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    The Movie 
  • Adaptation Displacement: Par the course for just about anything adapted by Disney, the film is much more well known than the original Felix Salten book. It's rather strange that few people know it was based on a book since it mentions in the opening credits that the movie was based on Felix Salten's story (then again, most people don't pay much attention to credits in the first place). Not only that, it's a serious, gritty book. Most people, though, would assume that it's a pop-up book or something. The poster for the movie was even a picture of the book. It doesn't help that Disney outright bought the franchise from Salten, meaning it officially became their property.
  • 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.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • The hunter. A bloodthirsty Evil Poacher who hunts for the fun of killing animals, an ordinary sport hunter with no evil intent (less likely, given how it was and still is illegal to shoot deer out of season), or just a poor, hungry man desperate to fill the cooking pot?
    • We never see them so... maybe it's not even a man?
    • For that matter, is it even the same hunter(s) from one encounter to the next?
    • Also, did the hunter deliberately target a doe to shoot, or was Bambi's mother mistaken for a buck because her head wasn't clearly in view?
    • The midquel elevates Ronno potentially from merely a sinister looking stag who's out to mate (if forcefully), to a jealous rival of Bambi in almost every area. Does he genuinely target Faline as a mate, or does he take her out of spite or even intentionally to anger Bambi into another tussle as he did in the midquel?
    • In nature, a buck following a doe in heat sometimes enters the territory of another buck. This begs the question, did Bambi and Ronno even know each other as old rivals (A general lack of comment from Ronno when Faline says Bambi's name implies Ronno might have moved past such petty rivalries as he got older)? Was it Ronno forcing Bambi into fighting with him? Or was it simply Bambi having followed Faline into Ronno's territory by accident?
  • Angst? What Angst?: Bambi's mother's death. Bambi and everyone else seems to get over it pretty darn quick, especially since right after Bambi's father tells him of her death, it instantly cuts to spring with birds singing happily. Bambi's mom is never even brought up again. The midquel manages to avert this, since Bambi and his father seem to be past the grieving stage by the end of the story, which takes place over the course of a few months.
  • Awesome Art:
    • This was one of the first Disney movies to have animals (in this case, deer) brought to the studio for the artists to closely reference for more accurate depictions of their movement, as opposed to the deer in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, which look like flour sacks with long legsnote . The result is easily one of the most beautiful films Disney ever made.
    • A great deal of the movie's visual appeal comes from the efforts of background painter Tyrus Wong, whose artistic education was in traditional Chinese paintings. When the animators began using the aforementioned live animal models, they found that realistically-drawn animals tend to blend into realistically-painted nature backgrounds. In response, Wong produced a series of paintings that used light and color to suggest the beauty of the natural world while still allowing the characters to stand out visually. Walt Disney himself loved the paintings so much he had them distributed around the studio, from the animator's department to the music room, for inspiration. One of Wong's finest touches was the scene where Bambi and Thumper go skating; the background colors are little more than different shades of grey and blue, but the scene looks as bright and colorful as anything.
  • Awesome Music: A killer combo of Frank Churchill's unforgettable songs and Edward Plumb's mantovani cue-filled score results in Bambi having a very memorable soundtrack:
    • "Love Is A Song That Never Ends", the theme of the first film. It even pops up as an instrumental leitmotif in the midquel.
    • "I Bring You A Song", the sensual, haunting love theme between Bambi and Faline.
  • Broken Base: In general, the one thing Bambi comes into much contention with is the character depiction. Some like the movie's aim for a more sweeping, naturalistic approach, making the film more immersive, while some believe the vague, symbolic personalities of the animals makes the plot too dull compared to other Disney canon, preferring the midquel's more fleshed out character arc format.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Thumper is by and far the most popular character in the movie next to Bambi himself. He got his own merchandise line. At one point during the eighties he was even given consideration as a Breakout Character for his own feature film.
    • Same goes for his mate, Miss Bunny, who also has her own merchandise line in Japan, especially at Tokyo Disneyland.
  • Fandom-Specific Plot:
    • It is very common in fanfiction to have stories depicting Bambi still coming to terms with his mothers death and trying to move on from it.
