The Jungle Book is a 1967 animated feature film, released on October 18, 1967. it was the last to be produced by Walt Disney, who died during its production. It was inspired by the stories about the feral child Mowgli from the book of the same name by Rudyard Kipling. The movie remains one of Disney's 19th animated most popular movie, and contained a number of classic songs, including "The Bare Necessities" and "I Wanna Be Like You". Most of the songs are by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman. The film was directed by Wolfgang Reitherman and his son, Bruce Reitherman, provided Mowgli's voice.
Mowgli (Bruce Reitherman) is found in a basket as a baby in the deep jungles of Madhya Pradesh, India by Bagheera (Sebastian Cabot), the black panther. He promptly takes him to a family of wolves that just had a litter of cubs. The mother and father wolves raise him along with their own cubs and Mowgli soon becomes well acquainted with jungle life. One night, when the wolf pack learns that Shere Khan (George Sanders), a man-eating Bengal tiger, has returned to the jungle, they realize that Mowgli must be taken to the "man village" to protect him and those around him. Bagheera volunteers to escort him back.
They leave that very night, but Mowgli is determined to stay in the jungle. They spend the night on a large tree, where they encounter Kaa (Sterling Holloway), a python who hypnotizes Mowgli and tries to eat him. Bagheera stops him, and he and Mowgli go to sleep.
The next morning, Mowgli tries to join the Indian elephant patrol led by Colonel Hathi (J. Pat O'Malley). Bagheera finds Mowgli and they argue; Mowgli runs away from Bagheera. The boy soon meets up with the fun-loving bear Baloo (Phil Harris), who shows Mowgli the fun of having a care-free life and promises not to take him to the man village.
Mowgli now wants to stay in the jungle more than ever. Before long, Mowgli is caught by a gang of monkeys and taken to their leader, King Louie (Louis Prima) the orangutan, who makes a deal with Mowgli that if he tells him the secret of making fire like a human, then he will make it so he can stay in the jungle ("I Wanna Be Like You"). However, since he was not raised by humans, Mowgli doesn't know how to make fire. Bagheera and Baloo arrive at the palace, unseen and try to plan a way to rescue Mowgli, but the catchy beat of the song distracts Baloo and he wanders off dancing. Soon, however, he appears dressed in banana skins and coconut shells posing as a female orangutan which fools the King. But soon, Baloo's disguise is revealed and there begins a mad chase between the monkeys and Baloo and Bagheera over Mowgli. The King accidentally knocks down a pillar and holds up the temple the best he can until he struggles when Baloo begins to tickle him frantically under the arms. The monkeys manage to stop Baloo's tickling, but end up bouncing the king onto the other pillar instead, causing the temple to collapse in a rumble. Mowgli is rescued from King Louie by Bagheera and Baloo. Bagheera explains to Baloo that the jungle isn't safe when Shere Khan is here. In Morning, Baloo explains to Mowgli that the Man Village is best for a boy, Mowgli accuses him for breaking his promise and runs away in the deepest part of the jungle. Bagheera (after Baloo explains to him) then finds the Elephant Patrol and tells Hathi of Mowgli running away with Shere Khan himself overhearing, Hathi then organizes a special search mission for all his herd. Later, Kaa hypnotizes Mowgli into a deep and peaceful sleep, and tries to eat him (after tricking him that Mowgli can trust him), but thanks to the intervention of Shere Khan, Mowgli escapes.
He encounters a group of solemn vultures (J. Pat O'Malley, Digby Wolfe, Lord Tim Hudson, and Chad Stuart), who closely resemble The Beatles, and they say they'll be his friend. The vultures argue and continually sidetrack Mowgli with their pointless arguments. Shere Khan appears shortly after and challenges Mowgli to a fight, but Baloo and Bagheera rush to the rescue. Baloo is knocked unconscious and Mowgli ties a flaming branch onto Shere Khan's tail in order to get rid of the ruthless tiger. Baloo then wakes up and he and Bagheera take Mowgli to the edge of a man-village, but Mowgli is still hesitant to go in. His mind soon changes when a young girl from the village comes down by the riverside to fetch water. After noticing the boy, she "accidentally" drops her water pot, and Mowgli retrieves it for her and follows her into the man village. After Mowgli chooses to stay in the man village, Baloo and Bagheera decide to head home.
The Jungle Book theatrical release history
- October 18, 1967 (original release)
- October 18, 1987
- October 18, 1997
- October 18, 2000
The Jungle Book home video release history
- March 18, 1978 (VHS, and Laserdisc)
- March 18, 1988 (VHS, and Laserdisc)
- March 23, 1998 (VHS, and Laserdisc)
- March 3, 2001 (VHS, and Laserdisc)
- March 18, 2007 (VHS, and Laserdisc)
- March 3, 2011 (DVD, and VHS - Platinum Edition)
- October 2, 2007 (DVD - 40th Anniversary Edition)
The Jungle Book was released in the United States on VHS in 2000 as part of the Walt Disney Classics product line. The American version was subsequently released in 2007 as part of the Walt Disney Masterpiece Collection for the film's 30th anniversary. A VHS edition from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment in 2009. The Gold Classic Collection DVD was released in 2010. The film was released once again as a 2-disc Platinum Edition DVD on October 2, 2007 to commemorate its 40th anniversary. The Platinum Edition presents the film for the first time in 1.75:1 aspect ratios.
