Song of the South is a 1946 American musical film produced by Walt Disney and released by RKO Radio Pictures. The film is based on the Uncle Remus cycle of stories by Joel Chandler Harris. The live actors provide a sentimental frame story, in which Uncle Remus relates the folk tales of the adventures of Br’er Rabbit and his friends. These anthropomorphic animal characters appear in animation. The hit song from the film was “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah”, which won the 1947 Academy Award for Best Song and is frequently used as part of Disney’s montage themes, and which has become widely used in popular culture. The film inspired the Disney theme park attraction Splash Mountain.
The film has never been released in its entirety on home video in the USA, because of content which Disney executives believe would be construed by some as politically incorrect and racist toward black people, and is thus subject to much rumor. Some portions of this film have been issued on VHS and DVD as part of either compilations or special editions of Disney films.
The setting of the film is the deep South of the Reconstruction era. Harris’ original Uncle Remus stories were all set after the American Civil War and the abolition of slavery (Harris himself, born in 1846, was a racial reconciliation activist writer and journalist of the Reconstruction era). The film makes several indirect references to the Reconstruction era: clothing is in the newer late-Victorian style; Uncle Remus is free to leave the plantation at will; black field hands are sharecroppers, etc.