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39 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful
This film adaptation which was made in 1966 (not 1996!) stays mostly true to the original book. It tells the tale of three orphaned lion cubs, two of which are sent to zoos. The other, Elsa, develops a strong bond with her owners. But of course, she's a lioness, not a pussycat, and eventually she grows too big. Not wanting her to go to a zoo, her owner Joy Adamson tries...
Published on 25 Mar. 2007 by Akida93

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3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
DO NOT ASK ME AGAIN!
Published 1 month ago by Bob Snashall


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39 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, 25 Mar. 2007
This review is from: Born Free / Living Free [1966] [DVD] [2004] (DVD)
This film adaptation which was made in 1966 (not 1996!) stays mostly true to the original book. It tells the tale of three orphaned lion cubs, two of which are sent to zoos. The other, Elsa, develops a strong bond with her owners. But of course, she's a lioness, not a pussycat, and eventually she grows too big. Not wanting her to go to a zoo, her owner Joy Adamson tries to release her back into the wild.

Although not as good as th original, the sequel Living Free makes great eye-candy, showing some adorable scenes with the cubs, and some stunning footage of wildlife (they actually caught a cheetah catching its prey).

I saw these films when I was about ten, and I am 13 now. They stay very loyal to the books, and well, if you haven't read, I suggest read them then watch the films. Highly recommended.

(How could you say these films are 'gruesome.' It's quite tame compared to what I've seen on so-called 'children's TV.' And besides, you can't sugarcoat everything for children. Next time, try explaining to your kids that this is a film about wild animals, not cute little fairies.)
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A timeless classic, 1 Feb. 2009
By 
Chantal Lyons "C.S. Lyons" (England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
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This review is from: Born Free / Living Free [1966] [DVD] [2004] (DVD)
When I ask my friends nowadays if they have ever heard of Born Free, the answer is almost always "no". And that's a real shame. Born Free is an enchanting true story, and one whose spirit lives on in the Born Free foundation, the animal charity.

Born Free begins when a park ranger has shot a pair of man-eating lions, orphaning a litter of three cubs. He brings them home to his wife and together they raise the cubs. Eventually, they grow old enough to be sent to a zoo and two of the cubs go, but the Adamsons love the third one, Elsa, so much that they keep her. As she grows into an adult it becomes clear that she must either be sent to a zoo, or set free. Yhe Adamsons decide to free her, but it will be a long, hard path...

People of all ages will enjoy the film. When I was younger I adored the parts where the cubs grow up - it'll bring tears of laughter to your eyes. The humour remains an element of the film. The film itself is remarkably well made, considering that they had to use real animals to play the parts of Elsa and other lions. You'll fall in love with the character of Elsa, and all her gentleness and her quirks. The ending is truly beautiful.

Living Free is the sequel to Elsa's story, but focuses this time on the three cubs she has. I won't give a plot blurb for fear of ruining part of the story. While not as good as Born Free in my eyes, the film is still well made and enjoyable for those already familiar with its predecessor.

I'd also like to defend the films after one reviewer said something along the lines of "don't watch this film, it has scenes of animals being killed, don't let your children see it!" This is grossly unfair - no animal is ever actually seen shot. There is no violence except a fight between two lionesses (something tame compared to most nature documentaries) and I've seen far more violence in children's cartoons. I advise children to watch this film, not avoid it; it helps instill awareness and love for nature.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars pure joy, 28 Oct. 2010
This review is from: Born Free / Living Free [1966] [DVD] [2004] (DVD)
To be honest I hadn't seen this film until very recently, though I was aware of the true story behind it. Suffice it to say, if you want a true story that is uplifting; that will fill your heart and make you weep with joy (I certainly did and I'm a bloke!), you cannot possibly go wrong with Born Free. That's all there is to say.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I'd forgotten how good this film was!, 10 Jan. 2002
By A Customer
Born Free is known as a classic, yet I had forgotten quite how inspiring and moving the original film really was!
This is a worthwhile purchase, if only to own Born Free, but the bonus with this edition is having both the original and the sequel together. And although Living Free doesn't quite meet the original's standards it still does make the whole story feel complete.
Plus even if you don't like the wonderful story, or beautiful scenery, almost everyone has some appreciation for the backing music and title track, which is worth the price on its own.
If you are building up a collection of classic films, or want see how movies really should be made then this is an essential purchase.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One of the all-time great animal films plus one of the all-time worst sequels, 24 Nov. 2007
By 
Trevor Willsmer (London, England) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Born Free / Living Free [1966] [DVD] [2004] (DVD)
Along with Lassie Come Home, Born Free is probably the gold standard of animal movies, and there's a lot to like in this story of Joy Adamson and her gamekeeper husband trying to return the domesticated lioness Elsa to the wild: the lion cubs are cute, the Scope wildlife photography still impressive and John Barry's score especially beautiful (the famous Matt Munro song was added to the end titles after the film was already on release. Where it shows its age is when the humans take centre-stage. At times Virginia McKenna can be a bit too head girl of the hockey school as Joy Adamson for a modern audience - while the Adamsons' real-life relationship was so tempestuous they spent much of their lives apart (Travers recalled that during filming whenever George was in the doghouse, Joy would treat him with equal condescension), their movie incarnations are so determinedly nice they make characters from Disney films of the 60s look like axe murderers. That said, McKenna and Travers are one of the few real-life married couples who make a convincing couple onscreen, bringing a comfortable familiarity to their scenes that smoothes over some of the more twee dialogue.

