Why ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit’ Was Revolutionary

Who Framed Roger Rabbit, the 1988 cult classic famous for fusing live action with traditional animation, turns 25 this year, and a special-edition Blu-ray of the film debuts today to celebrate the anniversary. We’re excited to see it in a form that enhances the movie’s already mesmerizing effects, which took 14 months to create in post-production — but they’re far from the only extraordinary aspect of this often-underrated film.

Roger Rabbit was the second highest grossing movie of 1988 (topped only by Rain Man) and is among the 25 highest-grossing animated films of all time. It won more Oscars than any other animated flick, as well as a handful of other prestigious awards. Numbers aside, this film noir pastiche was more important for the art and business of cinema than most people realize. Here are ten reasons Roger Rabbit should be considered revolutionary.

1. Roger Rabbit renewed viewers’ interest in animation — especially the work of Richard Williams — and started the Disney Renaissance

Due to the enormous success of the film among audiences young and old, not only did the film result in spin-off comic books and theme park rides, but it also made the public crave animation like never before — and proved to be the best springboard Disney could ask for. The company finally put The Little Mermaid, for which plans had existed since the ’30s, into production, starting off a decade-long golden era that ended with Tarzan in 1999. All through the ’90s, the company made animated classic after animated classic. On a smaller scale, propelled by the film’s success, Roger Rabbit‘s animation director, Richard Williams, signed an agreement with Disney and Steven Spielberg to distribute The Thief and the Cobbler, his life’s work of 28 years. Everyone wins!