Disney’s Zootopia was released in 2016 and became an instant hit not just with Disney fans, but with mainstream audiences worldwide. Set in a fictional world in which mammals have evolved into a more civilized society, the movie follows Officer Judy Hopps, a go-getter rabbit who teams up with con artist fox Nick Wilde to solve a case of missing predators.
Zootopia is a popular Disney movie partly due to its excellent characters, anthropomorphized animals with a slew of quotable lines. Whether it’s a joke about animals or observations of Zootopia’s politics, the best quotes from Zootopia are funny, thought-provoking, or full of heart.
Updated on December 1, 2022, by David Caballero:
Zootopia’s highly-anticipated spin-off series, Zootopia+, recently premiered on Disney+. Fans eagerly revisited their favorite talking animals and remembered why the first film was such a hit in the first place. Indeed, Zootopia is full of charming characters, but it’s also among the funniest and most thought-provoking Disney movies, full of clever quotes that are as poignant as funny.
“What Do You Call A Three-Humped Camel?”
Nick To Flash
“Pregnant!” Jokes are not unusual in Zootopia — it is a Disney film, after all. However, few are as memorable or effective as this one, delivered by Nick to Flash, the sloth.
The joke itself is not particularly funny to anyone over the age of ten. However, Flash’s reaction and the extended sequence that follows is the film’s highlight and a moment that has become iconic in Disney history. Nick’s delivery of the joke is also quite good, although it should be no surprise considering veteran comedian Jason Bateman is the voice behind the fox.
“The More We Try To Understand One Another…”
Judy Giving A Speech
“…the more exceptional each of us will be.” Zootopia is all about understanding and seeing past others’ superficial traits. It’s about reconciling each other’s differences and realizing that stereotypes are among the most harmful things in society.
Judy’s speech at the end is the perfect and heartfelt summarization of the movie’s themes and messages. It might be a tad heavy-handed for adults, but children will listen to the bunny’s words and take something of real value from them. It’s not an easy feat, but Zootopia manages to be thought-provoking without descending into sentimental schlock.
“We May Be Evolved…”
Mr. Big To Judy
“…but deep down, we’re still animals.” Arguably the most thought-provoking quote in Zootopia, this line by Mr. Big cuts deeply. The mechanics of Zootopia aren’t clear, but the animals are aware of their nature and evolution past their initial state.
More importantly, the quote is also a somewhat scathing reflection on humanity and how people behave toward each other. Although it could be easy to discard it as one more line in the film, this quote will stay with adult audiences, especially those seeing the movie as a thinly-veiled critique of race relations and class struggle.
“Tomorrow’s Another Day!”
It wouldn’t be a Disney film without a healthy dose of optimism. Judy starts the movie as an unabashed force for positive change; she wants to make the world a better place and always puts her heart, body, and soul into everything she does.
Her unwavering spirit is perfectly represented by her somewhat generic yet still inspiring motto, “Tomorrow’s another day.” Judy is a bunny who never backs down; if she falls, she gets back up again, stronger than before. Her can-do attitude takes her far and should inspire more than one fan in the audience.
“Never Let Them See That They Got To You.”
Nick To Judy
Many Disney movies take unexpectedly dark turns throughout their story, and Zootopia is the perfect example. The film features many intense exchanges between characters who undermine others because of their status or appearance, mirroring the behaviors of many people in real life.
Nick’s advice to Judy about never letting others see her cry will ring uncomfortably true for many fans in the audience. Words are powerful; they can cause genuine hurt to others, and Zootopia doesn’t shy away from showing it. Advice like this one will help many people throughout their lives, especially when dealing with bullies and such.
“Gideon Grey Was A Jerk…”
Judy Hopps To Her Parents
“…that happened to be a fox. I know plenty of bunnies who are jerks.” The beginning of the movie sees young Judy stand up to the vulpine bully Gideon Grey at a fair in her hometown of Bunnyburrow. Fifteen years later, Judy is heading off to Zootopia to join the police. Judy’s parents are wary of predators, especially foxes, and insist Judy take various fox-repelling items with her, reminding her of the incident with Gideon.
Younger and more open-minded, Judy tells them that Gideon was a jerk regardless of his species and that rabbits, and therefore other prey animals, are just as likely to be jerks. This moment hints at the politics and prejudice in the world of Zootopia and how animal stereotypes will not be traditional.
“Do You Think When She Goes To Sleep She Counts Herself?”
Nick To Judy About Bellweather
Zootopia is one of the few Disney films that break away from the fairytale formula by featuring an all-animal cast very much aware that they are animals. Thus, Zootopia opens a universe and brilliant animal-related jokes. One example isn’t relevant to the plot but is too amusing to ignore.
During their investigation, Nick and Judy seek the assistance of “Assistant Mayor” Bellweather, a sheep who is the personal assistant to Mayor Lionheart. When Bellweather has to leave at the behest of Lionheart, Nick asks Judy, “Do you think when she falls asleep, she counts herself?” It’s a simple yet effective joke, the kind that works so well in the world of Zootopia.
“I Wish I Had A Memory Like An Elephant.”
