Bambi Movie Poster Image




Disney's original circle-of-life story.
Parents recommendPopular with kids
  • Review Date: February 13, 2006
  • Rated: G
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 1942
  • Running Time: 70 minutes

What parents need to know

Educational value

Kids will learn the importance of caring for the environment and being aware of the animals that live in the forest.

Positive messages

Early example of a environmentally friendly movie; humans are shown as a potential threat to the forest. Pro-hunting families may not appreciate how hunters are portrayed as the enemy, but in general, the message that we have a responsibility to take care of the forest and its inhabitants is a positive one. Friendship and community are themes.

Positive role models

Bambi's mother is selfless and always puts Bambi's safety above her own. All of the animals are kind and generous and brave. Man is portrayed negatively as an interloper that causes death and destruction.

Violence & scariness

There are quite a few scenes that young children, especially, may find frightening. Bambi's mother is killed (off-screen) by hunters, and a young Bambi roams in the woods trying to find her, until his father says "Your mother can't be with you anymore." A man-made fire spreads and consumes a lot of the forest. Every time man is involved, something frightening happens. A thunderstorm is loud and scary to the young animal characters. A quail is shot dead, and her lifeless body is shown before the rest of the animals flee. Bambi and another young buck fight. A fierce-looking pack of hunting dogs chase adult Bambi's mate Faline in a harrowing sequence.

Sexy stuff

In springtime, the adolescent animals all start pairing off, and Bambi and his various male friends (Thumper, Flower) flirt with females, snuggle and kiss, and in the following segment all of them have babies.

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Drinking, drugs, & smoking
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Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that despite the decades since Bambi's initial release, Walt Disney's animated masterpiece can still be haunting at times for young children. The violence portrayed, unlike in most contemporary animated movies, is realistic -- hunters fatally shooting Bambi's mother (off-screen, but still the first thing most viewers remember even decades later), a fire spreading throughout the animals' forest habitat, and Bambi and a fellow buck fighting over a potential mate -- and packs an emotional punch. With its mood-shifting color palette and intense sequences of thunderstorms, fires, and angry hunting dogs, this is a more intense movie than parents may remember. Very sensitive kids may not be able to handle the death of Bambi's mother, but otherwise, this is a Disney classic -- a direct precursor to The Lion King -- that families can watch together.

What's the story?

Based on the 1928 children's book by Felix Salten, BAMBI came out in 1942 and was heavily influenced by the making of Snow White, Fantasia, and Pinocchio, borrowing elements from preceding Disney features while pushing animation to a new level of realism and drama. Told more with music and animation than dialogue, the story is a simple one of forest creatures who play and live joyfully even as they fight to survive. At the center of the story is wide-eyed deer Bambi, who must find a way to endure after hunters kill his mother. Supported by his friends, Thumper (a rabbit) and Flower (a skunk), Bambi faces the dangers of the forest, woos a delicate doe named Faline, and eventually grows into a strong buck and a leader of the forest.

Is it any good?


Many fine artistic choices add grace and elegance to a film that hasn't lost its impact in nearly 70 years. Supervised by Walt Disney, the animators closely studied the movement and anatomy of real animals, working for six years to perfect the personalities of the characters and find just the right children's voices for them. No people actually appear in the movie, but are instead the unseen menace. Symphonic and choral pieces accompany the animation, which might seem odd to kids today who are used to Disney characters breaking into song-and-dance numbers.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how people can respect and protect nature. Kids may indeed be awakened to the wonders of nature after seeing this film, and may delight in a walk in a real forest or a trip to the petting zoo.

  • Talk about the impact of the mother's death in the movie. Why do you think the writers made the choice to include this element in the story? Does it help the movie's message?

  • What is the movie's message?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:August 21, 1942
DVD release date:March 4, 2005
Cast:Hardie Albright, Peter Behn, Stan Alexander
Director:David Hand
Studio:Walt Disney Pictures
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Book characters, Friendship, Wild animals
Character strengths:Curiosity
Run time:70 minutes
MPAA rating:G

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What parents and kids say

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Adult Written bybrokedownpalace April 9, 2008

It puts me to sleep

I never saw Bambi as a child, so I was excited to watch it with my kids. The violence doesn't scare them and they don't understand what happens to Bambi's mom. My 3 year old just says that Bambi lost her mommy - in a hide and seek kind of way. I still cannot get through the whole movie. I get bored and find something else to do. It is obvious that it was made in the '40's. That said, my daughter asks to watch it daily and she would if I could tolerate it!
Teen, 14 years old Written byBestPicture1996 October 18, 2010

More intense then you'll remember

What most people remember about "Bambi" is the awesome rabbit Thumper, the skunk ironically titled Flower and the fact Bambi's mom dies halfway through the movie. The movie is so incredible in its story-telling, its characters, and its groundbreaking-ly vivid animation. When I watched it I guess I forgot the large pro-eco message it displays throughout. I thought it was so profound when the deer reffered to humans harshly as "Man," like we were all enormous bothers and threats to them.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Adult Written bymomof3 April 9, 2008

Good but a little scary for little ones

Bambi is a movie that I approach with some trepidation. My kids and I love the friendships developed in the story. Flower and Thumper are great characters, and Bambi is endearing as well. However, I have had to fast forward through the sad parts for my 3 and 5 year olds, if they want to watch it at all. It is a very emotional movie, and my little ones are disturbed by the loss of the mother and are scared by the fire and the hunters. They also don't understand why the buck (Bambi's dad) isn't really around for Bambi the whole movie. Overall, I think this movie is best for ages 6 and up, and it's one to watch along with your kids to help explain the issues that come up during the show. The reason I believe that it should be PG is simply because of the issues which it raises. In my mind, there should be less G movies out there which involve the death of a parent, which is such a prevalent theme in animated Disney movies, both old and new.


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