Watership Down (film)

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Watership Down is a 1978 animated film about a group of rabbits who flee their doomed warren and face many dangers to find and protect their new home. For quotes from the book, see the Wikiquote article Richard Adams.

Written and directed by Martin Rosen, based on the novel by Richard Adams.
All the world will be your enemy, Prince with a Thousand Enemies, and when they catch you, they will kill you... but first they must catch you.


  • [first lines] Long ago, the great Frith made the world. He made all the stars, and the world lived among the stars. Frith made all the animals and birds, and at first, made them all the same. Now, among the animals was El-ahrairah, the Prince of Rabbits. He had many friends, and they all ate grass together. But after a time, the rabbits wandered everywhere, multiplying and eating as they went. Then Frith said to El-ahrairah, "Prince Rabbit, if you cannot control your people, I shall find ways to control them." But El-ahrairah would not listen and said to Frith, "My people are the strongest in the world." This angered Frith, so he determined to get the better of El-ahrairah. He gave a present to every animal and bird, making each one different from the rest. When the fox came, and others like the dog and cat, the hawk, and weasel, to each of them, Frith gave a fierce desire to hunt and slay the children of El-ahrairah. Then El-ahrairah knew that Frith was too clever for him and he was frightened. He had never before seen the Black Rabbit of Death. "My friend," said Frith, "have you seen El-ahrairah? For I wish to give him a gift." "Er, no...I have not seen him." So Frith said, "Come out, and I will bless you instead." "No, I cannot, I am busy. The fox and weasel are coming. If you want to bless me, you'll have to bless my...bottom!" "Very well, be it so." And El-ahrairah's tail grew shining white and flashed like a star. And his back legs grew long and powerful. And he tore across the hill, faster than any creature in the world. "All the world will be your enemy, Prince with a Thousand Enemies. And whenever they catch you, they will kill you. But first they must catch you, digger, listener, runner, Prince with the Swift Warning. Be cunning and full of tricks, and your people will never be destroyed."
  • General Woundwort's body was never found. It could be that he still lives his fierce life somewhere else, but from that day on, mother rabbits would tell their kittens that if they did not do as they were told, the General would get them. Such was Woundwort's monument, and perhaps it would not have displeased him.


  • Hazel, look... the field... the field... it's covered with blood!
  • They think I'm mad, but you know I'm not, and you still won't listen!
  • There's something unnatural and evil and twisted about this place. It feels... it feels like... mist. Like being deceived, and losing our way.
  • Look. Look. That's the place for us. High, lonely hills, where the wind and the sound carry, and the ground's as dry as straw in a barn. That's where we ought to be. That's where we have to get to.


  • My heart has joined the Thousand, for my friend stopped running today.
  • [to the cat] You look hungry. Rats getting too clever, I suppose? I bet you can't run at all. You pie-eyed, saucer-licking scrap-scraper. Can you run?
  • Tell you the truth, I'm getting sick and tired of it. Sometimes I feel like clearing out of the warren altogether. Never mind. Let's forget it, and try to enjoy the evening.
  • [to the Chief Rabbit; about Fiver] He's had these feelings before, and he's been right again and again.
  • [to Bigwig; about Holly] Let him be. He's had a bad time. He can tell us about it when he's rested.
  • Look, once we're beyond the woods, we'll really be clear of the Owsla. And we can rest then.


  • [Hazel offers to help him] PISS OFF!!! What for help me?
  • [about his injured wing] Damn cat jump me, farm cat.
  • Go away. Wing no good, but I walk...plenty good... [collapses] Is long way?
  • [Bigwig asks where he comes from] From Beeg, BEEG VAWTER! ("Big Water") My home by Beeg Vawter...Beeg Vawter...We go "Kehaaaaar"... "Kehaaaaaaaar"... "Kehaaaaar"...
  • YOU STUPID BUNNIES! You got no mates! Where are mates?! WHERE ARE CHICKS?! Plenty trouble for you! You need MATES!
  • You got no brains! You no plan! You need mates for plan! Listen - I got plan for you. Wing better. I go fly; fly for you. I find mates.
  • [about Bigwig] He tell me the plan?! I KNOW the plan!


  • Bigwig: [Mocking Fiver's prophecies] But I'm in a mist! Everything's bad! Oh, I have got a funny feeling in my toe!
  • Blackavar: It nearly came off. We'll take one or two of them with us before it's finished.
  • The Cat: [catching Hazel] Can you run? I think not... I think not...


