Man, also known as the The Hunter, is the unseen antagonist of the 1942 film Bambi (though his role in the book was larger), and the secondary antagonist of its 2006 midquel.
Role in the film
He is first seen when Bambi and his mother are first grazing in the meadow, and the Great Prince warns them. Later on in the film, he is responsible for the death of Bambi's mother. Near the end of the film, Man returns to the forest with other men hunters and hunting dogs to help him kill more deer and the rest of the forest's animals. During the hunt, he succeeds in shooting Bambi, but only wounds him and never manages to track the deer down. However, Man and the other hunters unfortunately leave their campfire lit, which causes a massive forest fire. Despite the existence of these other hunters, "Man" still specifically refers to one person, and the main one at the climax of the movie is indeed the killer of Bambi's mother from earlier. Being a mere hunter, Man is not truly evil by human standards, but from the perspective of the animals whom the film follows, he might as well be the Devil.
Despite not actually appearing in the film at all, the character is famous for causing the death of Bambi's Mother, one of the most famously tragic scenes in Disney history. Because he is never once seen onscreen, one can tell that something revolving around "Man" will occur when his infamous tune begins to play. "Man" was ranked number 20 on the American Film Institute's list of the top 50 film villains of all time, being one of only three Disney villains on the list (along with The Queen and Cruella De Vil, Man being the middle ranked of the three) and beating out such famous villains as Maleficent, Jafar, Scar and many others.
In the original book, Man is referred to as "He".
In Who Framed Roger Rabbit, one of the early drafts of the script was going to have Judge Doom be revealed as the hunter who killed Bambi's mother, but was changed for unknown reasons. Another urban legend circulates that Gaston, from Beauty and the Beast, killed Bambi's mother, but this has never been proven; the hunter's identity remains unconfirmed. Other people think that it's Amos Slade, according to the fact that the universes of Bambi and The Fox and the Hound are very similar.
While it can be argued whether or not he holds any true evil intent, like most other Disney villains, it is noted that Man had no qualms with killing a doe with her fawn. This further hints that he was more of a poacher than a hunter, as it is illegal to shoot does or fawns in many parts of the United States. Also, in Bambi II, he had no guilt about trying to kill Bambi, who at the time was still a fawn.
According to the Bambi production team, Man was originally intended to appear onscreen. However, the team decided to avoid depicting the character, because such an entity would be too dark, grim and notorious for the film, thus confirming that Man was indeed an evil individual.
In a Golden Book about Bambi, which abridged the film, Man's campsite is shown and Bambi is cautioned this is when again "Man" has entered the forest. However, several tents are shown, suggesting Man is with a larger hunting party instead of by himself.
Man was ranked as the 20th greatest screen villain of all time by the AFI's 100 years, 100 Heroes and Villains list, being the second highest animated villain on the list, and the only one that was not physically seen.
Bambi's mother and the Pheasant that Man kills are both voiced by Paula Winslowe.
In deleted scenes, Bambi and his father discover his corpse after the fire was animated and shown to test audiences. It was cut due to its grim theme.