Outside of Easter and their duodecennial turn on the Chinese calendar, rabbits simply don’t get their due. Sure, some people keep them as pets, others enjoy them as dinner, but mostly they’re just nature’s fuzzy, floppy-eared little afterthoughts that like to procreate as much as possible. Except when it comes to pop culture. Movies, TV, books, music … that’s where bunnies get the love, in a mishmash of incarnations, from classic literature to psychedelic pop, from hilarious cartoons to horrifying cult flicks. So with Easter upon us, here are The Hollywood Reporter’s favorite rabbits. — Written by Dave McCoy, Kimberly Nordyke, Ashley Lee, Meena Jang, Patrick Shanley, Emmet McDermott, Natalie Stone and Pete Keeley
“What’s up, Doc?” The “wascally wabbit” with the New York accent (voiced by many actors, most notably Mel Blanc) and the well-known catchphrase has been outsmarting rivals from Elmer Fudd to Marvin the Martian to Yosemite Sam since making his official debut in Tex Avery’s 1940 Oscar-nominated film A Wild Hare. At one point, Bugs was the ninth-most-portrayed character in film, according to Guinness World Records, and he even has his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. — Kimberly Nordyke
The rabbit looks normal: White, fluffy, innocuous. So much so that Tim the Enchanter — who had warned of a beast with “nasty, big, pointy teeth!” — has to repeatedly remind King Arthur and his band of followers that not all is what it seems: “That’s the most foul, cruel, and bad-tempered rodent you ever set eyes on!” Nonchalant and mocking, Arthur orders on a frontal assault on the little guy … only to find out that Tim was indeed right. The rabbit chews up three of Arthur’s men. “That rabbit’s dynamite,” he admits. Still one of the funniest set pieces in Python’s playbook, so much so that the Killer Rabbit made a return appearance in the musical Spamalot. — Dave McCoy
Poor Ralphie (Peter Billingsley). Not only is he continually being told his dream Christmas present (an official Red Ryder, carbine action, 200-shot range model air rifle) is too dangerous for a young boy, but to add insult to injury, Aunt Clara — who, a grown-up Ralphie explains in voiceover, “had for years labored under the delusion that I was not only perpetually 4 years old, but also a girl” — sends him a unwanted pink bunny costume for the holidays. That his mother makes him try on immediately. Which his younger brother finds a great source of amusement. As his father says, helpfully: “You look like a deranged Easter bunny … a pink nightmare.” — K.N.
Kicked out of the Playboy mansion for being too old (27 “is 59 in bunny years!”), Anna Faris becomes the house mom of a sorority that counts Emma Stone, Kat Dennings and Katharine McPhee among its members. Though she hardly touts her ears outside the mansion, she remains a bunny at heart throughout Fred Wolf’s 2008 comedy. — Ashley Lee
Insults are just as harsh when coming from a scantily clad bunny. After being tricked into wearing a Halloween costume to a relatively serious party, law school underdog Elle Woods (Reese Witherspoon) tells bully Vivian Kensington (Selma Blair), “I like your outfit too, except when I dress up as a frigid bitch, I try not to look so constipated.” — A.L.
In the 2004 comedy, clique leader Regina George (Rachel McAdams) dons a risqué bunny costume for Halloween, because as Cady Heron (Lindsay Lohan) would say, it’s “the one night a year when a girl can dress like a total slut, and no other girls can say anything about it.” — Meena Jang
Garry Marshall’s 1988 friendship drama gave us a major Bette Midler musical moment — besides that “Wind Beneath My Wings” ballad in dedication to Barbara Hershey. Before CC Bloom made it big as a musician, she had the odd job of being a bucktoothed singing telegram for a “bunny boy” (John Heard). “I try to go to sleep but it’s just no use, ’cause all he really wants to do is reproduce.” — A.L.
Elwood P. Dowd (James Stewart) is a grown man whose best friend happens to be an invisible 6-foot-3 (and a half!) rabbit named Harvey. While his family doesn’t know what to make of this — is he seeing visions due to his propensity to drink? Is he mentally ill? — the bartender at the place Elwood frequents good-naturedly accepts drink orders on both Elwood and Harvey’s behalf. Seems the bunny has a taste for liquor as well. — K.N.
Donnie: Why are you wearing that stupid bunny suit?
Frank: Why are you wearing that stupid man suit?
While Harvey was amusing, this incarnation of a possibly insane guy who sees a tall rabbit is not. Donnie Darko (Jake Gyllenhaal) is a teen with issues, ones made worse when, in the middle of the night, he is summoned to a golf course and confronted by giant, demonic-looking rabbit named Frank who tells him that the world will end in 28 days, 6 hours, 42 minutes and 12 seconds. Over the course of the film, Frank manipulates Donnie into either saving or ending the world, depending on how you read the film. A wonderful, horrifying creation by writer-director Richard Kelly. — D.M.
This is one anxious rabbit. In Lewis Carroll’s book Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, the rabbit appears in the beginning of the story muttering, “Oh dear! Oh dear! I shall be too late!” Disney’s 1951 animated film adaptation turned those mutterings into a song: “I’m late! I’m late! For a very important date! No time to say hello, goodbye! I’m late! I’m late! I’m late!” Of course, if your boss (in this case, the Queen of Hearts) had a propensity for shouting “Off with their heads!” whenever she felt wronged, you’d probably worry about being tardy too. — K.N.
