Born Free (1966)

PG  |   |  Adventure, Drama, Family  |  22 June 1966 (USA)
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Married couple George Adamson and Joy Adamson have longed lived in northern Kenya for George's work as the senior game warden of the region. One of George's primary responsibilities is to ... See full summary »


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Won 2 Oscars. Another 3 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:
Geoffrey Keen ...
Peter Lukoye ...
Omar Chambati ...
Bill Godden ...
Bryan Epsom ...
Robert Cheetham ...
Robert S. Young ...
James (as Robert Young)
Geoffrey Best ...
Surya Patel ...


Married couple George Adamson and Joy Adamson have longed lived in northern Kenya for George's work as the senior game warden of the region. One of George's primary responsibilities is to deal with dangerous animals that may be chronically threatening to humans, livestock and/or crops. It is in this vein that George and his staff end up killing a man eating lion and its lioness, resulting in their three young female cubs being orphaned. Although difficult to begin, George and Joy are able to wean and take care of the three cubs, who they adopt as pets. But soon, they know they have to provide a more suitable environment for the cubs, namely sending them to Rotterdam Zoo... that is except for the smallest, who they have named Elsa and to who Joy in particular has become attached as the emotional fighter among the three. As Elsa grows into lioness maturity, George and Joy provide her with greater freedom away from their property, which may get her into trouble as a largely tame animal. ... Written by Huggo

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From The Pages Of The Beloved Best Seller... A Motion Picture To Delight All The World!

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for some wild animal action and brief language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

22 June 1966 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La leona de dos mundos  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


The lions "Boy", "Girl" and "Ugas" were freed upon completion of filming. Under protest by the film studio who wanted to sell the lions to zoos to get some money back from filming. See more »


Joy Adamson: Elsa, Elsa
[Joy cries sitting out on the hood of the truck as they ride in search of the young lioness]
George Adamson: Let's try this.
[2 shots ring out from his gun. George sees Elsa stumbling through the grass, approaching their vehicle]
Joy Adamson: all my nightmares had come true.
[Now Elsa rests in their tent as they argue over her]
George Adamson: ...she can't make it. she can't think. she can't mix with her own kind... She can't do anything the wild animals do to survive. You've done too good a job on her. You've made her tame. It's ...
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Featured in Breakfast: Episode dated 31 January 2011 (2011) See more »


Born Free
Written by John Barry
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User Reviews

If you don't love Elsa, there's something wrong with you!
27 November 2003 | by (Illinois, U.S.A.) – See all my reviews

Real-life husband and wife Virginia McKenna and Bill Travers play real-life husband and wife Joy and George Adamson. Strangely, the chemistry between them is really not played up here. Everything is focused on the cubs, perhaps as it should be. This film takes what could've just been another National Geographic episode and turns it into a "triumph of the spirit" story. When you watch this film, you understand the true meaning of freedom. And you can't help but look at that lion and want the best for her. The title song is a perfect ending to the film. It is too bad the Adamsons' lives did not have a happy ending like this story. The film keeps it simple, but there are still some emotional moments. It delivers what it promises.

28 of 30 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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