech about how the hippos were mistreated both by their neglect and their uncalled-for culling, which removes all doubt that Hugo is the true injured party in this affair. As a result, while Aban-Khan comes to feel the wrath of a populace's mind turning against him, Hugo is released and the children are charged by the judge to care for him for the rest of his days.

Cast and crew

  • Directors - William Feigenbaum and József Gémes
  • Screenplay - Thomas Baum, William Feigenbaum and József Szalóky
  • Production Design - Graham Percy
Character Original English
Narrator Ferenc Bessenyei Burl Ives
Sultan László Márkus Robert Morley
Aban-Khan Tamás Major Paul Lynde
Jorma Gabi Berkes Ronnie Cox
Jorma's Father István Bujtor Percy Rodriguez
Singer #1 Kati Kovács Marie Osmond
Singer #2 Erzsébet Kútvölgyi Jimmy Osmond
Singer #3 Péter Máté Burl Ives
Minister #1 Árpád Gyenge Unknown
Judge György Györffy Len Maxwell
Minister #2 Flórián Kaló Unknown
Teacher János Körmendi
Querulous Man György Miklósy
Royal Magician István Szatmári Jesse Emmette
Parrot Balázs Szuhay Unknown
Baboon Ferenc Zenthe

Additional Voices

  • Original: Éva Szabó, Alfonzó, Réka Csellár, Antal Farkas, János Gálvölgyi, József Kautzky, Krisztián Kovács, József Petrik, Gellért Raksányi, Gábor Szücs
  • English: Lance Taylor, Sr. (Mr. M'Bow-Wow), Tom Scott (Grownup & Child), Don Marshall (Grownup & Child), H.B. Barnum III (Grownup & Child), Marc Copage (Grownup & Child), Charles Walker (Grownup & Child), Lee Weaver (Grownup & Child), Richard Williams (Grownup & Child), Frank Welker (Grownup & Child, Special Voice Effect), Ron Pinkard (Grownup & Child), Michael Rye (Grownup & Child), Marc Wright (Grownup & Child), Ellsworth Wright (Grownup & Child), Vincent Esposito (Grownup & Child), Giamcapeo Esposito (Grownup & Child), Court Benson (Grownup & Child), Peter Benson (Grownup & Child), Mona Tera (Grownup & Child), Len Maxwell (Grownup & Child), Peter Fernandez (Grownup & Child), Alan Swift (Grownup & Child), Derek Power (Grownup & Child), Frederick O'Neal (Grownup & Child), Al Fann (Grownup & Child), Thomas Anderson (Grownup & Child), Jerome Ward (Grownup & Child), Shawn Campbell (Grownup & Child), Lisa Huggins (Grownup & Child), John McCurry (Grownup & Child), Alicia Fleer (Grownup & Child), Lisa Kohane (Grownup & Child), Bobby Dorn (Grownup & Child), Pat Bright (Grownup & Child), Robert Lawrence (Grownup & Child), Nancy Wible (Special Voice Effect), Jerry Hausner (Special Voice Effect)


Hugo the Hippo was the first international release of a PannoniaFilm production;[1] prior to this, they had also made Hungary's first animated feature, János Vitéz, in 1973. The film, produced over a two-year period, received funding from the Faberge company via its Brut Productions label.[1] Its U.S. distributor, 20th Century-Fox, acquired Hugo along with two other Brut films starring Elliott Gould, Whiffs and I Will, I Will... for Now.[1]

Home media

After an unsuccessful box-office run,[1] Hugo was briefly released to the American home video market in the early 1980s by Magnetic Video Corporation. It was first released on DVD in Hungary and Italy. Reviewer Phil Hall suggested that Hugo the Hippo would never get a DVD release due to its psychedelic, weird, politically incorrect and violent content.[4] However, Warner Home Video did eventually release the film on DVD through the Warner Archive Collection on June 23, 2015.[5]

Other media

A version of the song The Best Day Ever Made was used in the 1988-1992 animatronic show Care Bears Care-A-Lot Castle Show which was located in Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom.[6][7]

See also

  • List of American films of 1975
  • List of animated feature-length films
  • List of 20th Century Fox theatrical animated features


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Template:Cite book
  2. Template:Cite book
  3. "Hugo the Hippo". Turner Classic Movies. Atlanta: Turner Broadcasting System (Time Warner).
  4. Hall, Phil (2005-02-11). "The Bootleg Files: Hugo the Hippo". Film Threat. Hamster Stampede LLC.
  5. http://www.wbshop.com/product/hugo+the+hippo+%28mod%29+1000565157.do? Template:Dead link
  6. "Animatronic Care Bears | Animatronic Types & Technology".
  7. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2J2l-W-mzp4


  • Template:Cite book

External links

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Animated films distributed by 20th Century Studios (20th Century Fox)
Hugo the Hippo (1975) • Wizards (1977) • Raggedy Ann & Andy: A Musical Adventure (1977) • Fire and Ice (1983) • FernGully: The Last Rainforest (1992) • Once Upon a Forest (1993) • Everyone's Hero (2006) • Space Chimps (2008) • Cheech & Chong's Animated Movie (2013) • The Book of Life (2014) • Ron's Gone Wrong (2021)
Live-Action Films with Cel Animation/Stop-Motion/CGI
The Pagemaster (1994) • Monkeybone (2001) • The Call of the Wild (2020)
Japanese anime films distributed by 20th Century Studios (20th Century Fox)
Digimon: The Movie (1999/2000) • Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods (2013) • Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection 'F' (2015) • Dragon Ball Super: Broly (2018)
DreamWorks Animation films distributed by 20th Century Studios (20th Century Fox)
The Croods (2013) • Turbo (2013) • Mr. Peabody & Sherman (2014) • How to Train Your Dragon 2 (2014) • Penguins of Madagascar (2014) • Home (2015) • Kung Fu Panda 3 (2016) • Trolls (2016) • The Boss Baby (2017) • Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie (2017)
20th Century Animation (20th Century Fox Animation)
The Simpsons Movie (2007) • Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009) • Bob's Burgers: The Movie (2022)
Fox Animation Studios
Anastasia (1997) • Titan A.E. (2000)
Blue Sky Studios
Ice Age (2002) • Robots (2005) • Ice Age: The Meltdown (2006) • Horton Hears a Who! (2008) • Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs (2009) • Rio (2011) • Epic (2013) • Rio 2 (2014) • The Peanuts Movie (2015) • Ice Age: Collision Course (2016) • Ferdinand (2017) • Spies in Disguise (2019) • Nimona (2023)
Searchlight Pictures (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
Waking Life (2001) • Isle of Dogs (2018)
International animated films distributed by 20th Century Studios (20th Century Fox)
Asterix Conquers America (1994) • The Magic Pudding (2000) • Wizards and Giants (2003) • The Happy Cricket and the Giant Bugs (2009) • Worms (2013) • Space Chicken (2017)