Disney / Bambi

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/bambi-650_6270.jpg
Love is a song that never ends...

Thumper: Whatcha gonna call him?
Bambi's Mother: Well... I think I'll call him... Bambi.
Thumper: Bambi... Yep, I guess it sounds alright.
Bambi's Mother: Bambi... My little Bambi...

Released on August 13, 1942, Bambi is the fifth movie in the Disney Animated Canon. It's based on Bambi, a Life in the Woods (Bambi, Eine Lebensgeschichte aus dem Walde) a 1923 novel by Austrian author Felix Salten.

Both the book and the movie are a Coming-of-Age Story that follows the titular character, a young deer (a roe deer in the book, a white-tailed deer in the movie), from birth to adulthood in the forests of Austria (in the book) or Maine (in the movie).

Salten's sequel book, Bambi's Children, was also considered by Walt Disney for a film adaptation, though was cancelled in early development. Disney did publish a comic book adaptation of the novel in 1943 however. Nearly a decade later, a one-shot manga version was drawn by none other than longtime Disney admirer Osamu Tezuka, to tie in with the film's belated Japanese release in 1951.

Despite this, a Midquel, Bambi II, was released in 2006 (a Direct-to-Video release for parts of US and Asia, and theatrical elsewhere). It focuses on the period of Bambi's life immediately following his mother's death. Released 64 years after the original film, it holds the world record for the longest span of time between two consecutive installments of a film franchise.

There is a spin off series of books centered around Thumper's family when he was a baby. It's called "Disney Bunnies".

Now has a character sheet.
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    Tropes the first film provides examples of 
  • Adaptation Species Change: The original Bambi was a roe deer in Germany, but here he's a white-tailed deer to fit the North American setting of the movie.
  • Adaptational Villainy: The hunters in the film are explicitly reckless and thoughtless — they spray the landscape with bullets while shooting at everything that moves, and their ill-tended campfire sets half the forest ablaze. Bambi's mother, shot in early spring, is clearly the victim of a poacher.
  • Affectionate Parody: Given how iconic the movie is, there have been numerous parodies, including:
    • The Animaniacs skit Bumbie's Mom.
    • Also, the short film Bambi Meets Godzilla and its sequel, Son of Bambi meets Godzilla.
    • And the Newgrounds short "Bambee".
    • Also, this commercial from the mind of David Lynch.
    • The Calvin and Hobbes comics took two shots at this film-in the first one, Calvin is standing in front of a mirror, putting his hands together and pretending to ask his mother if she could give him a flamethrower by saying please softly. He then tries saying it with doe eyes. Hobbes then walks over and tells him that giving mom "Bambi eyes" isn't going to help. In the second strip, Calvin tells his class the story from his report about overpopulation. In the story, a man named Frank gets up from his desk and walks off to get some coffee. Suddenly, Frank gets shot. Four deer, armed with rifles, gather around his body. They praise Bambi's nice shot, who asks for somebody to get the camera.
    • Saturday Night Live TV Funhouse has one with Bambi and Disney's reputation for their direct to video sequels, with Bambi 2002, which surprisingly was conceived several years before the real Bambi II came out. SNL's Bambi 2002 however includes Bambi's mother being alive, Bambi riding a skateboard, rapping, performing Bullet Time and fighting terrorists, and Thumper being voiced by David Spade. A clip of the "Rapping Bambi" also made a brief cameo in another TV Funhouse skit, specifically one taking jabs at the infamous Disney Vault (it appears on a TV).
    • Drawn Together lampooned Bambi in one episode where he convinces Captain Hero that he killed his mother and vows revenge as it turns out he was lying and had killed his mother himself.
    • Mother Goose and Grimm did a one panel parody called Zambi, which is Bambi...with his mother coming back as a zombie.
    • MAD TV did a similar skit to the above called Zombi.
  • All There in the Manual:
    • In some Disney websites, the cream-colored rabbit Thumper falls in love with is named "Miss Bunny". She is even called that at the Disney Theme Parks when guests meet Thumper along with her.
