Watership Down (1978)

UK, 1978
35mm film, Technicolor, 1.66:1
Dolby System, English
Reviewed at The EOFFTV Review

A British animated fantasy film directed by Martin Rosen.

Plot Summary

When their warren is threatened with destruction at the hands of Man, a group of rabbits set off on a perilous journey to find a new home on Watership Down. Along the way, they befriend an eccentric seagull, Keehar, and learn some harsh lessons about the brutality of life outside the safety of the warren.


Directed by: Martin Rosen
© Watership Productions Limited MCMLXXVIII [1978]
Nepenthe Productions Limited presents. Produced by Nepenthe Productions Limited
Produced by: Martin Rosen
Written for the Screen by: Martin Rosen
Novel: Richard Adams [credited with possessory above title]
Animation Supervisor: Philip Duncan
Animation Director: Tony Guy
Senior Animators: Arthur Humberstone, George Jackson, Tony Guy, Philip Duncan
Senior Background Artists: Ian Henderson, Gary Sycamore, Sue Branch
Layout Artists: Gordon Harrison, Peter See, Ted Pettenbell
Camera: Tony Haines, Denis Hall, Bob Mintern, Barry Orsborn, Les Green, Alan Buchan, Ron Boston, Chris Williams, Moses Agyemang, David Smith, Julian Holdaway, Christopher Morgan
Edited by: Terry Rawlings
Music Composed and Arranged by: Angela Morley
Incidental Music by: Malcolm Williamson
“Bright Eyes” Composed by: Mike Batt, sung by Art Garfunkel
Dubbing Mixer: Bill Rowe

John Hurt (Hazel)
Richard Briers (Fiver)
Michael Graham-Cox (Bigwig)
John Bennett (Holly)
Ralph Richardson (Chief rabbit)
Simon Cadell (Blackberry)
Terence Rigby (Silver)
Roy Kinnear (Pipkin)
Richard O’Callaghan (Dandelion)
Denholm Elliott (Cowslip)
Lynn Farleigh (cat)
Mary Maddox (Clover)
Zero Mostel (Kehaar)
Harry Andrews (General Woundwort)
Hannah Gordon (Hyzenthlay)
Nigel Hawthorne (Campion)
Clifton Jones (Blackavar)
Derek Griffiths (Vervain)
Michael Hordern (Frith)
Joss Ackland (Black Rabbit)
Michelle Price (Lucy)

Alternative Titles

La collina dei conigli– Italian title
Den Langa flykten – Swedish title
Orejas largas – Spanish title
Ruohometsän kansa – Finnish title
Unten am Fluß – German title
Watership Down – Unten am Fluß – German title

See also
Watership Down (1999)
Watership Down (2018)

Production Notes

In the 7 July 1979 edition of Screen International a letter was published from K. McFall, the manager of the Playhouse Cinema in Peterhead, noting that a number of parents had complained to about the violence in the film. Mr McFall wondered why Superman (1978) had been awarded an A certificate while Watership Down, which he noted was “very violent and frightening” only got a U.



  • Creation January 1999 pp.10-11 – illustrated credits, article (Character reference by Clare Mount)
  • Empire no.195 (September 2005) p.150 – illustrated DVD review (RWD: Watership Down by Andrew Osmond)
  • Empire no.239 (May 2009) pp.152-153 – illustrated article (The top 10: Cartoon songs by Andrew Osmond)
  • Film Review no.661 September 2005) p.121 – DVD review (Watership Down: Special Edition by Tom Fox)
  • Films and Filming vol.25 no.3 (December 1978) pp.33-34 – review
  • Films Illustrated vol.8 no.86 (October 1978) p.63 – review
  • Funnyworld no.20 (Summer 1979) p.48 – review
  • The Hollywood Reporter vol.240 no.20 (27 February 1976) p.21 – credits
  • The Hollywood Reporter vol.253 no.39 (18 October 1978) p.4 – review
  • The Listener vol.100 no.2583 (26 October 1978) p.559 – review
  • Monthly Film Bulletin vol.45 no.537 October 1978) p.208 – review
  • Movietone News no.62-63 (29 December 1979) p.34 – review
  • National Film Theatre Programmes June 2003 p.32 – listing
  • Photoplay vol.29 no.12 (December 1978) pp.10-11 – review
  • Radio Times 19 December 1987 – 1 January 1988 pp.30, 127 – review, credits
  • Screen International no.11 (15 November 1975) p.1 – note
  • Screen International no.52 (4 September 1976) p.35 – note
  • Screen International no.69 (8 January 1977) p.8 – credits (In production)
  • Screen International no.70 (15 January 1977) p..8 – credits (In production)
  • Screen International no.71 (22 January 1977) p.12 – credits (In production)
  • Screen International no.72 (29 January 1977) p.6 – credits (In production)
  • Screen International no.79 (19 March 1977) p.9 – credits
  • Screen International no.158 (30 September 1978) p.15 – review
  • Screen International 7 July 1979 p.4 – letter
  • Screen International no.1147 (27 February 1998) p.14 – illustrated note
  • Time Out no.444 (20 October 1978) p.41 – review
  • Variety 18 October 1978 p.72 – review
  • Variety 3 September 1986 p.112 – note (Director shifts during filming)
  • Widescreen Review no.61 (June 2002) p.93 – illustrated DVD review (DVD video: animation: Richard Adams’s Watership Down by Perry Sun)


  • Film Review 1979-1980 by F. Maurice Speed p.161
  • The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Fantasy by David Pringle (general ed.) p.72 – credits, review

Other Sources

  • BFI Southbank Guide March 2018 pp.37, 47 – illustrated listings
  • BFI Southbank Guide October/November 2018 p.49 – illustrated listing