Jax To Judy And Nick
Another notable supporting character is Yax, a laid back yak who works at the Mystic Spring Oasis, which is revealed to be a naturalist club. Yax may appear spaced out, but he proves to be even more helpful to the case than he realizes.
To find out where Emmitt Otterton went, Yax takes Judy and Nick to speak to elephant yoga instructor Nangi, the idea being that elephants are known for their fantastic memories. However, Nangi doesn’t have any idea what Yax is talking about. In trying to get her to remember, Yax unwittingly reveals every detail of Otterton’s time at the Oasis and where he went after, right down to the license plate number. Yax tells Judy, “Told you Nangi has a mind like a steel trap. I wish I had a memory like an elephant.” What makes this moment so funny is that not only did Nangi forget, but Yax remains oblivious to his own brilliance.
“Zootopia Is A Unique Place.”
Gazelle Giving An Interview
“It’s a crazy, beautiful, diverse city where we celebrate our differences.” Although a minor character, pop singer Gazelle, voiced by rock superstar Shakira, is one of the most notable in Zootopia. During the increased fear of predator attacks, Gazelle leads a peaceful rally to reunite the citizens of Zootopia. In her interview, she expresses why she loves Zootopia and her sadness at what it has become due to the predator attacks inciting fear.
Gazelle’s screen time in Zootopia is brief, but her speech is one of the most powerful and thought-provoking moments in the entire movie. Based on her key moment in the story, she is a very strong and positive character.
“I Am Just A Dumb Bunny…”
Judy To Nick
“…but we are good at multiplying.” With another clever animal-related joke, Judy outwitting Nick is a memorable quote in its own right. To get information from Nick, Judy blackmails him with knowledge of Nick’s hefty tax evasion.
As she’s calculating the incriminating evidence, she demurely says, “I am just a dumb bunny, but we are good at multiplying.” It’s a fun moment because she not only outwits a horrified Nick, throwing a previous insult back in his face as well as exposing his crimes, but it’s also a slipped-in adult joke about rabbits that works perfectly in the context of the situation and the universe of Zootopia.
“If The World’s Only Going To See A Fox…”
Nick To Judy
“… as shifty and untrustworthy, there’s no point in trying to be anything else.” Zootopia is one of Disney’s all-time best animal movies, taking expected stereotypes and giving them refreshing twists. One prominent example is Nick Wilde, and one reason is that he goes beyond the sly fox stereotype and is given a rather heartbreaking backstory.
Nick confides in Judy that as a child, he was bullied by prey animals and muzzled simply because he was a fox. It’s one of the movie’s most emotional scenes and gives the cocky and wisecracking Nick a more in-depth character. Behind the con artist, there is a vulnerable heart of gold. Nick just wants to be accepted for who he is and not what he is.
“Fear Always Works!”
Bellweather To Judy
Another great example of deviating from animal stereotypes is making the sheep Bellweather the story’s villain. This is not revealed until the movie’s final climactic scene, but in those moments, the audience sees that Bellweather is a sinister force to be reckoned with and certainly not a typical Disney villain.
Judy insists that her plan won’t work, but Bellweather replies, “Fear always works!” Bellweather is among Disney’s cruelest villains because she uses fear, a primal emotion in all animals, to control and rule Zootopia as mayor while hiding behind an innocent facade of being a kindly sheep.
“Life Isn’t Some Cartoon Musical…”
Bogo To Judy
“… where you sing a little song and all your insipid dreams magically come true. So let it go.” One of Zootopia‘s best jokes is not animal-related, but a dig at Disney itself. Chief Bogo furiously tells Judy that life isn’t all perfect and magical, and most importantly, to “let it go.”
A few years before Zootopia, Disney released one of its most popular animated movies, Frozen. Whether people love or hate it, the movie’s signature song, “Let It Go.” is one of Disney’s most-played songs. Bogo’s biting comment is a brilliant moment of Disney making fun of itself and its past fairytale movies, but it’s the “Let It Go” reference that really makes the joke land perfectly.
“Ha… Ha… Ha…”
Flash Laughing At Nick’s Joke
Perhaps the funniest scene in the movie is Judy and Nick’s visit to the DMV, which is run by sloths. True to their biology, the sloths are slow to the point that it looks as though they’re moving in slow-motion, much to the annoyance of the DMV customers, especially Judy.
Just as Flash the sloth is about to type in the last digit of the license plate, Nick slyly asks him if he wants to hear a joke, just to annoy Judy. Flash’s reaction to the joke is a moment of comedy gold, and it gets even better when he leans over to tell his colleague the joke. The audience laughs at Flash’s painfully slow laugh but also sympathizes with Judy’s increasing frustration.
“It’s Called A Hustle, Sweetheart.”
Nick To Judy
This might be the most famous line in Zootopia. First spoken by Nick to Judy when she learns about their popsicle con, the tables are soon turned, and Judy uses the exact same line on Nick when she reveals that she can blackmail him with his tax felonies.
But the best use of the line is in the movie’s final moments when Judy manages to record Bellweather confessing to organizing the predator attacks. It’s a short and simple quote, but it’s the perfect mic-drop line for busting a rather diabolical villain.