    • Thumper's sisters are unnamed in the original film and its sequel. Four of them are actually given names in the album "Peter Cottontail", which was sold at Disneyland in 1963. According to the album, Thumper's sisters are named Blossom, Violet, Nillie, and Frillie. The later Disney's Bunnies storybooks rename them Trixie, Daisy, Ria and Tessie however.
  • All There Is to Know About "The Crying Game": What's weird is that the infamous death scene is the only scene anyone seems to remember. Also, it seems that nobody is aware that Bambi ever grows older. Disney isn't particularly helping, however, as there is almost no merchandise portraying Bambi as an adult, and Bambi II is actually a midquel and not a sequel as already mentioned.
    • Which is ironic, given that the original advertisements for the film in 1942 did the exact opposite, showing only the third act and playing up the romance between Bambi and Faline as well as the final confrontation with the hunters. In this case, it is the child Bambi that is not even mentioned.
  • Animation Bump: "Little April Showers".
  • Babies Ever After: The first film ends with Faline and her two new fawns in a thicket much like the one where Bambi was born, as Bambi regally looks on from higher ground.
  • Bad People Abuse Animals: The animals have to hide whenever Man is in the forest, and whenever going out in the meadow. Bambi's mom is even shot.
  • Bambification: The Trope Namer — for people who have never sat down and watched the movie... Also known as All Deer Are Bambi and The Martyr With Antlers.
  • Bunnies for Cuteness: Thumper and his sisters.
  • Book Ends: After an establishing shot, the first film begins with Bambi's mother and her new baby in a thicket, surrounded by admiring forest animals. The film ends with Faline and her two new babiesnote  in a thicket, surrounded by admiring forest animals.
  • Bowdlerise: When this movie is aired on TV in some foreign countries, they completely remove the entire scene of Bambi's mother's death even though it's the most important part of the movie.
  • Crossover: The old comic story "Thumper meets the Seven Dwarfs", where Thumper encounters the Seven Dwarfs from Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and Friend Owl and Flower also appear, and they even encounter the giant from Brave Little Tailor!
  • Disneyfication: Even with the inclusion of Bambi's mother dying, the film's tone is significantly lighter than the novel's (it was written for adult audiences), which was much darker and more brutal, including graphic death scenes:
    • First off, in the original novel Bambi and Faline are cousins, but in the film it was changed so that they're not blood-related. However, Faline's mother is still called "Aunt Ena" for some reason. Weirdly enough, this has been included in a few storybook adaptations of the movie.
    • Thumper, Flower, and Friend Owl were created entirely for the film - Walt wanted to tone down the dark, brutal mood of the novel in the adaptation to allow it to appeal to a wider audience, so he brought Bambi's friends in as comic relief to make the film Lighter and Softer.
    • In the original version of the aftermath of the death of Bambi's mother, they were going to have Bambi find the impression where his mother fell and show that her body had been dragged off, but Walt Disney cut this from the film as he thought it would be too much for the younger audience to handle.
      • An even darker example would be near the end, when they were going to have a scene similar to the novel where Bambi and his father find the corpse of a man whose gun backfired on him, but when an early version of this was shown to a test audience, "400 people shot up into the air when the corpse appeared". Needless to say, it never made it beyond a test screening.
      • Even more interesting is that in the infamous death scene, they were also going to show Bambi's mother getting shot onscreen. However, this never made it beyond a few sketches, as the scene was dark enough as it was.
    • The omission of Faline's brother Gobo, who is killed because of his trust for humans.
    • A non-gory example: Bambi and Faline are not so much in love as they are habitually attached. They separate whenever it's not mating season and Bambi watches her age and become sad and lonely from afar and thinking about the sweet, happy little fawns they once were. Curiously this was a change apparent not just in the Disney film but the direct sequel of the book, where Bambi is also rewritten as closer towards his mate and children.
  • The Dreaded: Humans, full stop. Every single animal is absolutely terrified of them, and with good reason: they will hunt and kill any animal, big or small. One particularly chilling scene that really hammers this in is when a pheasant hen goes crazy with fear of the approaching humans and bolts into the air. She becomes their first victim.
