The first time I saw “Watership Down” was on t.v., back in the early 80s.  I saw the commercial for it and I just had to watch it.  I loved the movie as a boy, and I love it now as an adult.

“Watership Down” is a British animated movie about a group of rabbits who leave their warren because they believe something bad will happen to their old home very soon.  But leaving isn’t so easy, because the warren is run like an oppressive government, led by a Chief Rabbit whose orders must be obeyed, and the orders are enforced by soldier/policemen rabbits.   The rabbits who want to leave (led by a rabbit voiced by John Hurt — you know, that dude who had a baby alien burst out of his chest in the movie “Aliens”) make a break for it anyway; and they encounter many dangers in order to find that perfect home where they can live peacefully and come and go as they please.

But finding a new home is only part of the problem, because all the rabbits in Hurt’s group are male.   So, in order to make their lives and new home whole with new mates and the possibility of future baby rabbits, they look to another warren where male and female rabbits want to leave.  This other warren is run by a huge, tyrant, warrior rabbit called The General; and he has many vicious, soldier rabbits under his command who will kill any rabbit who crosses him.  So, of course, Hurt’s group is going to find it difficult to release the female and male rabbits who are in The General’s warren.

When I first watched “Watership Down,” I don’t think I was aware of the political messages of the movie; but as an adult, yes, I see and hear what the movie is truly about, which makes the story more profound, especially in today’s political climate.  As a kid, though, I mostly remembered the little guy fighting the big guy for what he believed in.  And that leads me to my most memorable, movie moment of “Watership Down”: the scene when one of the good rabbits called Bigwig fought The General, who is twice Bigwig’s size.  Boiled down to a child’s perspective, it’s a person fighting a bully when there is no other choice but to fight.  Fighting the good fight, even though the odds are against the little guy.  I know, I’ve been there, because I’ve had my share of dealing with bullies when I was younger.  Sometimes I stood up to them.  Sometimes I got my ass kicked, sometimes it was a draw, and sometimes it led to no physical altercation.  But I never regretted those moments when I stood up to those idiots despite some of the negative outcomes.

Walk away if you can, but if that’s not possible, then stand up and fight for what you believe is right and just.

M

"Watership Down" drawing

This is my drawing based on a picture I saw as part of an advertisement of “Watership Down” in TV Guide back in the 1980s .  That’s how much I loved this movie…I spent a few hours of my childhood to create this.

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