With apologies to Eddie, the Airplane is our favorite rabbit in pop music history (also, sorry Bunny Wailer). The Lewis Carroll-inspired tune still kills, a slow build to insanity and Grace Slick’s orgasmic wailing. Also, it’s the catalyst for the funniest passage of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, involving Hunter S. Thompson, LSD, a bathtub and a radio. Look it up. — D.M.
This is one hopped-up bunny. The neurotic, bowtie-sporting Roger Rabbit is known for his frantic stuttering, manic energy and over-the-top reaction to alcoholic beverages (aren’t we all!) as well as being wrongfully accused of murdering Acme CEO Marvin Acme in the pioneering animation/live-action hybrid comedy. — Patrick Shanley
This rabbit debuted in 2006, during the early stages of the candy company’s “Experience the Rainbow” campaign. It is known as one of the earliest examples of bizarre digital marketing, predating Starburst’s notable “Berries and Cream” commercial by a year and Old Spice’s “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like,” perhaps the most famous example, by nearly four. In the beginning of the commercial, the rabbit, extremely valuable for its inexplicable ability to sing opera, is seen being exchanged for a bag of Skittles. The rabbit’s new owner is pleased with his decision at first, but quickly realizes he made a big mistake: All day and night, the rabbit just won’t stop singing. Unable to sleep, the new owner attempts to return the rabbit and get his Skittles back, but in a dramatic twist, he sees it’s too late. And all is lost. Fun fact: The song being sung by the rabbit is “Libiamo ne’ lieti calici” from Verdi’s opera La Traviata. — Emmet McDermott
Richard Adams’ classic 1972 novel tells the story of a group of young rabbits, led by the brothers Hazel and Fiver, who embark on an epic journey from their home in Sandleford Warren after Fiver receives a frightening vision of its imminent destruction to their new home of Watership Down in the fluffiest of all takes on the Odyssey narrative. — P.S.
The practical man’s rabbit is named, appropriately, Rabbit. Pooh’s dear friend and Hundred Acre Wood’s resident green-thumbed gardener is a down-to-earth, organized, sensible cottontail who often finds himself at odds with the rambunctious, child-like exuberance of fellow Christopher Robin bud Tigger. Now there’s an odd couple! — P.S.
It’s sad that the main legacy of Disney’s 1973 animated Robin Hood is providing the earworm for the late-’90s Internet sensation hamsterdance.com. Still, the film is a gem containing some of the most memorable characters in the Disney canon: Prince John the thumb-sucking lion, his beset-upon (besat-upon?) henchman Sir Hiss, and the great Phil Harris’ rendition of Little John. But let us not forget Skippy, the cunicular birthday boy whose poor aim sets the main plot in motion. Of course, one might question Robin’s decision to gift a 7-year-old rabbit a bow and one solitary, deadly arrow. But it all works out for everyone in the end. — Pete Keeley
The second stop-motion film by DreamWorks and Aardman Animations following 2000’s Chicken Run, The Curse of the Were-Rabbit tells the story of a loyal dog and his master who are out to catch the giant rabbit ravaging their garden and threatening their chances of winning the town’s annual Giant Vegetable Competition. — M.J.
Bambi befriends a rabbit named Thumper (named for his habit of thumping his left hind foot) in the 1942 animated Disney classic. Portrayed as a “mama’s boy,” Thumper is often reprimanded by his mother, who always corrects his behavior by asking, “What did your father tell you?” One of Thumper’s greatest lessons learned? “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all.” — M.J.
The adventurous Peter Rabbit was created by Beatrix Potter in the late 1800s and has since garnered global recognition as an acclaimed children’s book series. Renee Zellweger starred as the writer in the 2006 film Miss Potter alongside co-star Ewan McGregor. James Corden voiced the bunny in a 2018 adaptation and its 2021 sequel. — Natalie Stone
Kevin Hart voices Snowball, a white rabbit, in the 2016 animated film (and its 2019 sequel). When we first meet Snowball, he’s no cuddly bunny: He’s the leader of a gang called “the Flushed Pets,” who hate humans after being mistreated. However, all turns out well when Snowball — spoiler alert — ultimately finds his forever home and learns to love people. — K.N.
Russell Brand voices a young rabbit who is supposed to take over the role of Easter Bunny from his father — but he really just wants to be a drummer. He runs away from Easter Island where he runs into Fred O’Hare (James Marsden), a slacker, and wreaks havoc in his life before a twist at the end reveals who the new Easter Bunny will be. — K.N.
Poor little bunny. Glenn Close warned Michael Douglas that she “wouldn’t be ignored” after he has the worst one-night stand in film history. She wasn’t lying. After a series of threatening phone calls, Close goes full psycho: She sneaks into Douglas’ property, steals his daughter’s pet rabbit and boils it alive in the kitchen, leaving it for Douglas’ horrified wife to discover. So iconic is this scene that the term “Bunny Boiler” now exists for exes who seek some kind of revenge following a break-up. Happy Easter!