  • Falling in Love Montage: Towards the end of the film, and not a typical one, anyway.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: Bambi's mother is shot dead when she and her son are looking for food in the winter snow. A whole generation of kids was traumatized. Now, movies for kids should not be all sanitized pink happy affairs. But the death of a parent is quite disturbing to any six-year-old. This one is fairly famous for all the denial associated therewith. It gets worse. Originally, Bambi was going to go back later, and find his mother lying in a pool of blood, but the idea was scrapped, both because it was too cruel and because it wouldn't make sense for a hunter to score a deer and then just leave it in the woods.
  • The Film of the Book: Although many people aren't aware of this.
  • G-Rated Sex: Plays quite a prominent part in the story, given the natural setting. With springtime comes mating season ("nearly everybody gets twitterpated in the springtime"), with mating season comes fighting for a mate, and the end result is a new generation of animals.
  • Humanlike Hand Anatomy: Largely averted. Aside from Friend Owl, who switches from regular wings to Feather Fingers when needed, the only characters to have human-like hands are Flower and his girlfriend, and that is mostly based on a real skunk's anatomy.
  • Jump Scare: Twice by Friend Owl, when he leans toward Bambi to greet him (unintentionally scaring him and the audience), and when he tries to scare off the birds singing "Let's Sing A Gay Little Spring Song" to get some rest.
  • Knight of Cerebus: Man.
  • Lighter and Softer: Compared to the original novel.
  • Loud Gulp: Thumper when he's being seduced by the female bunny.
  • Meaningful Name: Bambi is derived from Bambino, the Italian word for baby. The names Thumper, Friend Owl, and Flower speak for themselves.
  • A Minor Kidroduction: The opening scene is after Bambi's birth.
  • Mood Whiplash: "Your mother can't be with you anymore." ...It's spring again! Birds are singing!
  • Off-Model: Faline's eyes switch between blue and brown several times.
  • One Steve Limit: Averted at the end. Flower names his son Bambi in honor of his friend and prince.
  • One-Word Title: Also a Protagonist Title.
  • Oh, Crap!: That infamous scene in which Faline disappears into the cloud during Bambi's fantasy, and then Ronno emerges from the cloud in her place, wanting to fight.
  • The Oner: The iconic, spectacular opening shot done completely with Disney's multiplane camera.
  • Passing the Torch: The film's conclusion. Bambi and the Great Prince stand watch on the cliff-top, then the Great Prince turns to his son and share a silent look before the former walks away, thus leaving Bambi alone as the new Great Prince.
  • Protagonist Title: The first film and the novel on which it's based are called, Bambi. The novel does also have the frequently omitted secondary title, "A Life in the Woods".
  • Puppy-Dog Eyes: A.K.A. "Bambi Eyes" in the film's case. Especially when he learned his mother is gone.
  • Pop Culture Osmosis: It helps to be one of the oldest Disney films in the canon. Also, there is probably not a single person in the western world that does not know Bambi's mother dies.
  • Random Events Plot: The film eschews traditional narrative in favor of episodic mood pieces with an overarching theme of friendship, love and growing up tying it all together. Considering the film is meant to be a naturalistic portrayal of nature, this works perfectly in the films favor.
  • Recycled In Space: Many people have nicknamed the Don Bluth film The Land Before Time as "a prehistoric Bambi"...except that film was possibly even MORE of a Tear Jerker.
  • Satellite Love Interest: Faline doesn't really have much in the way of personality other than being a Genki Girl as a fawn, but even that is lost when she grows up. The midquel fleshes her out. Likewise, neither Thumper's nor Flower's love interests have any personality, though they only appear very briefly.
  • Sequel Hook: The scene with Faline and her fawns at the end of the first film was originally intended to set the stage for an adaptation of the sequel novel, Bambi's Children. Disney shortly canned the project however.
  • Serendipitous Symphony: "Little April Showers".
