If The Black Cauldron was the film that almost destroyed Disney feature animation, then The Great Mouse Detective was the film that saved it.
The film, which is a Sherlock Holmes-like story that follows detective Basil as he helps the young Olivia find her toy-maker father who had been kidnapped by the evil Ratigan, marks the start of the now-famous Disney Renaissance. Junior animators found their footing, the new executives found their courage and new technology was integrated into the process. Film making had finally returned to Disney.
The Great Mouse Detective is by no means perfect. The budget cuts ($12-million down from $44-million for Black Cauldron) and time squeezes (the whole thing needed to be completed in only 18 months, compared to four years, on average, for many previous projects) meant corners were cut.