Hazel: I think it's safe now, Fiver.
Fiver: There's something strange about the warren this evening.
Hazel: Is it dangerous?
Fiver: It's not exactly danger, it's... oh, I don't know. Something oppressive, like thunder. It seems safe enough now though.

[After Fiver has a vision of blood in the fields]
Hazel: Alright, alright, Fiver. It's getting dark. I think we should get back to the burrow.
Fiver: Back to the burrow?! It'll come there! Don't think it won't! It's all around us!
Hazel: Now, stop it, Fiver.
Fiver: We've got to go away from here! All of us!
Hazel: Go away? The whole warren?
Fiver: Yes, before it's too late!
Hazel: Don't be silly. They won’t come, they'll think you're out of your mind.
Fiver: You must listen to me, Hazel! Something very bad is going to happen!
Hazel: Well, I suppose we'd better try and see the Chief Rabbit. You can tell him about it. But I don't expect he'll like the idea at all.

Bigwig: Hazel? It is Hazel, isn't it?
Hazel: It is.
Bigwig: What are you doing here?
Hazel: [motioning to Fiver] We want to see the chief rabbit, Bigwig.
Bigwig: We? You mean he wants to see him, too?
Hazel: Yes.
Fiver: I must.
Bigwig: What's it all about?
Hazel: Well--
Holly: [interrupts] Bigwig, what do they want?
Bigwig: They want to see the Chief Rabbit.
Holly: What for?
Fiver: Well, I have to--
Holly: [interrupts] Send them away.
Bigwig: I'll take care of it, Holly.
Hazel: Look, Bigwig, when have I ever asked to see the chief rabbit before?
Bigwig: [grumbles] Alright, alright. Wait here.
[Bigwig goes into the warren, speaks to the Chief Rabbit for a moment and then comes back up]
Bigwig: Come on, then. Though I'll probably get my ears chewed off for this...

Chief Rabbit: Now, Walnut. It is Walnut, isn't it?
Hazel: No, sir. Hazel.
Chief Rabbit: Hazel. I knew your mother well. And your friend?
Hazel: My brother, sir. Fiver.
Chief Rabbit: Your brother. Now, do tell me how I can help you.
Hazel: Well, he says there's a bad danger coming to our warren.
Chief Rabbit: A bad danger? How very upsetting. Now, what sort of danger, I wonder?
Fiver: I don't know, but it's bad! It's so bad!
Chief Rabbit: Well, now. What ought we to do?
Fiver: Go away! All of us! Now!
Chief Rabbit: [flabbergasted] Now? In May? The mating season? And where would we go to?
Hazel: He's had these feelings before, and he's been right again and again.
Chief Rabbit: I shall have to consider this very carefully. Perhaps we'll discuss it later, in the summer.
Fiver: [rushes out in a panic] WE CAN'T WAIT, WE CAN'T WAIT!
Chief Rabbit: It's been good of you to come, Walnut.
[Hazel leaves the burrow, Bigwig is about to follow, but the Chief Rabbit calls for him.]
Chief Rabbit: Bigwig! [Bigwig doesn't respond and tries to ignore the Chief Rabbit.] Bigwig!
Bigwig: Sir?
Chief Rabbit: What was that all about?
Bigwig: Well, sir--
Chief Rabbit: Your duty as an officer is to protect this burrow.
Bigwig: Yes, sir.
Chief Rabbit: Those two lunatics have better be watched.
Bigwig: Yes, sir.

[As Hazel and Fiver prepare to leave Sandleford in the night, Blackberry joins them.]
Hazel: Who's that?
Blackberry: It's me.
Hazel: Dandelion?
Blackberry: No. Blackberry. Dandelion told me you were leaving the warren tonight. [several other rabbits join them] If it's true, I'd like to come along.
Violet: We'd like to come along too.
Dandelion: I don't much like the look of things.
Fiver: We must get everyone.
Silver: That Toadflax fellow followed me down the run. It could mean the Owsla has been turned out tonight.
Hazel: Then the sooner we're off, the better.

Violet: [running from a badger] It had just killed. I saw blood on it's lips.
Dandelion: Lucky for us it had, otherwise it might have been quicker!

Bigwig: There's a dog loose in the woods!
Silver: Well, that does it!
Pipkin: A dog?
Bigwig: Come on. What do you think will happen when he picks up our scent? Those that can swim, swim. The others will have to make out the best they can.
Hazel: That's not good enough. We all got into this together, we'll all get out of it together.

