The Jungle Book (1967)

jungle book movie poster 1967 disney
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 7/10

Great music, great cast of voice actors, good collecting of Kipling's short stories

Not my favorite art

Movie Info

Movie Name:  The Jungle Book

Studio:  Walt Disney Productions

Genre(s):  Animated/Musical/Family

Release Date(s):  October 18, 1967

MPAA Rating:  Not Rated

jungle book bare necessities mowgli baloo swimming

Waste you days away with the “bare necessities”

Mowgli (voiced by Bruce Reitherman) has grown up in the jungles of India after the death of his parents at the hand of tiger Shere Khan (voiced by George Sanders).  Raised by wolves, Mowgli is now spreading his wings.  Under the watchful eye of Baloo the Bear (voiced by Phil Harris) and Bagheera the Panther (voiced by Sebastian Cabot), Mowgli learns that Shere Khan has returned to the jungle.  While Bagheera tries to encourage Mowgli to return to humans, Baloo encourages him to live a carefree life in the wild.  Being human in the jungle makes Mowgli a target of other animals who are jealous of him…if Kaa the python (voiced by Sterling Holloway) or King Louie the orangutan (voiced by Louis Prima) don’t get Mowgli killed, Shere Khan might be his death.

Directed by Wolfgang Reitherman, The Jungle Book is a Walt Disney animated musical feature.  It is the nineteenth film in Walt Disney Animated Classic series following The Sword in the Stone in 1963.  It was the last film produced by Walt Disney who died in 1966 before its release.  It was based on the stories by collection of stories The Jungle Books by Rudyard Kipling in 1894.  The movie was received positive reviews and a strong box office return.  “The Bare Necessities” was nominated for Best Song losing to “Talk to the Animals” from Doctor Dolittle.

jungle book disney kaa mowgli hypnosis bruce reitherman sterling holloway

Look deep into my eyes!

I remember going to see The Jungle Book in the theater and like many Disney movies of the time, it was an event…you didn’t always have access to the movies even when VCRs were starting to boom because Disney kept their products rather locked down…and The Jungle Book joined other Disney classics in rerelease.

The movie is just out-and-out fun.  It is very segmented since it is based on short stories, but Disney does a great job crafting it into a nice story.  The story keeps flowing, and it will definitely keep kids entertained with all the animals and songs that propel the story.

I am not a huge fan of the style of art in The Jungle Book.  The backgrounds are lush and the animation in the forefront is obviously independent of it.  If Mowgli is going to interact with a stick, the stick just doesn’t mix with the background.  It is a style that Disney used from One-Hundred-and-One Dalmations to The Great Mouse Detective and it just doesn’t compare to the art of some of their earlier films (plus, they even reuse animation within the movie and in later films).

jungle book king louie baloo i want to be like you

Give me power of Man’s Red Flower!!!

What does sell The Jungle Book is that it is full of great character actors and singers providing the voices for the film.  Reitherman (who was the son of the director) is nice as Mowgli and also was used by Disney again for the voice of Christopher Robin in Winnie-the-Pooh.  Sebastian Cabot and Phil Harris do a great job balancing out Bagheera and Baloo as the voice of reason and the voice of fun, while Louis Prima is great fun with as King Louis with his “I Want to Be Like You” which easily rivals “The Bare Necessities” as one of Disney’s best songs.  Sanders plays a great Shere Khan and Disney mainstay Stirling Holloway continues to show his perfect cartoon voice as Kaa.  Other notable voices include Clint Howard as Colonel Hathi’s son Junior, J. Pat O’Malley and Colonel Hathi and Verna Felton (in her last role) as Hathi’s wife.

The Jungle Book is one of Disney’s most fun films.  It had a sequel in 2003, and Disney also used the story again for a live action film in 1994.  Many of characters of the The Jungle Book became the stars of Disney’s Tale Spin cartoon and  a sequel The Jungle Book 2 was released in 2003.  Disney followed The Jungle Book with The Aristocats in 1970.

Related Links:

The Jungle Book 2 (2003)

The Jungle Book (1942)

The Jungle Book (2016)

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.

Leave A Response