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Watership Down (Deluxe Edition)
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Product Description

Studio: Warner Home Video Release Date: 10/07/2008

Much like Richard Adams's wonderful novel, this animated tale of wandering rabbits is not meant for small children. It is, however, rich storytelling, populated with very real individuals inhabiting a very real world. The animation is problematic, sometimes appearing out of proportion or just subpar; but it seems to stem from an attempt at realism, something distinguishing the film's characters from previous, cutesy, animated animals. A band of rabbits illegally leave their warren after a prophecy of doom from a runt named Fiver (Richard Briers). In search of a place safe from humans and predators, they face all kinds of dangers, including a warren that has made a sick bargain with humankind, and a warren that is basically a fascist state. Allegories aside, Down is engaging and satisfying, and pulls off the same amazing trick that the novel did--you'll forget that this is a story about rabbits. --Keith Simanton

Customer Reviews:

  • Embracing my scars for Life
    Picture this, its 1980 I am 7 years old, Tallahassee Florida. My three sisters and I sit down in our brown carpeted living room to watch TV. There is a cartoon coming on and my mother sees that it's going to be about rabbits, harmless rabbits. She goes upstairs to clean or whatever moms do out of sight for hours and make a lot of noise. We all sit there in our bean bags (we all had our own, mine was yellow) and watch the movie. All I remember at that time was Bloody fields, BigWig, Fiver going nutso, Tractors, Evil cats, a Seagull, Traps, Boats, Weird Words, more Blood, Scary Rabbits, Torn Ears, the Black rabbit, crying....its all in flashes, and by the end of it I was never the same. We all went upstairs crying, my mother is listening to our synopsis and is so very confused (she never read the book) weren't we just watching a cartoon about fuzzy rabbits?
    I read the book 5 years later, and really understood what it was all about, I understood the weird words, and the journey, and the friendship, the family, the need to be free, the whole thing. I also watched the movie again, strangely I didn't remember seeing the beginning about Frith and El-Ahrairah, it was just as bloody and wonderful and it was even more heartbreaking then I remember, I cried my eyes out, but this time I was different, older, wiser and well read, and I adored the whole Warren of Rabbits like they were family. Hazel, Fiver, Bigwig, Holly, Blackberry, Silver, Pipkin, Dandelion, Cowslip, Clover, Hyzenthlay, Gen Woundwort, Sherbil, Campion, Blackavar, and Kehaar. All names I have committed to memory all characters that dug little tunnels into my psyche. I swear I have never been as terrified of a bad guy like I am of Woundwort; no slasher movie villain can touch the pure hatred and seething evil he is surrounded with.
    My sister recently came to my house with my 7 year old niece and she saw my copy and wanted to watch it, I said "that's not a movie for kids" and its not. I will wait a couple more years to show it to her.
    ...more info
  • One of the Best Movies Ever
    First, the movie is far better than the novel it is based on. The only thing that stands out in my memory from the novel that isn't clear in the movie is that in Efrafa the biggest rabbit is chief, so when Bigwig mentions his chief, the Efrafan leader assumes Bigwig's chief is even bigger and more powerful than Bigwig. (There, now you can skip the book.)

    Next, I would honestly put this movie on a list of the best along with Casablanca, Forrest Gump and other greats.

    Finally, having had one house rabbit before and another one now, I may be biased. However, I think the story works even better in this case with the rabbit point of view than a similar story would from a human pov....more info
  • A Treat in Every Way
    This film is very faithful to the spirit of the book and is, besides, a visual treat. Like so many of the British productions of this same era, this film would be beautiful just to look at.

    Joyously, though, it also has wonderful performances and a screen play that does tremendous justice to Addams's affecting novel. John Hurt, as Hazel, has a rare opportunity to play the purest of heros and Richard Briers is plaintive as the psychic Fiver. Every performance Denholm Elliot ever gave was a treat, and his stint here, as Cowslip, is no exception. And Zero Mostel as Kehaar--absolutely hysterically funny!

    If you've never read the book, this film is about defining civilization, pursuing freedom and happiness (without doing harm to others); and ultimately about friendship, loyalty, and the true nature of leadership and heroism.'ll be glad you did. (Note, some images may be disturbing for very young children) ...more info
  • An uninspired adaption of Richard Adam's novel.
    The movie does not connect well with the rich mythology of the Adams story.

    There is an attempt with the opening narrative to link the rabbits creation myth and the plot together. It fails rather handily.

    Although the rabbits' oral histories is perhaps the most endearing part of the novel, little place is found for them and thus the film starts out crippled. There is almost no character development in the film. As a result the film has little emotional impact.

    The artwork is not good. There are a few rather pretty but flat pastoral settings but the rabbits are drawn so repellently that they detract from the scenery. There is almost a sense of relief when they are out of a shot.

    Fiver, in particular, is depicted as a nasty, quivering bit of grunge.

    Underground scenes are a maze of lines where the eye is lead nowhere and the rendering is unhelpful to the plot.

