The movie opens with the narrator, Patou( Phil Harris) a hound dog with bunions, explaining that Chanticleer(Glen Campbell), the Elvis Presely look-a-like rooster on the farm, was a popular bird and his crow brought the sun up everyday. One day a strange rooster showed up on the farm and picked a fight with Chanticleer just as the sun peeked over the horizon. He had forgotten to crow and the sun began to come up. The animals on the farm called him a phony and laughed him off the farm. The rooster did not know that evil owl, the Duke(Christopher Plummer), had sent the rooster to distract Chanticleer because he did not like Chanticleer and want it to be dark and rainy forever.
The live action main character in this movie is a little boy named Edmond(Toby Granger), he is between 5 and 7 with blonde hair. He wants to be a big boy and be treated like he isn't a child. His mother is telling him the story of Chanticleer while it pours rain outside. Edmond's father comes into the room, where the mother is reading Edmond a bedtime story, and says he is going to get the boys to put up sand bags to hold off the water. Edmond wants to go but he is too small. His mother goes to help Edmond's father find a flash light leaving Edmond with the book which he opens and begins to read. He has an idea and opens the window calling for Chanticleer. Instead of the rooster the evil duke from the story shows up and attacks Edmond. He turns Edmond into a cat saying that cats are more digestible and chases Edmond around the room. Just as the Duke is getting ready to eat Edmond Patou, a hound dog, rushes in through the hole where the owl came in, bites the Dukes leg, and fights the Duke off.
Patou complains that he does not know how to tie his shoes and Edmond goes to help but realizes he is a cat. He is freaked out and says he can't do anything because he is not a boy anymore.
Other animals file into the room. A highly intelligent mouse, Peepers(Sandy Duncan), says that by her coordinates they are not in the city. It is revealed that they are looking for Chanticleer too. After some discussion Patou, Edmond, Peepers , and Snipes(Eddie Dezen) the annoying magpie all take off in toy box. The rest of the farm animals float on Edmond's bed as the water floods the room.
At the owls lair the Duke is singing about not wanting Chanticleer to crow when his nephew, Hunch (Charles Nelson Reily) flies in and tells him about the group of a cat, dog, mouse, and bird he saw floating down the river in a toy box. The Duke sends some of his minions to annihilate the group.
They haphazardly dodged buildings and trees when the owls attack. Dodging the owls the group ends up floating down an aqueduct which Hunch misreads and thinks has caused their annihilation .
The pipe leads the group directly to the city not without them having to close the lid of the box. Before they get there Snipes freaks out and poking holes in the box because he is claustrophobic. Patou ties him to a ping pong paddle while the other two try and plug the holes.
Hunch goes back to his uncle telling him what happened. The Duke tells Hunch that the adequate pipe is actually an aqueduct and will send the group right to the city. The Duke sends hunch out to eliminate the group.
In the city Chanticleer is so close yet so far away., The group keeps just missing him. They look for him in the phone book but his name is not there. They ask around but not one knows him and no one has seen him. One day they are sitting on a curve hopeless when one of them looks up and sees a neon sign of Chanticleer and a marquee. The rooster changed his name to the King which is why he wasn't in the phone book and he had dyed his hair changing his appearance.
Chanticleer is preforming. Behind the scenes Goldie Pheasant(Ellen Greene) is talking to the manager, Pinky (Sorrell Booke). She doesn't like Chanticleer and feels she is too good for the chorus. She just doesn't have the voice to be any bigger of a star than she is. After the show is over he, surrounded by bouncers, gets into a plane and flies off. His friends yelled and screamed but were drowned out by the other screaming fans.
IN the plane his Pinky asks Chanticleer what he wants and Chanticleer says he is lonely. All the screaming fans aren't enough for him and he misses home. He is depressed
Back at the house the remaining animals are hold up in Edmond's flooded room with a flash light. They receive a call from Edmond telling them that they found the rooster and asking about the family, but the pig drops the phone in the water. The Duke picks up the receiver and tells Edmond that his friends are toast when their batteries run out and cuts the line. The owls wait.
