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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Kids will learn the importance of caring for the environment and being aware of the animals that live in the forest.
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
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.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
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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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. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.