    Adams deserves better. No doubt, someday, someone will make a movie that captures the spirit and the wonder of this classic book - perhaps a talent like Jackson brought to the Lord of the Rings. But this film is NOT it. It may even be depressing or frightening to young children....more info
  • HORRIBLE!!!!
    My mom rented this movie for me when I was about 7 or 8 years old. She didn't know anything about Watership Down. She had never read the book or watched the the movie. I have always liked bunnies, so I guess she thought it would be a good movie for me. Cute fuzzy bunnies... what could be wrong? So she sat me in front of it and went to do chores or something.
    I was mortified by what I saw. Bloody grisly gory. Rabbits scratching and clawing one another, ripping each other to shreds. Every last disgusting detail is shown. The scene that I remember most vividly is Bigwig caught in a snare, blood streaming out of this neck and mouth. I cried and cried. Eventually I turned it off. I have always had bad memories of it. Finally, at 19, I got enough courage to watch it again, hoping I would find it better than what I remembered. Wrong. 11 years later I still find it as ugly and repulsive as ever. Quite frankly, it is disgusting. I hate the grisliness of it all. I hate the blood and the shooting, mauling, scratching, clawing and dying. I do not consider myself a squeamish person, but this is nasty. It should of been rated R. Don't put yourself through the torture of watching this. You'll do yourself a favor....more info
  • A true classic
    I won't be the first to say it doesn't have every element the book has and it makes quite a few changes. However it's close enough considering if you weren't with Disney and if you wanted to tell a "real" story the odds were against you.

    Just ignore those people who cry out against the violence because there is plenty of it in the book and plenty of talking about it too. I just recently read the damn thing before watching the movie so I should know as good as anyone.
    I can go on and on about how much it "annoys" me (though I can think of many other creative words) that everyone expects a g/pg movie that "the whole family" can enjoy when it comes to animation. Well I think the whole family can enjoy this movie and if it scares your kids (it kind of freaked me out) then so be it, life can be scary people and animals die everyday get over it.
    So I say it one more time. Despite what others say this book follows the plot as close as any movie could for when it was made. And that is saying allot since it came out in 1978 and has influenced a number of people since then because this isn't a cute story about some wacky rabbits this a story that can be compared to any story that involves humans as much as any Pixar film.
    ...more info
  • Hard to track down, fun to watch
    This was one of my favorite movies when I was very young. It was very hard to track down a copy, but well worth it. This tape was in great condition and was just as much fun to watch for all the memories it brought back!...more info
    A widely acclaimed novel by Richard Adams is the basis for this sometimes somber tale of a group of rabbits who leave their warren behind and go out in search of new digs. While children may find the rabbits fascinating at times, there is an uncommon amount of violence and bloodletting for an animated film. For adults, however, WATERSHIP DOWN is a refreshing change of pace in the cutesy animals animated field. Voiced by several notable British character actors (including John Hurt and Harry Andrews), the movie is a striking look at intercommunal living and the mysticism of the animal world. A lovely song written by Mike Batt and performed by Art Garfunkel (Bright Eyes) adds a Disneyish flavor, but this is no typical Disney like fare. Some children may find it frightening and depressing, but it's still worth a look....more info
  • Excellent.
    Unlike some novels that are converted into videos, they managed to make this one enjoyable. Just a small warning- despite the rabbit characters and bright art, this is definetely not a children's video. For example, during Holly's recount of what happened after he and some other rabbits left the warren, there is a very haunting scene that creeped even me out (for a little while, at least, ^-^;). Oh, and Art Garfunkel sings the song, Bright Eyes. Yay!...more info
  • Most wonderful animated tale on film
    I am delighted with the September 2003 release on DVD of the beloved animated feature film Watership Down as a 25th Anniversary special edition. Owning a copy of this movie, which is to me uniquely special, indicated the central role DVD technology has assumed in preserving people's favourite movies for home viewing in a more lasting form than ever before. Only now have I begun to collect movies after many years of avoiding them owing to a concern over the utility, and durability of the decay-prone videotape system. This film, one of the very first I have purchased, has some extras added, the most useful of which is an extensive commentary from director Martin Rosen that covers most aspects of the film's generation and adaptation from Richard Adams's award-winning book. But the film itself is a true classic. I saw it at the cinema in early 1979 aged nine, soon after reading the book (which was a 9th birthday present for me).It made a very strong impression on me, and I found it a beautifully-realised tale that incorporated a mythic prologue that explained the basic workings of rabbit society, a dangerous quest, a very well-defined central cast of rabbit characters- the noble Hazel, the courageous Bigwig, the prophetic Fiver, and the oppressive General Woundwort. There is fear and danger in the rabbits' adventure but also heroism, ingenuity and loyalty, not to mention altruism when the kindly if cantankerous seabird Kehaar (voiced by Zero Mostel) is given shelter by the rabbits and later acts as a scout, helping them hatch a plan to stave off invasion by a ruthless tribe of neighbouring rabbits they come into conflict with. The English countryside is delightfully, and accurately portrayed, and the idea of animated animals enacting a tale that has at its heart the battle to survive in the face of human expansion and ecological destruction works well. The film cannot, in 88 minutes, give too much detail of the several alternative styles of societal organisation (described more fully in the book)that the rabbits encounter on their journey, but nothing crucial to the story is omitted. The other wonderful feature of Watership Down is the original song Bright Eyes, performed by Art Garfunkel. This hauntingly beautiful tune appears in an edited dream sequence in the middle of the film that represents Hazel's rescue after being dangerously hurt. It is my all-time favourite song.