Back in the city the fox receives a phone call from the Duke warning him about the group looking for Chanticleer. The fox agrees to keep the group away from his meal ticket. At another performance the manager convinces Goldie to “entertain” the rooster and to keep him happy which will get her out of the chorus. In the audience, disguised as penguins, Edmond tries to get a message to Chanticleer by making an airplane with a note on it and throwing it on stage. It does not work because Goldie distracts the rooster with a kiss and the group is bounced from the show.
After the show at Chanticleers own little replica of the farm, him and Goldie are having a date. She realizes she loves the rooster even though she did not initially. Edmond who is watching decides he is going to try and talk to her instead of talking to Chanticleer.
He gets into her dressing room on the movie set where she and Chanticleer are staring in a movie together and he tries to talk but she had been previously warned about the cat and his friends. After she throws a fit the group is captured and taken to Pinky's trailer. Goldie realizes she made a mistake.
While passing by Hunch happens upon the tied up group. Hunch comically batches an attempt to annihilate the group which he fails at hilariously.
Between takes of King Goes Mad, Chanticleer's movie, Goldie tells Chanticleer about the note and she tells him where his friends are. Pinky eavesdrops and blackmails Chanticleer revealing that Goldie was initially faking her love for the rooster. Back on the set steal Chanticleer steals motorcycle he was on and goes to Pinky's trailer to rescue his friends.
Patou accidentally hits Chanticleer over the head with a frying pan knocking him into a twilight state. Carrying Chanticleer, they steal Pinky's car and take off. Pinky and his goons chase the group until the group crashes losing Peepers. Tired of being called a scaredy cat, Edmond goes back for Peepers. The group climbs the water tower they crashed into to find the mouse. The goons follow.
The tumbling water tower starts to fall before Peepers shows up with the helicopter and catches the group before they fall. Peepers and Edmond fly the helicopter back to the farm leaving Pinky in ruins without a star for his movie.
On the farm the animals in Edmond's room have run out of batteries and the owls prepare to eat them. Before the owls can eat the animals the helicopter shows up and saves them.The group announces they have Chanticleer.
They lose control of the helicopter because of Hunch, who was hiding on the plane, and crash it into the water.
Chanticleer regains full consciousness and realizes he is back home. All the animals want him to crow but he says he can't crow. He is discouraged. When they Duke shows up he knocks Edmond, who was cheering for Chanticleer, out after tying Patou up and antagonizing the rooster. After this everyone starts chanting the roosters name. The owl uses his magic to grow taller, turn into a tornado, and create a rain storm. Chanticleer finally finds his voice just before he drowns in the rising body of water. His song shrinks the Duke and brings up the sun. Hunch finds his now tiny uncle and gets some much deserved revenge.
Now everyone crowds around Edmond not knowing how to help him, as he is still unconscious. He turns back into a boy and Peeper's comes over to him and strokes his hand and calls his name. He wakes up to his mother wiping his face and calling his name as if out of a dream. He jumps up and looks out the window telling his mother what he had been through and he was relieved that he is a boy again. She tells him that it was a story and tells him that they(Chanticleer and his pals) know he is okay and they are okay too. Edmond picks up the book about Chanticleer and Chanticleer starts singing and dancing with all his friends and Goldie.
Best part of story, including ending:
I really liked all the singing parts of the movie. I liked that the creators were able to write songs that were not lame and songs that you can still listen to and sing today.
Best scene in story:
Hunch flies into the dukes lair with exciting news. He has annihilated the cat,dog,mouse, and bird by encouraging their toy box into the adequate pipe. Uncle Dukey asks the enthusiastic Hunch to come closer which makes Hunch fall on the floor. The Duke corrects hunch telling him that it was an aqueduct pipe not an adequate pipe. That part of the movie has stuck with me through the years.
Opinion about the main character:
I like that Chanticleer is such a human character even though he is a rooster. I also like his Elvis Presley-ness.