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George of the Jungle is a 1997 live-action film released by Walt Disney Pictures. It was inspired by the 1960s animated series of the same name by the Jay Ward Studios, and starred Brendan Fraser in the title role. A sequel George of the Jungle 2 was released in 2003.


The film begins with an animated prologue showing George's backstory as a baby from San Francisco who survived an airplane crash in Africa. Separated from his human parents, he grew up in the jungle raised by apes and befriended many jungle animals, including an ape named Ape, whom George considered a brother, and a dog-like elephant named Shep, his "big peanut-loving poochie". 25 years later, George grew up to become King of the Jungle, living in a treehouse a talking, highly intelligent gorilla named Ape (voiced by John Cleese). George now lives on friendly terms with most animals. He is quite clumsy, a tendency manifest in his collisions with trees and his less than secure footing, but takes all mishaps in stride.

Ursula Stanhope is a beautiful, American heiress, reluctantly engaged to marry Lyle Van de Groot, who seems more attached to his fiancee's wealth than to her. On an expedition to Central Africa, joined by Lyle and two men he hired named Max and Thor, Ursula is rescued from a lion attack by a man named "George" (Brendan Fraser). While rescuing Ursula, George accidentally knocks her unconscious on a tree branch and takes her back to his jungle treehouse.

Ursula is charmed by George and they become friends. She is introduced to George's pet elephant named Shep. George begins to fall in love with her and asks Ape for advice in courting her. Ape's advice is only variably dependable, but George's attempts do meet with some success. Lyle and the rest of the expedition search for Ursula, and it is revealed that the men Lyle hired are poachers. Lyle finds George's tree house, and tries to persuade Ursula to come with him. She calls George over, and Lyle tries to scare him off using what he thought was a pistol-shaped cigarette lighter. It turns out that a porter had switched the lighter with a real pistol, and Lyle shoots George with it by accident.

George survives (because according to the narrator, "nobody dies in this story"), but Lyle is sent to prison. Max and Thor attempt to capture Ape, whom they have overheard speaking in English. They are arrested and sent to Bujumbura jail, but are released on a technicality. Ursula returns to her home in San Francisco, taking George with her to "get him the finest medical treatment available".

In San Francisco, George is introduced to the society of humans. He proceeds to make a remarkable impression upon his new acquaintances. One noteworthy incident is his heroic rescue of a stranded parasailer. Meanwhile, Ursula's parents throw an engagement party for her. At the party, Ursula's mother Beatrice realizes that George's affection for Ursula might end any chance of her daughter marrying Lyle. Mrs. Stanhope then lectures George on the unsuitability of any relationship he might have with Ursula, and threatens George to leave Ursula alone or else she will castrate him. Discouraged, George returns to Ursula's flat. There, he finds his bird Tookie Tookie, who flew all the way from Africa to tell George that Max and Thor had stolen Ape to take him to Vegas to make a fortune. Immediately George set off for Africa, leaving without even telling Ursula goodbye. Soon afterward, Ursula realizes that she reciprocates George's affection, and much to her mother's dismay decides to follow him to Africa.

George returns to Africa to save Ape who, fortunately, has been misleading his captors into following false trails. George finds Ape and tries to rescue him, but he is outnumbered. Due to Ape's insistence, George fights dirty, even making Max smell his armpit and by giving Thor an atomic wedgie, pulling them up over his head. However, this isn't without consequence, as he suffers some humiliation, such as Thor holding him so Max can give George a purple nurple, and Max holding George in a Full Nelson position so Thor can torture George by tickling him in his armpits, ribs, sides, and belly.

As George suffers from the tickling, he bravely endures the pain until Ursula arrives on the scene at the end of the fight, and moments before Lyle and some henchmen appear as well. It is revealed that Lyle escaped from jail and became an ordained minister so that he had the authority to marry Ursula and himself against her will. Lyle's henchmen tie George up and Lyle runs away with Ursula. He takes her to a raft on Ape River and proceeded with a marriage ceremony. Meanwhile, George, Ape, and other animals defeat Lyle's henchmen and George rescues Ursula before Lyle can finish the marriage.

After admitting they love each other, George and Ursula are married in a lavish jungle celebration on the next full moon and eventually have a son.

In the mid-credits scene, Ape travels to Las Vegas where he becomes a performer, and the final scenes show him using Max and Thor as stage props in his program.


  • Brendan Fraser as George of the Jungle, raised by Ape, he is considered King of the Jungle. He is somewhat clueless, but is fairly heroic. He has a tendency to crash into trees when swinging on vines.
  • Leslie Mann as Ursula Stanhope, a wealthy heiress who travels on an expedition to Africa. After being saved by George, she falls in love with him, and brings him back to America.
  • Thomas Haden Church as Lyle Van de Groot, he is engaged to Ursula, but cares more for her money than for her.
  • John Cleese as Ape, an educated talking gorilla who raised George from an infant.
  • Richard Roundtree as Mr. Kwame, Ursula's jungle guide.
  • Greg Cruttwell as Max, a poacher who attempts to "apenap" Ape. He holds George so Thor can tickle him.
  • Abraham Benrubi as Thor, one of the secondary antagonists and Max's partner who assists in the attempted poaching of Ape. He tickle tortures George as a punishment for giving him a wedgie.
  • Holland Taylor as Beatrice Stanhope, Ursula's social-climbing mother. She wants Ursula and Lyle to marry. She looks down on George, to the point that she convinces George to return to the jungle.
  • John Bennett Perry as Arthur Stanhope, Ursula's father.
  • Kelly Miller as Betsy, Ursula's friend.
  • Frank Welker as the voices of Little Monkey, Shep, Tookie Tookie Bird, and gorilla sound effects.
  • Keith Scott as the voice of The Narrator, he interacts with the characters at times, including an argument with the poachers.



