19 user 8 critic

The Living Desert (1953)

Although first glance reveals little more than stones and sand, the desert is alive. Witness moving rocks, spitting mud pots, gorgeous flowers and the never-ending battle for survival between creatures of every shape, size and description.


James Algar


James Algar (screenplay), Winston Hibler (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Won 1 Oscar. Another 6 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »




Complete credited cast:
Winston Hibler Winston Hibler ... Narrator


A day in the life of creatures living in a desert in the southwestern US is shown. Toads, reptiles, wild pigs, insects, mice and birds are followed going about their daily routine and the struggle to find food and not become it themselves. Written by Ron Kerrigan <mvg@whidbey.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Incredibly desolate... yet beautiful.


G | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


When originally released to theaters in 1953, this 69-minute feature film was double billed with Walt Disney's 21-minute cartoon short Ben and Me (1953), as a 90-minute package deal. This and "Ben and Me" were the first to be released by Buena Vista. RKO continued to distribute Disney's cartoons until 1956. RKO shut down in 1957. See more »


Edited into The Best of Walt Disney's True-Life Adventures (1975) See more »

User Reviews

Avademy Award Winner
28 February 2005 | by MCGartenSee all my reviews

Great little piece of vintage Disney...

The Living Desert won the Academy Award in 1953 for Best Documentary - the archives section of the Go Disney website contains a bit of the history: "Academy Award® winner for Best Documentary Feature. The film stands as a landmark of factual film-making."

I saw this film on The Wonderful World of Disney as a child and thought it was great. Having remembered the impression it made on me and despite the age of this film, I have used it and the accompanying book in my elementary school classroom. The kids seem to enjoy 'the old Disney' - poor color quality and all. Certainly there are excellent PBS or National Geographic documentaries on the subject, but Disney's The Living Desert has a certain charm.

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Official Sites:

Official Site





Release Date:

10 November 1953 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A True-Life Adventure: The Living Desert See more »

Filming Locations:

Mount Whitney, California, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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