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Parent reviews for Watership Down (1978)

Common Sense says

Book-based animated tale has intense peril, violence.
Based on our expert review

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 32 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 77 reviews
Adult Written byKuroKitten December 18, 2010

Bloody, and Highly Disturbing

I saw this movie when I was very young, being that it looked like it was a childs cartoon from the vhs cover. I was very wrong. I saw this probably when I was 5, and to this day when asked about the most disturbing movie I've seen, this instantly comes to mind. Seeing clips of the movie reminds me just how terrifying it is. PARENTS: This movie is based off a book written by a WWII veteran who wrote the book based on his time in the war. Trust me when I say this is NOT suitable for kids, in ANYWAY!

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Parent of a 7 and 10 year old Written byMattmchugh January 27, 2011

Beautiful, engaging story -- but very realistic death and violence

This is an excellent adaptation of Richard Adams' masterpiece novel about rabbits trying to survive in the English countryside. The beauty of both the book and film is that they treat the rabbits with utter realism, even while humanizing them. They live, die, eat, and poop just like real rabbits -- yet they have society, culture, and even religion, just like any human community. That dual-view gives a perfect view of creatures at once different and similar to us. A brilliant storytelling approach akin to Aesop and other great myth-makers. Make no mistake, though: that realism can be upsetting. The film, while animated, depicts rabbits with personalities you can identify with being injured and killed with vivid bloodiness. This may well upset young children, and even some adults. But, frankly, death is a part of life and children need to learn that. In our urban world, we shelter our kids from that natural cycle to a neurotic degree that would baffle our farm-reared ancestors (or contemporaries). A movie like this, that shows life-and-death consequences without the sanitization or (even worse) cavalier sadism often present in what is foisted off as children's entertainment today is of real educational value. Still, be cautious before showing it to kids under 10, or older kids (or adults) who are easily disturbed. This is a fine movie for a wide swath of ages, but it is by no means a "kids" movie. - mm

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Positive Messages
Positive role models
Adult Written byAnna L. February 27, 2017

only morons prevent their kid's from watching this

The review title says it all. I saw this movie when I was five years old and watched it over and over on VHS when I was a kid in the 90s, as did most people my age. Sadly in the era or political correctness we must now suffer from idiots trying to prevent their children from seeing important and educational movies such as this one, and the Plague Dogs. The movie is perfect for kid's of all ages, in fact I would say that the younger they see it the better. If this had been aimed at teenagers it would have flopped - can you imagine a bunch of 13 year old's who think they're cool, going to see a film about bunny rabbits? This is exactly my point!! The message in this film is that people do terrible things, and cause destruction and misery and that needs to be instilled into minds as early as possible and before it's too late. Sure it's violent and gory, but that's real life. Children need to see that stuff and understand that life is not perfect or a bed of roses. Mollycoddle and 'protect' them from it is poor parenting, and it'll come as a rude awakening sooner or later. To the people who disagree, take heed.

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Adult Written byspeedyblupi October 17, 2014
Most people have mentioned the blood and violence in this film, but: Few have mentioned the swearing (a seagull telling rabbits to "piss off") None seem to have mentioned the fact that the protagonists' actions in the second half of the film are pretty much all sexually motivated, or that the antagonists make it pretty clear that all the females in their warren are sex slaves. Neither of these things is particularly bad in itself, but this film's U rated, when it's definitely not appropriate for any child under the age of 8, and probably not a good idea for a few years after that.

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Sexy stuff
Language
Adult Written bynduns March 26, 2009

Before writing your review, you have to read the first paragraph of mine

I love how so many people just assume this is a kid's movie just because it's animated. This is based off of a novel for adults, so of course it's not for children. This movie is brilliant. It's gory, dark and disturbing... but it's disturbing in a learning sort of way. I'd recommend this film for young teens and up.

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Adult Written bylovingparent123 December 19, 2011

creepy...

This movie is NOT for kids under 12 OR sensitive ones as this is a really creepy movie. In about 6 scenes there are rabbits brutally killed and this movie itself is about ww2!
Adult Written byapplebutter December 7, 2012

Beautiful Film

This movie is for older kids and adults. That said, it's a good movie. The story is about a band of homeless rabbits that must find a safe place to start a new warren. Rabbit societies parallel human ones here. One warren is very militant. Another is stagnant and fearful of the farmer's snares. The group we are following, Hazel's, are characterized by intuition, intelligence, bravery and self-sacrifice. They prevail in the end. The animation is truly beautiful, with details of plants at the forefront. The Black Rabbit is not shown as an ultimately scary character, but more like the Angel of Death in the Scriptures, who does God's bidding without being cruel. Nevertheless, most small kids won't get the symbolism, and there is violence. A rewarding movie for families with older children.

This title contains:

Positive role models
Violence & scariness
Adult Written byHailey Strock S. November 28, 2017

Horror

I saw this movie when I was little. I forgot how frightening, gory, violent, sad, psycho it was. I just can't stand all that blood, killing, and everything. If you want your kids to have nightmares, choose this film over the Shining. This is the true horror.

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Adult Written byKentB March 17, 2012

The scary parts stick with you

One of the best western animation films. Do consider, however, that this film can be terrifying. I saw it at age 11 and found it frightening and disturbing. As an adult, I now sometimes like that in a movie, but this movie is not for small or easily frightened children. It hits on some of the major primal fears of humans: fear of disease, fear of predators, fear of helplessness, fear of involuntary isolation or separation, fear of violent outsiders, and so on. There is a lot more to the movie than this, but, over a decade later, the scary parts are what stick in my memory.

