Watership Down

Watership Down

Martin Rosen (1978)

87min
U Certificate
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Review

Our Score
This animated version of Richard Adams's bestselling novel about a group of rabbits searching for a new home was a box-office success, despite the difficulty of being pigeonholed as a "kids' movie" but released with a PG certificate (for several genuinely scary scenes). In fact, its faithful retelling of the story gives the movie a dark sophistication that will attract older children and their parents. Martin Rosen inherited the project after John Hubley, who helped animate many Disney classics of the 1940s, had departed owing to "creative differences". The visual style is ambitious, with a naturalistic style and watercolour backgrounds that some may find clunky and others will adore. The voice cast is truly impressive, with telling contributions from John Hurt, Ralph Richardson, Denholm Elliott, Richard Briers and a bonkers Zero Mostel as the seagull Kehaar. Hurt and Rosen would reunite for the animated dramatisation of Adams's darker follow-up, The Plague Dogs. And the tale is crowned (or saddled, according to taste) with Art Garfunkel's rendition of the chart-topping Bright Eyes. Fans of the book and Japanese manga should appreciate its unique look, others may find themselves drifting off.

Summary

Young rabbits go in search of a safe place to live after one of them envisions the destruction of their warren. But their cross-country journey is fraught with danger, as they encounter predators and a brutal rival colony. Animated drama based on the novel by Richard Adams, with the voices of John Hurt, Richard Briers, Marcus Graham-Cox, Denholm Elliott, Michael Hordern and Zero Mostel.

Cast & Crew

Hazel John Hurt
Fiver Richard Briers
Bigwig Michael Graham-Cox
Captain Holly John Bennett
Chief Rabbit Ralph Richardson
Blackberry Simon Cadell
Silver Terence Rigby
Pipkin Roy Kinnear
Hyzenthlay Hannah Gordon
Kehaar Zero Mostel
Frith Michael Hordern
Director Martin Rosen
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Other Information

Language: EnglishColourTheatrical distributor: Nepenthe Films LtdGuidance: Contains scenes that may be disturbing for younger children.Available on: video, DVD and Blu-ray
Drama