A deleted scene from the film.

The initial screenplay for the film was titled Gorilla Boy. Screenwriter Dana Olsen avoided giving the script to Disney, because he knew they had the film rights to George of the Jungle and felt that they did not want another Tarzan spoof. To his surprise, Disney did not have a script yet and they purchased the spec script from him as soon as they heard the similarities.

The film was shot in three different locations. The majority of the jungle scenes were filmed inside an empty airplane hanger in Playa Del Rey in California over the course of two months.[1] There, the set was filled with nearly 5,000 plants to create an authenticity. George's treehouse was constructed from steel and plaster. The floors were built upon a thick layer of steel and concrete to prevent the elephant from falling through. Some trees were made with built-in imprints of George's body to create the illusion of him leaving one following a crash. All wide angle shots of the jungle were filmed in the Hawaiian islands. The scenes in San Francisco were filmed there over a two-week period.

Both Brendan Fraser and Leslie Mann has to go through various preparations to film the movie. Fraser went through extensive workout sessions to appear muscular and bulky. He and Leslie both had acrobatic lessons to be able to swing on the vines, which were rigged to safety cables in case of an issue. Stuntman Joey Preston was brought in for the Bay Bridge scene.

About a half-dozen animal trainers and wranglers were present during the jungle scenes to help give directions to the animals.

There were several scenes filmed, but cut from the final product. One cut scene featured George having to save Ursula from a pit of quicksand. Another involved George running amuck in the Neiman Marcus, swinging around the store and running off with Beatrice's dog, Coco. The engagement party scene was also feature Lyle returning, completely bald and with an eyepatch. Following this scene was one featuring George and Ursula having a personal talk outside a large fountain.

The premiere was held at the San Diego Wild National Park, where Disney built a large, outdoor theater.[1]


Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a score of 56% from 52 critics with an average rating of 5.3/10. The consensus states: "George of the Jungle is faithful to its source material — which, unfortunately, makes it a less-than-compelling feature film". Roger Ebert awarded the movie three out of four stars, praising the film as "good-natured" and complimenting the cast's comedic performances.[2]

Box office[]

The movie debuted at No. 2 at the box office behind Men in Black, and eventually went on to become a box office success, grossing $174.4 million worldwide.[3]


The movie was followed by a direct-to-video sequel George of the Jungle 2, which picks up five years after the original. Most of the major characters are re-cast using different actors, although both Thomas Haden Church and John Cleese reprise their roles from the original.


  • This is the first Disney film to be based on a cartoon/TV show, that was non-Disney before.
  • Pride Rock from The Lion King is shown at the ending of the film.
  • The song "Boombastic" by Jamaican reggae artist Shaggy, can be heard when George looks at Ursula smiling.
  • The film, as well as the cartoon it is based on, makes several references to Tarzan. Ironically, the film came out two years before Disney would release their own version of Tarzan.
  • A couple of major characters from the cartoon that fail to make an appearance in the movie include District Commissioner Alistair, George's boss of sorts who would send him on various missions; "Tiger" Titherage and "Weevil" Plumtree, a pair of poachers who Max and Thor might be based on; and Doctor Chicago, a mad scientist whose persona and name are parodies of Doctor Zhivago.
  • When Ursula "very quickly" tells her parents of her jungle exploits, she is actually saying "So anyway I went to the jungle, [inaudible] and I wanted to get away before I got married, and Lyle showed up and nobody got along with Lyle, he was a big pain in the a--, and anyway, so he, he went off into the jungle by himself, and I, you know, I had to follow him. And a jungle man comes swinging through on a vine, just swinging through, and, and he, and then we, hit something, and I don't know what happened. The next thing I know I wake up [inaudible] - And then Lyle shot him!"[4]
  • When televised on Disney Channel and ABC's "Wonderful World of Disney", Arthur's swearing of the "A" word was replaced with "butt".
  • The original George of the Jungle cartoon was made by Jay Ward Productions, this live action movie was released by Disney, and Jay Ward's flagship property, Rocky and Bullwinkle, had VHS releases from Disney's Buena Vista Home Video label.
  • After this cinematic production, Tai the Elephant and Joseph the Lion would perform as the circus animals in Meet the Deedles.
  • This is the first Disney film to be released on VHS with have a url address on the back of a cardboard case, which is www.disneyvideos.com.
  • This is also the the first Disney film to be released on DVD besides being the first Disney film to be released on both VHS and DVD on the same release date.
  • A number of animals that appear in this film and its sequel are not indigenous to Africa; capuchins, macaws and toucans (native to Latin America), Indian elephants, water buffalo, orangutans, rhesus monkeys and tigers (native to India and Southeast Asia), eclectus parrots and cockatoos (native to Australia, New Guinea and Indonesia).



External links[]

v - e - d
Disney George of the Jungle Logo
George of the JungleGeorge of the Jungle 2Deleted Scenes
George of the JungleUrsula StanhopeGeorge Jr.ApeShepTookie TookieLyle Van de GrootMax and ThorArthur StanhopeBeatrice StanhopeMr. KwameN'Dugo, Kip, and BaletoBetsyGunner, Scooter, Hobbs, Yon, and PhilSally and KowalskiLittle MonkeyThe Narrator
The Bokuvo • San Francisco
George of the JungleDelaMy Way