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The Princess and the Cobbler (1993)

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When Tack upsets Zigzag the Vizier, the wizard drags him off to the royal castle, where Princess Yum Yum falls for the bashful boy and saves him from execution. Unfortunately, Zigzag plans ... See full summary »



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Title: The Princess and the Cobbler (1993)

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Cast overview, first billed only:
ZigZag (voice)
King Nod (original version) (voice) (as Sir Anthony Quayle)
Hilary Pritchard ...
Joan Sims ...
Windsor Davies ...
Chief Roofless (voice)
Paul Matthews ...
Clinton Sundberg ...
Dying Soldier (voice) (as Clintron Sundburg)
Kenneth Williams ...
Goblet / Tickle (voice)
Stanley Baxter ...
Gofer / Slap (voice)
George Melly ...
Dwarf (voice)
Eddie Byrne ...
Hoof (voice)
Thick Wilson ...
Hook (voice)
Frederick Shaw ...
Goolie (voice) (as Fred Shaw)
Maiden from Mombassa (original version) (voice)


When Tack upsets Zigzag the Vizier, the wizard drags him off to the royal castle, where Princess Yum Yum falls for the bashful boy and saves him from execution. Unfortunately, Zigzag plans to marry the princess in order to succeed her father, King Nod. The Thief, meanwhile, is more interested in gold than love and takes off with the protective orbs topping the palace. Together Tack and Yum Yum attempt to retrieve them in order to prevent Zigzag and the One-Eye army from conquering the city. Written by Anthony Pereyra {}

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

1993 (South Africa)  »

Also Known As:

Arabian Knight  »

Box Office


$24,000,000 (estimated)


$669,276 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (working print)

Sound Mix:

| (theatrical print)


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Originally conceived by Richard Williams as an attempt to make the greatest animated film of all time, it later became his own "reason for living." After failing to secure funds from private investors or a studio to make the film, Williams decided to finance the film on his own, taking small jobs on television commercials or Saturday morning cartoons and using the proceeds to hire his own group of animators. The production moved in fits and starts until the success of Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988) allowed Williams to make a deal with Warner Bros. to finance and distribute the film. As the production continued, however, it became obvious that Williams would not meet the 1991 release date originally set by the studio due to numerous delays, not the least of which were the director's insistence on absolute perfection and hesitation in using storyboards - two circumstances which often resulted in whole sequences being scrapped and re-shot. With Warner Bros. nervous over the release of Disney's Aladdin (1992), which resembled The Princess and the Cobbler (1993) in story, tone and style (many of the animators on the Disney feature had also worked for Richard Williams), the studio turned over completion of the film to the Completion Bond Company, which promptly fired Richard Williams and brought on animator Fred Calvert to finish the film as cheaply and quickly as possible. Calvert heavily re-edited the film and altered the story, bringing in Matthew Broderick, Jennifer Beals and Jonathan Winters to re-dub the lead characters. Eventually distributed by Miramax, the film was cut even further before debuting in theaters (See the Alternate Versions page for more details). Though bootleg copies of Richard Williams' original work-print continue to circulate and several restoration attempts have been proposed, an official "Directors Cut" has yet to be released. See more »


Towards the end of the song "She is More," when the Nanny puts the veil on Princess Yum-Yum, we can clearly see that there isn't a feather on the crown she is wearing. But in the very next shot, a feather suddenly appears atop the crown. See more »


The Thief: What a dump! Nobody lives like this except college kids...
See more »

Crazy Credits

The end credits of the South African/Australian prints of "The Princess and the Cobbler" show scenes from the movie that were scrapped from the edited versions, including the Thief narrowly avoiding getting his arms chopped off, behind the credits. However, the prints of "Arabian Knight" only use a black background behind the credits. See more »


Referenced in Persistence of Vision (2012) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Some films are just born unlucky
16 July 2007 | by (London, England) – See all my reviews

Richard Williams' legendary labour of love The Thief and the Cobbler is one of those films that was just born unlucky. After spending three decades working on it, the animator over-ran the budget and was taken off his own picture, with the gaps filled in by cheap Thai and Hungarian animation that sticks out like a sore thumb, many of the original voice cast (Anthony Quayle, Donald Pleasance, Felix Aylmer, Sean Connery) redubbed, musical numbers added and the film retitled The Princess and the Cobbler in a version that only seems to have ever been released in Australia (sadly, the Australian DVD is panned and scanned from the original Scope ratio). Then, to add insult to injury, Miramax re-edited that version even further from Williams' intentions and retitled it Arabian Knight to cash-in on the success of Aladdin, leading to a film intentionally designed as anti-Disney animation being marketed as the very thing its creator was rebelling against. The Miramax cut is quite painful to watch at times, not least because of the horrendous non-stop stream of subconsciousness mutterings from Jonathan Winters dubbed over the silent character of the Thief, best described as the cinematic equivalent of sitting next to a loquacious drunk with exceptionally bad breath on the last bus home. At one point Roy Disney tried to restore the film to its original conception, seeking out the lost and unused sequences and talking about getting Williams to finish the film his way – only for the Disney-Eisner feud to see the film's champion leave the company and the film in the Weinstein's tender mercies.

The film would never have been a masterpiece: for all it's visual audacity there never seems to have been enough of a story. Williams was clearly more interested in animating increasingly elaborate and intricate sequences involving the Thief than in filling out the plot points, but what's especially astonishing is that in an incredible act of cinematic vandalism many of the most visually inventive parts of the film hit the cutting room floor even though whole sequences had been completed – indeed, even much of the truly extraordinary work in the climactic destruction of the war machine has been cut. While some of these scenes were relegated to the end credits sequence, in some cases their omissions leads to massive continuity problems and gaps in the plot. To make matters worse, the original footage seems to have disappeared, preventing its partial restoration.

There are surviving moments of visual genius, particularly a brief but amazing chase sequence across checkered and patterned floors and backgrounds that is all the more impressive for being entirely hand-drawn (Williams started work in 1968 long before computer animation was even a glimmer on the far horizon), but they're never enough to compensate for the fact that you don't really care about the characters or the story around them. The Cobbler in particular is a bland and uninteresting character, all the more so for being mute (or at least in the original version until the last line of the film, originally delivered rather clumsily by Sean Connery, though both released versions gave him voice-over dialogue). The work print, filled out with storyboards and pencil tests, gives some impression of what has been lost and how much better this could have been, though the various bootleg copies floating around are of extremely bad quality. But whichever version you see you'll be left with a film that frustrates and astounds to varying degrees.

8 of 10 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Wayyy too much like Aladdin. xthexragdollx
Just saw the Recobbled Version... treebeard822
Sean Connery vs. Matthew Broderick? Loveslost
Australian Version MrFreedom
similarities? SugarPlumFairie2000
Recobbled Cut Mark 3 TygerBug
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