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Donald Virgil "Don" Bluth is an American film director, animator, producer, writer, production designer, and animation instructor.


He started his career at Walt Disney Productions in 1955, only to leave the company in 1979 and start his own animation studio, Don Bluth Productions (formerly Sullivan Bluth Studios), after believing the company had lost its charm when they turned down his pitch for an animated feature-length adaptation of Robert C. O'Brien's novel Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, which he decided to create by himself and a few of his friends at the studio. It was shortened to The Secret of NIMH, and the protagonist was originally named Frisby, but the Wham-O company was the then-owner of the toy name Frisbee, so Bluth changed the protagonist's name to Mrs. Brisby. He found his greatest success teaming up with Steven Spielberg and creating the franchises of An American Tail and The Land Before Time, which both shattered box office records for animated features at the time and challenged Disney, until the release of The Little Mermaid.

After departing with Spielberg, Bluth worked on a few more films, All Dogs Go to Heaven being the last successful one, before Don Bluth Productions closed down at the release of The Pebble and the Penguin, at which he was hired at Fox Animation Studios. He found new success with Anastasia, Thumbelina and Rock-A-Doodle, but this company closed down at the release of Titan A.E., which was Bluth's last film to date. He has been currently fundraising for a movie adaptation of Dragon's Lair, whose campaign had closed as of January 16, 2016.

Several of his films are currently available for streaming on Disney+.


Year Film Position
1955 Lady and the Tramp Assistant director, animator (uncredited)
1959 Sleeping Beauty In-between artist (uncredited)
1961 One Hundred and One Dalmatians Assistant animator (uncredited)
1963 The Sword in the Stone
1967 The Jungle Book
1970 The Aristocats Character animator (uncredited)
1973 Robin Hood Character animator / Voice actor: Elephant Guards (uncredited)
1974 Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too! Animator: Rabbit / Story (uncredited)
1975 Escape to Witch Mountain Animator: titles (uncredited)
1977 The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh Animator: Rabbit / Story (uncredited)
The Rescuers Directing animator: Bernard and Miss Bianca
Pete's Dragon Animation director
1978 The Small One Director / Producer / Animator: auction scene (uncredited)
1981 The Fox and the Hound Animator (uncredited)
1983 Winnie the Pooh and a Day for Eeyore Assistant animator (uncredited)
1986 The Great Mouse Detective Storyboard artist, title designer (uncredited)
1987 The Brave Little Toaster Storyboard artist (uncredited)

Outside filmography[]

Year Film Position Production Company Distributed by Current Distribution Rights
1979 Banjo the Woodpile Cat Director / Producer / Animator / Story (uncredited) Don Bluth Productions ABC Specials Disney
1980 Xanadu Animation sequence unit Universal Pictures Universal
1982 The Secret of NIMH Director / Producer / Story adaptation / Directing animator / Layout artist / Visual development artist (uncredited) Aurora Productions
Don Bluth Productions
United Artists (through Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer) Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (through Amazon)
1986 An American Tail Director / Producer / Designer / Storyboard artist / Title designer / Animator (uncredited) Amblin Entertainment
Sullivan-Bluth Studios
Universal Pictures Universal
1988 The Land Before Time Director / Producer / Production designer / Storyboard artist / Animator (uncredited)
1989 All Dogs Go to Heaven Director / Producer / Story / Production designer / Storyboard artist / Character animator (uncredited) Goldcrest Films
Sweatbox Animation
Sullivan-Bluth Studios
United Artists (through Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer; worldwide)
The Rank Organisation (UK/Ireland)
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (through Amazon)
1991 Rock-A-Doodle Director / Producer / Story / Storyboard artist / Animator (uncredited) Goldcrest Films
Sullivan-Bluth Studios
The Samuel Goldwyn Company (USA and Canada)
The Rank Organisation (UK/Ireland)
1994 Thumbelina Director / Producer / Screenplay / Supervising animator (uncredited) Don Bluth Ireland, Ltd. Warner Bros. Pictures Disney
A Troll in Central Park Director / Producer / Original story / Voice actor: Trolls (uncredited)
1995 The Pebble and the Penguin Director, producer (uncredited) Don Bluth Limited Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (USA)
Warner Bros. Pictures (worldwide)
Warner Bros (US) (physical media)
Amazon (worldwide) (digital)
Disney (international)
1997 Anastasia Director / Producer / Designer: Anastasia (uncredited) Fox Animation Studios 20th Century Fox Disney
1999 Bartok the Magnificent Director / Producer / Supervising animator (uncredited) 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
2000 Titan A.E. Director / Producer / Directing animator (uncredited) 20th Century Fox




  • Bluth had plans for an animated adaption of Beauty and the Beast. Concept artwork was completed in 1984, but upon discovering that Walt Disney Pictures already had plans for their own adaptation, the project was cancelled by Columbia Pictures.
  • To defend the use of darker scenes in his movies, Bluth once said, "[If] you don't show the darkness, you can't appreciate the light. If it weren't for December, no one would appreciate May. It's just important that you see both sides of that."

External links[]

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