  • Sexophone: During the scene where Thumper gets twitterpatted by a lovely female rabbit. (Though, technically, it's played on a slinky clarinet.)
  • Silence Is Golden: The film is surprisingly light on dialogue, only having around 950 lines in the entire film.
  • Shown Their Work: Allegedly Disney had a pair of live baby deer shipped down from Maine so the animators could study their movements first hand.
    • Not only that, but he sent his artists to camp out in the Maine woods and take hundreds upon hundreds of photographs to recreate the environment exactly. That clearing where Bambi is born? Really exists.
    • The portrayal of how bucks begin fighting over a doe is accurate by showing a buck (Bambi) following a doe in heat (Faline) into the territory of another buck (Ronno).
  • Something Else Also Rises: During the Twitterpated scene. First Flower the skunk becomes red and stiff as a board upon his encounter with a lady skunk; as he falls over the sound effects are certainly wooden. And then there's Thumper, whose romantic encounter leads to stiff ears, a stiff body, repeatedly appearing/retracting claws, and a madly thumping foot.
  • Sound-Only Death: We hear the fatal gunshot, but we don't actually see Bambi's mother die. Even Bambi is unaware of what's happened until he turns around and realizes she's not behind him.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: In the original novel, the only movie-shared characters to survive are Bambi, Faline, and their two fawns.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: Thumper and Flower both vanish from the film in the scenes preceding the winter storm and Bambi's mother getting shot.
  • Stock Footage:
  • Time Skip: After the infamous death scene, the next scene shows Bambi as a young adult, presumably during the second spring following. note  The midquel helps to patch up this gap.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Averted somewhat. One of the birds was so scared and desperate she tries to fly away as Man comes closer. She ends up getting her head shot off (at least, that's how it seems). Also Gobo was this in the book as previously mentioned.
  • Weird Crossover: There is an very old Disney comic story called "Thumper meets the Seven Dwarfs", where Thumper the rabbit encounters the Seven Dwarfs from Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and Friend Owl and Flower also appear, and they even encounter the giant from a Mickey Mouse cartoon Brave Little Tailor!
  • Wham Line/Never Say "Die": "Your mother can't be with you anymore".
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Thumper's sisters for some reason aren't present during the final scene where Faline's new children is born, let alone shown as adults. Instead we see Thumper and Miss Bunny with their newborn children. They were last seen eating greens with Thumper when they encounter Bambi for the second time and don't show up for the rest of the film.

    Tropes the series as a whole provides examples of 
  • Adaptation Species Change: In the original novel, Bambi and the other deer were Roe Deer, but in the films they were White-Tailed Deer because the films were set in North America where there are no Roe Deer.
    • Upon the re-translation into German however, the terminology for the deer was completely mixed up, leading to what is commonly known as the Bambi-Lüge or Bambi-Irrtum. The German m/f/child terms for deer in general are Hirsch/Hirschkuh/Hirschkalb, while those specific to the Roe Deer species ("Reh") are Rehbock/Reh(geiß)/(Reh)Kitz. The German film translation however reverted to calling Bambi and his mother by the roe deer terms, while the father was left with the Hirsch befitting his looks. This resulted not only in people confusing what the respecive species looked like, but more importantly in thinking that the terms for a deer nuclear family were Hirsch/Reh/Kitz; generations of people were thusly miseducated, and it keeps on spreading, while often refusing correction.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Ronno in both films. In the novel, he's actually friendly to Bambi in the first part of the story and has a larger role. In the first movie, he appears in only one scene as a random, non speaking antagonist. The midquel expands his role, but also portrays him as a cowardly bully and Attention Whore who is an out and out enemy of Bambi.
  • Adorkable: Almost everyone, but especially Bambi and Flower due to their shy, naive personalities.
  • Artistic License Biology:
    • Thumper is depicted with paw pads in the movies, something real rabbits do not have. Though if he didn't have them, people probably would have thought it was an error. Also, his nose is drawn as looking like a cat's nose as opposed to the "V"-shaped noses actual rabbits have.
