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ClassicFeature Film

Nostalgia Critic Reviews “The Thief and the Cobbler”

There are some genuinely laugh out loud moments in the Nostalgia Critic’s NSFW review of Richard William’s The Thief and the Cobbler.

(Thanks, Majic)

  • HermanMelting

    Sadly he neglected to mention the fact that the original film–while better than the official release–still had no plot to speak of.

    • Carol

      He says “while I can’t say that the cut is a fantastic film…”

      I think he has to leave that ambigious.

      The Critic is a lover of good plot (and subtly), I think he kept quiet out of respect for the fans and genuine respect for the original version.

      • Ryoku

        I would agree with that but his own attempt at making a film didn’t have much of a plot so I don’t know if I’m to believe that.

      • I have very mixed feelings about this, but hopefully it will get more people to watch The Recobbled Cut and not just result in a lot of trolling.

        Recobbled Cut Trailer:

        The works of Richard Williams are collected at our Youtube channel, including many rare films not available elsewhere.

  • Matt

    A very amusing review. Good job Nostalgia Crittic.
    Yeah, the Miramax cut was absolute tripe, it dragged down everything that was good about the fragments of the original film it retained.
    I’m glad that he mentioned The Re-Cobbled version, a lesser critic might not have done his due diligence on the films history.
    5 Stars!

  • Gobo

    I know he’s trying to be extra-douchy on purpose for yuks, but wow. I couldn’t make it through this. When his “hilarious commentary” involves just pointing at the movie’s logo and yelling “shitty fuck fuck fuck”, this is funny how?

    • majic

      You are not supposed to take his reviews 100% seriously. That is NOWHERE NEAR Doug’s actual behavior or personality. What he’s basing his arguments on are indeed true though, but at the end of the day, his videos are really for amusement.

      • Ryoku

        He’s an actor playing a character, that right there shows that you shouldn’t take his stuff seriously.

        Though its not that Gobo wasn’t taking this seriously, its that like me he’s not a fan of middle-school humor.

    • Ryoku

      If funny if you’re still young in the head and entertaining that audience is easy so thats what Channel Awsome shoots for.

  • messy

    This was NOT the fault of the completion bond company. Their version is actually pretty good. This is the Miramax recut, which is a travesty.

    • Chris Sobieniak

      Certainly Miramax had to nail the coffin shut on their edition with those added interior monologues for both Tack and the Thief.

  • messy

    misinformation. The Arabian knight print is NOT the CB version, which was the princess and the cobbler, and is rather decent.

  • Patrice

    some brilliant animation it would seem, with some too Richard William styled ones for my taste…

    The movie seem interesting to me actually, perhaps I’ll keep the volume down if i decide to watch it ;)

    PS: Did the Thief really put the golden balls between his legs? wow.

    • Skip all the released versions, and watch the “recobbled cut,” which is available on a file-sharing site near you.

  • I have to admit, that was one of my favorite movies growing up. Now that I look back on it, however… ohhh man. Good review!

  • I only watched 2 minutes of this. I don’t know which is worse… the film or the review. Hopefully one day this guys balls will drop!

  • Hilarious and right on target.

  • Hysterical

  • NC has definitely done better reviews. He makes a few mistakes with the continuity/history and his callbacks kinda sucked, but all in all it was still an entertaining look at one of the most hellish productions in animation history.

  • Decent review, but the critic comes off as really annoying and whiny in some parts.

    • Luke

      He’s done much better reviees than this. Some people love him, some people don’t. I personaly love his videos. It’s all tongue and cheek, not meant to be taken seriously.

  • David Mackenzie

    The review has moments of brilliance (in this case, laugh out loud funny parts) and total shit. In other words, exactly like the Miramax version of the film it’s discussing.

    I’m glad he mentioned the Recobbled cut though. I really wish that had worked out differently, and that Warner had gone through with releasing what would be a flawed but decent film. I really hope we see a BD release of the original version some day.

    • Diana

      I thought Disney owned Miramax, not Warner Bros.

