When Who Framed Roger Rabbit sprang into theaters in the summer of 1988, animation was as beleaguered as ol’ Wily E. Coyote. These were the dark days of Disney’s The Great Mouse Detective and Universal’s An American Tale, which only seemed to prove that the glory years of cartoon mice and other fuzzy critters had finally run its course. But Robert Zemeckis’s Roger Rabbit changed everything, practically overnight. Much was made of the novelty of combining live-action with animated characters, but Mary Poppins had mixed both a quarter century earlier – and Bert and his dancing penguins were hardly the first themselves. No, what really made Roger Rabbit a hit with audiences of all ages was the come-together moment from all the iconic ‘toons that had thrilled generations of children. It was like “We Are the World,” but instead of Bob Dylan and Ray Charles, there was Daffy and Donald Duck squaring off against each other on dueling pianos and there was Mickey and Bugs free-falling with Eddie (Bob Hoskins) from the top of a skyscraper.
Throw in a new wascally-wabbit named Roger and his ahh-OOOOOOOO-gaa femme fatale of a wife (voiced by Kathleen Turner), and Who Framed Roger Rabbit became the first animated movie to make the year’s top-10 box-office list in more than a decade. The next year, Disney would present The Little Mermaid, which would confirm the resurgence of animation and set the course towards the new golden age that has lasted until the present day.
Tomorrow, Roger Rabbit arrives on Blu-ray for the first time, and even though the new 25th Anniversary Edition doesn’t include any new special features, it’s a delight to revisit Toontown and get hit on the head a few times with some classic Acme-brand laughs. Below, check out 25 great one-liners from the crazy, loony, genius movie that can’t help but make you feel like you’re nine years old again.