Bambi is an animated film released in 1942 by the Walt Disney Company based loosely on the 1923 novel by the same name by Felix Salten.
Bambi was the first film by Disney to feature an all-animal cast of characters presented in a realistic style, as opposed to earlier highly simplified and stylized anthropomorphic characters such as Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck. In fact, the level of realism achieved in the artwork for this film is one factor which later brought some criticism upon it. The animal characters in Bambi are non-morphic, but speak English amongst themselves and occasionally display certain humanlike mannerisms.
- Bambi, the "young prince" of the forest, a white-tailed deer. He is portrayed as a fawn in the first part of the story and a full-grown adolescent buck in the last part.
- Thumper, a young rabbit, who is so called because of a compulsive tendency to thump whatever he stands on with his hind foot when he is the least bit excited.
- Flower, a young skunk, who accepted the name after being confused by the young Bambi with the flowers in which the skunk was hiding.
- Faline, also a deer, and about the same age as Bambi. As with the later Simba and Nala of The Lion King, Faline is the friend who becomes Bambi's true love.
- Bambi's mother and father are never named, though his father is referred to as "the Great Prince of the Forest."
- Owl likewise is not named beyond that most basic identification.
- Man is the antagonist of the story, but only exists as a faceless force outside the community of forest creatures.
Since Disney's packaging of the story for the movie was apparently intended for the entertainment of younger viewers, there is no coverage on the subject of predation among animal species. The focus of the story on the plight of the deer has been widely vilified as an attempt to garner undue pity for the animals, as well as to ascribe human emotions to the characters. Whether or not it was the intent of Disney or its writers to misinform the public about the lives of animals, such charges have been repeatedly laid, in various forms, over the ensuing decades. In fairness, the Disney company did release a number of live-action films in the 1950s and '60s depicting animal behavior in a realistic or documentary fashion, as well as two documentaries within the last decade.
- Preston Blair, one of the character animators in the employ of Disney for Bambi, subsequently worked for Tex Avery at Metro-Goldwyn-Meyer and later wrote several popular books on how to draw cartoon characters for animation.
- The song "Loverly Spring" from the motion picture Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events bears a striking resemblance to the song "Let's Sing a Gay Little Spring Song" from the Bambi soundtrack, which begins with the lyrics "Tra, la, la, la-de-day, twit-twi-da-dee."
- Salten wrote a sequel novel in 1939 called Bambi's Children.
- A direct-to-video sequel, Bambi II, was released on February 7, 2006.
- Bambi at Wikipedia