The Grasshopper and the Ants
Studio: Disney Release Date : February 25, 1934 Series: Silly Symphony
  1. General Info

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Cumulative rating:       (1 rating submitted)


A grasshopper fiddles and plays through his day, tempting some of the worker ants to play with him, unaware that winter is coming and food will soon be scarce.



Wilfred Jackson


Richard Martin "Dick" Huemer
Ben Sharpsteen
Thomas McKimson
Cy Young
Ed Smith
Frenchy de Tremaudan
Leonard Sebring
Dick Lundy
Bill Roberts
Art Babbitt
Hamilton S. "Ham" Luske
Leslie James "Les" Clark


Bill Cottrell
Albert Hurter


Leigh Harline


Van DeBar 'Pinto' Colvig


Hugh Hennesy


Walter Elias "Walt" Disney


United Artists


The grasshopper was voiced by Pinto Colvig. It's theme song was called "The World Owes Me a Living" which went on to become Goofy's theme song, also originally voiced by Colvig.


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Video Information


United States

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Laserdisc (CLV)

United States

At Home with Donald Duck


Starring Donald


United States

Silly Symphonies
Timeless Tales Volume 1
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United Kingdom

Disney Treasures : Silly Symphonies


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Netherlands / Belgium

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BluRay Disc

United States

A Bug's Life : 2 Disc Blu-Ray + DVD Combo Pack
A Bug's Life

Technical Specifications

MPAA No.: 1199
Running time: 8:25
Animation Type: Standard (Hand-drawn-Cel) Animation
Color Type: Technicolor
Sound Type: Mono: RCA Sound Recording
Aspect Ratio: 1.37 : 1
Print Type: 35mm
Negative Type: 35mm
Cinematographic Type: Spherical
Original Language: English

Reviews and Comments

From Tom Wilkins :

Certainly one of the top 4 Silly Symphonies ever made. I was delighted to hear the young "Goofy" voice in this cartoon. This cartoon sure had the perfect lesson to plan ahead and be safe rather than let time go by and end up in major trouble. The music was also fantastic. Although I believe I saw the re-released version (distributed by RKO Radio Pictures, not a United Artists Picture), it was simply one of the best Disney cartoons deserving of an award.

From Jerry Edwards :

When a lazy grasshopper prefers to sing and dance rather than prepare for the winter like the ants, he finds himself starving and freezing when winter arrives. He collapses at the door of the ant colony and the ants carry him inside their warm abode, which is filled to the brim with good food. In return for room and board, the grasshopper "earns his keep" by entertaining the ants with his music.

This adaptation of the Aesop Fable is one of my favorite Silly Symphonies. It combines excellent animation with drama and humor.

One fun scene for me is when an ant is struggling to pull a cart of cherries through the mud. The grasshopper advises the ant to not work so hard - it's time to sing, dance, and play. The queen ant approaches, the work ant spies her and picks up the cart and scurries off.

Although I love this cartoon, I always get a mental picture of "real nature" where the grasshopper is at near death at the ant colony door - they would be swarming all over him and be carrying him into the colony - in little pieces...

From Ryan :

I remember seeing this short on a video that I rented a long time ago. When I watched it, I said "That grasshopper sounds like Goofy!" That's because he was voiced by Pinto Colvig too. As I have mentioned in earlier comments, I'm not a big fan of the "Silly Symphonies," but I didn't mind this short too much.

From Chris :

This is truly one of my favorite Disney Shorts. I had the record album and played it over and over and over when I was a child. I have tried to explain this story to my own sons (who are 20+ years old now) and I could never quite capture the wonderful story, pictures and song. Oh how I wish I had kept my original vinyl! Probably worth a mint now!

From Steve Spolar :

Several years ago, my Mother found some drawings I had sketched from the first grade. Actually, it was a fairly detailed sketch of the Grasshopper from The Grasshopper and The Ants and written across the center of the drawing was "I don't want to work no more, the world owes me a living" I suppose that was my interpretation of the original lyrics. I really do not remember drawing the Grasshopper, but ironically, I live my life much the same as he did. My rating is a 10+.

From Karen :

I would like to give The Grasshopper and the Ants a perfect 10. I grew up watching this short (I am 22 now) and still remember it very vividly. Wonderful story, wonderful animation, and wonderful music. I adore the way the grasshopper dances. I wish I still had the tape with this recording on it! I would love to watch it again.

From Baruch Weiss :

It's been a long time since I've seen saw this short; nevertheless I enjoy it a bit. I give it a b+.

From Mike :

As an adult I enjoy this short more than ever. When others slack off, I sing "The World Owes Me a Livin'" in my head. It gets a ten for sticking with me so long. Good ol' values in a fun, memorable package - that's quality animation.

From Gijs Grob :

Easily one of the best Silly Symphonies: it has a catching song, great use of color and beautiful effect animation. Notice, for instance, the realism of the leaves blowing away during the autumn scene. One can even recognize which tree they're from! In contrast, the design of the ants looks a little primitive. But by now, the Disney staff has fully mastered the idea of character animation. This is best shown in the final dance scene: even in a crowd of look-alikes one easily recognizes the joyful ant the Grasshopper had tempted earlier.

Note that morality notwithstanding the grasshopper is allowed to do what he does best: sing and play. An encouragement to view art as an important contribution to society. Even so, the way the queen finally invites him is a real cliff-hanger.

From Sonia :

One of my favorite shorts from childhood. Why are these cartoons not played anymore?

