Novel Written by Richard Adams (1972)
Film Adaptation by Martin Rosen (1978)
I have recently had the pleasure of reading Richard Adams’ 1978 novel Watership Down, and have decided that it is now among my top-three favorite novels of all time. I highly recommend reading the novel and then watching this beautifully done animation. Thanks for watching!
Richard Adams was an English novelist and writer of the books Watership Down, Shardik, and The Plague Dogs. Adams originally began telling the story that would become Watership Down to his two daughters on a long car trip. They eventually insisted that he publish it as a book. He began writing in 1966, taking two years to complete it. In 1972, after four publishers and three writers’ agencies turned down the manuscript, Rex Collings agreed to publish the work. The book gained international acclaim almost immediately for reinvigorating anthropomorphic fiction with naturalism. In 1974, two years after Watership Down was published, Adams became a full-time author.
Watership Down is a survival and adventure novel set in southern England, around Hampshire. The story features a small group of rabbits. Although they live in burrows in their natural wild environment, they are anthropomorphized, possessing their own culture, language, proverbs, poetry, and mythology. Evoking epic themes, the novel follows the rabbits as they escape the destruction of their warren and seek a place to establish a new home, encountering perils and temptations along the way.
The British animated adventure-drama film adaptation of Watership Down was released in 1978 and was written, produced, and directed by Martin Rosen and based on the 1972 novel by Richard Adams. It was financed by a consortium of British financial institutions and was distributed by Cinema International Corporation in the United Kingdom.
It features the voices of John Hurt, Richard Briers, Harry Andrews, Simon Cadell, Nigel Hawthorne and Roy Kinnear, among others, and was the last film work of Zero Mostel, as the voice of Kehaar the gull. The musical score was by Angela Morley and Malcolm Williamson. Art Garfunkel’s hit song Bright Eyes was written by songwriter Mike Batt.
Animation Supervisor: Philip Duncan
Animation Director: Tony Guy
Senior Animators: Arthur Humberstone, George Jackson, Tony Guy, and Philip Duncan
Animators: Edric Raddage, Bill Littlejohn, Ruth Kissane, John Perkins, Ralph Ayres, Brian Foster, Chris Evans, Marie Szmichowska, Alan Simpson, Colin White, Doug Jensen, Bill Geach, Spud Houston, and Barrie Nelson