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Mighty Joe Young (1949)

Approved  |   |  Adventure, Drama, Fantasy  |  29 August 1949 (Sweden)
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 3,133 users  
Reviews: 60 user | 20 critic

In Africa, the girl Jill Young trades a baby gorilla with two natives and raises the animal. Twelve years later, the talkative and persuasive promoter Max O'Hara organizes a safari to ... See full summary »


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Title: Mighty Joe Young (1949)

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Won 1 Oscar. Another 2 nominations. See more awards »


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Complete credited cast:
Mr. Joseph Young ...
Denis Green ...
Paul Guilfoyle ...
Nestor Paiva ...
John Young
Lora Lee Michel ...
James Flavin ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Mary Gordon ...
Old Woman (unconfirmed)


In Africa, the girl Jill Young trades a baby gorilla with two natives and raises the animal. Twelve years later, the talkative and persuasive promoter Max O'Hara organizes a safari to Africa with the Oklahoma cowboy Gregg to bring attractions to his new night-club in Hollywood. They capture several lions and out of blue, they see a huge gorilla nearby their camping and they try to capture the animal. However, the teenager Jill Young stops the men that intended to kill her gorilla. Max seduces Jill with a fancy life in Hollywood and she signs a contract with him where the gorilla Joseph "Joe" Young would be the lead attraction. Soon she realizes that her dream is a nightmare to Joe and she asks Max to return to Africa. However he persuades her to stay a little longer in the show business. But when three alcoholic costumers give booze to Joe, the gorilla destroys the spot and is sentenced by the justice to be sacrificed. Will Jill, Gregg and Max succeed in saving Joe? Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Ten Terrific Thrills ! See more »


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

29 August 1949 (Sweden)  »

Also Known As:

Mr. Joseph Young of Africa  »

Filming Locations:

Box Office


$1,800,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)


(Sepiatone) (some sequences)|

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Beginning in 1949 and for many years this film was issued entirely in black and white. From the mid 1980s through- the early 1990s, many classic black and white films , such as "Mighty Joe Young", "The Big Sleep" and "42nd Street", went through the the "colorization" process. In this instance, a highly effective orange-red color tint was added to replace the black and white of the orphanage fire sequence. It appears more effective in color and remains in this otherwise all black and white film. Though initially popular on TV and the early Home Video market, the Ted Turner-style of colorization lost popularity by the mid 90s and is all but forgotten. One of the few exceptions is the "orphanage fire" scene in this film. Additionally it enables this film to compete, more successfully, with the all color 1998 Walt Disney remake of "Mighty Joe Young". See more »


When Mighty Joe Young is carrying the young girl up the burning tree a metal position gauge, a stop-motion special effects tool appears on screen for a single frame. See more »


Max O'Hara: [to Windy] Who's the greatest press agant in the world, you or me; don't answer that.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Closing credits epilogue: Good bye from Joe Young See more »


Referenced in The Ed Wynn Show: Episode #1.5 (1949) See more »


Beautiful Dreamer
Written by Stephen Foster
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

A Wonderful Film
1 May 2003 | by (Los Angeles, California) – See all my reviews

When many people bring this film up, many of them want to compare it to its predecessor King Kong. However, if they would let this film stand on its own they would see that this is a good film about a young girl and her pet gorilla. Joe is almost childlike and is even lovable. Also, the human cast is fine especially Terry Moore and Robert Armstrong in what pretty much is a repeat of his role of impresario Carl Denham in the original Kong.

But, lets not forget the special effects. Willis O'Brien and his protégé, a young Ray Harryhausen do a remarkable job with Joe. The pretty much show him as being a more rounded character than Kong and you can see the aforementioned childlike qualities they bring to him. This is definitely a great film.

10 of 12 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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