Disney Making Huge Change To Bambi’s Most Memorable Scene

By Chris Snellgrove | Updated


While Disney built an empire on their reputation for delivering animated classics filled with catchy music and colorful characters, not every part of these classic cartoons was necessarily family-friendly. A classic example of this is Bambi, a movie that features a surprisingly bleak scene of the title character’s mother getting killed very early into the film. Now, Newsweek reports that for the film’s upcoming live-action remake, Disney plans to change that scene in order to better suit the sensibilities (and sensitivities) of modern audiences.

The upcoming live-action remake of Bambi will include a significantly toned-down version of Bambi’s mother being shot.

Exactly how Bambi’s most infamous scene will be changed isn’t immediately clear. According to the film’s writer, Lindsey Anderson Beer, “there’s a treatment of the mom dying that I think some parents these days are more sensitive about than they were in the past.” The writer thinks “there is a way to update” the film and “bring it to life for kids these days in a way that maybe they relate to a little bit more.”

While she is being deliberately cagey about the nature of the changes in this scene, we’re pretty confident that the mother is still going to die. In narrative terms, this is part of the classic Disney call to action: characters like Snow White and Cinderella couldn’t properly set out on their own independent adventures until their parents were dead, just as Bambi wouldn’t have explored the wider world if his mom hadn’t been cruelly killed by a hunter.

You won’t see this Bambi scene in the remake

…Disney is unlikely to stop remaking classics like Bambi into live-action films as long as doing so remains a license to print money.

With that being said, we do share the rest of the internet’s confusion when it comes to how Disney is planning to modernize this scene to make the live-action Bambi both more relevant and less traumatizing. The original traumatizing scene takes place in a forest, and as many sarcastic online users have pointed out, a “modern” forest isn’t very different than a forest in 1942 when Bambi first came out. Unless the hunter will be sporting some sweet hunting gear and a tricked-out rifle, the basic mechanics of “man shoots deer” haven’t changed in the intervening years.

Disney’s audiences are split right down the middle on whether they approve of the kinds of changes that the studio has made when updating cartoons like Bambi for a modern audience. Polling courtesy of Newsweek revealed that 50 percent of respondents were “happy for Disney to update its older content to align with modern values,” with the other 50 percent wanting remakes that hew closer to the original material. Interestingly, even those in favor of these modern changes were among “the majority of respondents” who “wished Disney would create new stories rather than remake its archive.”

Despite the changes, Bambi’s mother will not make it out of Act 1 alive otherwise, there would be no movie.

Unfortunately, Disney is unlikely to stop remaking classics like Bambi into live-action films as long as doing so remains a license to print money. And it’s not like the studio is facing a binary choice over whether to make a good film or a modern film: despite the culture war blowback against the live-action The Little Mermaid (mostly because it recast the mermaid Ariel as a Black woman), the movie ended up being a financial success that was popular with critics and audiences alike. Only time will tell if Bambi ends up being an equally great (if not better) film or if it belongs at the bottom of the ocean with the rest of Ariel’s would-be treasure.