Classic Movie Reviews

Watership Down Review

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There have been a relative few movies that had something important to say and said it in a profoundly moving way, becoming classics. These are movies worth seeing more than once. Some of these are identified and described on this and the following pages


    "Whenever they catch you, they will kill you. 
               But first, they must catch you."
    Based on a best seller by Richard Adams, Watership Down has been praised by critics as one of the best animated films ever made that didn't come out of the Disney studios. This British production is a fairly sophisticated adventure drama that isn't quite suitable for children younger than middle school age. It begins with a fable that tells how the animal god Frith created the world and populated it with animals, all of whom lived in harmony. Trouble began when the rabbits multiplied too rapidly, creating a food shortage. So Frith rearranged things, making some animals predators that would prey on the rabbits. To make it fair, he gave the rabbits speed and cunning. A rabbit who is a seer has an apocalyptic vision and warns the others in his warren they must leave and find a new home. The leaders of the warren ignore him so he and seven others sneak off and go in search of safety. Their numbers are reduced as they find everything except safety in their quest. Finally, however, they reach Watership Down but their troubles are not yet over. They learn that their old warren has been destroyed by humans turning the area into a commercial development. 
The animated rabbits are given voices by John Hurt, Nigel Hawthorne and several other veterans of British cinema. Zero Mostel, in his last film, gives voice to a friendly seagull.

1978, Directed by Martin Rosen

Watch a Clip from Watership Down

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