Bigwig: They need to rest, Hazel.
Hazel: Something up ahead. [sniffs and sees a bean field nearby]
Dandelion: A warm, friendly burrow, perhaps?
Hazel: No, no, no, not a burrow. A field. A great field of scented plants that will cover us sight and sound until we're rested.
Blackberry: You're beginning to sound like a chief, Hazel. Hazel-rah!
Bigwig: Hazel-rah? That'll be the day I call him chief, that will.

Holly: [to Fiver] I remember you. You're the one that saw it coming.
Pipkin: But what happened?
Holly: Our warren, destroyed!
Silver: Destroyed? How?
Holly: [as the flashback plays] Men came. Filled in the burrows. Couldn't get out. There was a strange sound. Hissing. The air turned bad. Runs blocked with dead bodies. I couldn't get out. Everything turned mad. Warren, herbs, roots, grass, all pushed into the earth.
Blackberry: Men have always hated us.
Holly: No. They just destroyed the warren because we were in their way.
Fiver: They'll never rest until they've spoiled the Earth.

General Woundwort: Your name?
Hyzenthlay: Hyzenthlay, sir.
General Woundwort: Don't be frightened. You're safe here. Well, get on with it!
Hyzenthlay: Sir, several of us propose an expedition for...a new warren. Somewhere else.
General Woundwort: A new warren?! Out of the question!
Hyzenthlay: Oh, but you don't understand. The system is breaking down.
General Woundwort: Explain that.
Hyzenthlay: Some of us cannot produce litters; we're overcrowded.
General Woundwort: I want no further discussion about it!
Hyzenthlay: We'll go as far as you like.
General Woundwort: Here or anywhere else!
Hyzenthlay: I... [she is approached threateningly by Captain Campion] Thank you, sir. [leaves]
General Woundwort: Campion, have her watched.

Dandelion: [looking at the countryside from Watership Down] Come and look! You can see the whole world!
Blackberry: I found a burrow, Hazel. Under that beech hanger; with a great hall and no smell of death or disease.
Dandelion: O Frith on the hills! He made it all for us!
Hazel: Frith may have made it, but Fiver found it.

[The rabbits first meet Kehaar the seagull]
Hazel: Are you hurt?
Kehaar: KAH, KAH!
Hazel: Bigwig, I've got an idea. See if you can find some worms-
Bigwig: Worms? What for, for Frith's sake?
Kehaar: [fiercely proud] I get up plenty soon!
Hazel: Well if he's hurt, maybe we ought to help him.
Bigwig: A bird? What for?
Hazel: [to Kehaar] We - help - you.
Kehaar: PISS OFF!!! What for help me?
Blackberry: What happened to you?
Kehaar: Damn cat jump me, farm cat.
Pipkin: We know her.
[Kehaar tries standing up, but collapses]
Hazel: We take you to burrow.
Kehaar: Go away. Wing no good, but I walk plenty good. [collapses again] Is long way?
Bigwig: Where you come from?
Kehaar: From Beeg, BEEG VAWTER! ("Big Water") My home by Beeg Vawter...Beeg Vawter...We go "Kehaaaaar"... "Kehaaaaaaaar"... "Kehaaaaar"...

[After the rabbits decide to ask Kehaar to find mates for them]
Kehaar: [sitting and musing in a burrow] What home? This hole? Where are mates? Where are chicks? Mate make eggs, mate sit on eggs, hatch eggs, many eggs. We feed chicks. Egg robbers come, we fight. [Bigwig pounces on him from behind to get his attention] YAAAAAAAAAH, YAAAAAAAAAAH!!! KAH, KAH, KAH, KAH, KAH, KAH, KAH!!! YOU STUPID BUNNIES! You got no mates! Where are mates?! WHERE ARE CHICKS?! Plenty trouble for you! You need MATES!
Bigwig: [whispering] It's working, Hazel.
Kehaar: You got no brains! You no plan! You need mates for plan! Listen - I got plan for you. Wing better. I go fly; fly for you. I find mates.
Hazel: What a splendid idea, Kehaar! How clever of you to think of it. You very fine bird. When will you be able to fly?

Blackberry: Fiver, there's been some trouble. Hazel's been shot.
Fiver: No.
Blackberry: The Black Rabbit serves Lord Frith, but he does no more than his appointed task.
Fiver: Hazel's not dead.