    This movie is most suited to older children (8-9+)and adults, and will continue to be enjoyed for generations to come....more info

  • Dumb stupid Bunny
    A classic cartoon about life through the eyes of rabbits. Antagonists and Protagonists meet head on. You may want to view with young children to be able to explain the similations. ...more info
  • Very good but still creepy...
    It was a good movie. There are 3 parts I know of that are creepy. There is a lot of blood and violence and a lot of fighting and attacks. But it's ok. The blood isn't super detailed, just enough so you know what it is. Though I think the bloodiest part is when Bigwig is caught in a snare. They animated the collie very well but the lab could use a bit of work. It's a good movie but NOT for kids. My age range: no younger than 10 or 11. Parents, watch it first then show your kids. The weird thing is that I hated the book. I thought it's normaly the other way around......more info
  • Dark Childhood
    I saw this film in Brighton, England when it was released. I was eight years old.

    If I could sum up one influence on my own writing and thought processes this film would probably be up there. I recalled the film after seeing it as a reference in "Donnie Darko". I'm going to buy it now for my 6 year old daughter. My hope is it will teach her something about the serious hardship of life without exposing her to grim facts of America in 2005. George Bush is a fascist rabbit.

    This film is a cinematic gem.

    Adam...more info
  • The search for a new home and a new beginning
    Richard Adams' classic on a band of rabbits leaving their secure warren after a prophecy of doom foretold by one of their number was quite a task to bring to the screen. After Fiver sees a vision of their warren in danger and tells everyone to flee, his older brother Hazel and (in the movie version). But I saw the movie on TV and read the book so many times and enjoyed it everytime.

    The rabbits encounter many perils away from the warren, and the scene in the woods in the dark is a perfect example of the perils they face. They may be escaping to hopes of a better place, but they have to be on their guard, where their ears perk at any sound.

    A big crisis occurs later on and they enlist the aid of Kehaar, a wounded but wacky seagull ("I come from the peeg vater") they nurse back to health, to help them make their new society a more solid founding. That leads them to Efrafa, a militaristic warren under the ferocious claws of the gigantic General Woundwort. He is drawn pretty scary and the little tykes might find him a wee bit frightening.

    Some of the rabbits have distinct personalities. There's Hazel the strategist and nominal leader of the group, Fiver the visionary, Bigwig, a tough rabbit and fighter who's their muscle, Pipkin, the small and chubby fearful one, Dandelion the storyteller (who unfortunately doesn't get a chance to tell a story here), Blackberry the clever one, whose ideas save them more than once, and Silver, who's a larger rabbit whose presence seems to give them security. One character that was never in the book is Violet, a doe, who unfortunately meets a tragic end, and her death has great consequences later on.

    It's virtually impossible to replicate Richard Adams' masterpiece on an animated level, but producer Martin Rosen and his team try. The rabbit societies and their different outlook is made apparent. There's the authoritarianism of the wanderer's home, the deceiving, untraditional Cowslip's warren, and the cruel militaristic totalitarianism of General Woundwort's warren, Efrafa. Hazel's group is more democratic and the best way to live, as is the vision Fiver has of where they should be: "A high lonely place with dry soil where we can see and hear all around, and men hardly ever come."

    The animation is splendid, the rabbits made believable, such as the heroes. The types of eyes play a difference here. The heroes eyes seem normal, while the narrow eyes of Cowslip's rabbits give them a sense that they're a bit weird, and the dark circles around those in Woundwort's sociey give the officers a cruel look, and the others an oppressed look.

    A more lyrical set of sequences is given when we get an insight into how Fiver gets his visions. But the image where a warren is destroyed by men is pretty disturbing. From the latter, this movie is not for the younger kids, as there are some frightening and violent scenes. Maybe junior high onward.

    And some of the Lapine language terms are used here without explanation, so I'll include them here:

    flayrah - very good food, e.g. the carrots at Cowslip's warren

    Hlessi - a solitary rabbit not part of a warren

    Hraka- rabbit word for excrement, also used as a swear word

    hrududu- a motor vehicle

    inle - death. Frith and inle is kind of like "Oh my god." in rabbit language

    Lendri- a badger

    Owsla- the officer class in a warren, in charge of defense and security.

