Born Free (1966)

PG  |   |  Adventure, Drama, Family  |  22 June 1966 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 4,377 users  
Reviews: 31 user | 22 critic

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?


According to the movie, Joy named the littlest lion Elsa because she reminded her of a little girl she knew at school; however, in real life, Elsa was named for the mother of Joy's second husband. 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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Referenced in The Longest Yard (1974) See more »


Born Free
Written by John Barry
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Great Heart warming movie
29 March 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

You always here the story or the expression that you can't take wild animals and try to them into pets. This movie tells and shows you why. The movie is based on a true story from a book by Joy Adamson. The movie is set back in the 1950 era when George Adamson who is the game warden for the Kenya area in Africa. While out on a routine run George has to kill a charging female lion in self defense. After George kills the lion he discovers that the lion was a mother as three lion cubs come out of no where. George takes the 3 cub's home because he knows that if he didn't the cubs will die. When the cubs get too much to handle they have to make the hardest decision of their life. Do they send the animals to the Rotterdam Zoo? Do they send all the cubs or do they keep one? To me the acting was great as Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna play George and Joy Adamson. As a side note McKenna also narrates the story as Joy voice-over, using the book. The real star of the show, though, is Elsa herself, actually played by three different lionesses. You can really see the genuine affection between the large cat and her caretakers as they interact. It is magical to watch. This movie would be great for you and your family because there's none of the following in this picture. There's really no violence, and there's no sex or any swearing for that matter. The entire movie was shot in Africa. If you can get the DVD the picture quality is as good as a movie that you would buy today. This review is based on my home addition of Born Free on DVD. You can get this DVD right here on and it by far better then the current VHS that's out there now. Based on the scenery alone I give this movie 7 weasel stars.

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Question About The Real Story? jbartelone
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