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860 Ratings

Watership Down

Directed by Martin Rosen
United Kingdom, 1978
Animation, Adventure, Drama


With its naturalistic hand-drawn animation, dreamily expressionistic touches, gorgeously bucolic background design, and elegant voice work from numerous superb English actors, Watership Down is an emotionally arresting, dark-toned allegory about freedom amid political turmoil.

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Watership Down Directed by Martin Rosen

Critics reviews

Watership Down certainly wasn’t the first animated film to think about character with such an attentive sense of nuance, nor was it the first to dismiss the preposterous notion that the form is inherently childish. Nevertheless, its role in transitioning animation from a medium meant primarily for kids to an adventurous, ambitious art form worthy of serious debate is impossible to ignore.
March 19, 2015
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[Rosen] could have used death only as a threat to the hero, a resolution for the villain, a tear-jerking mechanism, or a way of raising the plot stakes, as movies typically (cynically, reductively) use it. But he was brave enough to let it be what it was in the novel: a defining element of existence, an ever-present note of melancholy, the sleep that rounds our lives.
February 26, 2015
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Rosen goes out of his way to avoid Disney’s stylized movements and character touches, but ends by making his characters all look, sound, and act alike—conditions hardly hospitable to dramatic involvement. The animation may be naturalistic, but the fallacy is as pathetic as ever.
October 30, 1978
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