    -rah - a suffix meaning prince or a token of respect. e.g. Hazel-rah

    silflay - feeding time

    Tharn - going tharn means rabbits are going stupefied from fear

    The voice actors do well in bringing personalities into the rabbits, especially John Hurt (Hazel), Richard "Good Neighbours" Briers (Fiver), Roy Kinnear (Pipkin), Michael Gruber-Fox (Bigwig), and Harry Andrews (Woundwort), but it's Zero Mostel's over-the-top Yiddish schitck as Kehaar that surpasses them all.
    Rabbits. Prolific, hunted by humans, an invasive species, to use the ecological term, but they are animals. The glory and triumph of the rabbit can be summed up in Frith's (the sun and God to the rabbits) message to El-ahrairah, the prince of rabbits: "All the world will be your enemy, prince witha thousand enemies, and when they catch you they will kill you. But first they must catch you, digger, runner, prince with the swift warning. Be cunning and full of tricks, and your people will never be destroyed."

    One of my favourite movies of all-time....more info

  • Been waiting for years for the new release!!!!
    I am so happy to finally get this wonderful story on DVD!!! I read the novel many years ago, and saw the film for the first time in 2001. I must admit to being in my 30's, and this is still one of my all time favorites!!!...more info
  • About as good an adaptation as possible
    Just to clarify matters for a couple of confused previous reviewers:-

    1. 'Animal Farm' is NOT an animal book (I can't believe I'm having to explain this...); it's a book about socialism and fascism. 'Watership Down' is a book about rabbits. True, there are some references to the evils of fascism, but if you want to pick out a message, it's obviously the spoilation of the planet and the destruction of its wildlife by humankind. Yes, there are mystical overtones, but it's definitely NOT about religion.

    2. I seriously hope the person who wrote 'if you want good drama watch a soap opera' was being ironic, but I have my doubts...

    In short: this film is a pretty good effort at adapting an extremely difficult novel. Much has been lost, of course, but few of us would pay to see a three-hour animated film about rabbits. Martin Rosen and his team follow Richard Adams's lead in not shying away from showing us the violent side of the rabbits' lives. Children are likely to enjoy the film, but bear in mind it contains unpleasant moments. However, I think these are more likely to encourage sympathy, compassion and respect for the natural world than do any harm ( although many children and quite a few adults may shed tears before the end). Please make sure you read the book, too - it's superb. And look out for the animated version of Adams's 'The Plague Dogs'... although that really IS dark and distressing. I'm a big fan of Disney's work, but I'm still glad they didn't produce this adaptation ( as was originally intended) because I'm sure they would have softened the story's harsher elements. The animation isn't spectacular but it serves it's purpose, and the rabbits themselves are well done. All in all, it's difficult to see how anyone else could have made a better effort....more info

  • Disappointing
    Many of the unfavorable reviews here condemn the movie because it is too violent and dark for children. IF the book were a children's book, and if this movie were aimed at children, this would be a valid point. Both the book and the movie, however, are clearly aimed at young-adult and older audiences. Therefore, any review that says, "This was bad because I showed it to my children and they were horrified" misses the point altogether.

    In addition, this movie is an English production from 1978. The movie-making style is (a) European and (b) typical for the time period. Modern American audiences who are uncomfortable with lyrical sequences and gentle, hand-drawn animation will find fault with this film for those reasons. If, however, your taste in film is sophisitcated enough to not expect the latest computer-generated, pop-music-filled, thrill-a-minute Hollywood product, the style is not an issue.

    That said, I can't recommend the movie enthusiastically. Rarely do movies do complete justice to the books on which they are based, but usually one can appreciate the movie for what it did with the material and the difficult job of compression and abridgement that must take place. In this case, however, the movie is a poor representation of the book, lifting only major plot points and leaving behind the rich allegory and societal issues that are the heart of the story. Also left behind are the humor and the matter-of-fact explanations of Rabbit Society: "Rabbits can only count to four," etc. The film sometimes uses the "rabbit language" terminology without explaining it, even by context. Even though the movie merely omits, rather than changes, characters and incidents, so much is lost in the translation that it renders the end product a bit lifeless (despite the frequent conflict and danger) and even pointless. ...more info
  • Excellent rabbit story
    Sometimes rabbits go horribly wrong, and this documentary shows this problem in a very nice manner. I think all children should be educated on the dangers of owning a rabbit, as well as the joy that comes with it....more info
  • Does anyone know if the "Deluxe Edition" includes subtitles?
    I'd also like to know what features it has - most of the reviews on here are from earlier versions of Watership Down and not this most recent version. I'm hoping for English subtitles.. anyone know?...more info
  • Good Movie
    It was really nice to watch this movie, again after several years. My kids watched it, also and enjoyed it. It does have violent scenes, but I don't think they are anything worse than what is on regular TV now. Enjoy!...more info
  • Watership Down
    Glad to see this classic re-issued with additional interviews and extras. This is as true to the book as it gets. A very entertaining and well executed animated work. It is as good in 2008 as it was when released in 1978. Highly recommended for children & adults alike. Watch this with your kids, you'll love it. ...more info
  • Watership Down
    Watership Down was a fairly good movie. I would not personally call it my favorite movie. This might be because I read the book before the movie and, as always, the movie did not follow the movie all the way through. Even though there were a few differences it followed the book well enough that I could enjoy it. I loved the book so much that when I saw the movie I was disapointed. If not compared to the book the movie was very good. If you liked the movie you will love the book. Although animated, it is not for the easily scared or faint of heart. There is a fair amount of blood and violence etc. The animation was decent and the story was fast paced. If I could change the movie I would get rid of the part with the music in it (although if you read the book you would find a bit of symbolism in it but nothing completely necesary) and I'd change the introduction to something a bit more easily reconisable. Over all I thought the movie was enjoyable but not even half as good as the book. I give it 3 stars because I thought it was simply average if I compare it to the book....more info
    WATERSHIP DOWN is a timeless tale about the battle between good and evil and, in animated parable, speaks eloquently to questions about peace and freedom. A classic and faithful adaptation of Richard Adams' beloved book,

