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Bambi Review

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 5+

Disney's original circle-of-life story.

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.

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

The good stuff
  • educationalvalue true2

    Educational value: Kids will learn the importance of caring for the environment and being aware of the animals that live in the forest.

  • message true2

    Messages: This is an early example of a environmentally friendly movie, because the 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.

  • rolemodels true2

    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, however, is portrayed negatively as an interloper that causes death and destruction.

What to watch for
  • violence false3

    Violence and 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.

  • sex false1

    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 false0

    Language: Not an issue

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not an issue

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false0

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Not an issue

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