Watership Down

( 24 )

Overview

Unique in the annals of animated films, Watership Down is a serious, even grim tale that many will find relentless and depressing and others will find poetic and moving. It doesn't pull any punches. Death -- violent, disturbing death -- is ever present, portrayed in a manner that is astonishingly honest for a cartoon. As a result, it is that rare animated film that really aims for a mature audience, despite its superficial funny animal trappings. It has a brilliant opening, most likely created by UPA veteran John...
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Overview

Unique in the annals of animated films, Watership Down is a serious, even grim tale that many will find relentless and depressing and others will find poetic and moving. It doesn't pull any punches. Death -- violent, disturbing death -- is ever present, portrayed in a manner that is astonishingly honest for a cartoon. As a result, it is that rare animated film that really aims for a mature audience, despite its superficial funny animal trappings. It has a brilliant opening, most likely created by UPA veteran John Hubley, which in a primitive and simplistic style relates a creation myth as told by rabbits. The style changes thereafter, with beautiful watercolor backgrounds and a more natural approach to character animation. Unfortunately, the animation suffers somewhat from this point, becoming a bit sloppy, although it continues to portray the characters' movements as realistically as possible. The character designs themselves are rather too similar, with the result that it is sometimes difficult to tell the various rabbits apart. The story is also sometimes told in too-broad strokes, leaving those unfamiliar with the novel confused as to exactly what has happened and, more importantly, why. However, these flaws are redeemed by some unforgettable sequences, including a chilling segment detailing the destruction of the rabbits' warren and a devastatingly sad end sequence in which the Black Rabbit of Death gently takes one of the heroes away with it. Voiced by a fine cast, with stellar work from John Hurt and Richard Briers, Watership Down is an imperfect film with some of the most powerful moments ever created for the genre.
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Special Features

Watership Down: A Conversation With the Filmmakers - writer/director Martin Rosen and editor Terry Rawlings; Defining a Style: animators, artists and actor Joss Ackland collaborate on the creation of a Richard Adams character; Storyboard-to-screen multiangle comparison of 4 segments
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Donald Liebenson
This unsung British gem, a 1978 animated version of the Richard Adams novel, is ripe for discovery. A distinguished voice cast -- including Ralph Richardson, John Hurt, Denholm Elliott, and Zero Mostel -- combines with captivating animation to bring the tale to life. The story concerns a group of rabbits who seek safe haven on high ground after leaving their endangered warren. A word of caution: This is not the "delightful" film "for all ages" that the box proclaims. It is a grim and often intense adventure in which the rabbits are at the mercy of animal predators, humans, and each other in the form of the tyrannical General Woundwort and his minions. There is a goodly amount of blood spilled in several fight sequences. In short, it's not kid stuff, but for older children looking for more sophisticated animated fare, this is among the best non-Disney animated films ever made.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 10/7/2008
  • UPC: 883929003525
  • Original Release: 1978
  • Rating:

