Goin' Down to South Park is a 1996 British-Canadian-American stop-motion adult animated black comedy musical film directed by Trey Parker, Adam Shaheen, and Nick Park. The film is produced by Comedy Central Films, Stimpy the Milkman Pictures, Braniff, Paramount Feature Animation, and Games Animation, Inc., animated by Cuppa Coffee Studios and Aardman Animations, and distributed by Paramount Pictures in North America, Warner Bros. Pictures in international territories, Alliance Communications in Canada, and BBC Films in the UK.
The film is primarily centered on themes of censorship and bad parenting; it also serves as a parody and satire of the animated films of the Disney Renaissance and musicals such as Les Misérables. The film also heavily lampoons the Motion Picture Association of America; Parker and Stone battled the MPAA throughout the production process and the film received an R rating just two weeks prior to its release. A writing team consisting of Parker, Stone, and Pam Brady was assembled. They conceived numerous plot ideas, with Parker and Stone's being the one developed into a film. The film features twelve original songs by Parker and Marc Shaiman, with additional lyrics by Stone.
Goin' Down to South Park was released theatrically in the United States on June 28, 1996. The film received critical acclaim from critics, with praise for its writing, soundtrack, humour, and themes. Produced on a $40 million budget, it went on to gross $215 million worldwide, making it a box office hit and one of the highest-grossing R-rated animated film of all time, as well as the highest-grossing stop motion animated film of all time, bypassing Chicken Run, which was also produced by Aardman. The song "Blame Canada" earned Parker and Shaiman a nomination for Academy Award for Best Original Song at the Academy Awards.
The film served as the pilot to the series South Park, which premiered on August 13, 1997 on Nick@Nite, BBC Two, YTV, and Comedy Central. The first episode "Cartman Gets an Anal Probe" continued from where the movie had left off.
The third graders of South Park, Eric, Stan, Kyle, and Kenny, sneak into an R-rated film by ultra-vulgar Canadian television personalities Terrence (Matt Stone) and Phillip (Trey Parker), and emerge with expanded vocabularies that leave their parents and teachers scandalized. When outraged Americans try to censor the film, the controversy becomes a call to war with Canada, and Terrence and Phillip end up on death row -- with only the kids left to save them.
Ten years ago, two people named Trey Parker and Matt Stone have an idea for TBA.
Ten years later, Stan Marsh, Kyle Broflovski, Kenny McCormick, and Eric Cartman go to a theatre to see Asses of Fire, which stars the boys' favorite Canadian comedy duo Terrance and Phillip. However, the boys are refused entry due to the film strictly being R-rated, so they pay a homeless man to accompany them.
Immediately after the movie, the boys begin swearing everywhere they go. The other children are impressed and all see the movie as well - except for Wendy Testaburger, the girl Stan likes, who spends her time with brilliant exchange student Gregory. The children swear profusely in school the next day, which infuriates their teacher Mr. Garrison and leads to their mothers finding out. The children are forbidden from seeing the movie again, but after attending a class with school counselor Mr. Mackey that "cures them", they sneak out and see it again anyway. Afterwards, Cartman bets Kenny $100 that he can't set his fart on fire like Terrance in the film - his attempt goes too far and he sets himself on fire and a dump truck pours salt all over him. Kenny is rushed to the hospital where Dr. Doctor and the doctors try their best to bring him back to life, but they accidentally replace his heart with a baked potato, which explodes, killing him. Upon learning that their sons saw the movie again, their mothers ground Kyle and Stan for two weeks, and Cartman three weeks, for seeing the movie again. Kenny is sent to Hell for various naughty deeds (skipping church, profanity, throwing rocks at a bird, staring at boobs all day etc.). He is tormented by Satan and his new partner, the recently deceased Saddam Hussein. McCormick learns that Saddam and Satan are lovers that have a dysfunctional relationship, and Saddam dominates and demeans Satan.
Back on Earth, Kyle’s mother, Sheila, leads the parents of South Park in a campaign against Terrance and Phillip, as well as the whole nation of Canada. Terrance and Phillip are then arrested on the Conan O'Brien Show as war criminals, prompting Conan O'Brien to commit suicide by jumping out a window. When the United States refuse to release the duo, Canada retaliates by bombing the residence of the Baldwin brothers. Sheila and President Bill Clinton announce that the United States will go to war with Canada and have Terrance and Phillip executed at a USO show. After she overhears Cartman degrading her in a song, Sheila has Dr. Vosknocker implant him with a V-Chip, a device that administers an electric shock every time he swears. In Hell, Kenny hears Satan declare that the war is a sign of the Apocalypse and that when the blood of two innocent Canadians touches American soil, he will invade Earth. Kenny attempts to persuade Satan to abandon Saddam, but to no avail. A ghostly Kenny visits Cartman to warn him. Unable to reason with their mothers, the three boys form La Résistance, partly so that Stan can win over Wendy as well as free Terrence and Philip. Gregory takes charge of the group and develops a rescue plan. He tells Marsh to recruit a God-hating French-accented boy expert on covert operations named "The Mole."
