«A rather faithful adaptation of [Richard] Adams' book, as well as a milestone work of independent animation.» -Under the Radar Magazine
«Who the hell thought it a good idea to put Watership Down on Easter Sunday? ‘Hey kids let’s watch dead Easter bunnies!» — One parent's complaint to the British network Channel 5 via Twitter
«Seeing clips of the movie reminds me just how terrifying it is. [...] Trust me when I say this is NOT suitable for kids, in ANYWAY!» — Common Sense Media's parental guide for film
JOIN US ON SUNDAY FEBRUARY 25 FOR A VERY SPECIAL 35MM PRESENTATION OF MARTIN ROSEN'S WATERSHIP DOWN!
Based off of Richard Adam's landmark novel of the same name, Watership Down follows a group rabbits as they flee a doomed warren at the behest of a clairvoyant member named Fiver. Fiver sees an apocalyptic vision of their warren covered in the blood of all who inhabit it (due to housing development in the area), and alongside his brother Hazel (John Hurt), they beg their chief to move to a safer location. Their request is dismissed entirely, so in the night they take as many members as they can and attempt to made exodus. Along the way they repeatedly encounter political tyranny and the dangers of human intervention poisoning various already established warrens, and work to garner their own space in the countryside, where they can be free to live the rest of their lives in a peaceful community.
Watership Down remains as much of a poignant artwork today as it did the day it was released in 1978. Touching on themes of violence, oppression, ecological concerns, heroism, mortality and community within the worldview of anthropomorphized animals allows its adult discourse to stand alone and present its audience with a timeless picture of pain and important conversation. Historically flagged as one of the most not-for-children animated feature films in existence, Watership Down is not only laden with blood and gore, its jarring yet deliberate use of mixed styles of animation within its more horrifying sequences are as bone-chilling as it gets. The British Board of Film Classification still receives complaints to this day after nearly four decades since its release, due to their decision to rate it «U», which means suitable for all. Perfectly balancing the terror and beauty of existence, this film is an absolute must-see on the big screen, especially presented on the extremely rare 35mm print The Royal is presenting.