IMDb > Born Free (1966)
Born Free
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Born Free (1966) More at IMDbPro »

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Born Free -- This wondrous true adventure from the best-selling novel about a woman who raised a lioness and eventually set her free is beautifully photographed on the vast, golden savannas of central Africa. 

When game warden George Adamson (Bill Travers) is forced to kill a menacing lion and lioness, he and his wife Joy (Virginia McKenna) adopt their three cubs. Two are sent off to zoos, but the third is kept - a female they name Elsa - to which they have become particularly attached. When Elsa becomes a full grown lioness, the Adamsons realise that she must be set free and taught to survive on her own. A year later the Adamsons return to the savanna and are surprised by a very special welcome from their old friend.

Highly acclaimed for its cinematography and music, Born Free is a story of courage and love, nature, and a relationship unlike any other ever filmed. Eureka Entertainment is proud to present the film on Blu-ray for the first time in the UK, in a special Dual-Format edition.
Born Free -- Clip

Overview

User Rating:
7.3/10   4,823 votes »
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Popularity: ?
Up 9% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Director:
Writers (WGA):
Joy Adamson (book)
Lester Cole (screenplay) (originally as Gerald L.C. Copley)
Contact:
View company contact information for Born Free on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
22 June 1966 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
From The Pages Of The Beloved Best Seller... A Motion Picture To Delight All The World! See more »
Plot:
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:
Awards:
Won 2 Oscars. Another 4 wins & 6 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
Very good See more (35 total) »

Cast

  (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
(WGA)
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
Gavrik Losey .... assistant director (uncredited)
 
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
Chris Lamie .... colorist (uncredited)
 
Music Department
John Barry .... conductor
John Barry .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Sidney Margo .... music contractor (uncredited)
Eric Tomlinson .... music engineer (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)
 
Thanks
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
  • C.T.S. Studios  music recorded at
  • 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:
MPAA:
Rated PG for some wild animal action and brief language
Runtime:
95 min
Country:
Language:
Color:
Color (Technicolor)
Aspect Ratio:
2.20 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
70 mm 6-Track (Westrex Recording System)
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

Trivia:
When John Barry won Oscars for "Best Music, Original Music Score" and "Best Music, Original Song" for this film, not only was it his first Oscar victory, it was also the first time an Englishman had won both those particular categories. Barry first heard of his wins from friend Michael Crawford who'd seen the ceremonies on TV in New York and called him in the UK with the news.See more »
Goofs:
Miscellaneous: Before George has told Joy that he still has Elsa while they are driving back you can tell he isn't situated directly behind the steering wheel but rather a little to the left of it. Perhaps this is why the truck is shown swerving?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 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:
Soundtrack:
Born FreeSee more »

FAQ

How does the movie end?
Is 'Born Free' based on a book?
Does Elsa play herself?
See more »
27 out of 29 people found the following review useful.
Very good, 27 December 2003
Author: preppy-3 from United States

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!

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