The Living Desert (1953)

Passed  |   |  Family, Documentary  |  10 November 1953 (USA)
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Reviews: 12 user | 7 critic

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



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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 <>

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Plot Keywords:

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


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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 »


Follows Beaver Valley (1950) See more »

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User Reviews

A Joy to Watch
5 July 2015 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

The Living Desert is a wonderful nature documentary from 1953 that began a string of similar Disney documentaries that I was familiar with growing up in the 1950's and 60's. The struggle for existence in a forbidding landscape is made amusing and interesting and it was a great learning experience as well as entertainment for young people who caught their first glimpses of nature up close on their new family television with manual button controls and rabbit ears. The familiar voice-over narrative by Winston Hibler gives an ongoing account of wildlife activity in the southwestern dessert of the United States. This apparent wasteland is teeming with life.

The photography is a joy to watch as we view lizards lapping up unsuspecting insects, turtles performing a mating ritual, javelinas chasing a bobcat which is forced to take refuge on a large prickly cactus. The movie is well edited as the viewer watches the seamless transition from scene to scene accompanied by music often right in tune with the action. Symphonic music for the slithering, striped snake burrowing in and out of the sand, soon followed by hoedown music for courting tarantulas. Told in the vernacular of mid-20th century life, we hear analogies to males fighting off rivals for the right to the female. Fortunately, these scenes are still available to viewers on stations like TCM. Highly recommend.

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