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THE THIEF AND THE COBBLER: A MOMENT IN TIME

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THE THIEF AND THE COBBLER: A MOMENT IN TIME

Part of Staff Picks and programmed by Nathan, who says “THE THIEF AND THE COBBLER is the Holy Grail of animation. Wildly ambitious and visually inventive, this unfinished hand-drawn masterpiece can now be experienced through a newly restored workprint and I couldn't be more excited.”


With a production spanning over three decades, THE THIEF AND THE COBBLER was a labor of love for acclaimed animator Richard Williams. Williams was fired from the project in 1992, and the film was released in an altered form without his input. Before relinquishing control, however, Williams made a copy of his workprint on the last day of production. This workprint has been preserved and restored by the Academy Film Archive and is the version we’ll show. The story concerns a cobbler and a princess who venture to save their city from destruction while in the company of an impulsive thief. Mixing a wide variety of styles including Persian miniature paintings, Escheresque illusions, and UPA and golden age style animations, THE THIEF AND THE COBBLER is a hand-drawn marvel.

Preserved and restored by the Academy Film Archive.

“THE THIEF AND THE COBBLER is to animated movies what THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS is to live-action ones: a staggering masterpiece that can never be seen in its ideal form.” —Glenn Kenny, New York Times

“Created by the Oscar-winning animator of WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT, this neglected but absolutely delightful animated musical...is a must for family viewing…. One of the most visually inventive animated movies ever made, with dazzling optical illusions and shifts in perspective.” —Nell Minow, Common Sense Media

“THE THIEF AND THE COBBLER should have been the capstone achievement of one of Great Britain’s finest animators. It was the last great hand-drawn animated film, and the final film of many of the greatest animators of the golden age: men whose careers stretched back to Fantasia and Betty Boop. As it went through iteration after iteration over its three decades of development (by my count, it had 10 different working titles over the years, some repeated), it served as a palimpsest and training ground for a new generation of animators. By the time a butchered version of the film finally limped into theaters, it was famous mostly as a financial and artistic debacle. In the years since, it’s become legendary.” —Matthew Dessem, The Dissolve

The Belcourt Theatre does not provide advisories about subject matter or potential triggering content, as sensitivities vary from person to person.

Beyond the synopses, trailers and review links on our website, other sources of information about content and age-appropriateness for specific films can be found on Common Sense Media and IMDb, as well as through general internet searches.

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