La Résistance infiltrate the USO show using the Mole's expertise, but Kenny’s ghost scares Cartman again and he forgets to deactivate the alarm. The Mole is discovered and killed by guard dogs, so the remaining boys attempt to warn their mothers about the prophecy and an attack by Satan and Saddam. They are laughed off, and Terrence and Philip's electric chairs are activated. The Canadian Army attacks the show and a battle ensues between the two armies. In the chaos, the boys are able to free Terrance and Phillip - in the process, Cartman is electrocuted briefly and his V-chip begins to malfunction. The mothers, seeing the destruction their movement has incited, decide to give up and look for their children, leaving only Sheila clinging to the cause.
After receiving a confidence-boosting vision from "The Clitoris", Stan leads the kids to Terrance and Phillip, who have been cornered by the United States Army. La Résistance forms a human shield while Kyle tries to persuade the soldiers and stands up to his mother against the killing. The soldiers begin to back down, but Sheila refuses and shoots Terrance and Phillip anyway, which results in Satan, his minions, and Saddam emerging from a fiery portal and slaughtering at will, invincible to retaliation, with Satan personally telling Sheila just how badly she screwed up. Because of all this, Sheila finally begins to regret everything, claiming that she was only trying to make the world a better place for children. Saddam successfully cows Satan once again and makes everyone bow to him as the lord of the Earth. However, when he insults Cartman, Cartman swears and a bolt of energy shoots through his pointing finger and kills a minion. Realizing his newly acquired power, and with Kyle’s encouragement, Cartman starts using profanity to power himself up and shoot electrical bolts at Saddam. Saddam continues to demean Satan and boss him around throughout this, which finally causes Satan to snap and throw him back into Hell, where he is impaled and killed on a stalagmite.
Satan then thanks Kenny for supporting him and grants him one wish; Kenny asks for everything to return to how it was before the war, even though it means he will have to go back to Hell. He takes off his hood, revealing his face, and says goodbye to his friends. Everything returns to normal in South Park. Sheila apologizes to Kyle for not listening to him, Wendy dumps Gregory and goes back to Stan and instead of returning to Hell, Kenny ascends to Heaven due to his act of sacrifice.
- Trey Parker as Stan Marsh / Eric Cartman / Gregory / Satan / Mr. Garrison / Mr. Hat / Phillip Niles Argyle / Randy Marsh / Clyde Donovan / Tom – News Reporter / Midget in a Bikini / Canadian Ambassador / Bombardiers / Mr. Mackey / Army General / Ned Gerblansky / Christophe – Ze Mole (or The Mole) / Big Gay Al (singing voice) / Adolf Hitler / additional voices
- Matt Stone as Kyle Broflovski / Kenny McCormick / Saddam Hussein (credited to "Himself") / Terrance Henry Stoot / Big Gay Al / Ticket Taker / Stuart McCormick / Jimbo Kearn / Gerald Broflovski / Butters Stotch / additional voices
- Mary Kay Bergman as Liane Cartman / Sheila Broflovski / Sharon Marsh / Carol McCormick / Wendy Testaburger / Clitoris / additional voices
- Isaac Hayes as Chef Jerome McElroy
- Jesse Howell, Anthony Cross-Thomas and Franchesca Clifford as Ike Broflovski (Franchesca Clifford was credited as "Francesca Clifford")
- Bruce Howell as Man In Theatre
- Deb Adair as Woman In Theatre
- Jennifer Howell as Bebe Stevens
- George Clooney as Dr. Gouache ("Dr. Doctor" on screen)
- Brent Spiner as Conan O'Brien
- Minnie Driver as Brooke Shields
- Dave Foley as the Baldwin brothers
- Eric Idle as Dr. Vosknocker
- Nick Rhodes as Canadian Fighter Pilot
- Toddy E. Walters as Winona Ryder
- Stewart Copeland as American Soldier #1
- Stanley G. Sawicki as American Soldier #2
- Chase Holt as American Soldier #3
- Mike Judge as Kenny McCormick (unmuffled)
- Howard McGillin as Gregory (singing voice) (uncredited)
The film was originally going to use computer-animation, but the production team then decided to go with the route of using stop-motion animation, consisting of cut-out animation and claymation. Because Trey Parker and Matt Stone wanted to use stop-motion animation for the film, they began searching for studios that could provide the animation for the film. They eventually came across Cuppa Coffee Animation from Canada and Aardman Animations from the UK, who kindly accepted the offer. The entirety of the film's animation took 4 years to complete.
Goin' Down to South Park was released in 1996 and was met with critical acclaim from the critics.
A tie-in video game, titled Goin' Down to South Park has been announced to accompany the film's theatrical release. It will be developed by Traveller's Tales and Psygnosis and published by Viacom Imagesoft, Activision, and Paramount Interactive on Sega Genesis, Super Nintendo Entertainment System, Game Boy, Sega CD, Atari Jaguar, Sony PlayStation, Sega Saturn, and Game Gear.