  • Source: Warner Home Video
  • Region Code: 1
  • Time: 1:32:00
  • Format: DVD

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
John Hurt Voice Only
Richard Briers Voice Only
Michael Graham Cox Voice Only
John Bennett Voice Only
Simon Cadell Voice Only
Roy Kinnear Voice Only
Richard O'Callaghan Voice Only
Terence Rigby Voice Only
Ralph Richardson Voice Only
Denholm Elliott Voice Only
Zero Mostel Voice Only
Mary Maddox Voice Only
Hannah Gordon Voice Only
Lyn Farleigh Voice Only
Harry Andrews Voice Only
Nigel Hawthorne Voice Only
Joss Ackland Voice Only
Clifton James Voice Only
Michael Hordern Voice Only
Derek Griffiths Voice Only
Technical Credits
Martin Rosen Director, Producer, Screenwriter
Mike Batt Songwriter
Marcus Dods Musical Direction/Supervision
Angela Morley Score Composer
Terry Rawlings Editor
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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Watership Down
1. El-Aharirah; Prologue [3:49]
2. Landscape; Credits [1:52]
3. Fiver's Premonition [4:07]
4. Audience With the Chief Rabbit [2:32]
5. Fleeing the Warren; Captain Holly [2:19]
6. Eyes in the Night [2:24]
7. The River; Dodging Hrududu [3:29]
8. "Violet's Gone" [1:41]
9. Unwelcone At the Cemetery [1:59]
10. Cowslip's Warren [5:31]
11. Bigwig's Close Call [4:06]
12. Nuthanger Farm [3:51]
13. Survivor's Sport [2:55]
14. Holly's Dream [1:35]
15. Watership Down [4:28]
16. Kehaar's Offer of Help [2:06]
17. Trouble At the Farm [3:15]
18. Searching for Hazel [3:30]
19. Efrafa [1:51]
20. Bigwig Is Marked [5:04]
21. Plans of Escape and Entrapment [7:21]
22. Fleeing General Woundwort [4:24]
23. Kehaar's Farewell [1:05]
24. Bracing for Attack [2:38]
25. Hazel's Plan [5:02]
26. Big Wig Vs. Woundwort [3:13]
27. Summoned by the Black Rabbit [2:22]
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Menu

Disc #1 -- Watership Down
   Play Movie
   Scene Selections
   Special Features
      Watership Down: A Conversation With the Filmmakers
      Defing a Style
      Storyboard Comparison
         Play All
         Opening Sequence
         Nuthanger Farm
         Hazel Is Injured
         Efrafa Chase
   Languages
      Spoken Languages
         English
      Subtitles
         English (For the Hearing Impaired)
         Fran├žais
         Off
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 24 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(17)

4 Star

(4)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(2)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 24 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 6, 2013

    Best Animated Feature about Rabbits

    Best Animated Feature about Rabbits

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Great Movie and Book

    Watership Down is an amazing movie with beautiful artwork and a wonderful soundtrack. It also has some political tones, such as the highly militarized and totalitarian rival warren of Efrafa. However, interest in politics is not necessary to enjoy this film. I will say that this movie is not for young children. The original cover of the movie had the quote from the book, "If they catch you, they will kill you". Children that are sensitive may find certain sceens disturbing. Some examples are a rabbit that gets caught in a snare, a dog that tears apart several rabbits and one rabbit has some prophetic abilities and his visions can be a little creepy. The book was once banned because of the prophecy elements. Overall it's a great movie and an even better book, just be careful with young children.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    unforgettable

    I watched this movie when I was about 15 with my parents and I found it absolutely unforgettable. There are some rather grusome scenes, but the story and the film are definitely awesome, and intended for older viewers.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    my favorite book & movie

    this is a wonderful movie and book that everyone should enjoy.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Couldn't Stand It

    This was the worst movie ever.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    A Devoted Fan Since Childhood

    My mother brought this one home to me when I was seven (not knowing what it was) and I will never, ever forget the impression the beginning sequence made on me. Forget what the review says, this has some of the most beautiful animation I've seen in a 70's film and by far one of the most awesome and emotional musical scores. The only cartoon to make me cry every time I watch it - awesome whether you've read the book or not. (However, not really recommended for anyone under ten, as it is very intense/bloody in many parts).

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    I am a total freak over watership down and warriors

    This is my all-time favorite movie and is the best of the best. My favorite character is Hazel-rah and Thlayli[known as Bigwig] and Hyzenthlay. I hope that the others saw the truth of nature in this film. Deffinantly waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay better that any Harry Potter item

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Book & Movie

    I have watched it over and over. Excellent movie, the book was even better, I recommend it for children and adults! Saw it when I was a child, and still watch it as an adult.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Watership down

    Splended movie. It's book was very good too.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2003

