Rango is Nickelodeon Movies' third computer-animated film, released on March 4, 2011. It was directed by Gore Verbinski and produced by Graham King. Rango was a critical and commercial success, and won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. It features the voices of actors Johnny Depp, Isla Fisher, Bill Nighy, Abigail Breslin, Alfred Molina, Harry Dean Stanton, Ray Winstone, Timothy Olyphant, and Ned Beatty.

It was Nickelodeon's second computer-animated film to be rated PG by the MPAA, after Barnyard. The film received widespread positive reviews and was a box office success, grossing $245 million worldwide against its $135 million budget.


Rango screenshot 1.jpg
Rango face.jpg

A pet chameleon (Johnny Depp) becomes stranded in the Mojave Desert, where he is directed by an armadillo to a town called Dirt. In the desert, he is pursued by a red-tailed hawk and hallucinates at length before meeting the desert iguana Beans, who takes the chameleon to Dirt, an Old West town populated by desert animals. There, the chameleon presents himself to the townsfolk as a heroic figure, under the name of 'Rango'. He soon runs afoul of Gila monster Bad Bill, but avoids a fight when Bill is scared off by the afore-seen hawk, and is himself pursued by the hawk until he accidentally crushes it beneath an empty water tower, whereupon the town's mayor appoints Rango the sheriff. Meanwhile, the townsfolk worry that with the hawk dead, the gunslinger Rattlesnake Jake will return. After discovering Dirt's water reserves nearly empty, Beans demands that Rango investigate; but later, Rango inadvertently assists a trio of bank robbers, led by the mole Balthazar, mistaking them for prospectors; and upon finding the water stolen, organizes a posse, who discover bank manager Merrimack dead in the desert from drowning, and later fight the robbers for the stolen water bottle, before discovering the bottle to be empty. Despite the robbers professing they had found it empty, the posse brings them to town for trial.

Rattlesnake Jake arrives and tells Rango to leave for good, so he does. Night comes, and Rango makes his way over the sand, arriving at the road with Mr. Tims and the doll from the beginning. He then crosses to the other side of the road. Rango confronts the mayor about his purchase of land around Dirt, who denies any wrongdoing and shows Rango that he is building a modern city with the purchased land. When Rango objects to this, the mayor summons Rattlesnake Jake, who humiliates Rango. Rango thence wanders from town until his encounter with a figure identified only as the 'Spirit of the West' or 'Man with No Name', who advises him that "No man can walk out on his own story". Guided by the armadillo and a set of mobile yucca schidigera, Rango learns that Dirt's water supply is controlled by an emergency valve in a water pipeline to Las Vegas Valley. Thereafter Rango challenges Jake to a duel while Balthazar's robbers and the yucca schidigera release the water-supply; but he and Beans are imprisoned by the mayor, who then attempts to kill Jake, having identified in him an aspect of the nearly-obsolete 'Old West', only to be foiled when Rango and Beans release themselves and the water-supply from his control. At this, Jake salutes Rango and departs, taking the mayor prisoner, while the other characters celebrate.


