7.3/10
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Born Free (1966)

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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)
Reviews
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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The book that enthralled 50 million readers...Now a Great Motion Picture! 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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Details

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

22 June 1966 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Frei geboren - Königin der Wildnis See more »

Filming Locations:

Kenya 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
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Elsa's grave is located in Meru National Park, Kenya. See more »

Goofs

When George and Joy Adamson go swimming with Elsa they do not have any sports equipment with them. However, George is seen wearing a diving mask and snorkel while swimming as well as George and Joy playing keep away with a ball while on the beach after swimming. 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 ...
[...]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Dark Angel: Boo (2001) See more »

Soundtracks

Born Free
(uncredited)
Music by John Barry
Lyrics by Don Black
Sung by Matt Monro
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Quality family entertainment -- as long as you actually like wildlife.
13 November 2005 | by Pedro_HSee all my reviews

An English couple living in Kenya try to reintroduce an orphan lion cub back in to the wild. Based on a real story.

Family movies get a bad rap because they are usually films that only children enjoy and adults can bare only when drunk. Born Free is the kind of movie that can play well to both adults and children -- if they are the type that like wildlife.

You should never act with children or animals because they steal every scene they are in. Born Free features two very fine performances from real life couple Virginia McKenna and Bill Travers -- but when the cubs are on screen you won't be looking elsewhere.

I have read the book which I loved and well worth checking out because it is NOT a novelisation of this film -- Joyce Adamson (whose early life the script is based on) was not the angel of virtue she is portrayed here. She was a tough woman who made enemies and ruffled feathers. Her early death is another story and another film.

The problem with the film is that it has enough syrup in it without the extra sugar that is the title song. Also the real couple had personal problems that this film doesn't really want to deal with. From the nature of the film we know the final happy reel and are merely travelling towards it.

There aren't many films you can enjoy two or three times over and even get a bit emotional over -- but this is one such film. One for the DVD collection of all animal lovers. If you are the sort that doesn't subscribe to the Discovery Channel than you are better staying away.


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