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Bambi: "What happened, mother? Why did we all run?"
Mother: "Man… was in the forest."
―An exchange between Bambi and his mother following the introduction of “Man”.

Man is the main antagonist of the 1942 Disney animated feature film Bambi. An unnamed human hunter, he is the common enemy of all animals within the forest. “Man” is never seen; rather, his presence is represented by an ominous 3-note leitmotif and the sound of gunshots. In what is regarded as one of the most chilling acts of villainy in cinematic history, “Man” is responsible for killing Bambi’s mother.

Background[]

As a figure who is never seen nor heard from, little is known about “Man” as an individual. All information surrounding the hunter is inferred by exchanges between the animals of the forest. Dialogue from The Great Prince of the Forest specifies that "Man", an appellation coined by the animals, refers to one person.

As a hunter, “Man” is the apex predator of the forest. He targets all animals, regardless of size or species. His hunts occur semi-frequently, as the animals encounter him multiple times throughout the seasons. It is suggested that “Man” typically hunts alone. He was, at least on one occasion, accompanied by other hunters and a pack of vicious hunting dogs.

The moral alignment of “Man” is left ambiguous. From the perspective of the animals, he is a villain; cold, ruthless, and unforgiving. His impact on both the lives of the wildlife, and the health of the forest itself, are negative and long-lasting. However, the personal motivation behind “Man” and his hunts are never explored. Whether he merely hunts for survival, or kills for sadistic pleasure, is open to interpretation.

Appearances[]

Bambi[]

He is first seen when Bambi and his mother are first grazing in the meadow, and the Great Prince warns them. Later on in the film, he is responsible for the death of Bambi's mother. Near the end of the film, Man returns to the forest with other men hunters and hunting dogs to help him kill more deer and the rest of the forest's animals. During the hunt, he succeeds in shooting Bambi, but only wounds him and never manages to track the deer down. However, Man and the other hunters, unfortunately, leave their campfire lit, which causes a massive forest fire. It is never revealed if they either survived the forest fire or were killed by it. There are deleted scenes shown to test audiences where Bambi and his father discover his corpse after the fire, with the great prince claiming "Perhaps there is some justice in this world after all", showing he has no remorse for him. Those have been cut for being too grim.

Bambi II[]

A period of time after his mother is killed, Bambi falls asleep waiting for his father to return. He awakens after a dream about his beloved mother to the distant sounds of what appears to be her calling him. Bambi follows the voice to the edge of the forest. Upon arriving at an open meadow, the voice continues and Bambi enters into the opening. Then, crows from a dark treeline fly above cawing "Man! Man! Man!", indicating the hunter is waiting in the treeline and has just lured the fawn into a trap with a deer call. Three vicious dogs emerge from the treeline and Bambi freezes in terror as the predators run towards him.

The crows alert the Great Prince who comes to his son's aid and fights off the dogs, who retreat to the treeline. The Prince notices a shine in the treeline (Man's rifle) and he and Bambi flee the meadow as the hunter fires a shot at them.

Although Man is not encountered again in the film, Mena is ensnared in one of his traps after a fight between Ronno and Bambi, however, she is saved as Bambi lures his dogs away while the Great Prince sets her free, saving her from certain death.

Gallery[]

Trivia[]

  • Since his real name is unknown, he is just referred to as "Man" by most of the animals, including The Great Prince of the Forest.
    • In the original book, Man is referred to as "He" and plays a more extant role in the story.
  • According to the Bambi production team, Man was originally intended to appear onscreen. However, the team decided to avoid depicting the character, because such an entity would be too dark, grim, and notorious for the film.
  • "Man is in the forest" later became the code phrase in the studio to indicate that Walt Disney was approaching.
  • In the book Bambi Grows Up, “Man” appears alongside another hunter. This is one of the few instances in the Bambi franchise were “Man” is physically shown in-person.
  • Osamu Tezuka's 1951 manga adaptation of Bambi has a scene where Bambi and Thumper briefly explore Man's cabin.
  • Man was ranked as the 20th greatest screen villain of all time by the AFI's 100 years, 100 Heroes and Villains list, being the second-highest animated villain on the list, and the only one that was never physically seen. The other animated villains to appear on the list were the Evil Queen from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Cruella De Vil from One Hundred and One Dalmatians.
  • In Who Framed Roger Rabbit, one of the early drafts of the script was going to have Judge Doom be revealed as the hunter who killed Bambi's mother, but this revelation was scrapped for unknown reasons.
  • In the film, Man is represented by an ominous 3-note motif. This motif may have inspired John Williams' iconic theme from Jaws.

External links[]

v - e - d
Bambi Logo
Media
Films: Bambi (soundtrack/video) • Bambi II (video) • CGI film

Television: Raw ToonageHouse of Mouse
Video Games: Kingdom Hearts
Books: Thumper's Little Sisters

Disney Parks
Disney Animation BuildingGarden of the Twelve FriendsIt's a Small World

Entertainment: Rivers of Light: We Are One
Fireworks: MomentousTree of Life AwakensWondrous Journeys
Spring: Disney's Easter WonderlandHippity Hoppity SpringtimeUsatama on the Run!
Halloween: Mickey's Halloween CelebrationRe-Villains! Halloween Parade
Christmas: Disney's White Holiday Parade

Characters
Bambi: BambiThumperFlowerFalineGeno and GurriFriend OwlThe Great Prince of the ForestBambi's MotherAunt EnaMrs. HareThumper's SistersMr. HareMiss BunnyMiss SkunkManHunter DogsRonnoMrs. QuailYoung BucksPossums
Bambi II: PorcupineMenaRonno's mother
Deleted: Grasshopper
Locations
Forest
Songs
Love is a SongLittle April ShowerLet's Sing a Gay Little Spring SongLooking for Romance (I Bring You a Song)There is LifeFirst Sign of SpringThrough Your Eyes

Deleted: RaindropsTwitterpatedThumpity-Thump (Thumper song)Sing the Day

See Also
The Walt Disney Christmas ShowPerri
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