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Mighty Joe Young (1998)

PG  |   |  Action, Adventure, Family  |  25 December 1998 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.6/10 from 22,049 users  
Reviews: 88 user | 34 critic

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



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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)


£4,307,343 (UK) (18 June 1999)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The movie poster that is briefly seen at Grauman's Chinese Theater is "Wagon Master", a John Ford / Merian C. Cooper production starring Ben Johnson. All three were involved in the original "Mighty Joe Young" in 1949. Ford and Cooper as producers / presenters and Johnson as the lead male star. 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 »


[At Strasser's estate in Africa, watching a news report on Joe, recently moved to a conservatory in California]
Andrei Strasser: My God... Pindi was right.
[Garth enters the room]
Andrei Strasser: He's beautiful. The most beautiful animal I ever seen.
Garth: And the most valuable, that's for sure.
[sits down, watches as Jill appears on screen]
Garth: Isn't that the...?
Andrei Strasser: Wait! Be quiet!
[Both men's expressions are of recognition as Jill is identified as the daughter of the primatologist they had killed twelve years earlier]
Garth: Bloody hell! That's him...
See more »


References Gorillas in the Mist (1988) See more »


Imam Assani Cisse
Written and Performed by Chuck Jonkey
See more »

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User Reviews

Joe and the effects steal the show!!!
11 November 2009 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

I wasn't sure whether I would like Mighty Joe Young. I did see it once with my family beforehand and didn't think much of it. When I did decide to give it a chance again, I am glad I did. I wasn't expecting a perfect family movie, and while this movie is very dark, it also manages to be quite sweet too. I will admit that the beginning is very dark and intense even for a family movie. I will also admit that the plot is very formulaic and that the villains are rather cartoony.

What made this movie though for me was Joe. He was designed superbly and acted very convincingly. Even for an ape, I found him quite adorable, after seeing films like Congo where they scared me so much. Other pluses are the superb special effects and the splendid scenery. Not to mention the lovely music score. The acting was a mixed bag; Charlize Theron was gorgeous as Jill, and Bill Paxton was very good as Gregg. The supporting actors ranged from good to so-so. The relationship between Joe and Jill was very very convincing and sweet, well to me it was. And I know the ending was more King Kong with a happy ending, but I will confess I cried. Maybe it was because I loved Joe so much, I have a habit of empathising with characters that I grow to love.

Overall, it is a decent family movie. It mayn't appeal to you first time, but if given the chance as it did with me, it may grow on you. 7/10 Bethany Cox

11 of 13 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Charlize is really beautiful... Metaljeeper
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