With Easter approaching, it’s only right to remember the true meaning of the holiday – the time Jesus lived in a cave and turned a rabbit into wine. Naturally, that then got me thinking about film’s most iconic rabbits. Here’s my top 5…
5. White Rabbit – Alice in Wonderland
This is the little bastard who is basically responsible for Alice’s entire head trip. It’s his useless timekeeping that piques Alice’s interest and leads her to following him down the rabbit hole and into Wonderland. A servant to the King and Queen of Hearts, the White Rabbit pops up at various intervals throughout the film, perhaps most notably when Alice gets trapped in his house when she grows too big. In Tim Burton’s 2010 adaptation, he is known as Nivens McTwisp and is a member of the Underland Underground Resistance, sent by the Mad Hatter to find Alice – seriously, could Burton have got it more wrong?
Despite that, the White Rabbit (original 1951 version) is still one of the most enduring and intriguing characters ever to fret about not being on time.
4. Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog – Monty Python and the Holy Grail
One of the most ferocious beasts to ever walk the Earth. Guarding the Cave of Caerbannog and the Black Beast within, this viscious killer has the ability to make even the bravest knights soil themselves. Luring King Arthur’s Knights of the Round Table into a false sense of security, the rabbit then procedes to maul and decapitate those foolish enough to confront it. Only the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch is enough to finally slay the Vorpal Bunny, although it does make a return in Spamalot, seemingly making reincarnation perhaps its scariest characteristic.
3. Frank – Donnie Darko
Frank is one bad mother. Perhaps the most disturbing rabbit of all time, Frank reveals himself to troubled teenager Donnie Darko and tells him the world will end in precisely 28 days, 6 hours, 42 minutes and 12 seconds. Initially saving Donnie’s life by luring him out of his house moments before a jet engine crashes through it, Frank manipulates Donnie into committing a series of crimes, as well as confusing audiences as to the meaning behind this creepy-ass bunny. What is Frank? Who is Frank? Why is Frank? Anyone who claims they can satisfactorily answer all those questions is, quite frankly, a liar.
2. Whitey – Fatal Attraction
The only dead rabbit on the list (let’s not get into the whole Frank getting shot thing, and yes I know the Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog gets blown to smithereens, but you know what I mean). This little rabbit has, unwittingly, coined a phrase that is now completely engrained in popular culture, and has led to many a man terminate a relationship in case their partner goes the way of ‘bunny boiler’ Glenn Close. So, what’s the lesson to be learned from Fatal Attraction? That’s right, don’t leave your pet rabbit alone with your bat-shit crazy mistress. Schoolboy.
1. Roger – Who Framed Roger Rabbit
Without a doubt, the most iconic bunny ever to grace a cinema screen. Roger’s knack for screwing things up, his cartoon physics and the fact that he’s nailing the smoking hot Jessica Rabbit make him endearing to any and all who witness his hapless escapades. Stick him next to Bob Hoskins’ Eddie Valiant and you get what is essentially a buddy movie, but one with a smattering of some of the most famous toons ever created. Add to that Christopher ‘Doc’ Lloyd as the forebodingly named Judge Doom, and the reason why it’s acceptable to fancy a cartoon in Jessica, and you’ve got a winning formula. Who Framed Roger Rabbit (it’s not a typo, there is no question mark) broke all kinds of ‘rules’ with its mix of toons and real life characters, but it worked brilliantly, and few films since have created a world so obviously artificial yet so believable.
So, there we go, the top 5 movie rabbits. If you disagree and think we’ve missed a particular bunny out, then please let us know in the comments below.
Words: Chris Thomson