The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle (film)

The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle is a 2000 American live-action/animated adventure comedy film directed by Des McAnuff and produced by Universal Pictures, loosely based on the television cartoon of the same name by Jay Ward. Animated characters Rocky and Bullwinkle share the screen with live actors portraying Fearless Leader (Robert De Niro, who also produced the film), Boris Badenov (Jason Alexander) and Natasha Fatale (Rene Russo) alongside Randy Quaid, Piper Perabo, Kenan Thompson and Kel Mitchell. Reprising her role as Rocky was June Foray, while Keith Scott voices Bullwinkle and the film's narrator. It also features cameo appearances by performers including James Rebhorn, Paget Brewster, Janeane Garofalo, John Goodman, David Alan Grier, Don Novello, Jon Polito, Carl Reiner, Whoopi Goldberg, Max Grodenchik, Jonathan Winters and Billy Crystal.

The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle
Theatrical release poster
Directed byDes McAnuff
Produced byRobert De Niro
Jane Rosenthal
Written byKenneth Lonergan
Based onThe Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Friends
by Jay Ward
Narrated byKeith Scott
Music byMark Mothersbaugh
CinematographyThomas E. Ackerman
Edited byDennis Virkler
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release date
  • June 30, 2000 (2000-06-30)
Running time
92 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$76 million[2]
Box office$35.1 million[2]

Released on June 30, 2000, the film received mixed reviews from critics and was a box office bomb, grossing only $35.1 million worldwide against its $76 million budget.[2]


35 years following their show's cancellation in 1964, Rocket J. "Rocky" Squirrel and Bullwinkle J. Moose have been living off the finances of their reruns on TV. Their home, Frostbite Falls, has been destroyed by deforestation, Rocky has lost his ability to fly and the show's unseen Narrator now lives with his mother, spending his time narrating his own mundane life.

Meanwhile, their archenemies Fearless Leader, Boris Badenov and Natasha Fatale have lost power in Pottsylvania following the end of the Cold War. However, the three escape to a real-world Hollywood film studio, where they trick executive Minnie Mogul into signing a contract giving her rights to the show, transforming the villains from their two-dimensional cel-animated forms into live-action characters.

6 months later, in Washington D.C., a warm-hearted and beautiful FBI agent Karen Sympathy and her superior, Cappy von Trapment, inform President Signoff that Fearless Leader intends to make himself President of the United States by brainwashing television viewers using his own cable television network named "RBTV" ("Really Bad Television"), which airs mind-numbing programming designed to zombify the public and persuade them to elect him as president. Karen is sent to a special lighthouse to bring Rocky and Bullwinkle into the real world by literally greenlighting a film starring the pair. Karen succeeds, with The Narrator being brought along as well but never being physically seen.

Fearless Leader is informed that Rocky and Bullwinkle have returned and sends Boris and Natasha to destroy them. The two spies are given a weapon called the CDI ("Computer Degenerating Imagery"), which removes cartoon characters from the real world by sending them to the Internet. Karen steals the villains' truck, but is subsequently arrested by an Oklahoma state trooper (who was tricked by Natasha, posing as Karen). Natasha and Boris in turn steal a helicopter to pursue Rocky and Bullwinkle, who are picked up and given a ride by Martin and Lewis, two students at Bullwinkle's old university, Wossamotta U. Boris and Natasha arrive first and make a large donation to the university in Bullwinkle's name. In return, the head of the university gives Bullwinkle an honorary "Mooster's Degree" and Bullwinkle addresses the student body, whilst Boris attempts to kill him with the CDI from a water tower. Rocky recovers his lost ability to fly and saves the oblivious Bullwinkle.

Martin and Lewis lend the two their car, which Bullwinkle drives to Chicago. Boris and Natasha once again attempt to kill the two, but instead accidentally destroy their helicopter. Meanwhile, Karen escapes prison with the help from a love-struck Swedish guard named Ole. Karen, Rocky and Bullwinkle are reunited, but are quickly arrested for various misdemeanors (mostly related to the Fourth Wall) that they have committed during their journey. The three are put on trial, where Bullwinkle inadvertently sabotages their case by cross-examining Karen as the prosecutor, not the defense attorney. However, the presiding Judge Cameo dismisses their case upon recognizing Rocky and Bullwinkle, stating to the district attorney that celebrities are above the law.