    The animated production also features the vocal talents of some of Hollywood's biggest names. John Hurt (THE ELEPHANT MAN and A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS) stars as Hazel, the free-thinking leader of a group of rabbits that want nothing more than freedom. Sir Ralph Richardson (DR. ZHIVAGO and DRAGON SLAYER) cameos as the Chief Rabbit who is indifferent to the danger facing his colony of rabbits. Denholm Elliott (RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK) stars as the, indifferent, dangerous domesticated rabbit Cowslip. And the late, great Zero Mostel (the sensational and original Tevye from Broadway's FIDDLER ON THE ROOF) stars as the seagull Kehaar who becomes an ally of the fledgling colony of rabbits on Watership Down.

    WATERSHIP DOWN is an animated classic that goes way beyond the usual animated fare and is a no-nonsense story that will become a family favorite.

    THE HORSEMAN...more info
  • Watership Down Changed My Life
    This book works on every metaphorical level. It is a masterpiece for anyone to have written....more info
  • Disappointing
    I just recently read the book and watched the movie, and I was disappointed at how they added useless bits and took away important ones. First of all, there was never a rabbit named Violet, and near the end of the book, it is stated that none of the original rabbits had died. They took away the part about the hutch rabbits, and how they escape. They totally skipped a major character, Strawberry. And they failed to elaborate at all about the Efrafans and their way of life. I seriously do not see how anybody who has not read the book could possibly understand the movie, seeing as it totally missed half of the details....more info
  • Bad transfer. What a dissapointment.
    The transfer of this movie is bad. It's very noticeable at the beginning when Bigwig has an audience with the chief. The colors flicker and fade. It happens throughout the movie.

    I tried the DVD on three different machines and two different TV's.

    If you want the movie try to get a different release off eBay.

    Do not purchase this DVD. Warner Brothers needs to provide a corrected version.

    Otherwise the movie is great. :)

    Just to be fair to WB I had the movie replaced. Same issue.
    ...more info
  • Watership Down Changed My Life
    This book works on every metaphorical level. It is a masterpiece for anyone to have written....more info
  • Review Watership Down
    Classic adult animated film in the vein of George Orwell's Animal Farm or even Snow White. A must see for adults who enjoy real animated films and not fluff. Teens are okay.. I wouldn't recommend it for small children. ...more info
  • Watership Down
    This one is very hard to find, at least at a cheap price. The one I bought was expensive but the cheapest I found it be and it was even used. I have not read the book yet but this is a good movie, one I enjoyed a few years back. Its a bit dark, being violent and hard to understand for the smaller kids. I think its rated PG-13, so be cautious when letting younger kids watch it. ...more info
  • It's alright, but read the book instead
    The movie adaptation of the book was decent, but it jumped around and left out some important details which gave the book its substance. For instance, in the movie, the viewer is often unaware of the rabbits motives. This was a huge theme in the story not to mention the stange way they left Strawberry out and the horrific details of the second warren in the story also lost its impact. The end was very rushed and seemed to leave me with a sence of disapointment where as the book was very enjoyable from start to finish. I would suggest that anyone read the book over watching the movie. ...more info
  • slow shipping, great product!
    It took a month to get the movie, but it was listed in 'used' condition. It really looks like brand new! Very happy with my purchase, would def. deal with this seller again!...more info
  • My review
    I first watched the movie on TV way back in May 1979 when I was 9 years old. I fell in love with it. Even after all this time, it is still the very best animated movie I've ever seen (and I've seen alot of them since!) and one of the best movies I've seen in my whole life. I love it because it does not go the "Disney" path, as mots modern animated movies go now. One thing I love it is that there's only got one song in it, and unlike Disney movies, the characters don't burst into song every 5 minutes, so making it a marvellous ride from start to finish. When the one song does appear, it appears at the right time and is used in the right scene for the abosutely maximum effect. And animators are not afraid to make animated movies darker and more violent as well, so telling a richer and more relastic view of the world around us. I wish more animated movies did this.

