The Iron Giant is a 1999 American animated science fiction movie using both traditional animation and computer animation, produced by Warner Brothers Feature Animation and directed by Brad Bird in his directorial debut. It’s based on the 1968 novel The Iron Man by Ted Hughes and was scripted by Tim McCanlies from a story treatment by Bird. Take a look below for 26 more fun and interesting facts about The Iron Giant.
1. The movie stars the voices of Eli Marienthal, Christopher McDonald, Jennifer Aniston, Harry Connick Jr., John Mahoney, and Vin Diesel.
2. Set during the Cold War in 1957, the movie is about a young boy named Hogarth Hughes, who discovers a giant metallic robot who fell from space. With the help of beatnik artist Dean McCoppin, they attempt to prevent the U.S. military and Kent Mansley, a paranoid federal agent, from finding and destroying the Giant.
3. The understaffed crew of The Iron Giant finished the movie with half of the time and budget of other animated features.
4. Upon its release, the movie significantly under-performed at the box office, making $31.3 million worldwide against a budget of $70 to $80 million, which was blamed on an unusually poor marketing campaign.
5. The movie was nominated for several awards, winning nine Annie Awards out of 15 nominations.
6. Through home video releases and television syndication, the movie gathered a cult following and is now widely regarded as a modern animated classic.
7. Brad Bird personally animated the scene where Hogarth rants to Dean about his problems in a super fast pace after he gives him Espresso.
8. The last name for Annie and Hogarth, Hughes, is a homage to Ted Hughes, author of the original children’s book upon which the movie is based.
9. Excluding the yells and groans, the Iron Giant only says a total of 53 words.
10. When the Giant looks over the hill at Rockwell, there’s a moving star near the Moon on the right hand side. This is meant to be Sputnik.
11. The Iron Giant is the first traditionally-animated feature to have a major character, the title character, who’s fully computer-generated.
12. The three tendrils emanating from the Iron Giant in battle form are inspired by The War of the Worlds.
13. Peter Cullen, Sean Connery, Frank Welker, and James Earl Jones were considered to voice the role of the Iron Giant, but it went to Vin Diesel instead.
14. In order to better blend the computer generated Giant into the traditionally animated movie, technicians came up with a program that gave the Giant’s lines a slight “wobble,” in order to match the natural line imperfections found in hand-drawn animation.
15. Hogarth’s father was a fighter pilot. A picture of him is on his dresser, clearly visible during his standoff with Kent.
16. Warner Brothers originally wanted John Travolta to do the voice of Dean and have Arnold Schwarzenegger do the voice of Kent Mansley.
17. The town of Rockwell, Maine has a name suspiciously similar to Roswell, New Mexico, where aliens allegedly crash landed in 1947. It may also be an allusion to painter Norman Rockwell, who’s famous for his idealized scenes of American small town life.
18. The U.S. Army scene in the movie is accurately depicted in its mid-1950s form, including the choice of vehicles, weapons and the appearance of a soldier.
19. Dean’s newspaper in the diner scene had an ad for Rinso, The Granulated Soap clothing detergent, which was a very accurate ad of the time, down to the silhouettes of “happy home-makers” on the box.
20. When the Giant’s hand is “watching” television, the clip that was to be playing would have been the opening to Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color, but the filmmakers couldn’t secure the rights, and substituted the Maypo commercial instead.
21. The movie shows the U.S.S. Nautilus, which is the first nuclear powered submarine. However, the submarine was an attack boat, not a boomer, which it is shown as when firing the bomb at the Giant.
22. As Hogarth arms himself to find the, “invaders from Mars,” a Bugs Bunny figure can be seen inside his toy chest.
23. Among the comics Hogarth shows the Giant, is an issue of “The Spirit.” In the 1990s, Brad Bird attempted to get backing for a “Spirit” animated movie.
24. Cloris Leachman’s character, Mrs. Tensedge, originally appeared in another scene of the movie as well as more dialogue, according to a deleted pencil test scene. The scene ended up being removed from the story due to time restraint. In the movie, she only says seven words.
25. A landing seen in the first show of the coast near Rockwell is named “Bird Landing,” a reference to Brad Bird.
26. When Hogarth goes to check the antenna on the roof after the television stops working, it has been bitten off. This is a deliberate reference to the “Metal-Munching Mice” in a Rocky and Bullwinkle story.