This page contains the transcript from the 1978 film adaptation for Watership Down. It may be incomplete, but may contribute to fill in.


(the prologue opens as Lord Frith starts to appear onscreen)

Narrator/Lord Frith: Long ago, the great Frith made the world. He made all the stars, and the world lived among the stars. He made all the animals and birds, and at first, he 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. So mark what I say.' But El-ahrairah would not listen. He said to Frith, 'My people are the strongest in the world, for they breed faster and they eat more than any of the other people.' This angered Frith, so he determined to get the better of El-ahrairah...not by means of his own great power, but by means of a trick. 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 the cat, the hawk, the wolf and the 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, for 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?' 'Uh, no,' said El-ahrairah, 'I have not seen him. He is far away. He wouldn't come.' So Frith said, 'Come out and I will bless you instead.' 'No, I cannot,' said El-ahrairah, 'I am busy. The fox and weasel are coming. If you want to bless me, you'll have to bless my bottom.' 'Very well,' said Frith, '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. And Frith called after him, '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 a swift warning. Be cunning, and full of tricks, and your people will never be destroyed.'

(the cartoonish style of the film starts to change into a detailed, realistic animation and the open credits begin with a peaceful melody)

(men conversations can be heard during the background)

Men: Along the edge of that wood, there. Enjoyed many a game of play from it, too.

Men: You can't hold back progress. Shame, though.

Men: It's gone 8:00, and I told Elizabeth we'd go into Newbury this evening.

Men: Old sun sets so late in summer, it's morning before...

(the camera stops focussing on the background and starts focussing on a very detailed shot of Hazel, who then exits a bush)

Hazel: I think it's safe now, Fiver.

Fiver: There's something very queer 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.

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