A legendary fifteen-foot tall mountain gorilla named Joe is taken to an animal sanctuary in California by a zoologist and a young woman whom he grew up with. A poacher from the past returns to seek vengeance on him.



(story), (earlier screenplay) | 2 more credits »

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Action | Adventure | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  

A man raised in the jungle by apes falls in love with a wealthy American heiress.

Director: Sam Weisman
Stars: Brendan Fraser, Leslie Mann, Thomas Haden Church
Free Willy (1993)
Adventure | Drama | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

When a boy learns that a beloved killer whale is to be killed by the aquarium owners, the boy risks everything to free the whale.

Director: Simon Wincer
Stars: Jason James Richter, Lori Petty, Michael Madsen
Drama | Family | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

On his ninth birthday a boy receives many presents. Two of them first seem to be less important: an old cupboard from his brother and a little Indian figure made of plastic from his best ... See full summary »

Director: Frank Oz
Stars: Hal Scardino, Litefoot, Lindsay Crouse
Action | Adventure | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

After assuming his dead cellmate's identity to get with his girlfriend, an ex-con finds himself the reluctant participant in a casino heist.

Director: John Frankenheimer
Stars: Ben Affleck, Gary Sinise, Charlize Theron
Adventure | Comedy | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

A woman kidnaps puppies to kill them for their fur, but various animals then gang up against her and get their revenge in slapstick fashion.

Director: Stephen Herek
Stars: Glenn Close, Jeff Daniels, Joely Richardson
Adventure | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Three pets escape from a California ranch to find their owners in San Francisco.

Director: Duwayne Dunham
Stars: Michael J. Fox, Sally Field, Don Alder
Comedy | Family | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.3/10 X  

A Doctor finds out that he can understand what animals are saying. And the animals find out that he understands.

Director: Betty Thomas
Stars: Eddie Murphy, Peter Boyle, Ossie Davis
Stuart Little (1999)
Animation | Adventure | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

The Little family adopt a charming young mouse named Stuart, but the family cat wants rid of him.

Director: Rob Minkoff
Stars: Michael J. Fox, Geena Davis, Hugh Laurie
Action | Adventure | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

When missile technology is used to enhance toy action figures, the toys soon begin to take their battle programming too seriously.

Director: Joe Dante
Stars: Kirsten Dunst, Gregory Smith, David Cross
Action | Adventure | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.1/10 X  

A security guard's dreams come true when he is selected to be transformed into a cybernetic police officer.

Director: David Kellogg
Stars: Matthew Broderick, Rupert Everett, Joely Fisher
Casper (1995)
Animation | Comedy | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

A paranormal expert and his daughter bunk in an abandoned house populated by three mischievous ghosts and one friendly one.

Director: Brad Silberling
Stars: Bill Pullman, Christina Ricci, Cathy Moriarty
Fly Away Home (1996)
Adventure | Drama | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A father and daughter decide to attempt to lead a flock of orphaned Canada Geese south by air.

Director: Carroll Ballard
Stars: Jeff Daniels, Anna Paquin, Dana Delany


Cast overview, first billed only:
Harry Ruben
Dr. Baker
Dr. Ruth Young
Young Jill Young
Cory Buck ...
Liz Georges ...
Jason's Mother


The baby gorilla left in her care grows up to become a hugely tall and broad specimen by the name of Joe, living in the mountains as a mostly unseen legend among people who live there. Along comes an eco-minded emissary from a California sanctuary, who talks the jungle girl into providing safe haven for Joe at the L.A. facility. The transition is not without discomfort, but everything is aggravated via a conspiracy of poachers to get Joe into their own greedy hands! Written by Anthony Pereyra <hypersonic91@yahoo.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Survival is an instinct.

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for some menacing action violence and mild language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:




Release Date:

25 December 1998 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Store Joe Young  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$90,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$10,602,042 (USA) (25 December 1998)


$50,628,009 (USA) (9 April 1999)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Like most films during the 1990's that features creature effects, Joe was created through the mixture of practical and digital effects. For the majority of the film, Joe was portrayed by creature suit performer ('John Alexander') who wore a radio-controlled animatronic gorilla suit created by special makeup effects artist (Rick Baker) and his crew at Cinovation Studios. In order to achieve those scenes, Alexander would often act on miniature sets that were surrounded by blue screen in which visual effects house DreamQuest Images would composite him into footage that was shot before. While in the beginning of the film when Joe was an infant he was performed by (Verne Troyer). For certain scenes, the filmmakers used three full-sized animatronics (one in quadraped, one sitting down, and one in a dead position) also created by Baker's crew. For the scenes where the digital Joe was used, visual effects houses DreamQuest Images and Industrial, Light, & Magic would work on different scenes using the same model provided by Baker. Many of these performances were achieved by key-frame animation, but when the digital Joe was running and jumping was motion capture data that they captured from an infant chimpanzee. See more »


When Jill is talking to the doctor at the market, watching Gregg, she picks up a piece of fruit to eat. As she puts it to her mouth it appears untouched. In the immediate cutaway scene, the fruit is half eaten. See more »


Andrei Strasser: [Knocks Garth unconscious with his gun as he tries to leave] Anything else on your mind?
See more »


Referenced in The Sci-Fi Boys (2006) See more »


Written by James Horner and Will Jennings
Choir Direction/Arrangement by Lebo M.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Grouse Gorilla
5 April 1999 | by (Cairns Australia) – See all my reviews

Mighty Joe Young is a big, big gorilla who gets time in L.A. escaping poachers who are after him in his home hill in Africa. This is a remake of a remake of King Kong (1933), which was made in 1949 as the original Mighty Joe Young.

This latest version is a remarkable computer and animatronic invention, justly nominated for this year's Academy Awards. He really is whiz bang and totally believable as a creature on the screen.

His best friends are Jill played by the very attractive Charlize Theron and Gregg played by Bill Paxton in a pretty light weight film for him considering some of his previous films (One False Move, A Simple Plan).

But take note too of Naveen Andrews who plays the screwball jungle tour guide. He was remarkable in The English Patient and Kama Sutra. Oh well. The bills have to be paid.

Mighty Joe Young is a Disney film aimed squarely at the fairly young, complete with the fairly gruesome bits that today's TV bred ankle biters demand. So what's in it for the oldies.

Well there's Charlize Theron who's pretty gorgeous. And then there's a truly spectacular scene when big Joe climbs up a burning (yes burning!) Ferris Wheel at a L.A. amusement park at night and rescues a little boy.

But my favourite bit was Joe violently wrecking a car bit by bit because the car alarm is sounding. His self satisfied grin as he sat on the quietened nuisance was one that made me wish that I could also rock Ms Theron to sleep.

22 of 25 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Parts that make me cry: FatLouieee
Song Charlize sings? bffbcoolgirl
Lyrics kenlow
Movie at the end and at the funeral of Jill's mother thompson_nicki
what is the music in the trailer sbpat21
the funeral.... sarebear1246
Discuss Mighty Joe Young (1998) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: