Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and its immediate descendants demonstrated that Walt Disney and his crew were masterful at handling elements of fantasy, melodrama, and comedy. Bambi, with the utterance of the single word "mother," proved that they could also create moments of heartrending emotion that left as indelible an impression as in any live-action film. Arguably the most beautiful of the early Disney films, Bambi features a palette of lush, gorgeous colors, and a number of unforgettable animated sequences, ranging from lighthearted (Bambi's attempts to walk upon a frozen lake) or strangely peaceful (the rainstorm) to suspenseful and thrilling (the incredible forest fire sequence). The character animation is also exemplary, from Thumper's chubby-cheeked cuteness and irrepressible brashness to Flower's adorable shyness. All of the characters are blessed with exceptionally fluid and realistic movement, and the animators also make good use of the multiplane camera throughout. Bambi's script is lean, with no excess fat upon it, and a simplicity that heightens the dramatic effect of the big moments. The score is a perfect match with the story, so much so that the songs tend not to draw attention to themselves, but "Little April Showers" is exceptionally charming. An enduring classic (and one which disturbs some young children), Bambi is one of the finest animated films ever made.
by Craig Butler review