    • Stories involving Ronno underdoing a Heel–Face Turn are fairly common in fanfiction as well.
  • Fanfic Fuel: Due to the series liberal use of Time Skips, there is a lot of room for fans to add their own stories filling in the gaps between both films events (i.e. the year long span of time between the end of Bambi 2 and the midway point of the first film, as well as the time between the climatic forest fire and the birth of Bambi's fawns, and everything else that could follow since Disney hasn't done a film adaptation of Bambi's Children).
  • Fanon: There are many fans who assume the forest Bambi lives in (the location of which is never identified in the series) is set somewhere in the forests of Maine. This is drawn from the fact that a significant amount of research for the film was done by Disney at the Mount Katahdin region (located in Baxter State Park) in Maine.
  • First Installment Wins: While Bambi II is at least considered to be a decent or even good follow-up by fans, the original film is considered an animation milestone and is usually the one everybody remembers. Though in fairness, the original left really big shoes to fill, so any follow-up was inevitably gonna fall short, no matter how good it would've been.
  • Genius Bonus: Friend Owl calls the arrival of spring a "pain in the pin feathers." These are feathers in certain birds that actually have blood flowing through them, and thus damage to them can actually be quite painful.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: The cream-colored rabbit named Miss Bunny who Thumper falls in love with is surprisingly popular in Japan. With tons of merchandise featuring her (sometimes even alongside the child Thumper).
  • Harsher in Hindsight: The Great Prince's mantra of "Get up" to Bambi when he is injured during a forest fire becomes this following the midquel, revealing he previously used it when Bambi underwent a Disney Death as a child. No wonder he sounds so damn forceful about it.
  • Heartwarming in Hindsight: Almost all the brief interactions between Bambi and his father the Great Prince in the movie are this as a result of the Interquel, Bambi II, which shown that following the death of Bambi's mother, the Great Prince mellowed his aloof demeanour and formed a very close loving bond with son.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • The story of a sweet innocent little child turning into a formidable leader ended up hilariously poetic when Donnie Dunagan, the voice actor for Bambi as a fawn, grew up to become a Marine Corp drill instructor.
    • The Little Golden Book "Bambi: Friends of the Forest" has Bambi meeting a porcupine on one page, and he's described as being friendly. Years later. the midquel would introduce another porcupine character who looks nearly identical to him, albiet with a personality that is anything but friendly.
  • Ho Yay: Between Bambi and Flower when they were little. They even have a Meet Cute, for God's sake, as explained by Unshaved Mouse here. Flower even named his child after Bambi, the guy he, as far as we know, only shared two scenes with (in the first film, at least).
  • It Was His Sled: Bambi's mother dies.
  • Memetic Loser: Bambi is frequently the poster child for Tastes Like Diabetes, and often exemplified whenever mocking Disney's cutesy, cloying image. This is despite the fact that only half the film has Bambi as a naive Momma's Boy fawn getting into cutesy antics (and losing his mother), with the latter half taking on a much darker tone and focusing on Bambi growing into a formidable stag. Counting the much later midquel, even the fawn-era Bambi had his badass moments. Given that Disney only ever advertises fawn-Bambi and never adult-Bambi in related merchandise, the detractors have some justification.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • Thumper's "If you can't say something nice, don't say nothing at all," line is used a lot nowadays, for obvious reasons.
    • Within the studio, the line "Man is in the forest" became a tongue-in-cheek code amongst the animators for when Walt Disney was coming by to look at their work.
    • Bambi's Mother's death is very commonly referenced or parodied in works that reference this film.
    • It is extremely common in real life to name pet or captive deer Bambi or Faline.
  • Misaimed Fandom: The film has caused several detrimental real life examples.
    • The film has unintentionally popularized the notion among well meaning but uninformed people of adopting hiding or resting fawns that people think were "abandoned" by their mothers (most of the time, they aren't—it's perfectly normal for a doe to leave her baby in hiding while she goes off to graze and then return to nurse her baby later). Besides being a bad idea for a variety of reasons, (i.e. illegal to keep wild animals as pets, fawns requiring highly specialized care, etc.) it more often than not does more harm than good to the fawns and can even result in accidentally killing them, as well as a doe being unfairly deprived of her offspring. To say the least, this causes a lot of grief for wildlife rehabbers and wildlife conservationalists. And not to mention that the original book strongly advocated against keeping deer as pets with the tragic story of Gobo.
