- The death of Bambi's mother is one of the most iconic tear-jerker scenes in Western animation, along with Mufasa's death in The Lion King (1994). It traumatized a lot of children and jokes about the scene are often met with cries of "Dude, Not Funny!". Steven Spielberg even recalled in his childhood waking up in the middle of the night and going to his parents' room to check if they were both still alive.Great Prince of the Forest: Your mother can't be with you anymore. Come. My son.
- Basically almost every scene with Bambi's mother in general come off as this, but only if you know what's coming.
- The build up is agonizing to sit through. First, the music. Then the voice actress for Bambi's mother delivers the perfect amount of dread and desperation: "Bambi... Quick! The thicket!!". Then they both run but Bambi's mother sounds especially frantic as she lags behind, like she knows she was too late to notice the danger. We hear the chilling shot and see Bambi make it to the den. He calls out relieved to his mother...only to realize she isn't there. The film drags on for almost a full minute of Bambi searching for her, with him audibly sobbing by the time the Great Prince finds him and breaks the news. A chilling moment of silence occurs as the realization hits Bambi, and a Single Tear is shed as the somber music rises again.
- When the Great Prince tells Bambi to come with him, we see Bambi looking back for a moment before following his father. That moment there symbolize the end of his childhood and innocence. Apparently this was exactly what Disney was going for with that scene.
- Something that makes it more heartbreaking but is almost never talked about: in the DVD bonus features, it's pointed out this is the only scene where the music stops. Considering how almost the entire movie has only a few seconds of silence, it speaks volumes about that scene that it's the only one with more then a few seconds of silence.
- The midquel adds to the heartbreak in hindsight, by establishing that Bambi and even the Great Prince suffered heavy emotional scars from losing her for quite a while.
- Besides the death of Bambi's mother, there's also the scene where some pheasants try to hide from Man in the grass. One of them, despite the others' worried warnings, lets panic get the best of her and flies off sobbing hysterically that she "can't stand it any longer." All the others can do is sadly watch her get shot and fall from the sky, dead. Made worse if you know that this is how you hunt pheasants; slooooooowly walk around where you think they are until they panic and fly for it.
- What arguably makes it even worse is that Man, who is treated as one of the biggest dangers the forest animals will ever face, likely never spared a second thought to what kind of impact he makes. While hunters in cartoons are usually portrayed as assholes who just kill because they enjoy it, the hunter(s) in this movie never appear onscreen, and probably fall under Obliviously Evil rather than Egomaniac Hunter.
- "Love is a Song" but especially the closing reprise.
- While the final scene is mostly happy and heartwarming, there are still bittersweet elements to it:
- Bambi is last seen standing on the cliff where his father stood when he was born, far above where Faline, their children and their friends are gathered. As the new Great Prince of the Forest, like his father before him, he'll presumably have little role in his mate and children's daily lives and become a more remote figure to all the animals (the novel makes this explicit). Faline's expression is distinctly wistful as she glances toward the cliff when Friend Owl mentions Bambi's name, and though the final image of Bambi is majestic and beautiful, he's also alone.
- Unless you consider that in the second novel "Bambi's Children" and its comic adaptation, he does have a role in his children's lives and is a caring father to them, like how the Great Prince warmed up to him in the midquel.
- Then there's the detail of Bambi's father exchanging a meaningful last glance with Bambi, then walking down the hill and out of sight, leaving his son to take his place. While it's not made explicit the way it is in the novel, it's easy to infer that the old Great Prince is going away to die.
- A deleted scene based heavily on a part of the original novel had a spoken dialogue between two worn leaves ready to fall in Winter. Their conversation very much eludes to a loving elderly couple coming to the end of their lives, and after they say their goodbyes, they blow and fall off the tree, their forms completely silhouetted and lifeless. Only the shot of them coming loose, falling off, and landing together on the ground remained in the film.
- In the novel, only one leaf blows off, leaving the other alone, so Disney at least let them be Together in Death.
- Meta: Frank Churchill, Walt's long-time composer responsible for the film's music, took his own life months before its release.
Tear Jerker / Bambi