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 most of them speak English amongst themselves and occasionally display certain humanlike mannerisms. The hunting dogs, however, do not.
- 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. He also has sisters named Blossom, Violet, Milly, Frilly, Trixie, Daisy, Ria, and Tessie.
- Miss Bunny, a female rabbit and Thumper's wife.
- Flower, a young skunk, who accepted the name after being confused by the young Bambi with the flowers in which the skunk was hiding.
- Petunia, a female skunk and Flower's wife.
- 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."
- Ronno, a deer older than Bambi who is his rival and wants Faline to be his mate.
- Friend Owl likewise is not named beyond that most basic identification.
- Man is the unseen human antagonist of the story, but only exists as a faceless force outside the community of forest creatures. He is a hunter who uses a gun and a pack of hunting dogs to hunt the forest animals.
- Hunting Dogs are a pack of hunting dogs belonging to Man that he uses to hunt down the forest animals. Unlike most of the other animals, they do not speak.
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 midquel, Bambi II, was released on February 7, 2006. It focuses on Bambi being looked after by the Great Prince after his mother is killed by Man.
- After the premiere of the film, there were fire prevention posters featuring the characters before the creation of Smokey Bear.
- A parody entitled Bambi Meets Godzilla was released in 1973 by Marv Newland. It features Bambi grazing to the Rossini piece Ranz des Vaches (Call to the Dairy Cows). After fifty seconds, Bambi looks up and is squished by Godzilla's giant foot. There are several fan-made versions, including a high-def restoration.
- Bambi at Wikipedia
- Bambi Meets Godzilla Original (1969) - World of Gojira, YouTube
- Bambi Meets Godzilla Part 1 - Jim Zarbaugh, YouTube (26 June 2007)
- Bambi Meets Godzilla: The Making of The Re-Creation - KindredCoda's Miscellaneous Musings (15 February 2013)
- Bambi Meets Godzilla (A Re-Creation) - Coda Gardner, YouTube (14 July 2013)
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