Everyone likes rabbits, unless they suffer from something like lagomorphobia (such as the lovely Anya). However, rabbits don’t have a huge starring role on the screen in the past. We’ve had a few, of course (hence this list), but they just haven’t quite made it in the way dogs, cats, mice or other household pets have. This, I feel, is a real pity. The list below shows my top 5 movies that feature rabbits – and note by ‘feature’ I meant that they play an actual role in the film that is integral to the storyline.
Before we begin, I must mention that there are of course other films that feature rabbits rather than just those below, but which are not on this list. Space Jam, for example, features Bugs Bunny who is one of the first televisual rabbits that would spring to anyone’s mind – but the film itself was rubbish. Fatal Attraction of course has a very significant scene with a rabbit, and allowed all men to categorise their ex-lovers as crazy, psycho bunny boilers – though this is indeed an integral part of the film, one of the best remembered and also one of the most shocking – but the actual rabbit itself didn’t play a big enough part in the film for me to include it. Perhaps one of the other most famous rabbit films that I also missed out was Who Framed Roger Rabbit? I saw this as a child and liked it, but a few repeat watched as I have grown older just didn’t see me having any interest in it any more. If it were on TV, and one of the other films in the list was on at the same time, I would certainly not bother watching it. So on with the list… 5 Bambi (1942) Disney’s classic animation features one of the most memorable rabbits on the screen in Thumper, the lovable character who teaches the eponymous hero his first words. Thumper gets his name from the fact he always thumps his right hind leg on the ground. Though he isn’t a prominent character throughout the whole film, he does make several appearances, and certainly makes more of an impression than Flower, the skunk.
Bambi is the first Disney film I can really remember watching, and though it my be overshadowed in today’s world of CGI animations it is still one of the best out there, offering up more emotional impact and feelings for the characters than any of the other animated films out today. Put Bambi up against Nemo and I’m sure most kids would like the latter more, but fear for the deer over the fish when it comes to the crunch. 4 Watership Down (1978) In a list featuring movies with rabbits in them, how could I miss out this one? Though this is an animation, and has Universal rating, it’s far from cute and fluffy look at the world of rabbits. Instead, it follows the adventures of a group of rabbits leaving their warren after one of them has a vision that they will be destroyed. This film as mild swearing and, at times, harrowing scenes of violence which are very much out of place in what we associate with a children’s film.
Though Hazel and Fiver are the two key rabbits in this film, I was always more of a fan of Blackberry who was the one rabbit in the group who was a lateral thinker and problem solver. When faced with a garden fence, most of the team would sit there and think they either can’t get past or they can fight their way through – whereas Blackberry would go right ahead and just open the gate.
The only problem I have with this film is that I can’t watch it very often. I don’t know why, but the introduction – though important – does bore me a little, and Bright Eyes just annoys me after a while. 3 Wallace & Gromit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005)
I’ve always liked Wallace and Gromit, and the other Aardman animations in general, and this film was no exception. As a standalone movie it was good, and as an animation it checked all of the usual boxes which include a reasonable storyline, jokes that should go over the heads of most pre-teens, and several allusions to other top films, including the aforementioned Bambi and Watership Down, along with the film in the number 1 spot below. As for rabbits – this film is full of them. Big ones, small ones and – as the title of the film suggests – ones that are slightly more anthropomorphized than usual.
This film is also very good if you like cheese. 2 Donnie Darko (2001) There is a rabbit in this film, his name is Frank, he’s slightly demonic and he may also not be real. See, he comes to Donnie Darko in his dreams and tells him about the end of the world and other such things the demonic rabbits would often talk of.
The premise of this my sound a little stupid, but this really is an excellent film that takes a look at the supernatural, time travel and an individual who appears to be on the brink of insanity. Don’t watch this film just for the rabbit though, as though the character of Frank is essential for the story, it could have just been in a guy in a giraffe costume and it would have had the same effect. 1 Harvey (1950) As with Donnie Darko, this film features a slightly deluded individual who sees and hears a 6ft rabbit. The only difference in Harvey is that we don’t actually see the rabbit at all (the special effects in the 50s obviously didn’t allow someone to dress up in a bunny outfit). I agree it’s a bit odd to have a top 5 list of movies featuring rabbits, and have a film at the number one spot where a rabbit isn’t actually seen in the film. You may be disappointed. Believe me when I say that the rabbit, whether real or not, is very important to the story and to understanding the main character and, eventually, those who support him. There’s no doubt in my mind that without this film you wouldn’t have Donnie Darko, and look – there is a rabbit on the DVD cover.
Final point. I decided to write this post after seeing the latest Sony Bravia advertisement, shown below for your amusement.