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4.2 out of 5 stars155
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 21 December 2005
When i was a small child, I used to watch this film over and over again as an enchanting, exciting tale about a little group of bunnies that went on a big adventure, not really understanding what it was all about. But it was only just recently when it was on TV that i realised what a truly fantastic film this is, it can be looked at in so many different ways and have lots of different meanings. The animation is scetchy but I think that it all adds to the raw, honest beauty of this film. Some may decide thats its too violent and disturbing for little ones but never really noticed it as a child myself.
I would reccomend Watership Down to anybody, if your looking for a deep and interesting film or even just a story about a big adventure, this is it.
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on 6 March 2004
This is my favourite movie of all time. I grew up watching it. It has a wonderful musical score and the unforgettable song, Bright Eyes. It may scare younger viewers as it is a very dark animation, especially near the end with the fighting (I won't say between whome, for it may spoil the story for those who haven't seen it) however, it is realistic and thats what I like about it. There is blood shed and there are deaths but it makes a change from all those animated films where the characters fight and clearly don't have a mark on them. I recommend it to everyone who has enjoyed the book or just has an interest in unusual animations. A great movie!
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on 4 June 2004
Firstly, let me say that I grew up watching this film and reading the novel and from that perspective this is a must-see film, beautifully made with a moving soundtrack.
However, the presentation on DVD is awful. The menus are shabby and there are no special features, not even a trailer. But this is not the worst aspect. The transfer is woeful. Immediately you notice the tape hiss. Yes, it's an old movie... but it was made in the 70s, not the 40s! It also looks like a transfer from a VHS video at times. The screen is saturated of colour, and flickers at times. Worse, at times the screen distorts at the top as if the tape was chewed. Unbelievable. Did they lose the original master tape?
Fantastic movie, but Universal should be shot.
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VINE VOICEon 16 October 2007
'Watership Down' is the original adaption of the novel written by Richard Adams about the exciting and emotional tale of a group of rabbits when they are forced to leave their Sandleford homes when Fiver, who often sees visions of the future, tells them that their warren is in danger from humans. The group is then lead by Hazel and Bigwig as they make their way through the fields of Hampshire as they come face to face with danger from other animals such as rats, foxes, cats, dogs and owls as well as humans and cars. As the story goes on Hazel and the group of rabbits try to rescue some rabbits from a farm; help a bird, who in turn then helps them; join another warren of rabbits and also try to steal does from a much bigger and powerful warren known as Efrafa, leading to a shocking and brilliant finalle.

I've only just recently finished reading the book so it was interesting to see how the filmmakers would adapt this classic novel and I think that they have done a very good job of putting the 480 pages into just under an hour and a half, making subtle cuts and changes along the way. Although this dubbed a children's film, I found it to be quite gruesome and horrifying in parts, with lots of blood and gore, which I could imagine may be quite disturbing for younger viewers and certainly should have had at least a PG certificate rather than it's U certificate.

Why this is a "Deluxe Edition" is beyond me as the special features aren't great. There's no deleted scenes, no "Bright Eyes" music video and isn't a director's cut, it just has a conversation with the filmmakers and a storyboard comparison, which aren't that much fun to watch.

Overall though this is a brilliant film that stays very true to the book with only minor differences and a few characters missing. Definitely worth a watch whether you've read the book or not.
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It's amazing how many people of around my age (thirty-odd) saw this film at the cinema in 1978 and were terrified by it. There's no question that the BBFC made one of it's most incomprehensible errors by passing this film as a 'U' certificate, although I think a 'PG' would be sufficient (or an 'A' as it was back in the 70's). It does contain some surprisingly graphic violence, and the nightmare scenes of rabbits suffocating in their bulldozed warren must have caused many nightmares for young viewers over the years. Just like the book, it's perhaps best appreciated by older children and adults - although it's nowhere near as dark and disturbing as the same team's other Adams adaptation, 'The Plague Dogs' (which could also do with a higher certificate than its current 'PG' rating). The animation is fairly plain but has some standout moments of beauty, and the rabbits are all well animated and superbly voiced, with General Woundwort making a suitably frightning impression. Although the story was much simplified and condensed for the screen, it retains the esscense of Richard Adams' marvellous novel, and he professed himself to be pleased with the results so who are we to argue?
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on 26 December 2011
Rated as U and having watched this in the 80s, I'd think it would be rated as a 12, since there is some moderate violence in the movie. (Rabbit lovers beware!)
However, it is a good story. Made in 1978, the story is about a community of wild rabbits living in England, when their home is destroyed by bulldozers and they have to search for a new, safer home. During their travels they encounter a rabbit-hating black cat called Tab. A vicious dog guarding a farm and worst of all, old General Woundwort - another large, wild rabbit who runs a strict warren. Although blind in 1 eye, nobody dare challenge him for fear of their life.
Look out for the beautiful song: Bright Eyes by Art Garfunkel.
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on 28 January 2002
'Watership Down' is one of the few feature films that we can be proud of. Sticking faithfully to Richard Adam's original script, Watership covers many areas of film genre, including comedy, drama, suspense and tragedy. The supplied voices are a showcase of many of our fine, British talent. Along with a fantastic soundtrack (also tragic at times especially 'Bright Eyes' sung by Art Garfunkel), Watership Down is one of the best animated films of all time.
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VINE VOICEon 13 January 2004
I bought this DVD having loved the film when I was a kid. I hadn't seen it for years and the film itself was just as good as I remembered it. The animation is wonderful and the pacing just right for adults and children alike. For me though the most wonderful thing is the soundtrack music. Bright Eyes suffers because of its over familiarity but the musical soundtrack itself is probably my favourite of all time. Keeehar's theme is sublime.
It is a real shame that they didn't take a little time to raise the quality of picture and soundtrack. To me it looked like it could have been copied straight from a VHS copy. The final credit music wobbles terribly at one point. The early scenes have all sorts of anomalies and sparkels and the colour is very washed out.
But if you or your kids have never seen it, it is absolutely essential you buy this anyway.
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on 26 June 2001
The best animated film available. Not aimed at children, showing the complete reality of the harsh environment animals have to live in. The atmosphere assisted greatly by Garfunkel's 'Bright Eyes'.
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on 21 June 2008
Another classic film from many people's childhood including my own. One of those films where the old VHS tape was worn out it was watched so much.

The animation is good but the pre-credit sequence is amazing, very stylish indeed. There are also lots of voices here that you go...."Who is that? Now I know who that is but I can't remember his name". It's funny in places too especially the scenes featuring the seagull. "Biiig Vaater!" Great music too featuring the great song sung by Art Garfunkel "Bright Eyes". A very touching film indeed.

However Disney this is not......

It's strange how you look at a film like this differently when you become an adult. Even though my personal memories of this film are very good I cannot help but share some of the concerns that have been raised by one of the other reviewers here. The subject matter here is certainly not of a childish nature. There are some quite adult themes displayed and a few images of death which could be viewed as harrowing bearing in mind this is a cartoon. The themes include almost dictatorships, blood and mild torture. I still think this is a good film and it possibly can teach children that the world is not always a friendly place. On the basis of this then, a note to parents: if you have not seen this film before I would recommend you watch it first without your children and then decide whether or not you feel it suitable for your children. As a result I too find it quite shocking that this film is classified as Universal.

A very good film though but not without it's weaknesses.
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