Bambi

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

Parents say

age 5+
Based on 12 reviews

Kids say

age 5+
Based on 32 reviews

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.

Language
Consumerism
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 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 Bam... Continue reading
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 t... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old November 5, 2009

Beat movie ever

Love this movie more then anything! it's educational for kids to learn about nature. Plus some cute love sences that arn"t inappropreiot at all!

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

Character Strengths

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Themes & Topics

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For kids who love animal movies

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