Movie review by
Betsy Wallace, Common Sense Media
Bambi Movie Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
Disney's original circle-of-life story.
  • G
  • 1942
  • 70 minutes

Parents say

age 6+
Based on 12 reviews

Kids say

age 6+
Based on 37 reviews

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We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

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, community, and curiosity are themes.

Positive Role Models & Representations

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.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
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, an... Continue reading
Adult Written byLFightmaster March 20, 2021

This is an old junk movie

complete with gun violence and the traumatic loss of a mother- why would anyone let a young child watch this movie? I remember being sat down in front of it as... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old August 6, 2017

Cute Animal Movie!!

I LOVE this movie! I understand that some parents think that this movie is a little too violent for there kids but I started watching this movie when I was 5 an... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old July 20, 2020

This movie should be rated higher

The seen where bambi's mother dies has blood and for a u that's a bit much

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 himself, 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 Bambi, but they're 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.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how people can respect and protect nature. Kids may indeed be awakened to the wonders of nature after seeing Bambi, 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?

  • How does Bambi promote curiosity? Why is this an important character strength?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love animal movies

Character Strengths

Find more movies that help kids build character.

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

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