Saludos Amigos (1942)

saludos amigos poster 1942 movie walt disney
4.5 Overall Score
Story: 4/10
Acting: 6/10
Visuals: 8/10

Classic Disney Animation

More of a showcase, no story, undeveloped characters

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Saludos Amigos

Studio:  Walt Disney Productions

Genre(s):  Animated/Musical/Family

Release Date(s):  August 24, 1942 (Brazil)/February 6, 1943 (US)

MPAA Rating:  Not Rated

saludos amigos map brazil disney

Disney heads to South America!

Journey to South America with the Disney artists as they explore the continent!  As Donald explores Lake Titicaca, the mountains, and gets accustom to the llamas, a little plane named Pedro just wants to deliver the mail.  Goofy gets the gaucho treatment, and Donald meets his South American cousin Jose Carioca.

Directed by Norman Ferguson, Wilfred Jackson, Jack Kinney, Hamilton Lusk, and Bill Roberts, Saludos Amigos is an animated-live action travel movie.  The film was the sixth film in Disney’s Animated Classic series and followed Bambi (1942).  It was the first in a series of “package” film that carried through World War II.  The movie was met with so-so reviews in comparison to Disney’s previous films but nominated for Academy Awards for Best Musical Score, Best Original Song (“Saludos Amigos”), and Best Sound Recording.  It is usually packaged with its follow-up film The Three Caballeros.

saludos amigos pedro play mountain

Pedro takes flight!

The only connection I had with Saludos Amigos growing up was through storybooks which sometimes adapted aspects of this movie and The Three Caballeros.  Stories like Pedro were sometimes adapted or broken off for shorts.  As a whole, Saludos Amigos is not the best standalone film, but it is interesting in the broader picture of why it was made.

Saludos Amigos was the result of part of a goodwill tour by the United States government and Disney to help build alliances before World War II.  The movie was released in Rio before getting the United States release, and the movie was even supported by U.S. loans to be produced.  This kind of shows Disney’s power at the time, and how they were “America’s darling”.  It combines animated sequences with live-action sequences and actually feels more like one of Disney’s nature strips than an animated film.

The story is broken up into four parts:  “Lake Titicaca”, “Pedro”, “El Gaucho Goofy”, and “Aquarela do Brasil”.

saludos amigo donald duck lake titicaca

“Lake Titicaca”

The short opens with the artists headed to South America and goes into a story of Donald travelling to high altitude Lake Titicaca.  In the short, Donald also butts heads with a llama.  The episode is short and nice, and I always prefer Donald to Mickey (who is absent throughout this series of South American jaunts).

saludos amigos pedro mail delivery plane storm


“Pedro” tells a story like “The Three Bears” but with planes. Pedro hopes to be a big mail delivery plane but gets caught in a storm.  It is a nice story with great animation, but kind of lacking in substance.  I wish it was a bit more developed because Pedro is a great animated character.

saludos amigos el gaucho goofy horse cowboy

“El Gaucho Goofy”

This short shows the similarities between an American cowboy (illustrated by Goofy) and the South American gaucho.  The segment has been edited due to Goofy smoking a cigarette but unedited version can be found online and the film was restored for Walt & El Grupo.

saludos amigos aquarela do brasil jose carioca donald duck

“Aquarela do Brasil”

The final segment looks at the culture Rio de Janeiro and has Donald meeting Jose Carioca and a dance of the samba.  I like Jose, but he is better used in The Three Caballeros.  This segment is way too short and doesn’t really get into the rich culture of the country.  It is nicely animated but lacks a bit of soul (which is ironic since it is kind of about the soul of the continent).

Saludos Amigos is a good experiment, but really doesn’t reach where it needs to.  For a showcase of a continent, it doesn’t show much.  It is an interesting attempt to appeal to both children and adults for South America as a potential destination for travelers as the war raged in Europe.  Disney’s follow-up movie The Three Caballeros (1944) is a bit better, but despite the great animation, both lack the spirit of other early Disney films.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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