Elephants appear in many cinematic productions. A search of the Internet Movie Data Base [www.imdb.com] on 2008-12-30 produced 377 titles using the search criteria "plots" and "elephant". The results come back 100 at a time. At the page bottom you can click to search for additional matches.

On this page are examples from the author's collection, which is by no means exhaustive of the topic.

MOVIE: Rings Around the World - 1966
Starred Don Ameche as host of documentary about circuses.
This early promo poster prominently featured an elephant though elephants were a small part of the total story. The elephant was no doubt chosen because of the universal appeal of elephants and their close connection to circus.

MOVIE - Animated: Dumbo - 1941
Walt Disney obviously knew, and the current operators of his legacy also know that elephants sell. Disney used dancing elephants in his original animated classic "Fantasia" and subsequently featured elephants prominently or exclusively in a series of films including: "The Jungle Book", "The Lion King", "Operation Dumbo Drop", "Larger Than Life", to name a few that come to mind.

Poster left ©Disney. Movie also released in VHS shown right ©1941.

MOVIE: Elephant Fury - 1953/56
World War II drama about a zoo. Filmed in Europe and released in 1953 with title "Gesprengte Gitter" and in the USA in 1956 titled "Elephant Fury". You probably have never heard of the cast members or producers.

A comment at www.imdb.com reads, "A humorless shambles of a film."

MOVIE: Hatari! - 1962
Rather famous epic about a female wildlife photographer who hooks up with a group of men who are wild animal trappers and purveyoes in Africa. Nominated for an Oscar in 1963. Starred John Wayne and Elsa Martinelli.

Publicity still photos ©1961 Paramount Pictures Corp & Malabar Productions perrmission granted for newspaper and magazine reproduction.
A Howard Hawks Production. Many Hatari posters for sale on web.

MOVIE: 3 Ring Circus - 1954
Usual comic fare starring Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis with Zsa Zsa Gabor all working in a circus. Movie was released in numerous European languages and telecast by CBS in 1974.

Publicity photo of Lewis as Jerrico The Clown and elephant [not named in cast] ©Paramount Pictures.

MOVIE: Larger Than Life - 1996
Good heartwarming story with comic overtones has Jack trying to get elephant Vera to California in only five days. Lots of adventures along the way. The elephant is central to the story. All elephant scenes, some seemingly quite dangerous with the elephant running among people, appeared to be filmed naturally.

Bill Murray played Jack Corcoran and Tai the Elephant Vera. Tai also starred in Disney's "Jungle Book", "Operation Dumbo Drop", and "George of the Jungle" films.

Photo is case package on my copy of the VHS release.
It is now available on DVD.
Movie was made and released through United Artists.

MOVIE: The Bashful Elephant - 1962
Set in a traveling circus in modern (1962) Austria, the story centers around Tristie (Molly Mack), a 12-year-old escapee from behind the Iron Curtain, who is hunted by the law, rescued by a giant border dog and "adopted" by an elephant. [Plot synopsis copied from and ©IMDB]

Bill Murray played Jack Corcoran and Tai the Elephant Vera. Tai also starred in Disney's "Jungle Book", "Operation Dumbo Drop", and "George of the Jungle" films.

Photo is of an old poster I bought at auction.
Movie was produced by McGowan International and released through Allied Artists Pictures.

MOVIE: Diamonds Are Forever - 1971
This film was another James Bond 007 espionage thriller starring Sean Connery and Jill St John. It has nothing to do directly with elephants. But, in October 2000 when TBS televised the film, I saw a scene placed at a carnival in which an elephant plays slot machines, gets 3 elephants in row wins big payoff and trumpets and shakes head.

Photo is of a video package.
Movie was released by United Artists to theaters then in VHS & DVD by MGM/UA Home Entertainment.

MOVIE: Elephant Boy - 1937
This film was the actor Sabu's first film role. It won Best Director at the Venice [Italy] Film Festival.

Photo left is of an old poster; right is modern VHS release.
Movie was made by London Film Productions.
This 1937 film, available on VHS, is surprising for its authenticity and the fact it was made only 10 years after the first 'talkie' movie.

Lots of Indian elephants in nearly every frame of this story based on Kipling's "Toomai of the Elephants" about a boy who wants to be a mahout and elephant hunter. The 'hunters' do not kill elephants ... they capture the wild ones for training and service.