      • David Mackenzie

        They do, but Warner Bros was going to release Thief and the Cobbler originally. They paid for it to be “finished”, but when the film missed deadline, they pulled out.

        Miramax only came along later, once the cheesy songs had been added. Then they made their OWN changes, like adding voices for the Thief and Tak.

  • Michael F.

    Tack! Zigzag! Yum yum!

    To be honest his Care Bears Movie review was much better. But I liked how he promoted the original edit that you can find online.

  • Carol

    He’s a satirist, get over it.

  • Steven M.

    It’s a good thing he mentioned the Recobbled Cut or I might have suffered some in the Miramax version.

  • MC

    I think you’re confusing “satire” and “douchebaggery”.

    It’s a fine line.

  • Maxie

    I got only a few laughs out of this, but I don’t really find most stuff on That Guy With The Glasses funny anymore. :( Plus, you just gotta hate those fanboys once you get to know them… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DFfMDzwsSm8

    • Ryoku

      Then theres the general behavior you’ll find with them: “You know, you could do this minor thing a little better”


      “Can I have your autograph Doug?”

      $20 and its yours!

      • rebochan

        Clearly you’ve never been to the forums. The mods are far too busy sucking their thumbs to actually ban anyone, let alone try and keep discussion approaching civilized. As evidenced by the ED threads. Or the lengthy threads where Doug makes fun of, say, Stephen King and people try to burn him in effigy. Or cry like babies because their precious Doug disagrees with them on a film, because it is IMPOSSIBLE for them to reconcile that it’s okay to not have the same taste as his character.

      • A.C. the actress

        Also, clearly you don’t realize that the $20 for an autograph is for the pictures that THEY bring for you to purchase. If you bring your own crap for them to autograph they’ll do it gladly.

        Maybe $20 is a little steep, but they’re making a living, and there is a free way to get an autograph, so it’s not like Doug Walker himself is holding a gun to your head and saying, “Give me that 20 NOW!”

  • “I love it when I’m nasty!”

    I was waiting for a Great Mouse Detective reference.

  • I couldn’t listen to that guy… what a peanut

    • DonaldC


      • Well I don’t like peanuts. Many people don’t like peanuts.

  • mg

    The Recobbled cut has some jaw-droppingly great animation, and anyone that follows this site must check it out at least once.

    Mind you, the plot is still uninspired crap, and only animation nuts can enjoy it at all. I greatly respect Williams, but he totally blew it by focusing insanely on the animation and neglecting both plot and the real world to the point that he did. The three decades he took to not-even-finish this film speak for themselves.

  • Karen

    I’ve seen the original cut. It was neat, but not a very good film. Visually stunning, and the animation moved well–but a lot (most) of it lacked “character.” It just moved a lot.

    Dick Williams couldn’t bring himself to finish the film. The Bond Company took over because of Williams inability to finish the film-no other reason. He made that deal. It is his fault it was taken from him.

    That is a simple, irrefutable fact.

    Bond companies do not go around hoping films they insure don’t get finished.

    • Luke Menichelli

      Is there a conflict of interest when the bond company sends a competing bidder to check on the creator’s progress?


      • Karen

        Not if they’re trying to get the film finished on budget and schedule. They insured the film–they can do whatever they want. Happens all the time. It’s not their fault Williams’ couldn’t bring himself to finish the film.

      • Luke Menichelli

        Does the competing bidder have a conflict of interest if he gets a big fat lucrative job only if he declares the situation hopeless?

  • Tee

    I made it a fourth of the way through that thing. The single most irritating man alive. Not entertaining or informative in the least, IMO.

  • I hope that retarded review style wears off soon! He has good points and witty moments but that annoying sperging and random swearing pretty much defeats it.

    • Ryoku

      It will soon, I just hope it won’t be a remembered fad like Talkboys.

  • I couldn’t stop laughing, but I think this was the wrong movie to criticise- this should’ve Aladdin or Avatar… I only have in my memory the original version and criticizing the movie already hurts. Heck I didn’t even know Yum Yum sang.

