The Aristocats is a 1970 animated film produced by Walt Disney Productions and released on December 11, 1970. The 20th animated feature in the Disney Animated Canon , the film is based on a story by Tom McGowan and Tom Rowe, and revolves around a family of aristocratic cats, and how an alley cat acquaintance helps them after the butler Edgar catnaps them to gain his mistress’ fortune, which was meant to go to them. The title is a pun on the word aristocrats. The film’s basic idea— an animated romantic musical comedy about talking cats in France —had previously been used in the UPA animated feature Gay Purr-ee.
Disney began production of a sequel, The Aristocats II, in December 2005, set to release in 2007, but production was cancelled in early 2006. The film is noted for being along with The Jungle Book (see below) the last film project to be approved by Walt Disney himself, as he died in late 1966, before the film was released. While the film gained overall favorable reviews and a solid box office performance, it did not match the earlier success of 101 Dalmatians or The Jungle Book. Today, while the film is very iconic, it is seen as a modest success by the Disney Company.