The classic Disney film Bambi reveals many truths about human emotion and interaction. Throughout the movie, the various animals in the forest each have different roles and personalities. The most obvious portrayal of humans in the film is the depiction of masculinity. In the beginning of the movie, Bambi’s father is completely absent. When Bambi is born in the forest, his father isn’t present and doesn’t show up until the family is in actual danger. Although he does end up saving them, he doesn’t appear again until Bambi’s mother is killed. Thumper’s father is also portrayed in a similar way. The mother rabbit constantly tells him to listen to what his father ordered him to do. However, we never actually view the father. This implies that fathers are never around but still give all the orders. Secondly, another scene that stood out to me relating to masculinity was when Bambi became a teenager and he meets the love of his life Felline again. Another male deer attempts to fight Bambi and take Felline as his own. She has no choice and no way to defend herself, and the male deer almost rapes her. Females are again depicted as weak and helpless, because Bambi must rescue her and fight the male deer to prove he was more masculine. Females in the movie are also depicted as very sexual and seductive. For example, during the spring scene in which Thumper, Flower, and Bambi all discover what love is, they are all seduced by females. The girls each have lighter skin than all the boys, demonstrating the idea that fairness was valued during this time in society.
The entire film revolves around Bambi growing up and finding himself as a grown up. At first he is abandoned by his mother and has to be raised by his father who hadn’t ever shown him affection previously in the story. Once the forest fire scene occurs, Bambi proves himself when he must save Felline from the hunting dogs, and then takes a bullet to his leg. This is very symbolic of young males coming of age. Also, the very last scene of the movie represents the idea of boys overtaking the role of their fathers eventually. Bambi and his father stand side by side above the whole forest in the closing scene, and then his father steps down to leave. Bambi then assumes the position of “Prince of the Forest”, while Felline is hiding deep in the forest having his babies. While Bambi is off watching the forest and earning respect, Felline will have to raise his babies, just as his mother did.
Another idea that was put forth in Bambi was the battle between man and nature. Although you never actually see a human in the movie, they are constantly portrayed as evil. Humans are the ones who burn down the forest, shoot at the animals, and are the only predators in the entire forest. This demonstrates how people at the time probably had no concern for animals and the importance of preserving nature, because it appeared as if the movie was attempting to send a message to people. By revealing the side of the animals, children and even adults are able to get in touch with their emotions and feel sad for the forest creatures. Especially when the hunters murder Bambi’s mother. I know personally when I was a child, that scene affected me the most and made me despise hunters to this day. However at the end of the movie, nature overcomes man because Bambi and all his friends survive the forest fire. Overall, despite the fact that this was a children’s movie, Walt Disney incorporated many messages that applied to the time period of Bambi relating to humans and their behavior.