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Born Free (1966)

7.3
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 3,998 users  
Reviews: 31 user | 22 critic

Joy Adamson and her husband, Kenya game warden George Adamson, raise Elsa, a lion cub. When Elsa approaches maturity, Joy determines she must re-educate Elsa to living in the wild so that ... See full summary »

Directors:

, (uncredited)

Writers:

(book), (screenplay)
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Title: Born Free (1966)

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Won 2 Oscars. Another 4 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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When Elsa's three mischievious cubs begin wreaking havok on the nearby villages, Joy and her husband are forced to move them hundreds of miles to a game preserve.

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Cast

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

Joy Adamson and her husband, Kenya game warden George Adamson, raise Elsa, a lion cub. When Elsa approaches maturity, Joy determines she must re-educate Elsa to living in the wild so that the lioness can return to a free life. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

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 »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

22 June 1966 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A História de Elsa  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The theme song was not heard on the original British release of the film, although it later won Best Song Oscar. See more »

Goofs

After another failure in the effort to find the right formula for the cubs, George asks Joy which number they're up to. She replies, "Nineteen." In the next two scenes, the "next" formula, the one that works, is referred to them both as number seventeen. See more »

Quotes

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 ...
[...]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

Born Free
(uncredited)
Music by John Barry
Lyrics by Don Black
Sung by Matt Monro
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Very good
27 December 2003 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

True life story. George and Joy Adamson (Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna) live in the wilderness in Kenya. In self defense, George kills a lion and his mate only to find they were protecting their three cubs. He and his wife decide to raise the cubs. They give two of them away to zoos, but can't part with Elsa, a lioness. But then they realize they can't keep her and don't want to put her in a zoo. Can they help her live in the wild?

I read the book "Born Free" when I was in grammar school in the 70s and loved it. I also vaguely remember seeing the movie on TV (and liking it) and the very short-lived (13 episodes) series in the early 70s. Also the song was a big hit in the mid 60s and again in the early 70s. But I had forgotten all about it until it popped up on TCM. I decided to tune in and loved it!

The movie was shot beautifully on location in Kenya (where it took place). Wide screen viewing is essential for this one. Also, Travers and McKenna were a real-life couple when they did this film (in fact they remained married until his death in 1994) and there devotion to each other comes through loud and clear. Also the lions (male and female) are SO cute when they're cubs and even beautiful as they get older. Elsa herself was portrayed by a number of different lionesses but you can't tell the difference. And Travers and McKenna worked with all the animals for 2 weeks before filming so they all interact together perfectly. This is perfect family viewing--adults will adore it as much as the kids.

I'm only giving it a 7 for a few reasons--there isn't much of a story and the film DOES drag a little. Also the cute little shots of the cubs get a little bit much. Yeah they are adorable, but it got to the point that I thought the filmmakers were purposely shoving them in our faces to get us to go "awwwwwwww"! A little bit too cute for my tastes.

Still it's a great film and the music in this one is fantastic (and Oscar-winning). Also I defy anyone not to cry during the final sequence--it even got to me and I'm the last person to cry at movies like this.

A very good family film. See it!


22 of 24 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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