Watership Down


“All the world will be your enemy.  Prince of a Thousand enemies.  And when they catch you, they will kill you.  But first they must catch you; digger, listener, runner, Prince with the swift warning.  Be cunning, and full of tricks, and your people will never be destroyed”   Richard Adams – Watership Down

I’ve mentioned before in my very first post (https://lululovesfilms.wordpress.com/2014/03/02/so-why-start-a-blog-on-films/ ) how certain films from your childhood stay with you and this film, for me, is one of them.

Hazel and Fiver, Watership Down

I cannot ever remember not seeing Watership Down.  It was televised every Easter during my childhood and I always watched it, always crying at the same parts.  Last year, I bought a restored version on dvd and, keeping the ritual, watched it at Easter.

The animation does look dated now, but this film was released in 1978 so it is to be expected.  The way I see it is, as though viewing photographs of my childhood from the late 70’s to early 80’s, the animation appears slightly sepia toned.  Interestingly, since the film’s release in the late 70’s right up to now, the BBFC have received complaints about the film’s U rating.  It is sad and scary in places, but never in such a way that it terrified me as a child.  However, if you and/or your child prefer animation with singing and skipping princesses, then perhaps you should avoid this!

Evil General Woundwort

In some ways, Richard Adams was ahead of his time in writing what is essentially about the environment and man destroying it.  However, Watership Down is largely about courage and friendship.

Fiver, seen as mad by most of the Warren, has visions.  When he has a vision of the Warren being destroyed, he implores everybody to leave and find a new safe place to live.  A small band leaves with him, including his older brother, Hazel, and Bigwig.  They enounter another warren of rabbits led by General Woundwort who is one of the nastiest villains in film!  From there on, it is a story of survival and endeavour to find, as Fiver says:

“…high lonely hills, where the wind and the sound carry, and the ground’s as dry as straw in a barn.  That’s where we ought to be..”

Most of my friends say Watership Down is too sad so they can’t watch it and they don’t understand why I like it!  I think this is a beautiful film with a timeless story and a wonderful voice cast including John Hurt and Richard Briers.  Their soothing voices have been part of many of my childhood films or television programmes.  However, my best friend, Laura has always loved this film too.  So Laura, this post is for you. xx

“My heart has joined the Thousand, because my friend stopped running today”


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