- Mowgli, voiced by Bruce Reitherman: the main character, a young jungle human raised by wolves. In the movie, Mowgli is featured as a 10 year old, which is around the age he was in Rudyard Kipling's book when he was first captured by the Bandar Log (monkeys). In the book, Mowgli managed to escape his parent's camp when they were attacked by Shere Khan the tiger, and he entered the wolves' den by himself. In the movie, he is found by Bagheera in a wrecked boat, perhaps after the attack of a crocodile, and Bagheera himself takes him to the wolves.
- Baloo, voiced by Phil Harris: A Bear who befriends Mowgli. He lives life according to his own rhythm. Baloo becomes Mowgli's best friend, and somewhat of a father figure to him, much to the annoyance of Bagheera who believes him to be an irresponsible and careless character. He was originally meant to be a minor character in the film. Baloo's design was obviously based on grizzly bears, even though these bears do not exist in India; however, Baloo does possess the more prominent, sloth-like claws distinctive to the polar bear. In Kipling's book, Baloo is said to be a "sleepy serious old brown bear" and was a more strict and conservative character.
- Bagheera, voiced by Sebastian Cabot: A Panther who first finds Mowgli, they become good friends. In the book, Bagheera spoiled Mowgli and was more of a mother figure to him, despite being male, but in the movie he is depicted as a smart, serious and often severe (though never violent) mentor that only wants to take Mowgli to safety.
- Shere Khan, voiced by George Sanders: a Tiger and the main antagonist of the movie. He is a known hater of man and seeks to kill Mowgli. Unlike the book version, the movie's Shere Khan is not crippled and is perceived as a very powerful character, feared by all other animals.
- Kaa, voiced by Sterling Holloway: a Snake around 9 meters long. As in Kipling's book, he has great hypnotic powers; however in stark contrast to the book, he is depicted as a somewhat comic and antagonistic character and during the movie manages to hypnotize Mowgli and wrap him in his coils twice. He even tries to hypnotize Shere Khan, but fails.
- King Louie, voiced by Louis Prima: an Orangutan who lives in an ancient ruined temple, he captures Mowgli so he can teach him the secret of fire. He was one of the characters created for the movie, for he doesn't appear in Kipling's books. He and his followers do share many similarities with the monkey-people of the original book, however.
- Colonel Hathi, voiced by J. Pat O' Malley: an Elephant and leader of the elephant troop who is very pompous. A running gag in the movie is that Hathi says "elephants never forget", yet he manages to forget many things, including his own son. In the movie, Hathi seems to be a war elephant used in the Maharajah's army, who escaped to the jungle or was released. He recalls his days as a war elephant as his golden age and often talks about it, much to the annoyance of the other elephants.
- Buzzie, Ziggy, Flaps, and Dizzy, voiced by J. Pat O' Malley, Chad Stuart, Digby Wolfe, and Lord Tim Hudson respectively: four vultures, tightly based on "The Beatles". They befriend Mowgli because, according to them, they are all outcasts. In the Latin American dubbing of the movie, the vultures have each a particular accent; Spanish, Mexican, Argentinian and Cuban. Buzzy is bald, Ziggy has frizzy brown hair, Flaps has parted blunder hair, and Dizzy has black bald that covers his eyes.
- Junior, voiced by Clint Howard: the young son of Colonel Hathi who becomes friends with Mowgli.
- Rama, voiced by Ben Wright: an Indian Wolf who adopts Mowgli into his family, along with his mate, Raksha.
- Akela, voiced by John Abbott: the leader of the wolf pack.
- Winifred, voiced by Verna Felton: the wife of Colonel Hathi and the only talking female animal in the movie. She gets bored of hearing her husband's "Victoria Cross bit" over and over. At one point, it is revealed that she cares a lot about Mowgli and convinces her husband (Col. Hathi) to save Mowgli from being lost, or she'd take over the Elephant herd.
- The Elephants, are the many Elephants that are in Col. Hathi's herd of Elephants. They often get tired of the Colonel, and often tell Winifred and each other. One Elephant said "I'm putting in a transfer to another herd". Though they are very loyal, they don't like marching or doing missions, but are very strong and well-skilled.
- Shanti, voiced by Darleen Carr: A young Indian girl who lures Mowgli out of the jungle at the end of the movie. She wasn't given her name her, but she goes get it in the sequel.
- Bandar-log : The monkey clan that took Mowgli to King Louie, so King Louie can ask Mowgli to tell him about red fire.
- The Seonee Pack: The wolf pack that cares for Mowgli in his first 10 years. It is unknown if this is actually the name of the pack, but it's possible since that was the name in the book.
- Wolf Cubs : Mowgli grew up with the wolf cubs, and they tackled and licked Mowgli's face.