Hazel: Did you find anything on your flight?
Kehaar: Efrafa.
Hazel: Can you guide us there?
Kehaar: Many rabbits. Too many rabbits.
Holly: A lot of us wouldn't be enough to fight one of their wide patrols.
Bigwig: What do you mean?
Holly: [shows Bigwig the scar on his shoulder] You see this? They did it to me. It's an identification mark. Tells you when you can be above ground.
Bigwig: What do you mean? Who's to stop you?
Holly: Their Owsla. Their chief is called Woundwort. General Woundwort. I don't think even you'd match up to him, Bigwig. Under him are his captains, each one in charge of a Mark. If you're found above ground at the wrong time, they take you before the Council for punishment.
Bigwig: Some of them must get away.
Holly: They caught one trying to run away when I was there. Blackavar was his name. When they'd finished with him, both his ears were ripped to shreds...worse than this one of mine. He was lucky not to have been killed. There was another one, a doe, Hyzenthlay. I couldn't have escaped without her help.
Sliver: Why didn't she go with you?
Holly: She wouldn't go without the others.
Hazel: Then there are some that might be persuaded to leave?
Holly: Oh, yes. But you'd never get them out of Efrafa.
Dandelion: Well, you got out.
Holly: Only because Lord Frith sent one of his great messengers. [a flashback shows Holly running away from two Efrafans, but the Efrafans were run over by a train and Holly rolled down a steep slope] I didn't see what happened to them. It must have cut them down.
Hazel: Well, it's not going to be easy, but we don't have much choice. We'll start off as soon as I'm fit to travel.
Holly: I don't like this idea of yours at all, Hazel.
Hazel: Holly, I want you to stay here. You're known to them and it could be dangerous for you.
Holly: I've been in Efrafa, and I tell you you're making a bad mistake that might very well get you all killed.

Bigwig: Aren't you going to silflay?
Blackavar: I don't silflay at this time, sir.
Chervil: Tell him why you're here, Blackavar.
Blackavar: [Mumbles] I've come here for the Mark to... [Chervil swipes at him to make him speak up, and he does] I...I've come here for the Mark to see me. I...I've been punished for trying to leave the warren. [Chervil glares] The Council were merciful... [Chervil threatens him again, and Blackavar cowers] The Council were merciful.
Chervil: [to Bigwig] He keeps trying to run away. Captain Campion caught him this time. The Council ripped his ears and says he has to show himself every morning early silflay as an example to the others. If you ask me, he won't last much longer. He'll meet a blacker rabbit than himself one of these nights.
Bigwig: That doe over there...what's her name?
Chervil: Fancy her, do you? She's called Hyzenthlay. But I'd look elsewhere if I were you; she's a troublemaker. The Council's got their eye on her.

Bigwig: Hyzenthlay.
Hyzenthlay: Sir?
Bigwig: I'd like to talk with you.
Hyzenthlay: I'm in the Mark and under your orders, sir.
Bigwig: Do you remember a pale grey rabbit called Holly you helped escape some while ago?
Hyzenthlay: You've made a mistake, sir.
Bigwig: Listen, Hyzenthlay. Listen carefully. I'm from a warren where life is free. Where you can do is as you wish. I've come to bring you all out of Efrafa.
Hyzenthlay: You might be a spy, sent by the Council.
Bigwig: You know I'm not. Will you join us? And persuade your friends as well, trust me. My friends are not far away.
Hyzenthlay: [voice is breaking] My courage, my... spirit is so much less than it was.
Bigwig: We can escape Efrafa. Believe me.
Hyzenthlay: Yes... I think I do.

Bigwig: [meeting secretly with Kehaar, whispering] Listen carefully.
Kehaar: [none too quietly] YAAAAAAH!!!!!
Bigwig: Shhhh! We're ready. We leave at sunset.
Kehaar: Ready? Good!
Bigwig: Shhhh! There will be lots of us. We'll meet you at the iron bridge.
Kehaar: When?
Bigwig: Sunset.
Kehaar: GOOD!! Good. Sunset.
Bigwig: Then you must guide us to the river.
Kehaar: [squawking] Plenty good trick.
Bigwig: Trick, what trick?
[Kehaar bursts into hysterical laughter, while Woundwort overhears the commotion nearby]
Bigwig: Listen, if you see a patrol following us, you must drive them away, terrify them.
Kehaar: Yeah, I fly at them! YAAAAAAH, YAAAAAAH!!!
Bigwig: Shhhh! Remember, sunset.
Kehaar: Yeah! You plenty good fella.

