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Born Free 1966
Description: At a national park in Kenya, English minigame warden George Adamson and his wife, Joy, care for three orphaned lion cubs. After the two larger lions are shipped off to a zoo in the Netherlands, the smallest of the three, Elsa, stays with the couple. When Elsa is blamed for causing an elephant stampede in the nearby village, head warden John Kendall demands the young lion either be trained to survive in the wilds of the Serengeti or be sent to a zoo.
Released: 22 Jun 1966 Director: James Hill, Tom McGowan Writers: Joy Adamson (book), Lester Cole (screenplay) Actors: Virginia McKenna, Bill Travers, Geoffrey Keen, Peter Lukoye Genres: Adventure, Drama, Family
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Born Free Reviews:

Set in Kenya in the 1960's, and based on factual events, the movie is the storyline of how a young orphaned lion cub is rescued by a British colonial couple who run a wildlife sanctuary and then prepared for a return to the wild. The scenery is spectacular, and the thin dividing line between death and survival in the wild is palpable. But the movie is not only about struggle, it is, in an almost special way, a love storyline too; one between a girl and a lioness. Hugely famous when released, the movie still has the power to move. An especially nice film for families.


Real-life husband and wife Virginia McKenna and Bill Travers enjoy real-life husband and wife Joy and George Adamson. Strangely, the chemistry between them is really not played up here. Everything is focused on the cubs, perhaps as it could be. This movie takes what could've just been other National Geographic episode and turns it into a "triumph of the spirit" story. When you watch this film, you understand the real meaning of freedom. And you can't support but look at that lion and wish the greatest for her. The game song is a excellent ending to the film. It is too terrible the Adamsons' lives did not have a satisfied ending like this story. The movie keeps it simple, but there are still some emotional moments. It delivers what it promises.


Real life story. George and Joy Adamson (Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna) live in the wilderness in Kenya. In self defense, George kills a lion and his friend only to search they were protecting their three cubs. He and his wife decide to raise the cubs. They give two of them away to zoos, but can't part with Elsa, a lioness. But then they realize they can't hold her and don't wish to place her in a zoo. Can they support her live in the wild?I read the ebook "Born Free" when I was in grammar school in the 70s and loved it. I also vaguely remember seeing the film on TV (and liking it) and the very short-lived (13 episodes) series in the early 70s. Also the song was a large hit in the mid 60s and again in the early 70s. But I had forgotten all about it until it popped up on TCM. I decided to tune in and loved it!The film was shot beautifully on zone in Kenya (where it took place). Wide screen viewing is essential for this one. Also, Travers and McKenna were a real-life couple when they did this movie (in fact they remained married until his death in 1994) and there devotion to every another comes through loud and clear. Also the lions (male and female) are SO pretty when they're cubs and even pretty as they receive older. Elsa herself was portrayed by a number of various lionesses but you can't say the difference. And Travers and McKenna worked with all the animals for 2 weeks before filming so they all interact together perfectly. This is excellent family viewing--adults will adore it as much as the kids.I'm only giving it a 7 for a several reasons--there isn't much of a storyline and the movie DOES drag a little. Also the pretty tiny shots of the cubs receive a tiny bit much. Yeah they are adorable, but it got to the mission that I thought the filmmakers were purposely shoving them in our faces to receive us to go "awwwwwwww"! A tiny bit too pretty for my tastes.Still it's a nice movie and the melody in this one is wonderful (and Oscar-winning). Also I defy anyone not to cry during the final sequence--it even got to me and I'm the last person to cry at films like this.A very nice family film. See it!



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