    • The film likewise popularized the notion that it's unethical to shoot a doe with her fawn, even though this is often not only necessary but beneficial for real life deer herds, particularly an overpopulated one (which are often caused by this misguided notion), and a fawn is capable of surviving on its own when as young as two to six months old and actually has a better chance of surviving that way, and their time living with their mother (in regards to bucks) is usually less than a year anyway.
  • Moe:
    • Bambi (and by extension Faline, the two fawns they have as adults, and even Ronno to some degree) is likely the cutest white-tailed deer fawn you'll ever see. There's a reason Osamu Tezuka used him as the basis for the distinctive large eye style of anime.
    • Thumper and Flower are also adorable Ridiculously Cute Critters.
  • Narm:
    • Some of the voice acting. Due to having numerous different voice actors at different ages, Bambi briefly gains a conspicuous southern accent (“Mother, what’s all that white stuff?!”) and just as quickly loses it later on. During the third act, Bambi, Thumper and Flower have grown up to be young adults, who still manage to look almost as cute and cheery as they did when they were kids - except now they have the deep, rich voices of men in their late 20’s that really don’t seem to match their character designs. You become accustomed to the adult voices eventually, but during the twitterpatted scene they’re especially jarring.
    • At the end of the second act, there’s a rather frightening chase sequence where Bambi and his mother are ambushed and pursued by Man. Bambi escapes but he slowly realizes his mother didn’t, and the Great Prince arrives later to inform him that his mother has been shot and murdered. Bambi and the audience are allowed to feel sad about that horrible revelation for about two minutes, before the film jumps ahead to the next scene. And the next scene is a flock of cute birdies singing about how head over heels in love with each other they are now that it’s springtime and the forest has become all lovely, repeatedly stressing that there’s no greater feeling than being in love. That scene transition is so jarring and so misjudged that it quickly becomes unintentionally hilarious.
    • Even the Great Prince has his share of narmful scenes, for those who find the idea of a pompous deer prince to be just a bit more silly than the movie intended. During the first meadow scene, there’s a moment where Bambi looks at him earnestly, and the Great Prince makes a super intense ‘Why are you smiling, boy?’ face in return, completely out of nowhere, before silently stalking off somewhere else to pose dramatically. So edgy note .
  • Narm Charm:
    • The child voice actors aren't the best actors, but their performances are certainly cute. Their acting skills are just unpolished enough that they sound refreshingly like the little kids they really are — Bambi's "Mother? Whatwegonna~dotoday?" line is a prime example.
    • Some "behind the scenes" footage reveal that this was invoked with the voice cast for young Thumper. Children trying out for the part were asked to deliver the line "Did the young prince fall down?", which they all did in a fittingly worried manner, but one child instead comically said "Did the young prince fall doooown!?" Most of the crew dismissed the young Peter Behn, but one of them got curious and suggested they had him try more lines as he, similarly to above noted, talked like how children often do.
    • It's one thing to hear an inexperienced child during cute scenes, but completely another during horror/tragedy scenes. Just try not to feel moved when Bambi is crying for his mother while Man is approaching or when he is sobbing all alone in the quiet snowfall after a traumatic death.
  • One-Scene Wonder:
    • Ronno in the original film. He comes literally out of nowhere, has no dialogue, no real characterization and isn't even named, and only has a couple minutes of screen time—but what a scene it is!
    • Also, the poor bird that gets frightened out of her hiding spot when the hunters arrive, pretty much for the same reason.
    • The scene where the cream-colored rabbit flirts with Thumper. While both return in the ending, the rabbit named Miss Bunny is surprisingly popular in Japan despite only being in a short scene.
  • Periphery Demographic: It's well documented that his film was popular with, of all people, men shipping out to fight in World War II. Pictures of the characters were common as the nose art of planes and tanks. A few munition factories even stamped pictures of Thumper to blockbuster bombs. And to top it off, Donnie Dunagan, Bambi's original child voice actor, would grow up to become a Marine Corps drill sergeant.
