IMDb > Born Free (1966)
Born Free
Top Links
trailers and videosfull cast and crewtriviaofficial sitesmemorable quotes
main detailscombined detailsfull cast and crewcompany credits
Awards & Reviews
user reviewsexternal reviewsawardsuser ratingsparents guidemessage board
Plot & Quotes
plot summarysynopsisplot keywordsmemorable quotes
Did You Know?
triviagoofssoundtrack listingcrazy creditsalternate versionsmovie connectionsFAQ
Other Info
box office/businessrelease datesfilming locationstechnical specsliterature listingsNewsDesk
taglines trailers and videos posters photo gallery
External Links
showtimesofficial sitesmiscellaneousphotographssound clipsvideo clips

Born Free (1966) More at IMDbPro »

Photos (See all 18 | slideshow) Videos (see all 2)
Born Free -- 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 lionesscan return to a free life.
Born Free -- Clip


User Rating:
7.3/10   4,377 votes »
Your Rating:
Saving vote...
Deleting vote...
/10   (delete | history)
Sorry, there was a problem
Popularity: ?
Down 11% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Writers (WGA):
Joy Adamson (book)
Lester Cole (screenplay) (originally as Gerald L.C. Copley)
View company contact information for Born Free on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
22 June 1966 (USA) See more »
From The Pages Of The Beloved Best Seller... A Motion Picture To Delight All The World!
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... See more » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Won 2 Oscars. Another 4 wins & 6 nominations See more »
(68 articles)
User Reviews:
Quality family entertainment -- as long as you actually like wildlife. See more (31 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Virginia McKenna ... Joy Adamson

Bill Travers ... George Adamson
Geoffrey Keen ... Kendall
Peter Lukoye ... Nuru
Omar Chambati ... Makkede
Bill Godden ... Sam
Bryan Epsom ... Baker
Robert Cheetham ... Ken
Robert S. Young ... James (as Robert Young)
Geoffrey Best ... Watson
Surya Patel ... Doctor
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Pati ... Rock Hyrax (uncredited)

Directed by
James Hill 
Tom McGowan (uncredited)
Writing credits
Joy Adamson (book)

Lester Cole (screenplay) originally as Gerald L.C. Copley

Produced by
Sam Jaffe .... producer
Paul B. Radin .... producer (as Paul Radin)
Original Music by
John Barry 
Cinematography by
Kenneth Talbot (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Don Deacon 
Production Management
Sidney G. Barnsby .... production supervisor
L.C. Rudkin .... production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
William P. Cartlidge .... assistant director
Sound Department
Chris Greenham .... sound editor
Claude Hitchcock .... sound recordist
Bob Jones .... sound recordist (as Robert Jones)
Richard Best Jr. .... assistant sound editor (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
Chic Anstiss .... camera operator (as Rodney Anstiss)
Tom Watson .... gaffer
Wally Wheatley .... grip
Marc Hyams .... second camera operator (uncredited)
John Jay .... still photographer (uncredited)
Editorial Department
Gordon Davie .... assistant editor
Music Department
John Barry .... conductor
Sidney Margo .... music contractor (uncredited)
Other crew
George Adamson .... chief technical adviser
Carl Foreman .... presenter
Hal Mason .... production coordinator
Jane Oscroft .... production secretary
Kay Rawlings .... continuity
Peter Whitehead .... animal supervisor
Sieuwke Bisleti .... animal trainer (uncredited)
Haile Selassie .... the producers are also most grateful for help received from (as His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia)
Crew believed to be complete

Production Companies
  • Open Road Films (II) (as An Open Road - Atlas Co-Production) (as Open Road Films Ltd. also)
  • Atlas (as An Open Road - Atlas Co-Production) (as Atlas Films Ltd. also)
  • Highroad (uncredited)
DistributorsOther Companies
  • Game Department of Uganda, The  the producers are also most grateful for help received from (as The Game Department of Uganda)
  • Kenya Game Department  photographed entirely on location in the Republic of Kenya with the kind co-operation of, to whom the makers of the film wish to express their gratitude (as The Kenya Game Department)
  • National Parks of Kenya  photographed entirely on location in the Republic of Kenya with the kind co-operation of, to whom the makers of the film wish to express their gratitude (as the Kenya National Parks)

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Rated PG for some wild animal action and brief language
95 min
Color (Technicolor)
Aspect Ratio:
2.20 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
70 mm 6-Track (Westrex Recording System)
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

The two stars of the film Virginia McKenna and Bill Travers were married in real life.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 too late to try to let her go wild now. All we're doing is making her miserable, torturing her. How could you be so cruel?
Joy Adamson:You keep quiet George.
George Adamson:I don't know what goes on in that head of yours anymore... What's wrong with a zoo, anyway?
Joy Adamson:nothing. Except that she won't be free.
See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in Gorgo: Behind the Scenes (2000) (V)See more »
Born FreeSee more »


What is 'Born Free' about?
Is 'Born Free' based on a book?
What is that animal that Joy carried around on her shoulder?
See more »
11 out of 12 people found the following review useful.
Quality family entertainment -- as long as you actually like wildlife., 13 November 2005
Author: Peter Hayes from United Kingdom

An English couple living in Kenya try to reintroduce an orphan lion cub back in to the wild. Based on a real story.

Family movies get a bad rap because they are usually films that only children enjoy and adults can bare only when drunk. Born Free is the kind of movie that can play well to both adults and children -- if they are the type that like wildlife.

You should never act with children or animals because they steal every scene they are in. Born Free features two very fine performances from real life couple Virginia McKenna and Bill Travers -- but when the cubs are on screen you won't be looking elsewhere.

I have read the book which I loved and well worth checking out because it is NOT a novelisation of this film -- Joyce Adamson (whose early life the script is based on) was not the angel of virtue she is portrayed here. She was a tough woman who made enemies and ruffled feathers. Her early death is another story and another film.

The problem with the film is that it has enough syrup in it without the extra sugar that is the title song. Also the real couple had personal problems that this film doesn't really want to deal with. From the nature of the film we know the final happy reel and are merely travelling towards it.

There aren't many films you can enjoy two or three times over and even get a bit emotional over -- but this is one such film. One for the DVD collection of all animal lovers. If you are the sort that doesn't subscribe to the Discovery Channel than you are better staying away.

Was the above review useful to you?
See more (31 total) »

Message Boards

Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for Born Free (1966)
Recent Posts (updated daily)User
Question About The Real Story? jbartelone
Who, if anyone, believes brunhilda2013
Patty? an_all_saint
Widescreen Vs Full Screen mts43
What Was George's Illness in the Movie? jbartelone
Brought a lion from Harrods Maccfan
See more »


If you enjoyed this title, our database also recommends:
- - - - -
Living Free I Dreamed of Africa Out of Africa Born Free: A New Adventure To Walk with Lions
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
Show more recommendations

Related Links

Full cast and crew Company credits External reviews
News articles IMDb Adventure section IMDb UK section

You may report errors and omissions on this page to the IMDb database managers. They will be examined and if approved will be included in a future update. Clicking the 'Edit page' button will take you through a step-by-step process.