    Still though, Nostalgia Critic
    “I heart love”
    Lazy As Hell Records
    Dir: Tommy Wiseau

    + and Vincent Price voice imitation

    = Genius

  • I saw all three versions in preparation for this review, and everything he said was on the mark. Though, how many people even saw this film before the Recobbled Cut was made?

    Neither of the film’s successors understood that this wasn’t supposed to be a Disney copycat. But it’s hard to really blame them for going against the director’s wishes when the film took almost 30 YEARS to finish, and much of the film’s animators and voice actors were long gone by that time.

  • There’s a good review of Star Wars Episode 1 that I was reminded of when I saw this. It’s better than this, and a lot funnier. This has some good points though. The Nostalgia Critic really reminds me of Weird Al.

    • You’re thinking of Star Wars/Star Trek reviewer Mike Stoklasa [RedLetterMedia], who I made a few movies with back in the day.

    • Ryoku

      Who’s it by? I saw Redlettermedias and I had mixed reactions, main issue is it was WAY TOO LONG.

  • I couldn’t make it all the way through, either.

    20 minutes seems excessive for a film review, but it’s not really a review, it’s a comedy monologue that would benefit from serious pruning.

    I’ve only seen the re-cobbled “Thief” so it was a surprise to see the odd elements that had been introduced in the other cuts.

    Back around 1990 I worked with someone who claimed to have seen “The Thief and the Cobbler” in WIP form and he said, “beautiful animation… but the kids will be wandering in the aisles.”

  • Tadpole

    Ooh, lookit that! People heap so much ridiculous praise on the NC on his own website I came close to forgetting there were people who dislike him.

    I don’t like these these types of critics – they tend to try to be critical and funny at the same time and fail horribly at both – but I have a spot in my heart for the Nostalgia Critic, mostly because his performance is very endearingly tongue-in-cheek. And even if you don’t like the review, surely you have to admit that it’s good that it’s introducing people to the ballad of Richard Williams – especially if it leads to them looking up the “Recobbled” version of this beautiful film.

  • Ray

    The Nostalgia Critic is to film criticism what Weird Al is to music.

    • RODAN

      Wow! An extreme compliment to the critic… I didn’t think that much of it.

      • Yeah, I also think the critic is funny sometimes, but Weird Al is a brilliant genius. He can sing other people’s songs, his own, he’s capable of acting funny in his videos and his lyrics are hilarious.

    • rebochan

      Indeed, like Weird Al, he is extremely funny, clever, and endearing!

  • I always thought they totally ripped off the thief character for Scrat in Ice Age.

    I didn’t see the original version but the version I watched didn’t have all those monologues. There were some terrible parts, but I liked a lot of the scenes, most of the ones with the pale Tack. And I found the thief completely hilarious.

    However, yes, I do suspect the original film was also too devoted to the animation and probably too thin in story. I don’t think it’s worth working so hard in the drawings if the story is just ok. However this has some original and very cartoony visuals that most studios wouldn’t normally try.

  • Yelling like a douche and overstating everything to the umpteenth degree is not satire. This guy rambled for 17 minutes with only a few nuggets of good humor, then launched into a jarringly serious comparison between the different versions of the film. He could easily have edited this whole debacle down to five minutes without having to cut any good material.

    I love good satire and am fueled by creative hate-writing, but this guy sucks. If you want to see this sort of thing done right watch some of the Zero Punctuation reviews.

  • The story, characters and tone of The Thief and the Cobbler are more interesting and original to me than almost any other animated film I can think of. It feels like what it is- a quirky passion project, one man’s life dream, and for me the film weaves a hypnotic spell. It’s certainly pure animation of a type we don’t generally see in features. It has a lot more in common with Fantasia than pretty much any animated film released in the past three decades.

