“Bambi”, a Walt Disney timeless classic that remains relevant eight decades after it’s release

The groundbreaking animation classic was first released in August 1942 and has even sparkled the debate of real and serious subjects

“Bambi”, a Walt Disney timeless classic that remains relevant eight decades after it’s release

It’s part of the universal imagery of millions of people and an enduring Pop culture reference that has over the years has sparkled the debate of real and serious subjects (such as animal rights), “Bambi”, Walt Disney’s animation masterpiece, was first released on August 9, 1942 in London, then August 13, 1942 in New York City and the nation wide American premiere on August 21, 1942. Based on the 1923 book “Bambi, a Life in the Woods” by Felix Salten, the groundbreaking animation film, tells the heartbroken story of Bambi, the baby deer, alongside other memorable characters, his parents, the Great Prince of the forest and his unnamed mother; his friends Thumper (a pink-nosed rabbit); Flower (a skunk) and his childhood friend and future mate, Faline. Aside of the touching story the movie tells, it was also groundbreaking for the investment made on the animation.

Although the animators had animated deer in “Snow White”, they were animated, in the words of Eric Larson, “like big flour sacks” and Disney, wanted the animals in Bambi to achieve a higher level of realism and to be more expressive than those in “Snow White.” The famous backgrounds for the film were inspired by the Eastern American woodland. Disney studios artist Maurice “Jake” Day, spent several weeks in the Vermont and Maine forests, sketching and photographing deer, fawns, and the surrounding wilderness areas. The final results were stunning, and today, remains among one of Walt Disney’s and overall animation movies best achievements. But the box office for the movie was shaky during the first release of the movie, specially in Europe, due to the World War II which started in Europe in 1939. Previously animation movies “Pinocchio” and “Fantasia” had already failed at the box office, and facing financial difficulty, Disney was forced to cut 12 minutes from the film before final animation to save production costs. Still, when it was released, it lacked access to much of the European market. The subsequent re-releases after the end of World War II were more successful, proving that Bambi, spoke universally to everyone. It was re-released in in 1947, 1957, 1966, 1975, 1982, and 1988. Many future animal rights activists first got their first interest in the cause due to Bambi such as Paul McCartney, who credited the shooting death of Bambi’s mother for his initial interest in animal rights.

Watch the original 1942 movie trailer for “Bambi”

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