Its surprise success after a slow start led to director James Hill reluctantly being typecast on many of the slew of similar animal films that followed in its wake while his two stars started the Born Free foundation to release zoo animals into the wild. It also led to a very unfortunate sequel, though none of the key players apart from Carl Foreman would return.

Living Free is one of those obscure sequels to huge hits that most people don't even know exist. In this case it's not hard to see why: it's pretty awful. Susan Hampshire and Nigel Davenport make poor replacements for Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna. While you wouldn't expect them to match the original couple's easy familiarity, these two don't look like they've even been introduced yet. Worse, the film is a clumsy mess, the first quarter a clumsy rehash of the first film mixing stock footage with awkward reshot word-for-word versions of scenes restaged by the new stars with all the confidence of a blindfolded kid with both legs tied together trying to hit a piñata (although you do get to see Geoffrey Keen play a scene identically to his performance with the more experienced stars). When the plot does get going in the last half hour there are some genuinely tense scenes as they attempt to cage Elsa the Lioness's cubs to take them to a new reserve before they are destroyed as a menace to local farms, but you'll probably have given up by then. It doesn't even have the benefit of Scope photography or a John Barry score to sugar the pill, often looking more like a poor TV pilot than a real film (and indeed a TV series did briefly follow, albeit with a new cast). Not good.

The only extras are the original theatrical trailers.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Born Free, 20 Mar. 2007
By 
J. Barker-mccardle (Kent, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Born Free / Living Free [1966] [DVD] [2004] (DVD)
I have only seen Born Free, however at such a low price I would recommend buying this 2 film set. Born Free is a classic film that will have you crying and smiling, I watched this film as a child and it became a firm favourite of mine. The music for this film is excellent and really sets the tone of the film, I can find no fault with this film and I will always have fond memories of it. It may look dated now as it was produced in 1996 but the essence of the film makes up for this.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A family film if ever there was one, 30 Nov. 2011
By 
RR Waller "ISeneca" (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Born Free / Living Free [1966] [DVD] [2004] (DVD)
DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME!

In "Born Free", Joy Adamson (Virginia McKenna) and her husband, Kenya game warden George Adamson (Bill Travers), discover an orphan lion cub and raise her at their home, Elsa, the lion cub, becomes a member of their family. When Elsa approaches maturity and they realise they will have to release her or send it to a zoo, Joy determines she must re-educate Elsa to living in the wild so that the lioness can return to a free life. It becomes a heart-rending struggle as this hugely powerful lionness develops from the cuddly, helpless friendly cub.

In "Living Free" Elsa has grown and has cubs of her own. Starring Nigel Davenport as George Adamson and Susan Hampshire as Joy Adamson, it tells the tale of their struggle to move the lion pride to a less dangerous area (less dangersous for lions and humans).

Without doubt, these are two family films of great maturity telling a fascinating story and all the more amazing because it is true and it actually involves lions as actors, something it is easy to forget in a strange way.

Highly recommended for a few hours of family enjoyment.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Born Free, 29 April 2009
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This review is from: Born Free / Living Free [1966] [DVD] [2004] (DVD)
I remember going to the cinema with my parents more than 25 years back to see Born Free, it was one of these films that you always remember as a child. I purchased the film after I had seen Christian the Lion at World;s end.

The film is a beautiful account of life in Africa and the opportunity to watch people working with such a beautiful animal together with the passion that they bring not only to their work with Lions but comes through in the film.

Would highly recommend viewing this film, have a box of tissues to the ready.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For Lovers of Wild Animals, 13 Jan. 2014
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This review is from: Born Free / Living Free [1966] [DVD] [2004] (DVD)
Two very entertaining and enjoyable films telling the life story of Elsa the Lioness in the first film, and the story of her three cubs in the second film. Based on the true stories of Joy Adamson. Well filmed with lots of shots of the African wildlife. A must for anyone who enjoys a good animal themed film.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Adventure, 17 July 2011
This review is from: Born Free / Living Free [1966] [DVD] [2004] (DVD)
Born Free was made in 1966 and features Virginia McKenna and Bill Travers as Joy and George Adamson, a real-life couple who raised Elsa the Lioness, an orphaned lion cub to adulthood, and release her into the wilds of Kenya. It is based upon Joy Adamson's 1960 non-fictional book Born Free. The musical score is by the wonderful John Barry and won numerous awards. I can only agree with the other reviewer, a great family film that does bring back many memories.

Living Free is a 1972 British film starring Nigel Davenport, Susan Hampshire and is the sequal to Born Free. After Elsa the lioness dies, her three lion cubs (Jespah, Gopa, and Little Elsa) are forced to move to a game preserve and must learn to hunt on their own with the help of George Adamson and his wife, Joy. Wonderful
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Born Free / Living Free [1966] [DVD] [2004]
Born Free / Living Free [1966] [DVD] [2004] by Jack Couffer (DVD - 2004)
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