    And one last thing, "Bright Eyes" by Art Garfunkel is one of my all time favorite songs. It is just so sappy and dark. Particually in the spot where it's used. It was only in 2004 that I found a song more sappy and dark than this. And that song came only by pure luck!

    It's a pity that not many young people today see this stuff now. If they did they might get to see that there's a whole world of animated movies beyond the usual dumb-downed Disney stuff....more info
  • animation classic #1
    There's nothing like a good dramatic cartoon. As a 5 year old, I remembered watching a rabbit cartoon over and over again for some reason which I can't remember, and 13 years later, I rediscovered the film title anf brought the DVD, and I was shocked to see how old it was (27 years). Nevertheless, I still find it very charming and scary (which is good). Probably the factors which make the film outstanding, are the excellent choice of British accents (esp. BIGWIG), the near perfect artwork, and the themes which attract a variety of audience. ...more info
  • Some movies are ageless
    This is one of those movies which can stand the test of time, almost 30 years after it was released.

    For those of us who saw this movie when it was still considered new, in the late 70's and even into the early 80's, this may bring you some feelings of nostalgia, as you ponder over the possible messages of this movie, and how things have changed since those possibly carefree days.

    By today's modern animation standards, the hand-drawn animation in this movie might be considered crude or rough. The style of animation seems to be deliberate, and even seems to bring a little more life to the story.

    I'd also say that in today's 'touchy-feely' society, this movie might not be considered appropriate for children under the ages of 10.

    If I have a single complaint about this DVD, it's with the sound production. The audio track is extremely poor quality. I had to max the volume, and even ended up turning on sub-titles....more info
  • Wonderful Animated Adventure
    This is a wonderful animated adventure. An inspiring story of danger and escape backed up with great character voices plus wonderful artwork not seen in current animated movies. Though this movie might not be meant for the 7 and under kids it is a must see for those who love and miss great artistic qualities that were once a part of animated movies....more info
  • Does anyone know if the "Deluxe Edition" includes subtitles?
    I'd also like to know what features it has - most of the reviews on here are from earlier versions of Watership Down and not this most recent version. I'm hoping for English subtitles.. anyone know?...more info
  • Lacks the power of the book. I was disappointed...
    They cut so much out of the book that what's left does not flow very well and is quite confusing. It loses all of power in my opinion. I really enjoyed the book though. I'm hoping that somebody comes along and makes another movie that includes enough of the book that the story is more powerful as the book is....more info
  • Doesn't compare to the book
    I forgot that I watched this long ago when I recently purchased the DVD--watched it again last night. The intro almost had me turning the thing off--happily the animation improved once the "legend" was all through. My problems with this film--it barely skims the surface of the depth of story found in the book. We never see how Hazel and Bigwig at the start are at odds re. who should be chief rabbit. We spend perhaps what seems, oh, the span of one morning in the warren of bones and snares--in the book the rabbits stayed there for many days at least. We don't have Strawberry (I believe that was his name) from that same warren follow after our heros depart (after Bigwig escapes the snare), to join them. We don't see that Clover and others of the hutch rabbits do manage to escape and join Hazel's group. We never see the little mouse Hazel befriends--one of my favorite scenes in the book, or how that leads up to Hazel's idea to befriend other animals living on the hill--and the eventually befriending of the seagull. We never see how long Bigwig stayed at Gen. Woundwart's (sp?) warren, how difficult it was for him to get to the point he could organize an escape. We never see the doe who hurt her back jumping into the boat, die, and worst of all and in my opinion the other never sees were forgiveable, but not this--we never see how Hazel escapes the cat, we never see him go for the car ride that takes him back to the warren. The other thing we never see that I would have liked to see--after Woundwart's (sp?) death we never see the joining of the two warrens--Hazel's vision, and how that comes true.

    So no I do not recommend this film. It's a very sad attempt to capture this classic novel, and I'm sorry but it could have been so much better. ...more info
  • ..One of those that sticks!
    I was just reading through the other reviews, and one of them struck me. The reviewer was explaining how he/she used to watch this movie when he/she was a kid, and it scared him/her, but at the same time he/she loved it.

    This is exactly how I felt when I was a young child.

    This was one of those movies that I always used to rent at the video store. I loved it. It scared me very much, but it was, at the same time, amazing. I actually rented the movie so many times when I was little, that the video store ended up giving it to me...


    If you are one of those parents who doesn't let your kid watch scary movies, I do not recommend this film. But, if you are able to convince your children (as my parents convinced me) that everything they are watching is "pretend," then I definitely do recommend you purchase this movie. It is one of those films that has stuck with me since the time I was probably about 5 years old. I'll never forget it, and it will always be one of my favorite films.