    Excellent film

    I'm 19, turning 20 and had first seen Watership Down as a very young kid... My mother rented it because it was, of course, a cartoon. A cartoon that would give me nightmares for nights to follow... It takes a damn good cartoon to do that to a guy, young as I was..... I was in an unnamed video store earlier this year, looking through the classics and I spotted Watership Down... and yea, I rented it again. Still an amazing film. A film that need be compared to real life to see it's full complexity. I stand by the fact that because this film was involving rabbits, animation was the only true way to show it. But never class this one as ''just another cartoon''.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 9, 2002

    A Beautiful Film of a Beautiful Book

    I'm 15, and Richard Adam's beautiful book 'Watership Down' has always been special for me since childhood. I was curious when I heard about a film adaptation, but worried that it was ruin the novel for me. It didn't. Far from it - this is an equally beautiful film that totally solidified my visualization of the book. There's a fair bit of blood and violence, which some younger viewers might find disturbing, but the film also promotes peace, loyalty and a love of nauture. A must-see film for the whole family.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    memorys of youth

    i have searched for along time to find this video. i first saw this in 1979 (9 years old)and i have never forgotten the movie, just the name. very glad to have found it to show my children, gives a look at what really happens in nature. no fuzzy bunny slippers here.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    The Only Cartoon to Make Me Cry

    This is absoltely the best animated film ever made, and probably my favorite movie too. It does a wonderful job of making you feel connected to the characters, and still stirs my emotions and brings a tear to my eye. It features the beautiful Simon & Garfunkel song ''Bright Eyes'', and the visual portrail of the English countryside is realistic and gorgeous. Please note that this film may not be appropriate for young children, in that it deals with death in a very real fashion and contains some violence and blood.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Simply the best animated movie of all time

    Almost quarter of a century has passed, and still there has not been another animated movie to touch it. Period. Those who have only seen the cringeworthy TV series will find this a bit of a shock, but a highly pleasant one. Astonishing dark in places, yet not in the least unsuitable for children (whom may well find its lack of hypersensitivity a refreshing change), and likely to have them desperate to read the book immediately after.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Rabbits of the Warren

    An animated work of realism when realism is all but extinct from these line of films today. Exiled rabbits contend their survival against men, foxes, and their own in a land of blue streams and green clovers. The film picks the greatest moments of the text and soley delivers the brutal moments certainly leading Disney fans to cringe. While ''Watership Down'' could be the undiscovered ''Lion King'' in its own genre of animal drama, it will unceassingly scratch your mind throughout. The rabbit characters are drawn graceful enough to depict their darker instincts as creatures of fate.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Very nice, but not for the kiddies.

    As a book, Watership Down is a wonderful story of survival as seen from the eyes of its rabbit protagonists. These rabbits are not Thumpers a la Disney, but wild rabbits escaping developers. The characters are too adult, and some scenes too brutal for young children, but teens might enjoy an animated film that doesn't talk down to them. The animation (1978), while nice, is not state of the art, but then, this is a story driven film. The rabbits have their own terminology and mythology, which might escape the viewer unfamiliar with them, but they can make the ending quite uplifting. Viewers familiar with Tad Williams' Tailchaser's Song, or Felix Salten's Bambi in print might well enjoy this, but it's not a cute movie for young children.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 5, 2001

    Adventurous story of life and friendship

    This is a wonderful tale about a band of rabbits crossing the english countryside. The story illustrates the things that are a part of everyday life, such as friendship and death. The music and animation are absolutely beautiful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 19, 2001

    Great movie...even better book

    Beautiful animation. The book from which the movie is adapted is one of the best stories I have ever read. A great deal of the book is left out of the film, but the essence of the story is fully intact. If you are looking for a complex, mature animated feature, this is for you.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 31, 2000

    A great movie. . . But not for kids!

    I'm 12 years old. I saw this movie when I was 11. I remember thinking; O.k, this was definatley not made by Disney! It has some blood in it, as well as some violence. It is a sad but WONDERFUL movie about a band of male rabbits that flee from their warren because of an unknown danger. The movie would devistate kids about 5-7 years old, and scare those that are younger. This is still a very touching movie, and I would recomend it to every one who can handle it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 17, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 24 Customer Reviews