A Bugs Life character guide includes Flik, Hopper, Princess Atta, Heimlich, Dot, Molt, Thumper, Slim, Aphie, Dim, and Mister Soil.
Prepare to be bug-wildered! In the enchanting, critter-infested world of Pixar’s 1998 cinematic masterpiece, A Bug’s Life, prepare to meet some creepy crawlies you can’t help but love.
Get up close and personal with the svelte stick bugs, cuddly caterpillars, fabulous fleas, and the ever-ambitious ants that’ll have you itching for more!
A Bug’s Life: Pixar’s Ingenious Capitalism Critique with Memorable Insect Characters
The Pixar movie A Bug’s Life actively presents a sharp and witty critique of capitalism through the lens of insects in conflict with each other, featuring a diverse cast of “bugs.”
The story follows an ant named Flik (voiced by Dave Foley), who has an arrangement in which grasshoppers provide his colony with food and protection from other insects.
Seeking to escape this high-pressure situation, Flik leads a group of circus bugs. He encounters various insect species throughout his journey, including a memorable stick bug character.
Release date: November 14, 1998 (USA)
Directors: John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton
Distributed by: Walt Disney Pictures, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Box office: $363.3 million
Cinematography: Sharon Calahan
Edited by: Lee Unkrich
Ant characters in A Bug’s Life
In A Bug’s Life, Flik frequently interacts with a lively and likable group of ants, including the fan-favorite stick bug. All blue or purple ants exude a cheerful, light-hearted vibe. Notable ants include Mr. Soil (Roddy McDowall), the actor; Dr. Flora (Edie McClurg), the colony’s caretaker; and Flik’s love interest, Princess Atta (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), who anxiously awaits her queenly duties.
Throughout the movie, Atta transforms into a more self-assured character. Other ants feature Dot (Hayden Panettiere) and her mother, The Queen (Phyllis Diller); Ashley Tisdale’s character, who leads the Blueberry Scouts; Cornelius (David Ossman), who walks with a stick; and Thorny (Alex Rocco), Atta’s moody employee.
- Flik (voiced by Dave Foley)
- Princess Atta (voiced by Julia Louis-Dreyfus)
- Dot (voiced by Hayden Panettiere)
- The Queen (voiced by Phyllis Diller)
- Mr. Soil (voiced by Roddy McDowall)
- Dr. Flora (voiced by Edie McClurg)
- Cornelius (voiced by David Ossman)
- Thorny (voiced by Alex Rocco)
The stick bug from A Bug’s Life may be likable, but Hopper (voiced by Kevin Spacey from House of Cards) presents a stark contrast. As the leader of the grasshoppers, Hopper supplies food to Flik and the other insects in the colony but harbors ill intentions. Hopper exudes menace by sporting a perpetual mean expression and a damaged eye from a past bird encounter.
Molt, Hopper’s younger sibling, is a gentler grasshopper. Despite Molt’s kindness, Hopper’s intimidation tactics keep the other grasshoppers in line. Richard Kind, who played Mark in the ’90s sitcom Mad About You, voices Molt.
- Hopper (voiced by Kevin Spacey)
- Molt (voiced by Richard Kind)
- Loco (voiced by Carlos Alazraqui)
- Axle (voiced by Jon Rabson)
- Thumper (voiced by David Lander)
Say hello to Heimlich, the beloved caterpillar (voiced by Joe Ranft, a Pixar animator, and writer) who, like Slim the stick bug, boasts a considerable fan base.
Heimlich’s bright green body, rosy cheeks, red appendages, and charming German accent create a lovable character. His expressive nature is evident in his frequent outbursts, making him one of the most dynamic insects in the movie.
As is the norm in Pixar flicks, Easter eggs are aplenty. In a sneaky move, Heimlich and Flik appear surprisedly in a scene from Toy Story 2.
Cricket From a Bugs Life
In A Bug’s Life, a homeless cricket makes a memorable but fleeting appearance. Voiced by David Hyde Pierce, the cricket is spotted panhandling on the street and is quickly shooed away by a pair of ants. Despite his brief appearance, the character serves as a poignant reminder of the unforgiving realities of poverty and homelessness, even in the insect world.
As other bugs relish in the safety and security of their roles, the cricket is a stark reminder of those who struggle to survive.
His inclusion in the film adds complexity and texture to the story’s world-building, illuminating the diverse experiences of the insects in the colony.
Meet P.T. Flea, the indelible flea from A Bug’s Life who leaves a lasting impression, like Slim, the walking stick bug. As the circus ringmaster, P.T. Flea (voiced by Pixar regular John Ratzenberger) strays from the typical flea color palette and sports a gorgeous olive green.
He revels in his role, flaunting a boisterous personality and a twinkle of mischief in his eyes. By the story’s end, P.T. Flea transforms into a kinder insect, learning invaluable lessons from the circus bugs, Flik, and the other ants.
In A Bug’s Life, a duo of quirky mosquitoes flits through a handful of scenes. We have Harry the Mosquito (voiced by Rodger Bumpass, famous for his role as Squidward Tentacles in SpongeBob SquarePants) and the bar mosquito, with whom Flik strikes up a conversation.
The bar mosquito takes a swig of a Bloody Mary, succumbs to a faint, and adds a touch of darkness to this otherwise family-friendly tale. Alas, poor Harry meets a tragic fate, lured to his doom by a deceptive light.
As is fitting for a kids’ movie, these mosquitoes boast enormous eyes and exaggerated wings and noses for extra amusement.
