The Bear is the climatic antagonist of Disney's 1981 animated feature film, The Fox and the Hound. He is a giant bear with black fur and red eyes. He does not tolerate intruders or trespassers, but was accidentally awakened by Amos and Copper, who were looking for Tod and Vixey.
The Bear is extremely violent, ruthless, and highly territorial. He does not tolerate trespassers and if they cross into his territory or attack him in any way, he will not hesitate to kill them.
The Bear is a gigantic and burly animal with black fur and red eyes. He is likely a melanistic grizzly or Kodiak bear.
The Bear first appears after being accidentally antagonized by Amos and Copper, who were trespassing in the woods while looking for Tod and Vixey. He awakens and rears up at them as a warning that Amos and Copper are in his territory and that they should leave immediately. In a panic, Amos shoots at the Bear, which only grazes the Bear's shoulder, causing the Bear to growl in pain, and anger him further. He lumbers forward, and swipes at Amos, but ends up causing the alarmed hunter to tumble down a hillside, and now continues to pursue him.
While trying to escape from the Bear, Amos, in fear, starts walking backward, and has got his foot caught in one of his own steel traps, while his gun has landed on a small tree, slightly out of his reach. Furious that the intruders are not leaving his territory, the Bear continues to attack them and finally encroaches on the injured and frightened hunter. Copper bravely attempts to protect his master and attacks the Bear, but despite being smaller and more agile, he is soon easily overpowered and beaten up in a very vicious and brutal fight, yelping in pain. Tod hears Copper's yelping echo, turns and is horrified to see his childhood friend nearly getting killed.
Against his better judgment, Tod quickly runs back to save his friend. As the Bear prepares for a final blow on the wounded Copper, Tod leaps onto his back and bites his ear, making the Bear turn his attention toward Tod. Biting and scratching wildly, Tod is able to lead the Bear away from Amos and Copper. Eventually, he manages to lead the Bear onto a log protruding over a huge waterfall. While Tod hangs for dear life, the Bear attempts to deliver the final blow, but the log breaks under his weight, sending them both plummeting down the waterfall several meters below. Tod survives while the bear most likely drowns and gets washed away by the rapids.
The Fox and the Hound
- The Bear's roars, snarls, and growls are the same as Brutus and Nero from The Rescuers and Shere Khan from The Jungle Book.
- When Amos shoots him in the shoulder, blood is shown. When Copper bites the Bear on the muzzle, blood is shown on the right side as well. This is one of the film's controversial points.
- The Bear was animated by Glen Keane. John Lasseter, Mark Henn, and Henry Selick did work on him since he was being trained under Keane and Eric Larson. Selick would later become the director of films such as The Nightmare Before Christmas and James and the Giant Peach.
- The Bear's design may have been the original inspiration for that of Mor'du, the villain of Disney/Pixar's film Brave.
- Due to the color of his fur, the Bear is often presumed to be an American black bear. But judging by his size and aggressive behavior towards trespassers and the visible shoulder hump, he is a grizzly with, for some reason, black fur (probably a melanistic grizzly bear).
- Clarence Nash, the original voice of Donald Duck, provided the Bear's roars and snarls, while Jimmy MacDonald provided the growls, despite neither being credited. Aside from this, the Bear is the only forest animal character in the movie who doesn't speak a word of English.