Frank and Ollie

Director: Theodore "Ted" Thomas
Screenwriters: Theodore Thomas

Institute History

  • 1995 Sundance Film Festival


The Walt Disney Company became the embodiment of family entertainment with its classic animated features during the 1930s, ‘40s and ‘50s. This team of creative artists transformed what had been a medium of relatively crude cartoons into lasting and universally applauded cinematic art. Believable anthropomorphic characters who came to life on the screen were their hallmark. In film after film, some of the most sublime performances ever to flow from a pencil were created by two star members of Disney’s original team, Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston. Their contributions to the legacy of these films is the focus of this fascinating and entertaining portrait.

Equally remarkable are the lasting friendship and close working relationship of these two artists. They met as Stanford students in 1932 and have been roommates, workmates, and neighbors ever since. Indeed, because of their almost legendary standing in the world of animation and an uncanny string of events which this film depicts, many people may not realize that Frank and Ollie are two separate individuals. In many ways, they do seem to be part of a single creative personality.

Ted Thomas, Frank’s son, directs this touching and funny tribute to their labor and lives. The film also offers an up close and personal look at the development of character/personality animation. The vital and unusual chemistry that allowed them to challenge each other and collaborate and that resulted in the drawings that are remembered by millions of people makes this a very special film.

— Geoffrey Gilmore

Screening Details


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