Picks and Pans Review: Bambi

UPDATED 08/02/1982 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 08/02/1982 at 01:00 AM EDT

Charming, funny, visually enticing and often moving, this 1942 animated release—which took a staff of nearly 50 artists five years and four million drawings to complete—represented the Disney Studio at its peak. Taken from a 1928 children's story by Felix Salten, it follows a fawn from his birth to his ascension as the Prince of the Forest in an animal world peopled with such beautifully conceived characters (added for the movie) as Thumper the rabbit and Flower the skunk. Disney's anthropomorphism can be cloying, and there are several too many shots of cute, twitching little tails. But there is also what amounts to an early pro-environment message about the havoc wrought in the forest by man's incursions. The death of Bambi's mother from a hunter's bullet can disturb some children. But it is the genius of this film, currently in its eighth go-round in the theaters, that it manages to combine such shocks with joyful, lovely entertainment. (G)

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