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An orphaned cheetah becomes the best friend and pet of a young boy living in South Africa.

Director:

Carroll Ballard

Writers:

Carol Cawthra Hopcraft (book), Xan Hopcraft (book) | 4 more credits »
1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Alex Michaeletos ... Xan (as Alexander Michaletos)
Campbell Scott ... Peter
Mary Makhatho Mary Makhatho ... Thandi
Nthabiseng Kenoshi Nthabiseng Kenoshi ... Lucille
Hope Davis ... Kristin
Jennifer Steyn Jennifer Steyn ... Aunt Gwen
Nicky Rebelo Nicky Rebelo ... Coach Nagy
Garth Renecle Garth Renecle ... Hock Bender
André Stolz André Stolz ... Xan's Teacher
Charlotte Savage Charlotte Savage ... Poetry Student
Ronald Shange Ronald Shange ... Policeman
Eamonn Walker ... Ripkuna
Nadia Kretschmer Nadia Kretschmer ... Tourist #1
John Whiteley John Whiteley ... Tourist #2
Clive Scott Clive Scott ... Tourist #3 - Eager Man
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Storyline

During a nightly Porsche ride with his doting rascal Xan, white South African farmer Peter finds and adopts an orphaned cheetah cub, dubbed Duma (just Swahili for cheetah). It becomes the boy's inseparable playmate, even taking it to bed. Peter made clear from the start that the cheetah should be returned to the wild before its full adulthood. But the father is stricken down with a disease just before the cheetah could be returned. Xan's mother sells the farm and moves in with a city aunt. The cheetah escapes, but finds Xan at school, where the new boy is bullied. He decides to run away to the mountains with Duma. On the way they face countless perils, which courage, Xan's intelligence and Duma's instinct overcome. Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

cheetah | boy | africa | bed | south africa | See All (33) »

Taglines:

Some friendships are wilder than others.


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for mild adventure peril | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

27 May 2005 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

How It Was with Dooms See more »

Filming Locations:

Botswana See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$12,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$105,422, 2 October 2005, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$860,002, 30 October 2005
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Duma is played by 6 different Cheetahs. All orphaned or poached Cheetahs themselves; were hand raised in different parts of Africa. See more »

Quotes

[last lines]
Xan: [voiceover narration] There are things you know without knowing. For Duma, it was his wildness. For Rip, his family. For me, it was my dad. Everything he was, everything he believed in is now part of me. I was taking Duma home, but he took me somewhere too. Finding Duma's true home brought me back to mine and showed me that love doesn't stop when time passes or you live in different places or somebody's gone. That's how it was with me and Duma.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Movie Friends: Prashant Prabhakar (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

A Cup of Coffee, A Sandwich and You
Written by Joseph Meyer, Billy Rose, and Al Dubin
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User Reviews

Splendid is everything . . .
19 December 2005 | by jdesandoSee all my reviews

"Nature breaks through the eyes of the cat." Irish proverb

With the emergence of digitized everything, photography of the actual thing is now the amazement. Splendid is everything visualized in Duma, the story of a young South African boy, Xan (Alex Michaeletos) who brings up an orphaned cheetah, Duma, to the day when his father (Campbell Scott) decides it is perilously close to the time when Duma couldn't survive in the wild.

And so, about the time they are to return Duma to his world, Xan becomes a sort of orphan himself because dad dies and leaves Xan and his mother with a big ranch to tend. As predictable as the right of passage story that ensues with Xan taking Duma back, there is a freshness of simplicity and beauty, joy and sorrow that overwhelms the clichés and makes you eager to go back to animal stories of early film, like Old Yeller, where the pets are as human than their masters and make real the abstract idea of Nature.

An unusual care for lens and animal is palpable from director Carroll Ballard and cinematographer Werner Meritz, unforgettable even. The four cheetahs used for Duma are as often lensed close up as they are in long shots, beautifully stretching their sixty-mile –an-hour legs.

With the consistency director Carroll Ballard showed in the acclaimed Fly Away Home, he weaves the theme of abandonment and reconciliation into every major scene: Even the enigmatic intruder Rip (Eamon Walker) has exiled himself from his tribe and is now returning home, cruising the river with Xan like Huck and Jim. That eventually animals and humans must take up their responsibilities is also present almost from the first frame.

Nothing new here, just a good old-fashioned pet tale, which never is boring for me, a perpetual boy with an English major's tendency to see poetry in a landscape or a cheetah's eye.

"Nature never did betray the heart that loved her." Wordsworth


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