  • "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny: When it first premiered in 1942, audiences were blown away by the realistic appearance of the animal characters (a redeeming factor of this then-flop), as they were more used to the cartoony animal characters as seen in the Silly Symphonies shorts, along with films like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Dumbo. The idea of looking at real-life animals as a reference to design and animate them realistically was groundbreaking at the time. Nowadays, thanks to films like Watership Down, The Lion King (1994), Balto, Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, and Brother Bear, realistic animal characters are not only common nowadays, but it practically has become the rule in animal-focused films (at least hand-drawn ones), and thus Bambi does not stand out as much to modern audiences.
  • Signature Scene:
    • The death of Bambi's mother, if you've actually seen the film for yourself.
    • Bambi discovering Flower in the flower field and looking at the butterfly on his tail are the two most often bits used to officially represent the film.
    • "Little April Shower" is typically held up as the most impressive animation of Disney's Golden Age, where you have to constantly remind yourself it was all done by hand.
  • Tastes Like Diabetes: Disney using the trope at its most extreme. The midquel, with more humanized characterizations and 'zanier' humor, is toned down slightly, though it's hardly even close to a subversion. This is considered the draw appeal to many fans.
  • Viewer Gender Confusion:
    • Like you cannot even imagine. It can be especially easy to miss the single reference to Flower's gender early on. And then puberty kicks in, and their genders are much more obvious.
    • Bambi, because of his feminine appearance. It doesn't help that the name "Bambi" is associated with women in English, despite being masculine. However, all gender confusion about him is cleared up when he gets older, due to growing antlers. His gender confusion is even lampshaded by Ronno in the Midquel:
      Ronno: Bambi? Isn't that a girl's name?
    • There is the picture book of the Disney movie that actually called Flower a female, and made "her" a ''mother''!
  • Vindicated by History: Thanks to the war going on at the time, Bambi, along with Fantasia and Pinocchio before it, was a huge box office flop when it first unspooled in theaters. The reviews were likewise unconvincing; despite heavy praise at the visuals, the film received criticism for lacking fantasy elements as well as taking a more dramatic, realistic, and serious approach than anything seen before. Nowadays, as a result of return screenings and video releases from the 80s onward, it's one of Disney's most financially successful and critically well received movies.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: Bambi had more multiplane camera shots than any other film in Disney's history, and they are used to stunning effect, especially during the final shot of the opening, the "Little April Showers" sequence, and the ending. And then there's the painstakingly elaborate effects animation of the climatic forest fire...
  • The Woobie:
  • Woolseyism: The Norwegian re-dub changes the line Thumper says in the beginning from: "Sure, let's go with that." to "Sure, that would rather fit!", giving a plenty better reason to use the "Bambi" name.

    The Book 
  • Family-Unfriendly Aesop: In the original novel, Bambi learns that he must live all alone to live long and safe. He learns this one from the (supposedly) wise Great Prince, of all deer.
  • Franchise Original Sin: While obviously suffering far less from Disneyfication than either two films, Felix Salten's sequel book Bambi's Children is also Lighter and Softer from the original novelnote  and even mildly betrays some elements of realism present in the first book for the sake of characterization (Bambi for example is characterized as a warmer and less distant father, much as the Great Prince was in Bambi II). It even goes a step further than the films do by humanizing Man. To drive this further, Disney actually made a Comic-Book Adaptation of Bambi's Children. Some oblivious to the novel's existence could be forgiven for thinking it's a generic Spin-Offspring plot that abolishes a lot of the weight and atmosphere of the original film, however, despite some obvious liberties and dumbing down, it actually sticks quite close to the book's plot in places.
  • Values Dissonance:
    • The first page of the book goes on about how it's unusual for a book to be about animals and mentions that real animals are mindless. Xenofictional Literature since has become very common and research has shown that there's more to deer than known in the 1920s.
    • Bambi and Faline are Kissing Cousins in the novel. While not that odd in 1920s Austria, other countries have differing views on cousin incest. This is why the Disney film removed references to Faline's mother being Bambi's aunt.
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