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Bambi and Thumper

Bambi has a special place within cinematic history as Disney's fifth full-length feature film, and among the reasons it's endured within pop culture over the decades is that tragic scene where the eponymous protagonist's mother is killed by a hunter. Now this scene, and the movie overall, is being used as a punishment for a poacher who also has a history of gunning down deer.

As reported by Springfield News-Leader, four members of a southwest Missouri family were apprehended as part of a years-long poaching case where hundreds of deer were illegally killed. One of the defendants, David Berry Jr., has been sentenced to one year in jail for after pleading guilty to taking wildlife illegally, and he'll serve that sentence in addition to 120 days for a felony firearms probation violation. But along with all that, Berry Jr. must also watch Bambi once per month over his year-long jail sentence, with the first viewing being held on or before December 23 of this year.

Apparently this case was so "egregious" (it's been described as one of Missouri's largest cases of deer poaching) that Lawrence County Judge Robert George felt that David Berry Jr. needed something a little extra beyond the standard prison sentence and paying fines. So starting this month and for nearly all of 2019, Berry Jr. will have to endure repeated viewings of Bambi to hammer home the error of his ways. Why the other defendants weren't forced to watch Bambi is unclear. If they were all guilty of killing deer, I might have just had them all in on this monthly viewing event.

The death of Bambi's mother is enough of a tearjerker for regular moviegoers, so I won't be including that clip within this article. We've been traumatized enough. Still, I wonder if having to watch Bambi once per month will have a meaningful impact on this man or if it will just be a minor inconvenience among serving prison time and paying all those fines. Regardless, one would hope that once his time has been served, he won't go anywhere near a deer ever again.

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As far as Bambi goes, it celebrated its 75th anniversary last year, and in 2011 was added to the Library of Congress' National Film Registry. The movie's hunter, who's identified simply as "Man," was also placed 20th on the American Film Institute's list of 100 Heroes and Villains. Like a lot of fellow animated Disney movies, Bambi got its own direct-to-video follow-up: 2006's Bambi II, although rather than being a proper sequel, it's set within the events of Bambi. There's no word yet on if Bambi will also be treated to a live action adaptation, although that strikes me as something that would be put on the Disney+ streaming service as opposed to being theatrically released.

Stay tuned to CinemaBlend for all the latest in movies news, including what Disney has coming up. If you're curious about what's hitting the big screen next year, look through our 2019 release schedule.

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