A surprising number of Disney animated movies feature the traumatic death of a parent or an orphaned child (The Lion King, Finding Nemo, The Jungle Book, Oliver & Company etc) but Bambi has the most agonising moment of all, which has distressed children (and adults) for over sixty years.
Grown men have been known to weep as young deer Bambi’s mother is shot by hunters, and it is extremely upsetting (even though you don’t see anything – the sound of the gun is chilling and the expression on Bambi’s face heart-breaking), but well worth the entire box of tissues you will need, as the film is truly a delight.
The animation is lovely, especially when a stumbling Bambi slides across an icy lake, and there are laughs from Bambi’s pals Thumper the bunny and the skunk named Flower. The film follows a year in the life of the fawn as he speaks his first word (‘bird’) and learns about life in the forest. It’s utterly charming, exciting (the escape from the forest fire) and moving (not bad for a film only nine minutes longer than an hour) – just make sure you or your little one don’t watch it alone, as you’ll both need a cuddle afterwards.
Is Bambi suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...
As mentioned above, the scene in which Bambi’s mother is shot (even though you don’t see it happen) is very distressing.