The story of George and Joy Adamson and the orphaned lion cub, Elsa, they adopt.

Directors:

James Hill, Tom McGowan (uncredited)

Writers:

Joy Adamson (book), Lester Cole (screenplay)
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Won 2 Oscars. Another 3 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Virginia McKenna ... Joy Adamson
Bill Travers ... George Adamson
Geoffrey Keen ... Kendall
Peter Lukoye Peter Lukoye ... Nuru
Omar Chambati Omar Chambati ... Makkede
Bill Godden Bill Godden ... Sam
Bryan Epsom Bryan Epsom ... Baker
Robert Cheetham Robert Cheetham ... Ken
Robert S. Young Robert S. Young ... James (as Robert Young)
Geoffrey Best Geoffrey Best ... Watson
Surya Patel Surya Patel ... Doctor
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Storyline

Married couple George Adamson and Joy Adamson have long lived in northern Kenya for George's work as the senior game warden of the region. One of George's primary responsibilities is to deal with dangerous animals that may be chronically threatening to humans, livestock and/or crops. It is in this vein that George and his staff end up killing a man eating lion and its lioness, resulting in their three young female cubs being orphaned. Although difficult to begin, George and Joy are able to wean and take care of the three cubs, who they adopt as pets. But soon, they know they have to provide a more suitable environment for the cubs, namely sending them to Rotterdam Zoo... that is except for the smallest, who they have named Elsa and to who Joy in particular has become attached as the emotional fighter among the three. As Elsa grows into lioness maturity, George and Joy provide her with greater freedom away from their property, which may get her into trouble as a largely tame animal. ... Written by Huggo

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Taglines:

From The Pages Of The Beloved Best Seller... A Motion Picture To Delight All The World! See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for some wild animal action and brief language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

George's quip during the last visit with Elsa, "Her master's voice" is a joke referring to the RCA records mascot "Nipper" and the slogan referring to the fidelity of the sound, "His master's voice". See more »

Goofs

Before George has told Joy that he still has Elsa while they are driving back you can tell he isn't situated directly behind the steering wheel but rather a little to the left of it. Perhaps this is why the truck is shown swerving? See more »

Quotes

Joy Adamson: Elsa, Elsa
[Joy cries sitting out on the hood of the truck as they ride in search of the young lioness]
George Adamson: Let's try this.
[2 shots ring out from his gun. George sees Elsa stumbling through the grass, approaching their vehicle]
Joy Adamson: all my nightmares had come true.
[Now Elsa rests in their tent as they argue over her]
George Adamson: ...she can't make it. she can't think. she can't mix with her own kind... She can't do anything the wild animals do to survive. You've done too good a job on her. You've made her tame. It's too...
[...]
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Connections

Followed by Born Free: A New Adventure (1996) See more »

Soundtracks

Born Free
(uncredited)
Music by John Barry
Lyrics by Don Black
Sung by Matt Monro
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User Reviews

 
Great Story
10 August 2002 | by sddavis63See all my reviews

This really is a wonderful movie - a true story; funny, dramatic, bittersweet, and with a title song that will never be forgotten by anyone who hears it.

Virginia McKenna and Bill Travers star as Joy and George Adamson. He is the game warden in a game reserve in northern Kenya; she is his wife, and together they adopt three orphaned lion cubs. Sending two of them to zoos, the third (Elsa, who was the darling of the bunch) stays behind and becomes something of a household pet, until the inevitable day comes when she has to be either taught to live in the wild on her own, or sent to a zoo.

You find yourself rooting for Elsa, shedding a few tears with Joy and in the end feeling quite uplifted by how the whole thing turns out. It's a fast movie (about an hour and a half in length) which is good, the editing I thought was a bit rough (although there are some great shots of Africa and its wild life) and in the end it's a great feel-good movie for the whole family.

8/10


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

22 June 1966 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Born Free See more »

Filming Locations:

Doldol, Ethiopia See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

70 mm 6-Track (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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