Bambi, a young roe deer, is the main character in Felix Salten's Bambi, A Life in the Woods and in the Disney films based on the book. He is in probably one of Disney's most famous characters. He has starred in two movies, Bambi and Bambi II, has had cameos in several Disney cartoons, and has been parodied on occasion by other animation companies. In the Disney films his species was changed to the white-tailed deer, which would be more familiar to American audiences. His image is a Disney icon comparable in recognition factors to Mickey Mouse, and he is even shown on Disney stock certificates. He appears as a summon in Kingdom Hearts, and as one of the guests in House of Mouse. He also makes brief cameos in Who Framed Roger Rabbit and The Lion King 1½.
In the first film, Bambi is not very strongly characterized. This was one of the film’s key strengths as an environmental film, the point because Bambi, as with most of his friends, could be any deer in any forest. In his early youth, Bambi has the full measure of charm that young mammals display, with his wide eyes, spindly legs, curious nature and childishly cute voice. As he grows he gradually becomes more mature, but even in adulthood he always seems a very young buck, with a light build and a fairly naïve nature. Some have asserted that it was only after having defeated Ronno in a fight that he could truly be said to have really reached adulthood.
In Bambi II
, Bambi is much more distinctly personalized. In this film which fills in the gap between the death of his mother and when he was next shown as an adult, Bambi finds himself faced with a number of challenges. First, there is the death of his mother and his consequential move to live with his father, the Great Prince of the Forest. Connecting with that there is the fact that his father has no knowledge of raising children and is reluctant and slow to learn. In addition, Bambi begins to develop feelings for Faline
, and comes into conflict with his present and future rival, Ronno. Throughout all of this, he shows much more personality than he did in the first movie. Whereas before he essentially followed life where it led him, now he grabs life by the horns in one attempt after another to bond with and impress his father. In the first movie Bambi’s status as the young prince had little impact on the flow of the story. But now his rank becomes a key part of the situation as he sets out to prove to himself and others, most of all his dad, that he deserves to be prince and can live up to his father’s name. Close to the end of the film, Bambi kisses Faline.