    • The Great Prince is shown with fully-grown antlers in spring, summer and winter, even though deer shed their antlers and grow new ones every year.
    • Bambi gets "twitterpated" in the spring, but the mating season of white-tailed deer is in the autumn. Likewise, Bambi should have been born in late spring and not seen snow until he'd lost his spots and was living on his own.
    • This is as nitpicky as it gets, but several times male northern cardinals (the red birds) are shown together, including at one point a whole flock. Cardinals are so territorial they will relentlessly attack even their own refection, so this is very unlikely.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Both Bambi and his father do this in both films.
    • Bambi saves Faline from a pack of hunting dogs by his late in the first film.
    • The Great Prince saves Bambi from getting shot by a hunter and his dogs in the midquel.
  • Big Good: The Great Prince of the Forest and later Bambi himself.
  • The Cameo: Being an iconic Disney character, Bambi and other characters have made multiple reappearances in Disney media:
    • Bambi himself actually makes an appearance in person in the crowd of toons in the ending of Who Framed Roger Rabbit, and in one scene early in the film, Thumper is mentioned by Roger himself to be his uncle.
    • Also, Judge Doom was originally planned to be the killer of Bambi's mother in a shocking revelation. It ultimately never made it into the final film, unfortunately.
    • Also, Bambi makes a cameo (as a silhouette) in the end of The Lion King 1 1/2.
    • A cel of Bambi is used to document Disney's ink and paint department in The Reluctant Dragon, after which it briefly springs to life in proper animation.
    • Bambi and his father also make a cameo in The Simpsons Movie.
    • Bambi's mom's head is mounted on Gaston's wall.
    • Bambi and his mom cameo in the Disney Classic Short No Hunting.
      "Man is in the forest. Let's dig out."
    • As with many characters of Disney Animated Canon, Bambi and other characters from the original film frequently cameo as audience members in House of Mouse.
    • Bambi's mom can also be seen as the deer Shere Khan is hunting in his introductory scene in The Jungle Book, to the bottom right in the first frame of the prologue to Beauty and the Beast, and her and Bambi both shows up during the song "Someone's Waiting For You" in the first Rescuers movie. All of these appearances are the animation of she and Bambi eating grass before the infamous death scene.
    • There's something eerily familiar about Kay aiming his bow at a deer in The Sword in the Stone...
  • Carnivore Confusion: Salten addresses it a bit more directly than Disney does. In the Disney film, the only predators are Friend Owl and Flower (not counting the hunter's dogs), and neither is actually shown eating anything (or anyone). In fact, the worse Friend Owl does to a squirrel is that he gives it an angry glare when it doesn't want to go away from looking at Bambi.
  • Coming-of-Age Story
  • Cowardly Lion: Bambi in the midquel.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Ronno naming his antlers...
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: While the first half of the film doesn't invoke this trope, the second half plays it brilliantly. First loses his mother; later he goes through a tough fight for his mate (but wins). Then he gets chased after by dogs, gets shot...AND has to get back up and run. And his home gets destroyed by a forest fire. But the film ends with a healthy new forest some time later, the birth of Bambi's children, and Bambi finally assuming the mantle of The Great Prince of the Forest, the latter done without any words being spoken. This trope is played to such an extent that it's likely this is one of the films that particularly inspired Don Bluth, practically the king of said trope in animated movies.
    • The midquel only extends these hardships to greater heights! Bambi is forced to cope with the loss of his mother and he tries to earn the love of his father, only to be given away to a stepmother (on the grounds that his father believes that he has no business raising children, ironically). He also ends up getting stung by a porcupine, and he risks his life to save his would-be-stepmom from a pack of hunting dogs, and after a long chase scene it ends with the dogs defeated...and him falling off a high cliff. Despite early impressions, he survives and finally earns the love and affection of his father, who finally accepts Bambi as his child, without any words being spoken. The film also ends with Bambi getting an accidental smooch from Faline, and his father showing him where he and Bambi's mother first met.
      • In other words, poor Bambi suffered too much throughout his life!
