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Beautiful People (1974)
"Animals Are Beautiful People" (original title)

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Ratings: 8.3/10 from 2,486 users  
Reviews: 17 user | 7 critic

Hilarious documentary on the wildlife of the Namib Desert.



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Won 1 Golden Globe. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »



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Credited cast:
Paddy O'Byrne ...
Narrator (voice)


Hilarious documentary on the wildlife of the Namib Desert.

Add Full Plot | Plot Synopsis


Drama! action! tears and comedy! See more »


G | See all certifications »




Release Date:

November 1974 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Beautiful People  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


500,000 feet (152 kilometers) of film negative were used to shoot the documentary. See more »


Referenced in The Gods Must Be Crazy II (1989) See more »


Die Moldau
By Smetana
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User Reviews

Beautiful film about beautiful people
9 June 2003 | by (Chicago, Illinois, USA) – See all my reviews

With the new DVD release, I just watched this film for the first time in about 10 years, and it's as delightful as I remembered it.

I'm not completely stupid, and realize that real animals don't usually make cartoon-like sound effects, i.e. an ostrich craning his neck in disbelief and going "huh?" or beetles making screeching car noises. I know that marabou aren't really judgmental, and that pelicans aren't really pompous. I consider myself a reasonably sophisticated film viewer, and can see that the seeds being shot out of the little dry plant in one scene are animated, not real. If you feel colorful bits of embroidered reality like this render a so-called documentary unwatchable, then reach behind yourself and carefully remove the stick from up your posterior. Oh, never mind, just watch "Nova."

Maybe "documentary" isn't the right word to describe this film, which is an entertainment that incorporates nature footage and some nature fact, dramatic or comedic invention, and musical accompaniment. What would you call it? It's sort of a "whatsit." Whatever it is, it warms the cockles of my heart, and this cockle-warmer can be enjoyed by people of all ages – something rare enough these days. It is, in general, wry and amusing, but the part that made an overwhelming impact on me since my first viewing is that near the end, where a pitiful troupe of abandoned pelican chicks are dying in the scorching sun. The three-day struggle of the clouds to drop rain onto the desert, and the sun's efforts to prevent it, are depicted as a titanic battle of opposing armies, with spectacularly beautiful footage of clouds and sunlight dramatically accompanied by the Liszt tone poem "Les Preludes." I still find this imaginative interpretation of these natural events absolutely gripping, and I imagine it must have made a powerful impression on many young kids who've seen this film over the years. The final scene is pure joy.

Do see this film. Buy the DVD. It's excellent, and the chances are overwhelming that you will like it. Most people seem to.

30 of 31 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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