    It’s one of my favorite films. I’m always amazed that Richard Williams gets so much stick and criticism for this and Who Framed Roger Rabbit. These are two brilliant films that can withstand criticism and speak for themselves, frankly. The viewing public certainly had no trouble with Who Framed Roger Rabbit and still consider it a staple, and without such brilliant animation it wouldn’t have worked for a second. His A Christmas Carol and his commercial work also speak for themselves in terms of pure animation quality of a type rarely seen.

    It does require a bit of imagination to watch the Recobbled Cut and fill in the blanks as to how it would have been completed properly rather than by Fred Calvert’s cut-rate team, but I edited the Recobbled Cut specifically to make filling in those mental blanks easier.

    The film was never finished, and so we can’t judge it completely. It was changing all the time, and some of what I did with The Recobbled Cut was guesswork, suggesting what would have happened. It might well have been tightened up and rewritten- I definitely suspect that the Tack/Zigzag/Yumyum part of the finale was a work in progress and hadn’t been written yet, which is why I included a little bit of Calvert’s version in my cut to just fill in time.

    The wonderful thing about The Thief is that it continues the traditions of Warner Bros., Disney and the experiments of the 1960s in its own way- it’s like a course in animation history, from the Coyote-like antics of The Thief to the 60s-style designs, which are like Yellow Submarine done with Disney skill.

    If we’re really going to criticize such a classically-animated film, in an era where bland, generic CGI films are shit out at a rate of three per month, then I just can’t get on board with that.

    • Karen

      “for this and Who Framed Roger Rabbit. These are two brilliant films”

      No. They are not. In particular Roger Rabbit, with it’s VERY weak and convoluted story, lack of any empathy for any character, bad voice acting almost all the way around (and the live action as well–save Bob Hoskins), and animation that had little character and no control–it never stopped moving. And, it looked like cheap airbrushed water balloons wiggling around. I can forgive the piss-poor animation, but I can’t forgive the lack of strong storytelling. But then, it’s zemeckis, and we know what he’s all about.

      • Jeremy Knight

        Could you elaborate on what makes “piss-poor” animation? I’m not trying to be antagonizing but merely want to understand the reasoning behind such hostility towards Williams’ approach.

      • Thank you, Karen, for stating an opinion that almost no one would agree with as fact.

      • Was my face red

        Yep, that Roger Rabbit never connected with anyone…

      • Karen,

        Check your “facts” before stating them as such.

      • Chris Sobieniak

        If it wasn’t for the Roger Rabbit, we wouldn’t have had that renewed interest in animation or ignited the boom that followed into the 90’s.

      • It’s very easy to be taken in with the Roger Rabbit film.
        It’s bright and colourful and there’s lots of movement.
        This all works brilliantly to distract the viewer from the fact that Roger is one of the most shrill, unbearable characters committed to animation.

        As for The Thief and the Cobbler.
        It’s full of inventive moments and a particular style of smooth, flowing animation, but really – the film is terrible.
        Unless you like rambling, directionless nonsense.

      • I can’t understand how anybody that likes classic animation could dislike Roger Rabbit. Unless you’re extremely nitpicky like John K.

        I’m not saying it is equal in quality to Bob Clampett, but it’s a very good combination of comic cartoons and film noir, two of the best things Hollywood has ever created. And criticizing the human actors in this movie, when they clearly did their job better than 99% of the actors that had ever appeared in an animated-life action combination, it’s complaining for the sake of complaining.

        So, is Roger a little irritating? Maybe.
        The animation was uncontrolled? Perhaps.

        But poor acting? Not at all, the acting of the whole cast was as good as any Indiana Jones or Back To The Future movie, if not better in the case of Bob Hoskins.
        Piss-poor animation? Maybe not perfect, but it still was very well done, at least as good as most 90 Disney, if not better (see Beauty and the Beast which is more irregular in its animation). And the technical aspects (the mixture of humans and cartoons) still holds up as the best and most believable combination ever done.
        And, especially, LACK OF STRONG STORYTELLING? Hardly, it made an amazing job telling a suspense/detective story and a slapstick comedy at the same time. Compare to the poor attempt at satirizing Bond movies in LT: Back in Action and tell me if it is so easy.