  • Enclosed Space: The story is set entirely in the boundaries of the forest, which the characters never leave.
  • He Who Must Not Be Seen: Thumper's father, who never once appears on-screen in either films, even though Thumper's mother constantly brings up one of his Green Aesops if Thumper is ever giving her trouble or causing it. Man is also included, except in Bambi's Children, where their presence is open and clear.
  • Humanlike Foot Anatomy: Flower the skunk has feet that look like human feet and Thumper and other rabbits have footpads.
  • Humans Are Cthulhu: The films make no bones about this.
  • Jerkass: Bambi's father, mainly in the original film. He says barely five sentences to his son throughout the entire film and all of them make him sound distant, demanding and utterly disappointed in his son. The midquel still has traces of this, but makes it a plot point that his character softens throughout the film.
  • Kissing Cousins: Bambi and Faline in the original novel. Bambi and Faline are still listed as cousins in some licensed books based off the Disney version. Whether or not it's canon in the movies but never mentioned is unknown.
  • Know-Nothing Know-It-All: Friend Owl.
  • Leitmotif: Love is a Song and a snippet of I Bring You A Song in the original film.
    • Love is a Song also pops up as a leitmotif in the midquel, as well as an all new leitmotif (apparently not named) for scenes with Bambi and his father.
  • Lighter and Softer: The original film when compared to the original novel, and the midquel when compared to the original film. Tie in material to the films usually play up the more cute, sentimental elements of them, leaving out the darker elements.
  • Misplaced Wildlife: California Quail? In my Maine woods? Also, a surprising example of artistic license in a movie which is otherwise amazingly accurate to the nature and animals (see Shown Their Work above) it's based off of...for the most part anyways.
    • Also, the quails' calls are wrong; they sound more like Bobwhite Quails instead...
  • Mood Whiplash: "Your mother can't be with you any longer. Come with me, my son." This line cuts directly to the most happiest song of the movie.
  • Musical Spoiler: Man's presence in the film is represented only be a recurring three note leitmotif.
  • Never Say "Die": The line, "Your mother can't be with you anymore." Also in the midquel, when the Great Prince outright restrains himself from saying "killed" or "die". This is Truth in Television, as many people find it hard to apply these words to people they love. Especially if it was recent and sudden.
  • No Name Given: None of the characters' parents have actual names.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: You never once see Man in either of the films (although he/they are seen in the novels on occasion) but that makes him (they?) more terrifying than your usual Disney villain. Man is the second highest-ranking Disney villain in "AFI's 100 Heroes and Villains", surpassed only by the Queen from Snow White, and is also the only villain on the entire list who is never seen.
  • One-Mario Limit: The names "Bambi" and "Faline" aren't really seen much outside of this series.
  • Pale Females, Dark Males: Zig Zagged. Faline plays this trope straight as both a fawn and a doe, while Bambi's mother averts it, being colored more or less the same as The Great Prince. Then there are several background bucks that invert the trope by being colored lighter than the others as well.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: There are many, particularly Thumper and Flower.
  • Spin-Off: Thumper received his own series of books called "Disney Bunnies" in the 2000's.
  • Scenery Porn: Like you wouldn't believe. The backgrounds of the movies look like something out of a Norman Rockwell painting. Perhaps the best known example is the long forest pan at the very start of the first film.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Sliding Scale of Visuals Versus Dialogue: Leans firmly on the Visuals end of the scale. The film notably has less than 900 lines of dialogue in the entire film.
  • Unnamed Parent: All of them.
  • Unusual Euphemism: "Twitterpated" for "smitten".
  • Urban Legends: There is a rumor that they were trying to imply in Beauty and the Beast that Gaston killed Bambi's mother. Evidence for this is that she can be seen in the opening, and that there is a mounted doe head visible during one of Gaston's Villain Songs. Evidence against this is that Bambi takes place in North America, whereas Beauty and the Beast takes place in France.
  • Wild Wilderness: The forest of both films.
  • Woodland Creatures: Whereas in most Disney movies woodland creatures are background characters, in this one they are the stars of the movie.


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