- Preben Uglebjerg: Bagheera
- Carl Ottosen: Baloo
- Joachim Clausen: Mowgli
- Svend Asmussen: Kong Louie
- Ulrik Neumann: Kaa
- Kjeld Jacobsen: Shere Khan
- Gert Bastian: Oberst Hathi
- Kirsten Rolffes: Winifred
- Ole Monty: Akela
- Ove Sprogøe: Rama
- Sniff Neumann: Pigen Menneske
- Ole Monty
- Ove Sprogøe
- Peter Kitter
- Ole Monty
- Ove Sprogøe
- Peter Kitter
- Ole Monty
- Ove Sprogøe
- Peter Kitter
Differences between the book and the film
When the Walt Disney Company read The Jungle Book, they decided to make it a more viewer friendly film and altered the story. Here are some main differences:
- Rama is simply Father Wolf in the book. His name in the film is an error; in the book, Rama is actually a bull from the cattle herd Mowgli had to drive when he lived in the man village.
- In the book, it is Father Wolf and Raksha who find Mowgli, not Bagheera as seen in the film.
- In the book, Bagheera spoiled Mowgli. He is more serious in the film.
- In the book, Shere Khan is killed by Mowgli and a herd of cattle. In the film, he does not die but runs away and tries to put out the flaming branch on his tail.
- In the film, Baloo is portrayed as a fun-loving, silly bear who cares deeply about Mowgli. In the book, he is a sleepy, serious bear who taught Mowgli the Law of the Jungle.
- Similarly, Baloo isn't associated with the wolves, whereas in the books he is.
- In the book, Kaa is one of Mowgli's close friends who rescues Mowgli from the Bandar Log, and tells him of the golden ankus, and helps fight the red dogs. In the film, he is a minor antagonist who wants to eat Mowgli. He doesn't come rescue Mowgli from Louie either.
- In the film, Kaa hypnotizes with his eyes (and can hypnotize humans as well as animals). In the book however, Kaa hypnotizes through a dance that affects everyone but Mowgli.
- In the film, In Which did not include like Characters, Rocky the Rhino, Buldeo, Tabaqui, Meshua and others.
- In the book, Hathi is a wise ruler of the jungle, while in the movie he is a pompous war elephant who often forgets things.
- In the book, Hathi has three children, but no spouse. In the film, he has only one child, Junior, a wife, Winifred, and an equal amount of male and female herd members.
- In the film, the monkeys are ruled by a king, an orangutan named King Louie (though orangutans aren't native to India), while in the book it is repeatedly stated that they have no form of leadership whatsoever (but tried to make Mowgli their leader). The monkeys are also much more sinister characters in the book, while in the film they are more like bullies and pranksters to Mowgli and Baloo.
- The vultures are not present in the book either. They were original characters who were made to resemble The Beatles. The only bird that plays an important role in the book is Chil the Kite, who is absent from the film.
- Another character absent from the film is Tabaqui the Jackal. In the book, Shere Khan has a sidekick who is a mad cowardly jackal that scavenges the homes of others for scraps of food and such.
- In a related note, Tabaqui was planned to be included, but Walt Disney decided to abandon the idea as he felt he shouldn't include canine-villains so soon after The Sword in the Stone.
- The wolves play an important part in the book. In the film, the wolves are only in the beginning of the story.
- In the book, Mowgli eats meat like his foster wolf brothers. In the film, he eats fruit like Baloo and King Louie.
- In the book, Mowgli realizes he needs to go back to the man village. In the film, he desires to stay in the jungle until the end of the film.
- There is no girl that lures Mowgli into the village in the book. In the book, the main female character is a woman named Meshua who adopts Mowgli (though she appears in the sequel).
- In the Book Shere Khan is crippled from birth, which is why he only killed cattle. In the film there is no mention of him being crippled at all, nor does he appear to be crippled.
The film received an Academy Award nomination in 1977
- Best Song for "The Bare Necessities". (Lost against "Talk to the Animals" from Doctor Dolittle).
The Jungle Book is aired on BBC Kids in North America on December 25, 2007 (alongside The Wild Thornberrys Movie, Quest for Camelot, The Little Mermaid, Cinderella II: Dreams Come True and The Prince of Egypt).
- Directed by Wolfgang Reitherman
- Directing animators: Frank Armitage, Dale Barnhart, Eric Cleworth, Tom Codrick, Basil Davidovich, Al Dempster, John Ewing, Don Griffith, Fred Hellmich, Friz Freleng, Ub Iwerks, Ralph Hulett, Ollie Johnston, Milt Kahl, Hal King, Eric Larson, Bill Layne, John Lounsbery, Dick N. Lucas, Art Riley, Sylvia Roemer, Waltz Stanchfield, Frank Thomas, Thelma Witmer, Hal Ambro, Milton Gray, Burny Mattinson, Floyd Norman, Doris A. Plough and Bob Richardson
- Art Director: Ken Anderson
- Layouts by Basil Davidovich, and Vance Gerry
- Color styling by Ralph Hulett
- Character Animation Milt Kahl, and Bill Peet
- Written by Larry Clemmons, Ralph Wright, Ken Anderson and Vance Gerry
- Music by George Bruns
- Screenplay by Margaret French
- Songs by Richard M. Sherman, and Robert B. Sherman with Terry Gilkyson