Bambi is all about impressive people, pure emotions and a special atmosphere. The event creates legendary moments that move Germany and the world: Bambi moments.
When Hollywood star Penélope Cruz received the “International actress” Bambi in 2018, she thanked screen legend Sophia Loren for being such a great inspiration. “Sophia, I love you and you mean a great deal to me.” These two feisty and joyous Mediterranean women have been close friends since shooting the musical “Nine” together and had plenty to talk about at the Bambi ceremony. Viva la diva!
“There are some dates you just don’t turn down, even if your house is on fire” joked Thomas Gottschalk who, despite the forest fires ravaging California, travelled to Berlin to attend the ceremony and discuss legendary Bambi moments on stage with Sophia Loren. After their talk, Hollywood star Liv Tyler had a surprise for Gottschalk. His house – and his five Bambi statues – had been destroyed by the fires, and so Tyler presented him with a new golden deer.
In 2011, Mehri and Aleyna had an experience they will never forget. One minute they were standing in the Bambi fan area in front of the venue, the next they were on stage with Justin Bieber, watched by millions of people. Presenter Kai Pflaume had brought them to meet their idol. Later, they told interviewers that their hearts were racing and their hands were shaking and sweaty. Bieber even gave them a hug.
At the 2016 Bambi awards, Florian Silbereisen declared his love for Helene Fischer. In 2017, she returned the favour. “I spend so much time travelling, and have so many new experiences to absorb, so coming home is the most wonderful thing”, Fischer said in her acceptance speech. “And when I do, there’s someone there to hold me and lift the weight off my shoulders. And so, from the bottom of my heart, thank you Florian, thank you my darling for the strength you carry within you. Thank you for your love – and for being my home.” What a touching moment!
A superstar kneels: the 56th Bambi ceremony honoured Tom Hanks for his film “The Polar Express”. Before accepting his award, he provided one of Bambi’s most emotional moments of all time. Approaching the presenter, Sophia Loren, Hanks fell to his knees, kissed her hand and called her “my goddess, my goddess”. Whether in the room or watching from home, audiences could not fail to be moved.
A world-famous German model and a major Hollywood star: in 2017, Hugh Jackman and Claudia Schiffer made a real impact as they arrived on the red carpet. They embodied the glamour and spectacle of the event, much to the delight of the photographers and camera crews.
When Microsoft’s Bill Gates walked onto the Bambi stage, it was the highlight of the 2013 ceremony. “My vision is for every person in the world to have the chance to lead a productive life and fulfil their potential. Receiving this Bambi award is a great motivation”, Gates said in his acceptance speech. He received the “Millennium” Bambi for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
In 2011, all eyes were on Helmut Schmidt, the former German chancellor, as he accepted the “Millennium” Bambi and gave a moving speech. He appealed to the people of Europe to treat each other responsibly. Schmidt’s words were met with a standing ovation lasting several minutes.
At Bambi 2002, the King of Pop spread a message of love. “September 11 has changed the world. We don’t need war, we just need love. Be happy and joyful.” His declaration drew resounding applause from the Bambi audience.
The complete opposite of a raucous boxer: as Henry Maske received his “Sport” Bambi in 2007, a touching silence descended on the room. “I’m so touched, I wouldn’t be able to get into the ring right now”, he admitted, before making an emotional declaration of love to his wife Manuela. “She’s always kept my head on straight. And she’s helped me develop over the last six years.”
The 1995 Bambi ceremony was so packed with celebrities that only a train station could hold them. Munich’s main station was decorated specially for the occasion. 700 square meters of floor space were carpeted in Burda blue in a record time of four hours. Seven huge heaters ensured that everyone stayed warm, despite the cold snap.
In 2014, Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Mary of Denmark brought a touch of royal glamour to proceedings when she received the “Charity” Bambi. The award honoured her dedication to fighting domestic abuse – and her acceptance speech wasn’t the only unforgettable moment. Her presence lent the red carpet a very special regal atmosphere.
In 2015, the Bambi audience applauded for a full five minutes when Wolfgang Schäuble received an honorary Bambi for his “political vision and exemplary courage”. His acceptance speech left viewers with goosebumps as he reminded them to never lose their sense of perspective and always be grateful.
In 2010, Hans-Dietrich Genscher moved the Bambi audience to tears and received two standing ovations as he received his “Millennium” Bambi. 20 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, he ended his emotional speech with a poignant plea: “Europe is the future for all of us. We have no other.”
Helene Fischer and Florian Silbereisen were one of the dream couples in German show business. In 2016, Silbereisen was presented with the “TV” Bambi. In his acceptance speech, he stated: “Tonight, I see a room filled with beautiful women. But please forgive me for saying that I am delighted and proud to be accompanied by the most beautiful of them all.” He was, of course, referring to Helene Fischer, who thanked him with a kiss.
Bambi in the Apostolic Palace: in 2016, His Holiness Pope Francis was presented with the “Millennium” Bambi by Yusra Mardini, a Syrian swimmer who lives in Germany and saved many lives as she fled across the Mediterranean. Explaining their decision to honour the Pope, the jury cited his immense charity towards the world’s poorest people. “Pope Francis’ papacy has focused on alleviating the suffering of the poor and calling on humanity to be more helpful and compassionate in the face of an increasing global flow of refugees. People all around the world value his authenticity, his social commitment and his unfailing devotion to making the world a better place.”
They’re usually seen at 8.15 on Sunday evenings, teaming up to solve crimes in episodes of “Tatort” (“Crime Scene”), Germany’s classic TV series. In 2013, practically every actor currently appearing in the series came together on the Bambi stage for a historic photo.
One word versus 1319: the shortest acceptance speech in Bambi history came from Horst Buchholz – upon receiving his award in 1957, the actor uttered a simple “Thanks!” At the other end of spectrum, we have Tom Cruise, who received the 2007 “Courage” award for his film “Valkyrie”. Expressing himself in 1319 words, he gave the longest speech in Bambi history at 7 minutes and 53 seconds.
Queen Silvia of Sweden was awarded an honorary Bambi in 2006 for her dedication to the world’s children. She received an enthusiastic welcome from children waving little Swedish flags. When royals grace the red carpet, the atmosphere is guaranteed to be something special.
Offenburg had never seen anything like it. When Bambi celebrated its 60th anniversary in Hubert Burda’s home city, everything was turned on its head. Hundreds of onlookers were thrilled to see an unprecedented influx of stars such as Meg Ryan, Pink, Keanu Reeves, Britney Spears, Karl Lagerfeld and Lewis Hamilton.
Bambi may be Germany’s most important media award, but in 1971 it made a brief detour to Monaco. The winners and a few journalists were quickly flown in on chartered aircraft. And there was one particularly special guest: Princess Grace of Monaco (pictured, middle).
An extraordinary thank you: Kate Winslet received the “International actress” award in 2009 for her performance in “The Reader”. She must have been thrilled by Bruno Ganz’s accompanying speech, because she knelt before him, clearly emotional, witnessed by an audience of millions.
“Puppele, this Bambi belongs to you!” With these words and a glance up to heaven, actor Alain Delon remembered his co-star and great love Romy Schneider (who passed away in 1982) as he received his Bambi in 1987. Delon’s eyes filled with tears – and the entire audience was deeply moved. Delon and Schneider were a couple in the 1950s and 60s.
The audience rose from their seats when Maria Schell and her brother Maximilian were awarded a Bambi in 2002. Maria sat in a golden chair to receive her award, tears in her eyes. A very special Bambi moment.