A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Explores themes of freedom, totalitarianism, fight for survival in nature, and environmental destruction.
Positive Role Models
The rabbits display positive human values like bravery, valor, love of freedom, concern for others.
Violence & Scariness
Nature violence and imagery that might be too scary for younger, more sensitive viewers. Main characters, rabbits, are shown getting attacked by hawks, cats, dogs. They are also shown being buried alive when construction vehicles dump sand in their warrens. Rabbit shown caught in a snare. Rabbit shot with a rifle by a farmer. Blood. Antagonist rabbits shown attacking another rabbit, biting off pieces of their ears, violently scratching their sides, resulting in blood. Recurring character known as Black Rabbit of Death.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
The lead characters, male bunny rabbits, realize that they must find female bunny rabbits for purposes of procreation.
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A bird tells the rabbits to "piss off."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Watership Down is the 1978 animated adaptation of the classic Richard Adams novel. The movie doesn't sugarcoat deeper themes such as the life and death struggle in nature, the struggle between freedom and totalitarianism, and the negative impact humans can have on the environment. A group of rabbits, the lead characters of the movie, are shown getting attacked by hawks, cats, dogs, humans, and other rabbits, sometimes graphically so. Rabbits are shown injured, bloody, and on the brink of death -- including scenes in which antagonist rabbits bite off chunks of other rabbits' ears and scratch their sides and leave bloody scars, a rabbit is shot by a human and a friendly bird picks the buckshot out of the bloody injury, and another rabbit is caught in a snare. Brief profanity is heard: A bird tells the rabbits to "piss off." This may be a bit much for younger and more sensitive viewers, especially kids who love rabbits. However, for tweens and younger teens in the midst of outgrowing the cartoons of their childhood and beginning to take their first steps in processing and understanding deeper themes, Watership Down should inspire thought, reflection, and discussion about these underlying messages. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
A rare British-produced animated feature, WATERSHIP DOWN is an original drama with realistic animation, sharp characterizations, and brutal honesty about the territorial imperative. This is a stellar alternative to the glitzy musical numbers, cutesy characters, sentimental excesses, and merchandisable sidekicks of Disney movies.
For older kids and adult fans, the story offers plenty of drama, suspense, and action as the rabbits make their way through an idyllic landscape that turns out to be quite treacherous. It's all set against beautifully designed backgrounds and enacted by realistically drawn rabbits, all convincingly differentiated from each other. The superb voice acting is performed by a notable cast who treat their characters with as much gravity as they would Shakespearean roles. Complementing the drama is a music score that subtly and effectively accentuates the emotional twists and turns of the proceedings.
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.