Bambi's mother is a major character in Disney’s 1942 animated feature film, Bambi. She was a doe who lived in the forest as the mate of the Great Prince of the Forest, and mother to their son, Bambi. She dedicates the latter half of her life to raising Bambi in preparation for life in the forest. Shortly into her son's childhood, however, she is killed by an unseen hunter known as Man.
The death of Bambi's mother is widely regarded as one of the most shocking, yet significant moments in cinematic history, as it introduced children to the concept of parental death in a way that had never been seen, prior.
Little is known about the early life of Bambi's mother except that she and her future husband, the Great Prince, met in childhood and that she grew up with another doe named Mena. It is also known that she was a relative to Ena, who is probably either her cousin or sister (as mentioned in the original novel)
Bambi's mother is introduced after having just given birth to her only son. She is often teaching Bambi about the forest and warning him of the dangers of Man. She and her son endure a harsh winter in which there is little food in the forest. While out in the meadow, she and Bambi find a small patch of grass to graze, but as they eat, she senses danger and tells Bambi to run back to the den as fast as he can. She sprints after him, continuing to urge him onward. Gunshots are heard in the background, but she tells him to keep running, and not to look back. After another gunshot rings throughout the forest, Bambi makes it safely back to the den, but finding his mother isn't with him, leaves and begins calling for her in vain. The Great Prince finds Bambi, and tells him that she could no longer be with him, and to come with him. This reveals the death of Bambi's mother, and that the Great Prince was his father.
Bambi's mother makes a short appearance to Bambi in his dream, telling him that everything would be alright and that she would always be with him in his heart. After waking up, Bambi still hears her voice. He goes to the meadow and discovers she is not there. Her voice still trails out on the meadow, sending Bambi to find her and into what becomes a life and death situation. After being saved from Man's dogs by his father, Bambi learns that it wasn't his mother that he heard, but a tool used by Man to make a deer noise.
On their way home, Bambi asks his father if his mother is ever coming back, and the Great Prince sadly answers no, meaning that Bambi's mother is dead.
Later in the film, when Mena was trapped by one of Man’s snares and tells Bambi to run, she inadvertently repeats the last words that Bambi’s mother shouted before she died, which prompts Bambi to lure the dogs away from Mena, so she wouldn’t suffer the same fate that his late mother did.
She, along with many other Disney Characters, made cameo appearances in the film Who Framed Roger Rabbit.
In Beauty and the Beast, there is a deer grazing in the opening scene that greatly resembles her.
- At one point, the film was meant to show her body after she was shot but was later removed as it would be too dark. Despite this, it is considered to be one of the most horrific and graphic deaths in all of Disney history.
- Jean Vander Pyl, who was the original voice of Wilma Flintstone in the series, The Flintstones and its' spin-offs, originally auditioned for the role of Bambi's mother, but the production team later turned her down and stated that her voice sounded "Too young" for the character.
- Tae-Kwon Doe's head in the Toy Story Toons short, Small Fry also resembles her.
- A deer resembling her appears in the Sofia the First episode "Holiday in Enchancia" as one of the forest animals who helps Sofia track down her father.
- In The Wonderful World of Mickey Mouse episode “House of Tomorrow”, Mickey attempts to read the Bambi story. But, the AI controlling the house spoils the death of Bambi’s mother, ruining the story.