Bambi (1942)

bI know I say this about nearly every Disney movie, but “Bambi” is one of Walt’s masterpieces. It’s easy to repeat myself so many times because Disney put out more masterpieces than any other animator we’ve had yet, and as near as I can tell, the company isn’t running out of steam.

Bambi is a sweet little fawn, newly arrived in the world. All the forest animals are excited to greet him, and they gather in the thicket to welcome him. He’s shy at first, but the animals are friendly to him, and before long he’s made fast friends with a fat gray rabbit named Thumper, who is by far my favorite character in this film. Thumper is a little bit of a renegade in the family; he doesn’t like to eat the green parts of the clover, just the blossoms. (Sounds to me like he’s got it right, but apparently Mommy Rabbit isn’t amused.) Bambi and Thumper scamper all over together, meeting up with a skunk named Flower, and enjoying their childhood. Only one thing is troubling Bambi ; he can’t understand why everyone calls him the young prince.

One day something terrible happens; Bambi’s mother is shot by a hunter. The Great Prince of the forest, a mighty stag, comes to fetch Bambi and tells him that his mother is gone. Bambi learns that he is the son of the Great Prince, and so he truly is the young prince of the forest. It makes one wonder why the stag never talked to Bambi before, but apparently the mother got sole custody in the divorce and Mr. Stag didn’t get visitation. (That’s just my interpretation.)

Anyway, back to the story. We fast forward to the spring, and the animals are all grown up. Bambi, Thumper and Flower find themselves twitterpated (in love) with beautiful females, and they think they’ve got their futures mapped out, but nature has another thing coming.

There are some scenes in this movie that are perhaps too scary for children. I always hated the part where Bambi’s mother gets shot. We don’t see anything, but he’s obviously terrified as he runs around, looking for her, and that could upset a sensitive viewer. Toward the end of the film is a raging forest fire, and that is also a bit scary. If you have a sensitive viewer in your house, you might watch it first to test it out, or you could skip past the scary scenes. The interaction between the animals is darling and it’s worth a little skipping around in order to get to the “good” parts.

I leave you now with the immortal words of Thumper:

Eating the greens is a special treat.
It makes long ears and great big feet.
But it sure is awful to eat!


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