"Man is in the forest" was a code phrase used by Disney's employees when Walt Disney was coming down the hallway.
"Man" was ranked the #20 villain on the American Film Institute's list of the 100 greatest heroes and villains - the only character on the list not to appear on-screen.
Walt Disney and his staff attended a preview of "Bambi" in a Pomona theater on February 28, 1942, only a few months before the film was released. During the screening, the audience remained quiet; Walt didn't know if they were spellbound or bored. The audience was shocked by the scene of Bambi's mother being shot to death, but when Bambi starts looking around for her and calling out, asking where she is, a teenager in the audience answered, "Here I am, Bambi!", causing everyone else in the audience - except Walt's staff - to howl with laughter. Walt and his staff left the theater in disappointment, but Walt refused to cut the scene from the movie, insisting that the movie was right as it was. Bambi's mother's death is considered to be one of the most tragic, heartbreaking moments ever, not only in Disney movies, but in movies in general.
Sidney Franklin originally initiated "Bambi" as a film project in 1933, envisioning it as a live action film. He had even gone to the stage of recording 'Margaret Sullavan (I)' and Victor Jory's voices for the soundtrack. Eventually he realized that the technology simply wasn't adequate enough to make the film. After seeing Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, it dawned on Franklin that there was someone who could realize "Bambi" as a movie. So he contacted Walt Disney who immediately leaped at the idea of working on the project. Disney started work on the film in 1936, though he was also developing Fantasia, Dumbo and Pinocchio at the same time. All this explains why there is a dedication in the film's opening credits "To Sidney A. Franklin - our sincere appreciation for the inspiring collaboration".
Donnie Dunagan, who was the voice for young Bambi, also was the model for Bambi's facial expressions.
Bambi premiered August 8, 1942 in London - a very daring move in the midst of war - and a few days later in New York. Despite glowing reviews, it was an initial box office disappointment. This prompted Disney to re-release Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in the summer of 1944, a tactic that the studio regularly adopts now for all their animated features.
A test animation of baby Bambi stuck on a fallen tree-trunk was sufficiently charming to convince Walt Disney to make the film.
Animation from this film has been reused more often than animation from any other Disney film. Usually it is used as incidental animation of birds, leaves and the like. Only a few of the major characters have been reused. Bambi's mother, for example, appears in the very first shot of Beauty and the Beast, and is the quarry of both Kay in The Sword in the Stone and Shere Khan in The Jungle Book. Bambi and his mother fully appear then in The Rescuers.
Austrian writer Felix Salten (real name Siegmund Salzmann) - an insurance clerk who began to write out of boredom - got the inspiration for his novel during a trip to Italy when he became fascinated with the Italian word "bambino".
Bambi was originally supposed to go back to his mother after she was shot and find her in a pool of blood. This idea was scrapped.
Before he died, the last request of Frank Churchill, the composer who scored the music for this film, was that the film's song, "Love Is a Song", be dedicated to his wife, Carolyn, who was Walt's personal secretary from 1930 to 1934 after she married Frank. But Walt had to deny the request since the song had already gone to the publisher.
CASTLE THUNDER: Heard a few times when the storm in the "April Shower" sequence is about to start. It's also heard when the storm clouds are beginning to part and the sun begins coming out.
Disney animators spent a year studying and drawing deers and fawns to perfect the look of Bambi and his parents and friends. Deer are notoriously difficult to render in human terms as their eyes are on either side of their face, their mouth does not lend itself to speech and they have no real chin. Ultimately animator Marc Davis resolved these difficulties by infusing the character of Bambi with the traits of a human baby.
For the film's DVD release in 2005, over 110,000 frames were cleaned up individually, requiring more than 9,600 hours of work. This was done from a copy of the original nitrate negative borrowed from the Library of Congress.
In the original script Bambi was shot instead of his mother, but Walt Disney dismissed the idea and moved the shooting to Bambi's mother.
June 2008 Ranked #3 on the American Film Institute's list of the 10 greatest films in the genre "Animation".
No matter how skilled the animator, the Disney cartoonists simply could not draw Bambi's father's antlers accurately. This was because of the very complicated perspectives required. To get round the problem, a plaster cast was made of some real antlers which was then filmed at all angles. This footage was then rotoscoped onto animation cels.
One of the many rejected ideas was to show the hunter killed by the very forest fire that he had accidentally started.
Pre-production began in 1936 and was intended to be Walt Disney's second full-length animated film after Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Disney's perfection and quest for realism delayed the project significantly, so that Pinocchio, Fantasia, The Reluctant Dragon and Dumbo were released earlier than Bambi.