      • Tanuki

        Williams himself has acknowledged that there is a lot of bad/rushed/off-model work in Roger Rabbit. So much so that he thought the film was going to flop commercially. But to dismiss all the animation as “piss poor” is wrong. I got the impression from what Williams said that he was happiest with the opening cartoon, which he animated last.

        Don’t forget that James Baxter, Andreas Deja and Dale Baer all worked on Roger Rabbit.

    • Brian Kidd


      I, for one, am eternally grateful to you for creating THE RECOBBLED CUT. Of course it isn’t perfect. Even with rough animation and storyboards the sad fact is that it wasn’t completed. You could only work with what was available and did the best that anyone could editing it all together into a coherent film. I watch it at least a couple of times a year. Williams is a brilliant artist who also has the fatal flaw of being a perfectionist. As far as I’m concerned, THIEF AND THE COBBLER has some of the finest animation ever put on film. The fact that we have the opportunity to judge as much of the original film as possible is due to your hard work. Again, I thank you so much!

      I want to also thank you for your widescreen transfer of RAGGEDY ANN. It’s another deeply-flawed film with gorgeous animation and moments of sheer brilliance. The fact that it has been treated so poorly on home video is a huge shame.

      As for The Nostalgia Critic: I agree that the profanity begins to be a bit much. I still find him quite intelligent and amusing most of the time.

      • Thank you, Brian. It was a pleasure and honor restoring The Thief, and also [from film] Raggedy Ann, The Little Island, Love Me Love Me, A Lecture On Man and [from video] countless other Richard Williams projects. I had a lot of help from a lot of good people.

      • Upstanding Citizen

        I think we should all remember that films like The Magnificent Ambersons, Queen Kelly, and Greed also don’t survive in their complete form, yet, rank well above the vast majority of films that come in on budget and on time.

        I think The Recobbled Cut of The Thief and the Cobbler has the same sort of appeal. It may not be complete, and perhaps it would have been better for Richard Williams to make some compromises, but the scenes that we can see are such a triumph of the use of the medium that it remains a breathtaking experience.

    • tonma

      Hi Garret!
      The recobbled version is the only one I’ve seen, and I had a great time.I don’t think I would have watched the full run of any of the other versions, because of the ugly voice over and all that, so I have to thank you for bringing to me the original vision.
      Even if one don’t like the story or the pace,watching the whole war machine sequence at the end is a real treat.

      Also, I guess it was inevitable that this tread would end up being another Roger Rabbit debate, but, please let that go, It’s getting really old. Everybody likes and hates something about it, like any other movie.

  • Ryan

    Hilarious video. Thanks for the link!

  • Pencil Pusher

    I have to admit I laughed out loud at one point: This film inspiring Aladdin, which in turn inspired the Miramax film = Animation Incest.

  • ZiggyStardust

    wow i didn’t realise there was this much hate for the NC. Oh wells I find him funny and enjoyed the review. As for the film itself I so badly wanted to like it after hearing about its history and reading williams book. but alas, it was nice to look at but thats about it.

    • I’m pretty sure a lot of the hatred is exaggerated. It definitely as most of the other people commented as NC’s character to being a curmudgeon like that. A lot of his commentaries reassure that message, especially when he got a lot of flank for his “Sonic the Animated Series” review. I also think it was done to make a large contrast so that people will go and check out the recobbled cut.

    • Tee

      Not hatred as much as a kind of raging dislike, giving way to complete apathy.

    • majic

      There ISN’T hate for the Nostalgia Critic.

      … inside of his own website and forum!


    I am so sorry…but as you can see…
    This man is as nutty as can be…

    His ranting
    His raving
    His confounded caterwauling
    Was driving me crazy
    His review appalling…

  • Matt Sullivan

    I prefer The Angry Video game nerd. he’s actually LIKABLE.

  • dbenson

    Perhaps the original was weakly plotted (haven’t seen the recobbled cut), but sometimes sheer vision can be enough.

