Released in 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.The movie is a Coming of Age Story that follows the titular character, a young white-tailed deer, from birth to adulthood in the forests of Maine (we think, see below). It is one of Disney's most beautiful films, with art and effects that are still amazing today and mind-blowing for their time. To this day the film holds a solid 91% "Fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It is said to be Walt Disney's personal favorite of his films.A Direct-to-VideoMidquel, Bambi II, was released in 2006, 64 years after the original. It focuses on the period of Bambi's life immediately following his mother's death. Apparently this was a more interesting story to tell than the book's actual sequel, which had already been adapted by Disney into a comic. (Said comic has long since been out of print and is now a highly sought after collector's item.)While Bambi II was much better received than typical direct-to-video fare (to the point where it's actually considered genuinely enjoyable) it barely manages to hold a measly 56% "Rotten" rating on Rotten Tomatoes, a sharp contrast from its precursor which it has inevitably been compared to by critics.There is a spin off series of books centred around Thumper's family when he was a baby. It's called "Disney Bunnies".Trope Namer of Bambification.Now has a character sheet.
An Aesop: Faline's brother Gobo (who is exclusive to the novel) appears to have been killed by a hunter in the same winter Bambi's mother died only to return some time later as a full grown deer, and it turns out a human family had saved his life. (He was dying of starvation by the time he was taken away.) But as a result he had lost his fear of humans. The next time the hunters came to the woods, Gobo was the first to go. This is Felix Salten's commentary on keeping wild animals like deer as pets.
False Friend: Gobo fatally assumes that because he was rescued by Man, they would all be a friend to him. Unafraid and ignoring Bambi's and Faline's urges to flee, he approaches a hunter in the meadow, only to be shot at moments later. Gobo, realizing what's happening, tries to run but it is too late. Poor Gobo.
Humans Are Cthulhu: The animals believe that humans are some kind of gods. Near the end, the Prince shows Bambi the corpse of a man who was shot by someone. Bambi then realizes that humans aren't all-powerful beings, but mortal creatures like the animals.
Stranger in a Familiar Land: Gobo. When Bambi and Faline reunite with him after long thinking him dead, Gobo explains his absence: During the past winter siege by Man, Man found the injured young Gobo, nursed him back to health and was treated like a member of his family, and released him back into the wild in spring. Now sporting a horsehair braid around his neck, Gobo regards Man as a personal friend and no longer recognizes the cautionary practices the rest of the forest dwellers use, much to their - and Bambi's - consternation.
Although it seems he still considers them his friends, despite nearly killing them both.
Tropes the first film provides examples of
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.
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.]
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.
Even with 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 called "Aunt Ena" for some reason.
Weirdly enough, the fact that Bambi and Faline are cousins 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 a 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 ON-SCREEN. However, this never made it beyond a few sketches◊, because the scene was dark enough as it was.
The omission of Faline's brother Gobo, who is killed because of his trust for humans.
Also, 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.
DVD Commentary: The 2005 DVD release of Bambi had re-enactments of the story meetings between Disney and his story men as one of the several bonus features. The movie itself played in a window on the corner while the rest of the screen showed preliminary artwork.
After getting "twitterpated", fighting for Faline, and prancing through the very sensual "I Bring You a Song" sequence, Bambi wakes up next to her in a thicket. Several months later in Springtime, a pair of twins wake up next to their mother.
Thumper and Flower count, too, since we see them walking off with their mates and reappearing with their own kids.
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.
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.
Puppy-Dog Eyes: AKA "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.
Not true; Faline, Aunt Ena, and a few other minor deer all survive, and others, such as Thumper and Flower, do not exist in the novel (but Thumper/Friend Owl's Composite Character Friend Hare doesn't make it)
Sort of. Disney occasionally likes to recycle and will reuse animation if they need to. This has prompted the Fandom saying, "Bambi's mother lives!!!" Also, Bambi and his mother made a brief speaking cameo in the Donald Duck short "No Hunting."
Some animation of adult Bambi and Faline was recycled for a brief scene in Mary Poppins.
Time Skip: Occurs in the first movie right after the infamous death scene, transitioning to some point in the future where Bambi has grown up. 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.
Tropes Bambi II provides examples of
Accidental Kiss: At the end of the movie, a porcupine from earlier decides to prick Bambi in the behind (this happened earlier, too), causing him to leap forward and end up smooching Faline. She doesn't seem to mind.
Bratty Half-Pint: Thumper and Ronno (though it fades for both in the presence of their mothers).
Chekhov's Skill: Thumper's "gurr" faces. In the climax, when Flower makes his "scaredest" one he actually sprays acid into a hunter dog's face, leaving Bambi with one less enemy to run away from.
Cold Open: Besides that the film literally starts off in the dead of winter, it takes place immediately after the midway point in the first film where Bambi's mother died, setting up Bambi moving in with his father, and Friend Owl persuading him to take care of Bambi until he can find a suitable doe, taking several minutes before we even get to the title.
Everything's Worse With Bees: Played straight in the midquel. At one point, the trio gets chased away by a swarm of bees, and The Great Prince has a near encounter with a hornets nest (but Bambi points it out to him, saving him the trouble of dealing with those pests.)
Jerkass: Ronno and the Porcupine, the latter of whom is exclusive to Bambi II.
Mocking Sing Song: Thumper. When Bambi is trying to improve his jumping skill to impress his father, Thumper mocks him to ensure he'll make the jump.
Thumper: You're too afraaaiid, you cannot juuuuummmp, na na na na na, na, na, na, na na...
Moose Are Idiots: A grouchy porcupine insults the Great Prince by calling him a "Big Moose".
Soundtrack Dissonance: One of the more off-putting things of the midquel is the handful of songs that play throughout the film. While the songs in question are decent to good, they feel extremely out of place with the mood and feel of the film which usually relies on the original films orchestrated style of music.
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.
Angry Hunting Dog: They're just another threat in the films. In the book, the dogs are considered traitors to their own kind.
The Cameo: 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, JudgeDoom 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.
Bambi and his mom cameo in the Disney Classic Short No Hunting.
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 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.
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!
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.
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. The book, however, treats humans as just another thing deer have to worry about. If they're bastards, it's only because they've broken the "rules" with their guns.
Jerkass: Bambi's father, mainly in the original film. He says barely 5 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 make 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.
Also played straight in the midquel, albeit in a much more forced way, when the Great Prince outright restrains himself from saying "killed" or "die", as if they were forbidden words or something. Seriously.
Truth in Television. Many people find it hard to apply these words to people they love. Especially if it was recent and sudden.
In the book the Great Prince says "Your mother can't be with you any longer. Can't you stay by yourself? Shame on you!" as a way of making Bambi brace up and realize he has to fend for himself now.
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.
Only Known by Their Nickname: We never do find out what the real name of "Flower" the skunk is, nor do we know if the Great Prince actually has a real name.