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The Living Desert (1953)

Passed  |   |  Family, Documentary  |  10 November 1953 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 818 users  
Reviews: 12 user | 6 critic

Documentary of the live of flora and fauna in a desert in the US.



(screenplay), (screenplay), 2 more credits »
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 5 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:
Winston Hibler ...


A day in the life of creatures living in a desert in the southwestern US is shown. Toads, reptiles, wild pigs, insects, mice and birds are followed going about their daily routine and the struggle to find food and not become it themselves. Written by Ron Kerrigan <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

nature | true life adventure | See All (2) »


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Official Sites:



Release Date:

10 November 1953 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A True-Life Adventure: The Living Desert  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)



Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


In 1971, Buena Vista reissued this film theatrically on a double bill with The Vanishing Prairie (1954). See more »

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User Reviews

Still Informs and Entertains
8 July 2015 | by (Claremont,USA) – See all my reviews

I can see purists criticizing some of the footage for being too cute, the "dancing scorpions" and its voice-over, for example. But this was a commercial venture meant to entertain and educate at the same time. So liberties were taken. For example, predatory kills were kept to a minimum, with the quarry often getting away. Also, some critters like snakes and spiders seem natural villains to most of us, while little furry critters seem friendlier. The movie makes use of these popular reactions.

Nonetheless, Disney's little formula worked. As I recall, this feature and its companion The Vanishing Prairie, (1953), were both box-office successes. Now, of course, much of the same material can be gotten on cable. Still, some of the footage is superb: the blooming desert flower buds, the flash flood, and who would imagine a wasp that only hunts tarantulas--that's a real fight to the death. All in all, whatever the commercially driven excess, the footage still manages to fascinate and, yes, help educate non-naturalists like me.

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