  • Johnny Depp as Rango, a chameleon who is the titular protagonist of the film.
  • Isla Fisher as Beans, a desert iguana the love interest of Rango, and also the deurtagonist.
  • Abigail Breslin as Priscilla, a cactus mouse[1] or aye-aye[2]
  • Ned Beatty as Tortoise John, Mayor of Dirt, a desert tortoise[3]the main antagonist of the film.
  • Alfred Molina as Roadkill, a nine-banded armadillo[3]
  • Bill Nighy as Rattlesnake Jake, a rattlesnake, the secondary antagonist.
  • Harry Dean Stanton as Balthazar, a mole, and the quaternary antagonist[4]
  • Ray Winstone as Bad Bill, a Gila monster[5] the tertiary antagonist of the film.
  • Timothy Olyphant as the Spirit of the West
  • Stephen Root as: Doc, a rabbit;[5] Mr. Johannes Merrimack III ("Fluffy Joe" - the banker); Mister Snuggles
  • Maile Flanagan as Lucky
  • Ian Abercrombie as Ambrose, a burrowing owl
  • Gil Birmingham as Wounded Bird, a Chihuahuan raven
  • James Ward Byrkit as: Waffles, a horned toad; Gordy; Papa Joad; Cousin Murt; Curlie knife attacker; Rodent Kid
  • Claudia Black as Angélique, a fox[5]
  • Blake Clark as Buford, a Sonoran desert toad and a Gas Can Saloon bartender
  • John Cothran, Jr. as Elgin
  • Patrika Darbo as: Delilah; Maybelle
  • George DelHoyo as Señor Flan, the accordion player
  • Charles Fleischer as Elbows
  • Beth Grant as Bonnie
  • Ryan Hurst as Jedidiah
  • Vincent Kartheiser as Ezekiel; Lasso rodent
  • Hemky Madera as Chorizo
  • Alex Manugian as Spoons
  • Mark McCreery as Parsons
  • Joe Nunez as Rock-Eye
  • Chris Parson as: Hazel Moats, Kinski, Stump, Clinker, Lenny, Boseefus, Dirt Kid
  • Lew Temple as: Furgus; Hitch
  • Alanna Ubach as: Boo Cletus, a raccoon; Fresca; Miss Daisy
  • Gore Verbinski as: Sergeant Turley, a wild turkey; Crevice; Slim, a turkey vulture; Lupe, the violin player
  • Kym Whitley as Melonee
  • Keith Campbell as Sod Buster


The film was produced by Nickelodeon Movies, Gore Verbinski's production company Blind Wink, and Graham King's GK Films. The CGI animation was created by Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), marking its first full-length animated feature. ILM usually does visual effects for live-action films.[6] It is also the first animated film for Verbinski. During voice recording, the actors received costumes and sets to "give them the feel of the Wild West"; star Johnny Depp had 20 days in which to voice Rango; and the filmmakers scheduled the supporting actors to interact with him.[7] Verbinski said his attempt with Rango was to do a "small" film after the large-scale Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy, but that he underestimated how painstaking and time-consuming animated filmmaking is.[6][7]

In a discussion about the nature of contemporary animated features, Verbinski said in December 2011,

"There are shackles with the budgets and the profit margins. You want to compete with what they're doing at Pixar and DreamWorks. There's a price tag with that just in terms of achieving that quality level. What happened to the Ralph Bakshis [the director of such adult-oriented animated movies as 1972's Fritz the Cat] of the world? We’re all sitting here talking about family entertainment. Does animation have to be family entertainment? I think at that cost, yes. There's the bull's-eye you have to hit, but when you miss it by a little bit and you do something interesting, the bull's-eye is going to move. Audiences want something new; they just can't articulate what.[8]"



Rango's teaser trailer was released on June 9, 2010,[9] along with the film's official site,[10] It shows an open desert highway and an orange, wind-up plastic fish floating slowly across the road.[11] On June 28, 2010, the first poster was released, showing the character Rango.[12] A two-minute trailer was released June 29, 2010.[13][14] Another trailer was released December 14, 2010.[15] A 30-second spot was made specifically to run during Super Bowl XLV on February 6, 2011.[16]

Home video

The film was released on Blu-ray and DVD on July 15, 2011.[17][18] The release had been produced as a two-disc Blu-ray, DVD, and "Digital Copy" combo pack with both the theatrical and an extended version of the film, cast and crew commentary, deleted scenes, and featurettes.[19][20][21]The extended version adds a final scene with the flooded town now a beach resort renamed Mud, and Rango riding out to deal with news that Bad Bill is causing trouble elsewhere.

