Bambi is sweet, nice and uncomplicated – all the things you say about someone/something you really want to like, have no reason to dislike but refuses to give you enough to have strong feelings one way or the other. Ironically, the best and most fitting reaction to a picture like Bambi was famously delivered by Bambi's precocious, bunny rabbit pal Thumper, “If you can't say something nice, don't say nothing at all.” But we can't just leave you with nothing because, as it turns out, Bambi IS important inasmuch it has its hoof prints all over Disney's crowning achievement (pun INTENDED) The Lion King (1994).
At their core, both Bambi and The Lion King are animated wildlife films featuring young royalty and all the bumps and bruises that occur during their respective ascensions to the throne. Here are some of the more glaring similarities:
Bambi is by no means a bad movie but any chance it had to hold up as one of Disney's all-time greats died in 1994 when The Lion King roared its way to the top as the greatest Royalty Based Animated Wildlife Film of all time (and, probably the greatest of all the Disney Animated Classics). Give Bambi it's due though because to crown a true king you must first have a prince.
On a more whimsical note...
With its paucity of dialogue and heavy use of orchestral music, Bambi may have played better as a symphonic composition in the same vein as Disney's Peter and the Wolf (1949).
Is “Bambi” even a boy's name? The only Bambis I know are the female “dancer” variety.
Bambi's first word is “bird”.
Here's a list of the various wildlife that make an appearance: deer, quail, owl, possum, gopher, rabbit, raccoon, beaver, skunk, mouse, blue bird, yellow bird, red bird, chipmunk, squirrel, butterfly, duck, pheasant, frog, crow, beaver, mole, humming bird, blue jay, robin and dove.
In a young Bambi, it's especially fun watching nature's most graceful animal struggle through his physically awkward/wobbly years.
Like Dumbo (1940), Bambi is another rare Disney animated picture that takes place in the contemporary UsofA.
Thumper's “If you can't say something nice...” line is so prevalent even today that it served as the lone retort from bullied and beleaguered bus monitor Karen Klein.
Bambi's mother's description of his father: “Everyone respects him. For of all the deer in the forest, not one has lived half so long. He's very brave and very wise. That's why he's known as The Great Prince of the forest.”
“Twitterpated,” a word first used in Bambi, remains my favourite clean colloquialism for “being horny.”
Contrary to popular belief, Flower is not a girl nor is he gay. He's just effeminate and very much interested in female skunks.
Big ups to Bambi who successfully protects Faline from Ronno the rapist deer.
The scene where the phreaked out pheasant can't stand the tension, flies out of hiding and gets shot is as harrowing as any scene from a horror movie.
Not only do the hunters shoot Bambi's mom and the pheasant, their unmanned fire from their campsite burned down the whole forest!
With “Man” as Bambi's main antagonist, this is Disney's third movie in a row without a singular, fully developed villain (Pinocchio – Stromboli, Gideon and Foulfellow, Coachman, Monstro and Dumbo – the elephant cows, the ringleader, the clowns).