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Mighty Joe Young (1949)

Approved  |   |  Adventure, Drama, Fantasy  |  29 August 1949 (Sweden)
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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 »


(screenplay), (from an original story by)
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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


Striking! Startling! Staggering! 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?


Willis O'Brien's original concept for the nightclub sequence had Joe rescue Terry Moore from another gorilla. He clashed with Merian C. Cooper, who insisted on the drunken ape sequence. 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 »


Agent: Maxie, I can get you a great act; it can work on a raft.
Max O'Hara: What?
Agent: Monkeys!
Max O'Hara: Aw, nix, cut it out, will ya'?
See more »

Crazy Credits

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


Referenced in Jackie Chan Adventures: Danger in the Deep Freeze (2001) See more »


Beautiful Dreamer
Written by Stephen Foster
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Kong with a heart!
2 January 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I remember seeing Mighty Joe Young before I ever saw King Kong, and for the longest time I preferred it to Kong because it seemed newer, with better effects, and more familiar actors, while Kong seemed older and a little creakier with a less familiar cast of characters. Over the years I've come to appreciate both as great movies, the same basic story or premise, but with a slightly different spin, one as a grand thrilling epic, and one as a heartwarming story with laughs and thrills. Where Kong is the tragic violent figure meeting his fate for the love of a woman, Joe Young is a warm cuddly teddy bear of a creature trying to stave off that wild beast that lives inside of him for the affection of a woman. Where Kong wouldn't expend a drop of sweat helping a human, except for Ann Darrow, Joe Young appears more than human in that he would sacrifice himself to save the children and adults in an orphanage engulfed in flames. And although Robert Armstrong doesn't play the same character in both movies, just the same type of character, it's kind of nice to see him learn from his mistakes in the previous film and early on in this one so that he can make a determined effort to have this story end differently. While King Kong may have been a grand slam out of the park, Mighty Joe Young still comes out as a solid home run.

22 of 23 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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