From Dino Cencia :

I agree with Sonia up above. All of the Disney Animated Shorts on the Disney Channel should be on the Disney Channel should be on forever and on Toon Disney. But now the Disney Channel's not the same. The Disney Channel was better back in the 80's and the 90's, but now it's 2008 and now the Disney Channel's showing Zack and Cody, Raven, etc. But thanks to the Walt Disney Treasures, all you people out there can get it on DVD and watch one of the treasures because Walt Disney Treasures are the best DVD's for showing old cartoons. Anyway, to the cartoon. I loved this short! My favorite part is at the end when the grasshopper was playing and dancing with his fiddle and singing "I own the world a living!" The Grasshopper song reminds me of Goofy's theme. The Grasshopper and Goofy should sing their song together cause it's their song and Goofy's theme song. Great cartoon! I give it a 705 out of 705.

From Ryan Kilpatrick at The Disney Film Project :

I’ve said before that there are so many Disney shorts that sometimes it becomes mundane to view them all, day after day. That was part of the point of this project, to see everything, so I can tell what was important, what was a turning point, and what was something we should watch over and over again. I have to say that The Grasshopper and the Ants is all three of those things.

This short is probably one of the finest Disney shorts ever made. Definitely one of the top ten. It is entertaining, inspirational and extremely fun. The characters are realistic, the animation is top notch, and the story is superb.

If you don’t know the basics, there is a grasshopper who hops through the forest, playing his fiddle and enjoying life to the fullest. He even sings a song, “The World Owes Me a Living,” that reflects his world view. Everything in his life is owed to him by the world at large, thus, he does not need to look to the future.

This does not work well with a colony of nearby ants. When the grasshopper distracts one of them from preparing for winter, the queen of the ants gets quite upset and tells the grasshopper that he will suffer that winter. The grasshopper isn’t convinced, to say the least.

Of course, though, winter comes around, and the grasshopper collapses outside the ants’ tree. The ants are busy inside making merry with all the provisions they gathered, but they take time to take in the grasshopper and warm him up. The queen chastises him, but lets him stay if he’ll entertain them with his fiddle.

It’s a fabulous story, with a great moral and well drawn characters. The grasshopper is voiced by Pinto Colvig, who would go on to become the voice of Goofy, and the theme song here, “The World Owes Me a Living,” would become Goofy’s theme as well. One of Goofy’s earliest solo shorts, Goofy and Wilbur, even features a grasshopper. Colvig’s voice acting here adds a touch of likeability to the grasshopper that could have been missing otherwise.

The ants are great as well. The ants get easily distracted by the grasshopper’s fiddling, in a nice touch. It shows the audience that the work of the ants is not something they enjoy, but it’s still necessary. The regal air of the queen adds to that. She chastises the grasshopper and is proven right.

This is a case of all elements of a short working together properly – animation, voice work, music, effects – they are all great. The snow effects, the fades – all the effects shots are well done. The Grasshopper and the Ants is obviously an influence on later works – from the aforementioned Goofy shorts all the way up to A Bug’s Life. That’s a great tribute to a fantastic short.

From Mac :

As far as Disney shorts go, this is one of the more celebrated classics – a little more famous than many others. As is happening more frequently now in the Silly Symphony series, a famous tale is retold in a well crafted cartoon, with great music and appealing characters. It's easy to see why cartoons like this were so popular.

I've only ever seen the RKO reissue version of this short and I assume the attractive title card was designed for this release, since it doesn't match the art style of other 1934 cartoons, evoking instead the richer colors of a late 30's cartoon.

Click on thumbnail for full size image


Submitted by eutychus



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    Wilfred Jackson: Director
    • Verified by "Silly Symphonies" by Russell Merritt and J. B. Kaufman

    Richard Martin "Dick" Huemer: Animator
    • Verified by "Silly Symphonies" by Russell Merritt and J. B. Kaufman

    Ben Sharpsteen: Animator
    • Verified by "Silly Symphonies" by Russell Merritt and J. B. Kaufman

    Thomas McKimson: Animator
    • Verified by "Silly Symphonies" by Russell Merritt and J. B. Kaufman

    Cy Young: Animator
    • Verified by "Silly Symphonies" by Russell Merritt and J. B. Kaufman

    Ed Smith: Animator
    • Verified by "Silly Symphonies" by Russell Merritt and J. B. Kaufman

    Frenchy de Tremaudan: Animator
    • Verified by "Silly Symphonies" by Russell Merritt and J. B. Kaufman

    Leonard Sebring: Animator
    • Verified by "Silly Symphonies" by Russell Merritt and J. B. Kaufman

    Dick Lundy: Animator
    • Verified by "Silly Symphonies" by Russell Merritt and J. B. Kaufman

    Bill Roberts: Animator
    • Verified by "Silly Symphonies" by Russell Merritt and J. B. Kaufman

    Art Babbitt: Animator
    • Verified by "Silly Symphonies" by Russell Merritt and J. B. Kaufman

    Hamilton S. "Ham" Luske: Animator
    • Verified by "Silly Symphonies" by Russell Merritt and J. B. Kaufman

    Leslie James "Les" Clark: Animator
    • Verified by "Silly Symphonies" by Russell Merritt and J. B. Kaufman

    Leigh Harline: Music
    • Verified by "Silly Symphonies" by Russell Merritt and J. B. Kaufman

    Hugh Hennesy: Layout
    • Verified by "Silly Symphonies" by Russell Merritt and J. B. Kaufman

    Bill Cottrell: Story
    • Verified by "Silly Symphonies" by Russell Merritt and J. B. Kaufman

    Albert Hurter: Story
    • Verified by "Silly Symphonies" by Russell Merritt and J. B. Kaufman

    Van DeBar 'Pinto' Colvig: Voices
    • Verified by "Silly Symphonies" by Russell Merritt and J. B. Kaufman

    Walter Elias "Walt" Disney: Producer
    • Verified by onscreen credits (not always reliable)