    Yellow Submarine was basically caricatures of the Beatles drifting through colorful settings, with only hints of an interesting character in the Boob. But you come out satisfied that you saw an entertaining movie. Likewise Who Framed Roger Rabbit — the generic private eye parody is just an excuse for the jokes and visuals.

    Williams’ version may well have been a highly enjoyable “failure,” like the existing version of Private Life of Sherlock Holmes.

  • Jabberwocky

    I’d never heard of the movie before the review, but I am at least interested in seeing the Recobbled Cut now, if ONLY for the animation– since that was the only saving grace the movie had. The characters were fluid and well-animated, although the designs are super weird. I agree with the critic– why the hell is the Cobbler in black and white? He reminded me of L from Death Note with those eyes.

    The thing that really shocked me, though, was that when the princess is introduced, some of her motions are almost scene-for-scene the same as Jasmine’s bit in the garden with Raja. I was really hoping he’d show us some side-by-side comparisons, because it was pretty exact.

  • Spencer

    I’m so glad I never watched the theatrical version of the Cobbler. I refuse to make it through the others. I’d rather watch the version that’s half storyboard/animation tests. Even my girlfriend loved it that way.

  • I heard of THE THIEF AND THE COBBLER when ARABIAN KNIGHT was released (and some of what I saw in commercials looked beautiful), but it was Garrett’s “Recobbled Cut” which really got me into the film! It is, by far, the most recommended version of the film, next to Williams’ workprint. The animation on this film is some of the best I’ve ever seen, which could make even the average Japanese animator weep in despair. (Hayao Miyazaki would definitely eat it up, though! He would LOVE this kind of animation, as he was inspired by films like MR. BUG GOES TO TOWN and LE ROI ET L’OISEAU, the latter had a history similar to THE THIEF AND THE COBBLER.)

    I’m quite sure the film was never meant for kids; it was a grown-up film to begin with. (I mean, when it was in its original NASRUDDIN phase, there were topless exotic dancers in the production art I saw!) So Richard Williams was definitely making an art film. Warner didn’t like it, thinking it was too slow-paced, too artsy-fartsy, and it didn’t have songs like Disney films did. Warner expected this to be a Disney film, which it was the furthest thing from! (Not unlike their expectation of Brad Bird’s THE IRON GIANT!)

    That having been said, I thought the Nostalgia Critic’s review was hilarious and spot on! I was also relieved that he mentioned the “Recobbled Cut,” and while he didn’t think it was the greatest film, he liked it and thought it was the most watchable version.

    ARABIAN KNIGHT was too painful for me to sit through (I could only scan through it), and deserved the Nostalgia Critic’s ridicule, whereas the Completion Bond version THE PRINCESS AND THE COBBLER was indeed decent, songs and additional dialogue notwithstanding.

  • This is a little NSFW if Yakko says “Good Night Everybody” on that one ball joke.

  • At least the guy did his homework :D

  • Polyvios Christoforos

    I would like to say thank you for making me laugh, nostalgia critic, dispite your grating personality.

    those parts with the pumpkin and the reaction to the trippy part of the movie was hillarious, not to mention the infant noises.

    You are so right on, Nostalgia critic, the film has no place for god-awful songs. what these people who made that cut need to do is to find some real musicals.

    Thank you for mentioning the Recobbled Cut of the Thief and the Cobbler. I will look it up tommorow.

    so stay gold

  • Polyvios Christoforos

    You know The Thief and the Cobbler Recobbled Cut could be worth watching.

  • Polyvios Christoforos

    You made me laugh.

  • HH

    I’m glad that NC is being shown on this website. Wasn’t expecting this many negative comments…

  • Jeff Haynes

    I understand the whole back story of this film. Maybe someday it will be completed the way it was meant to be. But as it stands I still think it’s a great movie.

  • cristinel bostan

    I don`t find the critique funny at all.
    I very much like the original version of the film.

  • Anon

    NC is horribly unfunny. I find it very ironic that whenever someone criticizes his horrible reviews, a whole fan base will spawn to defend him.