Walking Stick Bugs
Slim, the walking stick bug, graces the screen as a circus member in Pixar’s early yet unassuming hit, A Bug’s Life. While some stick bugs soar through the skies, poor Slim remains grounded, adding to his list of grievances.
True to his name, Slim flaunts a long, slender figure. Ironically, much to his chagrin, he finds himself thrust into a comical role as a reluctant clown.
In A Bug’s Life, Alphie (voiced by Bob Bergen) is the sole aphid, serving as The Queen’s pet and bringing a sweet, joyful element to the story.
The Queen plays a vital role as a kind, content leader of the colony, in stark contrast to the ruthless Hopper, who lacks compassion.
In A Bug’s Life, the stick bug grapples with a hilarious predicament, and the ladybug Francis (voiced by Denis Leary) shares the comical frustration of playing a clown in the circus. With his quintessential wide, big eyes, Francis occasionally throws a fit at his fellow insects.
However, the character presents a unique challenge – as a male bug performing in drag, Francis disapproves of being mistaken for a female by the other insects, adding a layer of intrigue to his persona.
Dim, the rhinoceros beetle, captivates as the circus’s “ferocious beast” in an emotionally charged performance. Despite his massive size, Dim lacks courage. His camaraderie with fellow insects, including Slim the stick bug, sees them caring for his well-being and comfort.
Brad Garrett, adored for his portrayal of Robert in Everybody Loves Raymond, lends his voice to Dim in A Bug’s Life. Though insecure, Dim undoubtedly possesses a dramatic flair.
Gypsy, a vibrant gypsy moth (voiced by Madeline Kahn), joins forces with her husband Manny, a praying mantis (voiced by Jonathan Harris). Eschewing the drab stereotype of moths, Gypsy flaunts a dazzling rainbow body and a glimmering, stylish coat.
The duo shares a supportive relationship, with Gypsy watching over Manny. Though they may not hold starring roles, these two insects leave a lasting impression.
Tuck and Roll (both voiced by Michael McShane of Office Space fame) are pill bugs and circus members who, though not as iconic as Slim the stick bug, steal hearts with their perpetually startled and terrified expressions.
These green-bodied, black-antennaed siblings outshine their real-life counterparts, typically sporting drab shades of black, gray, or brown. Pixar’s classic formula “what if x had feelings” comes to life as these pill bugs brim with emotion.
Meet Manny, the striking green praying mantis from A Bug’s Life. With a strong work ethic, Manny takes pride in his role as a circus performer alongside his partner, Gypsy. As the duo’s success is almost second nature, Manny stands out among his peers with an English accent, elevating his presence.
Though Pixar no longer produces blooper reels, A Bug’s Life’s supposed “mistakes” have the actors in stitches during otherwise serious moments.
Manny’s accent exudes formality and sophistication, setting him apart from his bug cohorts, and while not the jester of the bunch, his comedic timing hits the mark.
Black Widow Spiders
Joining the ranks of circus performers Heimlich the caterpillar and Slim the stick bug is Rosie, the Black Widow Spider (voiced by Pixar regular Bonnie Hunt).
Rosie’s name stems from her twelve deceased husbands. Sporting a light blue face, multiple black arms and legs, and enormous, cheerful eyes, Rosie’s quizzical expression is a staple.
Though technically an arachnid, Rosie’s endearing nature earns her the label of one of the “bugs” of A Bug’s Life, as she goes above and beyond to care for her fellow insects. Her benevolent personality cements her place as one of the movie’s heartwarming characters.
list of characters in A Bug’s Life
This list includes the major and minor characters in the film.
- Flik (ant)
- Princess Atta (ant)
- Hopper (grasshopper)
- Molt (grasshopper)
- Dot (ant)
- The Queen (ant)
- Dr. Flora (ant)
- Mr. Soil (ant)
- Thorny (ant)
- Cornelius (ant)
- Francis (ladybug)
- Slim (walking stick bug)
- Heimlich (caterpillar)
- Rosie (black widow spider)
- Manny (praying mantis)
- Gypsy (gypsy moth)
- Tuck (pill bug)
- Roll (pill bug)
- Harry (mosquito)
- Loco (grasshopper)
- Axle (grasshopper)
- Thumper (grasshopper)
- The Blueberry Scouts (ants)
- P.T. Flea (flea)
- The Circus Flies (flies)
- The Ant Colony Soldiers (ants)
- The Ant Colony Workers (ants)
- The Ant Colony Children (ants)
- The Bar Mosquito (mosquito)
- The Homeless Cricket (cricket)
A Bug’s Life: A Critical Hit or Miss?
In 1998, Pixar’s second feature-length film, A Bug’s Life, hit the big screen following the massive success of Toy Story. The studio was under pressure to deliver another hit, but this time with talking insects as the main characters. So, how did critics respond to the film?
While reviews for A Bug’s Life were generally positive, they weren’t as glowing as Toy Story’s. Critics praised the film’s stunning animation, humor, and heart and noted its similarities to other movies, particularly Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. A Bug’s Life features a nerdy male protagonist, Flik, who falls for a confident, independent female, Princess Atta, and has to save his community from a ruthless villain, Hopper, with the help of a group of misfits. Sounds familiar, right?
Despite the comparisons, critics found A Bug’s Life charming and entertaining. The star-studded voice cast, which included Dave Foley, Kevin Spacey, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and Denis Leary, was widely praised for their performances.
The animation was hailed as a visual feast of colors, textures, and movements, utilizing cutting-edge computer technology of the time. Randy Newman’s score was also well-received, noted for its whimsical and emotional qualities.
A BUG’S LIFE Clip – “Princess Atta” (1998)