The trio obtain a biplane from a man named Old Jeb and evade Boris and Natasha once again. The duo consider quitting their evil occupations and getting married, but are interrupted by a call from Fearless Leader. Afraid to admit they have failed, they lie and tell him they have killed Rocky and Bullwinkle. Fearless Leader initiates his plan, brainwashing the entire country. Meanwhile, the plane is unable to carry the weight of all three aboard. Rocky flies Karen to New York City to stop Fearless Leader, but is captured.

Meanwhile, Bullwinkle accidentally flies the plane to Washington, D.C., confusing it for New York, and crashes on the White House lawn. To get Bullwinkle to New York in time to stop Fearless Leader, Cappy scans Bullwinkle into the White House's computer and emails him to RBTV's headquarters, where he interrupts the broadcast and save Karen and Rocky. Karen knocks Boris and Natasha together, Bullwinkle throws Fearless Leader to his comrades and Rocky ties the three scoundrels together with the cable's wire. The heroes convince the American public to vote for whomever they want, as well as replant Frostbite Falls' trees. Bullwinkle accidentally activates the CDI, and zaps Boris, Natasha and Fearless Leader, reverting them back to their two-dimensional animated cartoon forms and banishing them to the Internet once and for all.

In the aftermath, RBTV is changed from "Really Bad Television" to "Rocky and Bullwinkle Television" (Bullwinkle, in a self-deprecating manner, jokingly says "What's the difference?") Karen and Ole start dating, and Rocky, Bullwinkle and The Narrator return home to a rejuvenated Frostbite Falls.



There was also a soundtrack for the film to be released by DreamWorks Records.


Box office

Rocky & Bullwinkle opened in 2,460 venues, earning $6,814,270 in its opening weekend and ranking fifth in the North American box office and third among the week's new releases.[4] It closed on October 5, 2000 with a domestic total of $26,005,820 and $9,129,000 in other territories for a worldwide gross of $35,134,820, making it a box office bomb.[2]

The failure of the film was attributed to film not being fresh enough for young audiences or appealing to the nostalgia of Baby boomers.[5]

Critical response

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 44% based on 98 reviews, with an average rating of 4.81/10. The critical consensus stated, "Though the film stays true to the nature of the original cartoon, the script is disappointing and not funny."[6] On Metacritic the film has a score of 36 out of 100 based on reviews from 30 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".[7] Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film a grade B on scale of A to F.[8]


Award Category Subject Result
Stinkers Bad Movie Awards Worst Resurrection of a TV Show Universal Pictures Nominated
Worst Supporting Actress Rene Russo Nominated
Golden Raspberry Award Worst Supporting Actress Nominated
Saturn Award Best Supporting Actress Nominated
Best Supporting Actor Jason Alexander Nominated

Home media

The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle was released on VHS and DVD on February 13, 2001,[9] and on Blu-ray on May 15, 2018.[10]


  1. "The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle (U)". British Board of Film Classification. August 31, 2000. Retrieved December 10, 2016.
  2. "The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle (2000)". Box Office Mojo. October 5, 2000. Retrieved December 10, 2016.
  3. Scott, Keith. "Keith Scott". Voice Chasers. Keith Scott. Retrieved August 26, 2015.
  4. "Weekend Box Office Results for June 30-July 2, 2000". Box Office Mojo. July 3, 2000. Retrieved December 10, 2016.
  5. Goldstein, Patrick (July 11, 2000). "The Misadventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Other Tales From Remake Hell". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 10, 2016.
  6. "The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle (2000)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved September 30, 2019.
  7. "The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved December 10, 2016.
  8. "Cinemascore". CinemaScore. Archived from the original on December 20, 2018.
  9. "The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle DVD Release Date February 13, 2001". Retrieved May 14, 2018.
  10. "The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle DVD Release Date February 13, 2001". Retrieved May 14, 2018.
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