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Adult Written byoggathac February 18, 2015

The Epic That Started Them All

Not since the classic 'Animal Farm' has intense drama been married to talking animals so perfectly. The 'Redwall,''Warriors,''Silverwing,'and 'Guardians of Ga'Hoole' series all owe their inspiration to the groundbreaking book and film 'Watership Down.' It is the yardstick all other serious anthropomorphic fare is judged by. So yes, NOT for toddlers or to be used as a virtual babysitter since 'Watership Down' has well-earned its "Bambi for GenXers and Beyond" status through the years. This film does not condescend to kids about Nature's grim realities, and therein lies its main appeal for older children. Angela Morley is to be credited for its stellar soundtrack, ranking among the best in animated score history. Not only is 'Watership Down' Criterion's first hand-drawn film added to their esteemed collection but Chuck Jones bought much of the movie's artwork for his galleries before he died. The legendary cartoon director knew a modern classic when he saw it...

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Positive role models
Violence & scariness
Adult Written byAtrayul June 2, 2012

Trust in this movie to teach valuable lessons.

Even though this movie has scenes of violance, it has many lessons in it that should be taught to children. I watched it when I was a child and even at age 9 it was an eye opener for me. It is a beautiful picture and is a great experience for all audiences!

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Adult Written byealohr January 18, 2012

LIFE SCARING!

My mom borught this movie home from the library when I was 5 or 6 and my brother was 3. This movie comtinues to haunt me to this day. It is terribly violent and bloody, with very serious undertones. My brother, who has virtually no memories from before he was 5, remebers the "Black Rabbit of Death" vividly. Do not show to young children before at least watching it yourself first, and definitely do not pop this into the TV while you proceed to leave your children for a few hours.

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Adult Written byVoiceofthekids April 9, 2008

The sith of bunnys

As an adult i liked it, and the book, but for kids... well, violent violent violent! let your kids read the back or tell them about it, read thier expression. dont let them watch this unprepared! (well said, review below me, (how are things down under?)
Parent of a 12, 16, and 17 year old Written byAndy Black July 15, 2018

Not kids movie

Full blood, injury, brutal battle. Thats Creepy

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Adult Written byRiukkuyo September 14, 2016

Not for kids, faint of heart or animal lovers.

I watched this movie originally at 11 because my mom thought it was for kids. The cover sure didn't help; cute animated bunnies, but no. It's not that. It's a tale about a group of rabbits trying to survive against real world threats (cats, birds, dogs, other rabbits, humans, etc) The story is very good and people should watch it or read it (it's a novel too. ) I recently watched it again (I'm 22 now) a certain scene still got to me, but overall I really enjoyed the movie and I'm reading the novel. :)

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Adult Written byBrandon Espinoza March 18, 2013

Watership Down Review

A beautiful film in the awe-inspiring perspective of rabbits is such a treat. As an adult, I love ambivalent films; the feel-good moments of innocence and safety, along with frightening moderate violence with plenty of bloodshed. Parents/Guardians, I suggest kids 11+ years up for this movie, mosty bloody violent and some mild swearing. A middle-schooler would have no problems so long as they can take the film's authenticity of violence and swearing seriously. It's a great film, but not for the faint of heart.

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Language
Adult Written byGabby G. November 23, 2016

Oh my gosh

I saw this movie last night. Scary! Not as violent as Felidae though. Holy cow,those poor bunnies. And heck, animals lose their home in real life too. Watership Down is violent for a PG movie. If this movie were to be re-released today, it would be given a PG-13 rating because this movie was made in 1978. The PG-13 rating wasn't introduced until the 80s.
Adult Written byaliceumbrella January 4, 2015

Beautiful book beautiful movie

I watched this movie when I was probably 8 or 9 I saw bunnies on the cover and the story was about their journey to a new home. It ended up giving me a panic attack and nightmares because of the violent scenes I think there might be another cartoon version that has less violence but I'm not sure. The animation is beautiful and the message about the environment is good, however it's something probably more appropriate for a 12 year old or older. The violent scenes are a bit graphic and there is death shown throughout the movie. That out of the way the story is beautiful and interesting. The hardships the rabbits face vary from birds to humans. The scene where they find the "no question" warren is a bit depressing and in the book is in a bit more detail and much more creepy. The movie scene is a bit depressing and very ominous. The black rabbit is never feared in the movie and instead is portrayed as an old friend. Obviously symbolizing death the black rabbit seems to be a wise and kind creature. I love this movie and watch it every couple of years as an adult now I understand the message of the movie. It brings up points to discuss gut feelings, being loyal to family, as well as thinking of ways to solve problems. The main characters are strong willed, intelligent, and kind. They don't give up on each other or their journey. Read the book if you get the chance or watch the movie or both, this is a story that is sure to stay with you the rest of your life.

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Positive role models
Violence & scariness
Adult Written bycritic sense November 5, 2012

Recommended Rating: 12+ for bloody animated violence, disturbing scenes, thematic elements and mild language

Although this is an animated film, you may be surprised by the violence in it. Be forewarned that it may be too disturbing for young children. Rabbits are hunted down and killed. Rabbits fight with each other and get bloody wounds. There is a rabbit with a grotesque-looking face that may scare young children. There's some scary surreal imagery. The last scene in particular is quite violent, when a dog bites and throws some rabbits around, with bloody results. The atmosphere of the film is quite dark as the rabbits are constantly in danger and get killed. There are a few instances of mild language.

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Language
Adult Written byTikiWillRateYou January 13, 2019

If you are okay with blood then watch it!

It’s very dramatic and super cool to watch!

This title contains:

Violence & scariness

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