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Watership Down

  • Drama
  • Animation
  • 1978
  • Martin Rosen
  • 87 mins
  • PG

Summary

Animated screen version of Richard Adams's bestselling novel, featuring the voices of John Hurt and Richard Briers. When Fiver, a young buck rabbit, has a frightening vision of destruction, a group of rabbits led by the resourceful Hazel steals away on an epic and dangerous quest to find a safer home.

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Review

A star rating of 3 out of 5.

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.

How to watch

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Credits

Cast

rolename
HazelJohn Hurt
FiverRichard Briers
BigwigMichael Graham-Cox
Captain HollyJohn Bennett
Chief RabbitRalph Richardson
BlackberrySimon Cadell
SilverTerence Rigby
PipkinRoy Kinnear
HyzenthlayHannah Gordon
KehaarZero Mostel
FrithMichael Hordern

Crew

rolename
DirectorMartin Rosen

Details

Theatrical distributor
Nepenthe Films Ltd
Released on
1978-12-13
Languages
English
Guidance
Contains scenes that may be disturbing for younger children.
Available on
video, DVD and Blu-ray
Formats
Colour

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