    As for comparing it to the book... Well my class read the book in 8th grade, and I volunteered to bring the movie in for the class to watch. There are some differences (of course), but if you're looking for an interesting movie, you've found it here.

    ...more info
  • Awesome Movie - classic
    I can watch this over and over and nver get tired of it. The drawings area awesome and the detail is incredible. The story line just puts it over the top....more info
  • Great book, good movie
    If you loved the book, you will love the movie. If you've never read the book, you're in for a pleasant surprise. Rabbits?!! you say. Yes, rabbits - but we are not talking Disney bunnies, here, or Warner Brothers wabbits, either. These rabbits are people, with a rich and carefully thought-out culture and history and language and mythology of their own, and even in the movie they manage to weave all this rich supporting material seamlessly into the story.

    Which reminds me: first let me get this "Family Entertainment" designation out of the way. This isn't really a story for very young children, at least, not for children whose parents feel they still need to say "went to sleep" instead of "died," because, well, the rabbits in the story are realistic in EVERY way, and deal with death on a daily basis. (It's not easy being small and edible!) But if you (or your children!) have no problem with movies like "The Lord of the Rings," or "The Last Unicorn" etc, then this really is Family Entertainment, because it is definitely intelligent and thoughtful enough for adults, as well.

    Speaking of "LOTR," I have Watership Down (the book, that is, on which this movie is based) shelved right beside it on my shelf of "Top Novels IMHO of All Time" because of the depth of character and timeless themes such as courage, loyalty, honor, kindness, the victory of the small over the powerful and evil, etc. I was very pleased to find that the movie truly does it justice and sticks quite close to the source material.

    This is not high-tech animation, mind you, but there's something very beautiful and touching about the watercolor mattes that remind me of old botanical prints. The animation of the rabbits is amazingly realistic, too - the animators clearly studied real rabbits very closely. There are times when they come a bit too close to making the rabbits' faces themselves a bit too cute, though (or too human-cartoon-ugly, in the case of the "bad guys") but on the whole I was relieved at the lack of cartoonishness. I'm not sure a more modern form of animation would be an improvement. (But what do I know? I thought the Lord of the Rings was unfilmable, at one time, too!)

    The sound-track is good, too. Haunting and bittersweet. The brief bit of "Bright Eyes" sung by Art Garfunkle brings tears to my eyes every time - it alone is worth the price of the movie.

    All that being said, I have to note that I am posting this review via the "Deluxe Edition" listing. Since that's to be released in October, I don't know yet how it compares to the ordinary edition (other than that it will be easier to find!) or what's different or Deluxe about it - in fact I'm bummed that there is no information in the product description that tells us what extra features to expect, etc. But that didn't stop me from pre-ordering it, anyway! So I'll come back later, after it arrives, and review the "Deluxe" features once I've seen them. See you in October!...more info
  • They don't make them like this anymore.
    I saw this film when I was a child. I think I was maybe 5 or 6 at the time, and it frightened me terribly, but at the same time I was transfixed and couldn't turn away. I never saw it again until I bought the DVD yesterday, and I've watched it twice.

    First I'd like to comment that this probably isn't the best movie for very young children. I would say they would need to be at least 10 to fully understand some of the concepts of the film. As a reviewer stated, and I agree, this is a wonderful movie to introduce the concept of death to a child. The film can be a wonderful learning tool to show that the world is not all sunshine and roses... However it also teaches you that if you believe strongly enough, and are willing to fight for it, you can find a place where the sunshine and roses are.

    I won't give any plot details, since so many other reviewers did that. However I will say there are moments when I was watching this as a 30-year old adult that I was left speechless. Good examples are the loss of Violet, and when Fiver says "Look! You can see the whole world!"

    And if you don't well up when The Black Rabbit comes to Hazel at the end and asks him to join his Owsla, something is terribly wrong with you.

    I'm very happy I reconnected with this part of my childhood. Seeing this now I can understand why it affected me the way it did as a child. But, at the same time I wouldn't say this isn't for children. Just know that this isn't like animated feature films of today. There is no sugar-coating to soften the blows of harsh reality. I wish they would make more animated films like this now.

    I'm giving it a 4 because the DVD doesn't have much in the way of special features. The movie itself gets a 5.

