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Watership Down (1978)

PG  |   |  Animation, Adventure, Drama  |  1 November 1978 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 23,178 users  
Reviews: 161 user | 57 critic

A group of rabbits flee their doomed warren and face many dangers to find and protect their new home.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Hazel (voice)
Fiver (voice)
Michael Graham Cox ...
Bigwig (voice) (as Michael Graham-Cox)
John Bennett ...
Capt. Holly (voice)
Chief Rabbit (voice)
Simon Cadell ...
Blackberry (voice)
Terence Rigby ...
Silver (voice)
Pipkin (voice)
Richard O'Callaghan ...
Dandelion (voice)
Cowslip (voice)
Cat (voice) (as Lyn Farleigh)
Mary Maddox ...
Clover (voice)
Kehaar (voice)
Gen. Woundwort (voice)
Hyzenthlay (voice)


Based upon Richard Adam's novel of the same title, this animated feature delves into the surprisingly violent world of a warren of rabbits as they seek to establish a new colony free of tyranny and human intervention. Frightening and bloody in some scenes. Not recommended for young children. Written by Keith Loh <loh@sfu.ca>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


All the world will be your enemy, Prince with a Thousand Enemies, and when they catch you, they will kill you... but first they must catch you.


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

1 November 1978 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Den långa flykten  »

Box Office


SEK 4,411,305 (Sweden)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?


This was the first film to feature both John Hurt and Nigel Hawthorne. Both would later star together in two other animated features, The Plague Dogs (1982) (which was also based on a Richard Adams book), and The Black Cauldron (1985). See more »


When Cowslip tells the poem about the stream and the camera tilts up toward the ceiling, his head disappears before it has a chance to completely go off screen. See more »


[first lines]
Narrator: Long ago, the great Frith made the world. He made all the stars and the world lived among the stars. Frith made all the animals and birds and, at first, made them all the same. Now, among the animals was El-Ahrairah, the Prince of Rabbits. He had many friends and they all ate grass together. But after a time, the rabbits wandered everywhere, multiplying and eating as they went. Then Frith said to El-Ahrairah, "Prince Rabbit, if you cannot control your people, I shall find ways to ...
See more »


Bright Eyes
Composed by Mike Batt
Sung by Art Garfunkel
See more »

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User Reviews

Simply brilliant
7 April 2004 | by (Landantown) – See all my reviews

'Watership Down' is quite simply my favourite animated film of all time.

The vocal talent, animation style (both in the main story and in the mythical opening), soundtrack and script all work wonderfully, shortening the material of the book but not losing all of its themes. Efrafa was exactly as I imagined it would be from reading the book, Woundwort being suitably scary and unhinged.

Obviously the violence and horrific imagery has been toned down to make the film more accesible to a young audience (at 8 I wore out TWO copies of the film on VHS!!!) but not so much that the film becomes cutesy. Far from it. These are not fluffy bunnies in the vein of Thumper, they are real. They get hurt (Bigwig nearly is killed in a snare, Hazel is shot, Captain Holly arrives nearly dead), they fight, they flee from domestic dogs, cat, from humans with guns. There is blood and violence, the film does not shy away from that...Blackavar's torn ears are as wince-inducing to me now as they were to me when I first saw the film 10 years ago.

What does surprise me now though is that the film is rated U (universal, suitable for all) here in the UK. Not only is there some mild swearing, the level of violence and the visual horror (Fivel seeing the field covered in blood, Holly's description of the warren blocked with dead bodies) is surely at least PG? Hmmm....

To conclude it can be said that watching films from your childhood is often a bad move....they are usually best left in the memory. The same can not be said of Watership Down. Simply brilliant!

41 of 44 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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