Year of the Rabbit

Chinese New Year is one of the most important festivals in Chinese culture and has become increasingly celebrated throughout the UK. Starting on the first day of the new moon which takes place around the end of January or beginning of February, the Festival (also known as Spring Festival) lasts 15 days.

2011 marks the year of the rabbit, perhaps not the most notorious of film creatures but a species that has had its fair share of cinema stars. In honour of this cotton-tailed year, The Student has decided to look at some of the best rabbits in film. Here are the top 5:

5. Harvey, Harvey (1950). The six-foot, three-and-a-half-inch imaginary companion of Elwood P. Dowd (James Stewart) said to be a creature from Celtic mythology known as a Pooka. Based on the Pulitzer-Prize winning play by Mary Chase, Harvey, though not a real rabbit, plays a pivotal role in a story that although comedic at the start is ultimately depressing in nature.

4. Roger Rabbit, Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988). Although it was tempting to have had Jessica Rabbit, unlike her husband she isn’t actually of the lapin species. Played by Charles Fleischer, Roger Rabbit is an entertaining animation put alongside the live-action of Bob Hoskins as private investigator Eddie Valiant in a feature that has undertones of film-noir.

3. Frank, Donnie Darko (2001). Though not technically a rabbit, Frank is perhaps the most sombre character in this list. The demonic vision of Donnie Darko (Jake Gyllenhall) who tells him that the world will end in 28 days, 6 hours, 42 minutes and 12 seconds, he is seen in reality as the boyfriend of Donnie’s sister Elizabeth who wears a rabbit costume for halloween. Played by James Duval, Frank is a chilling addition to the surreal story.

2. Hazel, Watership Down (1978). It was difficult to choose which of the title characters to pick, however, Hazel (voiced by John Hurt), the real saviour of the film who rescues his colony, is arguably the most amiable. Guaranteed to make any child or adult bawl at the end, when Art Garfunkel’s “Bright Eyes” is played, Hazel secures a top place in this list.

1. Thumper, Bambi (1942). One of the first animals to meet the young Bambi when he is born, Thumper (brilliantly voiced by a four-year-old Peter Behn) helps teach the young fawn his first steps in what is a heartwarming tale from Walt Disney. As he ages with Bambi and becomes an adult (now voiced by Sam Edwards) he inevitably succumbs to the allure of ‘twitterpation’ and somewhat sadly they part ways.

Other notable mentions: Rabbit of Caerbannog, Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975), Bugs Bunny, Space Jam (1996), White Rabbit, Alice in Wonderland (1951), Were-Rabbit, Wallace and Gromet in the Curse of the Were Rabbit (2005), Br’er Rabbit, The Song of the South (1946).

Taken from The Student, published Tue Feb 8th 2011.

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2 Responses to Year of the Rabbit

  1. Wally Coil says:

    I’m still learning from you, while I’m making my way to the top as well. I absolutely enjoy reading everything that is written on your site.Keep the posts coming. I liked it!

  2. It was nice to read your post. Thank you for posting this piece!

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