    I've never read the book, but I think I'll pick it up tomorrow and give it a go.
    ...more info
  • The Grand Adventure(condensed).
    The best thing about this movie is that the main plotting from the novel is still there. The worst thing is that the details in the novel, the mythology, the strange word-usage, the epic scope, are all under-defined or just plain confusing to any who have not read the novel. The best advice I can give here is to read the book first. Get all the minute details and definitions down, then watch this movie as a rehash of what took place. This was one of my favorite movies as a child, but looking at it as an adult it looks too intense and violent for children. There are bloody sequences that still give me chills. There is too much information that is not explained. However, I loved the novel, and this film reminds me, albeit only slightly, why I did....more info
  • Save your money
    I read the book and loved it, bought the movie and hated it. I would not have immagined they could have messed up such a wondeful story so much but they did. I reccomend you read the books and forget about this movie....more info
  • Doesn't compare to the book
    I forgot that I watched this long ago when I recently purchased the DVD--watched it again last night. The intro almost had me turning the thing off--happily the animation improved once the "legend" was all through. My problems with this film--it barely skims the surface of the depth of story found in the book. We never see how Hazel and Bigwig at the start are at odds re. who should be chief rabbit. We spend perhaps what seems, oh, the span of one morning in the warren of bones and snares--in the book the rabbits stayed there for many days at least. We don't have Strawberry (I believe that was his name) from that same warren follow after our heros depart (after Bigwig escapes the snare), to join them. We don't see that Clover and others of the hutch rabbits do manage to escape and join Hazel's group. We never see the little mouse Hazel befriends--one of my favorite scenes in the book, or how that leads up to Hazel's idea to befriend other animals living on the hill--and the eventually befriending of the seagull. We never see how long Bigwig stayed at Gen. Woundwart's (sp?) warren, how difficult it was for him to get to the point he could organize an escape. We never see the doe who hurt her back jumping into the boat, die, and worst of all and in my opinion the other never sees were forgiveable, but not this--we never see how Hazel escapes the cat, we never see him go for the car ride that takes him back to the warren. The other thing we never see that I would have liked to see--after Woundwart's (sp?) death we never see the joining of the two warrens--Hazel's vision, and how that comes true.

    So no I do not recommend this film. It's a very sad attempt to capture this classic novel, and I'm sorry but it could have been so much better. ...more info
  • could have been much better
    The movie itself is one of my all time favorite animated movies. Yes it is very violent, showing relistic animated blood and violence. but if you have read the book you would know that its just holding true to the story. Not good for young children, this is ment for a slightly older youth-adult range. the reason I give it 3 stars insted of 5 is due to the poor quality of the DVD. there are absloulty no extras, the digital remastering could have been MUCH better, and they have warped the color of several rabbits (as compared to the video orginal). the only reasion it got those 3 stars is for the movie itself....more info
  • Watership Down - A Tale for the Ages
    Watership Down is listed in listed in the on some sites in the Family/Children Category and in my opinion it should not be. It should be listed under Anime/Animation. This is a wonderful movie & animation was the most logical format for the story considering the setting & characters. But, I think the subject matter is far too mature for young kids to grasp. It is slow in some parts that children may find boring & even I was disturbed by some of the violence portrayed in the film. It's very unusual to see rabbits tearing each other apart (perhaps that is precisely the reason Richard Adams chose rabbits for his story). I would highly suggest to parents, watch the movie on your own prior to showing it to your kids to determine if it is suitable for them. You know your kid best. I do however, think it's appropriate for kids 11 years old and up.

    The animation in the movie may not live up to today's standards, but the animators took great care in their work. This is most obvious in the impressive way they animated the rabbits' movements. I have owned pet rabbits since I was a little girl & I can say with a great amount of certainty that the movements & natural rabbit behavior was animated not only beautifully, but realistically as well.

    There are so many valuable lessons pointed out in this movie that are directly related to the Human Condition such as fighting tyrannical authority, standing up for what you believe in, friendship, following your own path, the pursuit of happiness etc. But one issue that hasn't been discussed much here that is very relevant is the film's portrayal of how humans are so apathetic towards their environment & fellow creatures. A great example of this is in my favorite scene when Captain Holly locates the wayward bunnies & recounts to them how the humans destroyed the warren. BigWig then says "Humans have always hated us," & ever so poignantly Holly replies, "no. We were just in their way." This film is disturbing yet, inspiring & thought provoking. It will affect all who view it.

    The Soundtrack: The score is pretty standard as far animated features go. Each musical piece is emotionally appropriate to each scene it's matched with. Nothing incredibly memorable, however. And there is strange interlude mid-film which contains the musical "highlight" of the film, a song called "Bright Eyes" sung by the legendary Art Garfunkel (you can tell this movies was made the year I was born 1978, my mom was a huge Garfunkel fan!).

    DVD Special Features: The DVD that I watched was released in March 26, 2002. For those of you who are big fans of the "WD" saga (Jenn that means you should pay attention, LOL) a deluxe collector's edition with filmmaker interviews and other interesting bonus material will be released October 7, 2008. The particular release I watched extremely lacking in entertaining or informative extra footage but here's a brief rundown anyway:

    Richard Adams Profile: A brief biography about and list of other written works of the book's author.

    "Watership Down Today": A brief history & geography lesson on the actual location.

    Theatrical Trailer: I think this one is self-explanatory.

    Bunny Talk Glossary: The most useful of all the bonus material. If you are unfamiliar with Watership Down you should know that the Rabbits have their own language & religion. I would highly suggest that newbies to this story peruse this Rabbit-to-English Translation Guide before viewing the film. It will make the story easier to follow & the movie more enjoyable to watch.

    ...more info