6.3/10
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The White Lions (1981)

PG | | Drama
A college professor, his wife, and daughter go the the wilds of Africa to live, and study the rare white lions of the region.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Chris McBride
...
Jeannie McBride
...
Vreeland
...
Aniel
...
John Kani
Lauri Lynn Myers ...
Laura McBride
Tom Taylor ...
Mr. Gleason
Louis Heshimu White III ...
Intern
...
Fiske
Norma Young ...
Prof. Thorndike
David Haney ...
Dr. Ford
Columbia Dowell ...
Mrs. Gleason
Charles Pace ...
Ranger
Hugh Gorrian ...
Dr. Uffner
...
Sarah (as Sarah Norvell)
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Storyline

A college professor, his wife, and daughter go the the wilds of Africa to live, and study the rare white lions of the region.

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Drama

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Also Known As:

A fehér oroszlánok  »

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Did You Know?

Soundtracks

ENOUGH TO LET ME GO
Performed by Maureen McGovern
Courtesy of Warner/Curb Records
Music by William Goldstein
Lyrics by Judith W. Barron
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User Reviews

 
Pleasant but innocuous outdoor flick.
26 March 2006 | by (Todmorden, England) – See all my reviews

The White Lions is based on a true story by Chris McBride entitled "The White Lions Of Timbavati". This pleasant outdoor story is brought to the screen by director Mel Stuart, who is probably best remembered for the 1971 classic Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory. Although I don't think the story was written primarily for youngsters, Stuart directs it with a juvenile audience very much in mind: there are countless cute wildlife shots, the child character played by Lauri Lynn Meyers is given a heck of a lot of screen time, and the film's more serious and adult themes are largely neglected. For example, there's a subplot featuring Donald Moffat as a poacher which remains sadly under-developed; and the McBride's strength as a family unit is clearly tested by their differences of opinion (Chris is an outdoors-fanatic, addicted to his research, while wife Jean longs for the safety and creature comforts of home) but this aspect of the plot is disappointingly half-baked throughout the film.

University lecturer Chris McBride (Michael York) wins a grant to conduct a lion study in the African wilderness. He takes his wife Jean (Glynnis O'Connor) and young daughter Laura (Lauri Lynn Meyers) to his old birthplace and home, the isolated wilderness retreat of Timbavati. Here they spend a year getting used to a totally new way of life, living off the land and coping with the various natural hazards that Mother Nature throws at them. Chris is proceeding nicely with his study of lion behaviour when he discovers that a pair of ultra rare white lions have been born into the litter of the pride he has been observing. The white lions are starving as their mother is a poor hunter; but Chris cannot intervene to help them, as it would compromise the integrity of his work and the ruthless course of nature's destiny. They endure further complications when a poacher (Donald Moffat) is repeatedly spotted on their land, as well as young Laura contracting life-threatening malaria.

Kids will undoubtedly enjoy following the adventures of this family, but older viewers might find less to occupy them. It's basically a very similar story to the one told in "Born Free", "Living Free", and all those other stories where a family reject the big city life to take off into the back of beyond. York is quite good as Chris McBride - he generates a convincing characterisation, both as a nature lover and a family man who is in danger of loving Africa more than his wife and child. O'Connor is OK as Jean, though the character seems to put up with hardship and discomfort too tolerantly at times, which makes her less than believable. The location photography is very nice, though, and the titular white lions are absolutely adorable. There are certainly worse ways to spend a rainy afternoon than watching The White Lions.


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