2012 re-release

The film returned to theaters for a three-week engagement beginning January 27, 2012.[22]


Critical response

Rango received positive reviews. It has an 88% rating on the film critics aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes, based on 200 reviews, with an average rating of 7.6/10. The site's consensus says, "Rango is a smart, giddily creative burst of beautifully animated entertainment, and Johnny Depp gives a colorful vocal performance as a household pet in an unfamiliar world." [23] Another review-aggregation website, Metacritic, reported that the film had been given an average review of 75 out of 100 (or 3 out of 4).[24]

Box office

Rango, which was distributed by Paramount Pictures, earned $123,477,607 in North America and $121,897,767 in other countries for a total $245,375,374.[25] It was the 23rd highest-grossing film of 2011 worldwide.[26]

In North America, Rango debuted in 3,917 theaters, grossing $9,608,091 on its first day and $38,079,323 during its opening weekend, ranking number one at the box office.[27] On March 26, 2011 it became the first film of 2011 to cross the $100 million mark in North America.[28]

In markets outside North America, during its first weekend, it earned $16,770,243 in 33 countries.[29] It topped the overseas box office two times in March 2011.[30][31]

With its distribution contract with DreamWorks Animation set to be concluded in 2012, Paramount Pictures, pleased by the performance of this film, announced plans to establish its own animation department.[32]

Smoking controversy

The Sacramento, California-based anti-smoking organization Breathe California regards the film a public health hazard; it said there were at least 60 instances of smoking in the film.[33]


Award Category Winner/Nominee Result
Academy Awards Best Animated Feature Film Gore Verbinski Won
Alliance of Women Film Journalists Best Animated Film Won
Best Animated Female: Isla Fisher Won
American Cinema Editors Best Edited Animated Feature Film Craig Wood Won
Annie Awards Best Animated Feature Won
Animated Effects in an Animated Production Chase Cooper Nominated
Animated Effects in an Animated Production Willi Geiger Nominated
Character Design in a Feature Production Mark “Crash” McCreery Won
Directing in a Feature Production Gore Verbinski Nominated
Storyboarding in a Feature Production Delia Gosman Nominated
Storyboarding in a Feature Production Josh Hayes Nominated
Writing in a Feature Production John Logan, Gore Verbinski and James Byrkit Won
Editing in a Feature Production Craig Wood Won
BAFTA Best Animated Film Won
Boston Society of Film Critics Awards Best Animated Film Won
Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards Best Animated Feature Won
Chicago Film Critics Association Awards Animated Feature Won
Golden Globes Awards Best Animated Feature Film Nominated
Hollywood Film Festival Best Animated Won
IGN Best of 2011 Best Animated Movie Won
International Film Music Critics Association Best Original Score for an Animated Feature Hans Zimmer Nominated
Kids Choice Awards Favorite Voice From an Animated Movie Johnny Depp Nominated
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards Best Animation Won
Motion Picture Sound Editors Best Sound Editing. Sound Effects, in an Animation Feature Film Nominated
83rd National Board of Review Awards}} Best Animated Feature Won
Online Film Critics Society Awards Best Animated Feature Won
Producers Guild of America Awards Best Animated Theatrical Motion Pictures John B. Carls, Gore Verbinski Nominated
San Francisco Film Critics Circle Awards Best Animated Feature Won
Satellite Awards Motion Picture, Animated or Mixed Media Nominated
Saturn Awards Best Animated Film Nominated
2011 Teen Choice Awards[34] Choice Movie Animated Voice Johnny Depp Won
Toronto Film Critics Association Awards Best Animated Feature Nominated
Visual Effects Society[35] Outstanding Visual Effects in an Animated Feature Motion Picture Tim Alexander, Hal Hickel, Jacqui Lopez, Katie Lynch Won
Outstanding Animated Character in an Animated Feature Motion Picture Frank Gravatt, Kevin Martel, Brian Paik, Steve Walton Won
Outstanding Created Environment in an Animated Feature Motion Picture John Bell, Polly Ing, Martin Murphy, Russell Paul Won
Outstanding Virtual Cinematography in an Animated Feature Motion Picture Colin Benoit, Philippe Rebours, Nelson Sepulveda, Nick Walker Won
2012 People's Choice Awards


Favorite Movie Animated Voice Johnny Depp Won

Video games

Console games

Electronic Arts released a video game based on the film. It was rated E10+ and was released for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Nintendo DS, and Wii.[37]

Online games

Funtactix launched Rango: The World, a browser-based virtual world set in the Rango universe, on March 4, 2011, the day of the film's release.[38][39]






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