Quasimodo is the protagonist of Disney's 1996 animated film, The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Quasimodo was born deformed, possessing a hunched back, from which the film takes its name. In spite of his ghastly appearance, Quasimodo is very naïve, kind-hearted, and knows little of the world outside his bell tower home from which he is forbidden to leave.
Quasimodo first appeared as a baby (whose face is not seen, only his arm, but is described by Frollo to be a "monster") being carried by his mother. His mother and father were gypsies and were secretly entering Paris through the waterways. Judge Claude Frollo, believing that they had stolen something, stood in their way and gave chase to Quasimodo's mother when she ran, and delivered a kick to her, breaking her neck on the steps of Notre Dame, killing her. When he discovered that the bundle she had been carrying was actually a baby, and seeing that he was deformed, he planned to drown Quasimodo in a well. However, the Archdeacon of Notre Dame commanded him not to murder the baby. Frollo was then ordered to adopt Quasimodo as his own to make up for his sin of killing an innocent woman. However, he only did this because he felt the infant would later prove useful to him.
Quasimodo was raised by Frollo in the bell tower of Notre Dame. However, he was trapped there and was led to believe by Frollo that his mother abandoned him. He always longed to be free, despite making three friends in the form of gargoyles Hugo, Victor, and Laverne. They persuade him to go against Frollo's strict orders never to leave the tower and Quasimodo attends the Festival of Fools.
At the festival, he meets the beautiful gypsy Esmeralda. He instantly falls in love with her. She drags him up on the stage for a competition to see who can make the ugliest face after removing their masks, presuming his deformed face to be a disguise. Once upon the stage, they realize it is really his face, though Clopin points out this is exactly what they are looking for. Just then, Frollo sees him and realizes his disobedience. After a guard throws food at Quasimodo and mocks him, the crowd turns from cheering to tormenting Quasimodo, who is then tied down and barraged with a flurry of produce.
Esmeralda, seeing this, stands up for him, cuts him free and calls for justice. Following the gypsy's escape, Frollo is furious with his charge. After the festival Quasimodo witnesses Esmeralda singing "God Help the Outcasts", but before he can talk to her, a parishioner who mistook him for causing trouble shouts at him, causing him to knock down a candle staff and flee back to the bell tower. Esmeralda was terrified seeing Quasimodo being scared away by the Parishioner and follows him, while the Archdeacon stops the Parishioner when he attempted to stop her and Djali from following him. Quasimodo eventually befriends Esmeralda, who once more apologizes to him for what happened at the festival and whom he helps escape from Notre Dame and Frollo's guards. Before she leaves, Esmeralda gives the hunchback an amulet that leads him to the Court of Miracles after he tells her that he refuses to leave the bell tower to go there due to what happened to him at the Festival. Afterward, Quasimodo encounters Phoebus and gets defensive towards him when the captain asks him where the gypsy was. Back in the bell tower, the gargoyles think Esmeralda is in love with Quasimodo but he tells them it's not true. However, in the song "Heaven's Light", he expresses his love for the gypsy girl and wonders if she loves him back after being the first person ever in his life to be so kind to him.
Later, after seeing Paris burned by Frollo, Quasimodo is worried that Esmeralda might be in danger, but the gargoyles cheer him up by convincing him that she is in love with him ("A Guy Like You"). Later, he offers sanctuary to an injured Phoebus, who is taken to Notre Dame's bell tower by Esmeralda after she saves him from drowning in the river. He watches as the two lovers kiss right in front of his eyes. He is heartbroken, but when he hears Frollo coming, he can do nothing but push thoughts of Esmeralda to the back of his mind. He hides Phoebus and quickly tries to hide what has happened from Frollo. Frollo, however, is already aware that he helped Esmeralda and announces that he will attack the Court of Miracles with a thousand men. After he leaves, Phoebus asks Quasimodo if he can come with him to the court. Quasi initially refuses after realizing that Phoebus and Esmeralda are in love with each other, but ultimately agrees due to his friendship with the gypsy girl.
Using the amulet Esmeralda gave him, Quasimodo and Phoebus make their way to the Court of Miracles, only to be ambushed by the gypsies. Clopin, the king of the gypsies, accuses the two of trespassing their headquarters and orders them hang, but Esmeralda comes in time to rescue them. As the gypsies prepare to leave, however, Frollo arrives and captures everyone present, revealing that he had secretly followed Quasimodo to the court. He orders to his guards to chain up the hunchback in Notre Dame. The gargoyles encourage Quasi to save Esmeralda, but he tells them it's useless. He then watches in horror at the square below as Esmeralda is being burned at the stake for witchcraft, breaks free, swings down, rescues her, and holds Esmeralda over his head on top of Notre Dame, calling for sanctuary.
In the ensuing battle for the cathedral, Quasimodo successfully prevents Frollo's guards from coming to harm Esmeralda. Despite this, Quasimodo at first believes Esmeralda is dead, and when he sees Judge Frollo in the shadows with a dagger, he gets defensive with him and rejects all that his now former master has been teaching him about the world being cruel. Esmeralda then wakes up and Quasi protects her and himself from Frollo, who tries to kill them both during the film's final battle. Frollo then falls from the top of Notre Dame to his death, but not before he reveals to Quasimodo that his mother died trying to save him. Quasimodo also falls but is saved by Phoebus. Ultimately Quasimodo is free from Frollo's hold over him and is free to live a normal, happy life. Quasi also finally accepts Esmeralda and Phoebus' love for each other and gives the couple a blessing. In the end, Quasimodo is led to the outside world by Esmeralda in front of a large crowd of Parisians. A little girl emerges from the crowd and hugs him. The crowd then hails him as a hero for his efforts, picks him up, and takes him away cheering.
- His name means, "half formed".
- He is voiced by Tom Hulce.
- He is the third protagonist to be raised by a villain, the first being Snow White, the second Cinderella, the fourth, Rapunzel.