Bigwig: It's set.
Hyzenthlay: When?
Bigwig: Get them to the near hind mark at sunset, just before early silflay.
Hyzenthlay: Suppose something happens?
Bigwig: Nothing will happen. We can do it.
Hyzenthlay: Yes. I think we can. Sometimes I can tell when things are true. Sometimes... I can see it. The high down with trees, and... [shakes head] I've become foolish.
Bigwig: [referring to Fiver] You'll have to meet this friend of mine. He talks just like that.
Hyzenthlay: We'll be ready.
Bigwig: Sunset, then. And a bird will fight for us.
Hyzenthlay: A bird?
Bigwig: Even Woundwort won't expect that.

Campion: The new officer, sir. He's gone.
General Woundwort: Bigwig?
Campion: He's wounded Chervil, taken a crowd of the Mark with him.
General Woundwort: Embleer Frith! I'll blind him. I'LL BLIND HIM!

[Confronting Bigwig leading a mass defection of Efrafans]
General Woundwort: Bigwig, you traitorous...! [to a subordinate] Campion, get this miserable group back to their Marks. I'll settle you myself, Bigwig. There's no need to take you back.
Bigwig: Come on and try, you cracked-brain slave driver!
Kehaar: [swoops down and attacks Woundwort] KAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!!! KAH, KAH, KAAAAAAAAAAH!!!!!
General Woundwort: Get away! Blast you! Get away, you damn white bird!

General Woundwort: You were one of those on the riverbank. Did Bigwig send you?
Hazel: I'm a friend of Bigwig's.
General Woundwort: What was left unfinished on the riverbank will be finished now.
Hazel: It would be better for both of us if we could come to terms.
General Woundwort: Terms?...Very well. These are my terms. Hand over all the deserters immediately.
Hazel: We couldn't agree to that. But I can suggest something better, for both of us-
General Woundwort: [dangerously] You're in no position to bargain.
Hazel: We shouldn't be fighting each other. We have enough enemies as it is. Perhaps we should be together. A joining of free, independent warrens.
General Woundwort: [considers this] Ah, I have no time for this nonsense!
Campion: Shall I kill him, sir?
General Woundwort: No. [to Hazel] You take back our terms. And you tell your chief, Bigwig, that if he and Hyzenthlay and the others aren't waiting outside when I come for them, I'll tear out every throat in the place!

Hazel: Lord Frith, I know you've looked after us well, and it's wrong to ask even more of you. But my people are in terrible danger, and so I would like to make a bargain with you. My life in return for theirs.
Frith: There is not a day or night when a mother doe does not offer her life for her kittens, or an honest captain of Owsla his life for his chief's. But there is no bargain. What is, is what must be.

[After they've been fighting]
Bigwig: I told you once that I was trying to impress you...I hope I have.
General Woundwort: And I told you I would kill you myself! There's no white bird here, Bigwig!

General Woundwort: Why throw your life away?
Bigwig: Hraka... sir!
General Woundwort: Come out!
Bigwig: My chief has told me to defend this run.
General Woundwort: [stunned] Your...chief?
[Outside, Campion and the other Efrafans see the dog that Hazel and the others have unleashed on them]
[The dog arrives on Watership Down and attacks the Efrafan soldiers, killing some of them. Woundwort emerges from the hole and sees his soldiers fleeing at the sight of the dog]
General Woundwort: Come back! Come back, you fools!
Campion: [last words] Run!
[The dog drops a dead Efrafan and then comes after Woundwort, who lunges]

[Last lines]
El-ahrairah: Hazel... Hazel... you know me, don't you?
Hazel: [last words] I don't know. [the apparition reveals himself to be El-ahrairah, and gasps] Yes, my lord. I know you.
El-ahrairah: I've come to ask if you'd like to join my Owsla. We shall be glad to have you, and I know you'd like it. You've been feeling tired, haven't you? If you're ready, we might go along now. [Hazel looks at all the younger rabbits of Watership Down] You needn't worry about them. They'll be all right, and thousands like them. If you come along now, I'll show you what I mean.
[Hazel accepts, lays down on the ground, and dies peacefully. His younger spirit emerges from his dead body and joins El-ahrairah]
Frith: All the world will be your enemy, Prince With a Thousand Enemies. And whenever they catch you, they will kill you. But first, they must catch you - digger, listener, runner, Prince with the swift warning. Be cunning and full of tricks, and your people will never be destroyed.

Major cast[edit]

External links[edit]

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