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The Bear (1988)

L'ours (original title)
1:54 | Trailer

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An orphan bear cub hooks up with an adult male as they try to dodge human hunters.


(novel), (screenplay)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 5 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »





Complete credited cast:
... The Kodiak Bear
Youk the Bear ... The Bear Cub
... Tom
... Bill
André Lacombe ... Le chasseur aux chiens


The director of Quest for Fire (1981) creates yet another film in nature with almost no human dialogue in this picturesque story of an orphaned bear cub who is adopted by an adult male bear and must avoid hunters. Bart the Bear stars in this anthropomorphic fantasy. Written by Keith Loh <loh@sfu.ca>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


He's an orphan... at the start of a journey. A journey to survive.


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:







Release Date:

27 October 1989 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Bear  »

Filming Locations:



Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$3,676,530, 29 October 1989, Wide Release

Gross USA:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(70 mm prints)| (35 mm prints)



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Many of Youk the Bear's cries are actually monkeys or children sounds. See more »


A pair of wild sable ferrets can be seen in a tree immediately after the adult grizzly kills the elk. But sable ferrets are not indigenous to North America. See more »


[first lines]
Bill: [examining bear tracks] That's a huge male; bet he's more'n fifteen hundred pounds.
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Referenced in Brother Bear (2003) See more »


End Title Theme
Music adapted from "June: Barcarolle"
by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (uncredited), from "The Seasons"
Played by Orchestra
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

An animal movie with a real difference
28 October 2000 | by See all my reviews

At last a movie that seriously attempts to portray the world from a non-human point of view! It's a leap of the imagination that many of us, I'm sure, have never even contemplated. This beautifully-filmed movie, marketed as a kids' film, cannot of course undertake such a task without a few failures here and there; but whatever lapses into anthropomorphism there may be can be readily excused if one compares The Bear with, say, Milo and Otis (cringe).

The story, set in late nineteenth-century British Columbia, revolves around two bears; a young orphan and the huge male who adopts him. Much of the film has no human speech, viewers instead having to interpret the body language and sounds of wild animals. The photography is so impressive and the editing so nicely done that this is a fascinating process, reminding us just how much we as a species have in common with other animals. We can even identify with the bears' diet; they are omnivorous, as are we. Their physical actions and expressions of emotion make a compelling comparison with our own behaviour, and the filmmakers have done their utmost to retain as "natural" a feel as possible to such scenes.

The appearance of human beings, two bear hunters, comes almost as a shock after immersion in the simple world of the bears. The hunters are animals too, but unlike the bears they interact clumsily with the breathtaking wilderness in which they move; their predatory intelligence and use of weaponry have to compensate for their physical vulnerability. They are clearly aliens in an unfriendly environment, though they move as if they were the only creatures of importance within it. Bearskins are piled high in their camp, their little bastion of safety in the untamed wilderness.

These two worlds do of course collide. The hunters, in their arrogance, bite off more than they can chew when a poorly-managed encounter with the male adult bear leads them to pursue a vendetta against him. They capture the young cub to keep the adult in the area, then systematically set out to kill the creature that has caused them so much inconvenience. But the hunters have at last come up against an enemy that seems like the personification of an offended Mother Nature. In an absolutely convincing and spine-chilling scene, one of the hunters comes face to face with the reality of his position in the scheme of things in a manner in which he, and we who watch, will never forget. His teacher is The Bear; the young hunter leaves the mountains a fundamentally changed man. I have never seen the necessity of respect for our fellow creatures more ably communicated.

The movie ends with the focus once more on the young cub, who must find within himself the first glimmerings of the power his adult protector so effortlessly exudes. The humans have gone: the bears live on, their wild world unchanged by their encounter with the strange two-legged creatures that dared to intrude so unwisely into their affairs.

This beautiful and at times awe-inspiring movie is rated as children's viewing, but I would not recommend it for younger viewers. Older children and adults, however, can learn and gain much from this poignant and fascinating film. Hats off to the filmmakers, they have done their subject justice indeed.

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