The plot is simple and the acting a bit stilted by modern standards but it comes off quite well enough. The natural behavior of elephants is often on display.

Side note: In the story a stockade, or keddah, is built to hold captured elephants. Based on extensive reading I would say the keddah in the movie could not possibly hold wild elephants bent on escape.

MOVIE: Bimbo The Great - 1958 [USA 1961]
Circus drama about elephant.

Photo is of an old poster in my collection.
Movie was made in Germany.

MOVIE: Looking For Trouble - 1996
Trouble is the name of a young runaway elephant who teams up with young girl and then must be rescued from mean circus owner.

Photo is from VHS case in my collection.
Movie was made by Concorde Pictures.

MOVIE: Bliss - 1985
This is not a movie about an elephant but there is an elephant incident featured in it. The image captured my attention. Here is a synopsis from the ebay® listing for the video version. "Harry Joy is a successful advertising executive and everybody's friend. One day he suffers a fatal heart attack. What follows is Harry's return to life, a journey back into the painfully funny world we call modern life. His wife and partner are having an affair, his red Fiat is crushed by a circus elephant, and a fellow executive is committed to an asylum - and likes it! Winner or the 1985 Australian Academy Award for Best Picture.' Based on the book by Peter Carey, starring Barry Otto, Lynette Curran and Helen Jones. Color, rated R, 112 minutes.

Photo is from VHS case.
Movie was made by New South Wales Film Corp.

MOVIE: Operation Dumbo Drop - 1995
Danny Glover & Ray Liotta star in a film about providing a new elephant to a tribal chief in Asia in time for the annual religious festival. The film is billed as a comedy. There are certainly funny scenes in it but it is in general a serious story occurring in war time. The elephant is played by the marvelous "Tai".

Color photo of VHS case and poster are in collection. BW photos from publicity stills.
Movie was made by ©Walt Disney Pictures.

MOVIE: The Big Show - 1961
Circus movie starring Esther Williams, Cliff Robertson, and of course, elephants

Photo of old poster.
Released in USA by Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation.

MOVIE: Elephant Walk - 1954
[Excerpt from case summary]
"Elizabeth Taylor, Peter Finch and Dana Andrews star in this action-packed drama set in Ceylon. Taylor plays a newlwed who accompanies Finch to his sprawling tea plantation called Elephant Walk ... and falls for overseer Andrews. A cholera epidemic breaks out, drought blights the land and herds of thirst maddened elephants devastate the plantation in a thudering stampede."

©1954 Paramount Pictures

MOVIES: Tarzan of the Apes Series
The Edgar Rice Burroughs stories depicted Tarzan as Greystoke the English nobleman lost to survive in the jungle, eventually to become educated and refined but the early movies set a quite different tone. Tarzan's numerous adventures and encounters, in the twenty or so films your host seen, always involve Tarzan with Elephants. Had Burroughs foreseen the films made about his legendary character he might have named him "Tarzan of the Elephants" instead of apes.

Tarzan uses elephants as friends, conveyances, and when needed to battle the forces of evil, as war machines. The elephant is such an integral part of Tarzan stories that the character would be just another "ape man" without them.

The three films shown here, all released in VHS format, all starred Johnny Weissmuller as Tarzan and Maureen O'Sullivan as Jane.

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (now known as MGM) released them in sequence:
Tarzan the Ape Man ©1932
Tarzan His Mate ©1934
Tarzan Escapes ©1936

On the Internet Movie dat Base web site www.imdb.com you can find details about every Tarzan movie made. Here is the list we found last time we searched their site.
1.Tarzan (1998) 
2.Tarzan and Jane (1998) 
3.Tarzan: The Legacy of Edgar Rice Burroughs (1996) (TV) 
4."Tarzan: The Epic Adventures" (1996) TV series 
5.Cri de Tarzan, Le (1996) 
6.Tarzan of Manisa (1994) 
7."Tarzán" (1991) TV series 
8.Tarzan in Manhattan (1989) (TV) 
9.Tarzan Mama-Mia (1989) 
10.Min pappa är Tarzan (1986) 
11.Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes (1984) 
12.Tarzan, the Ape Man (1981) 
13.Gummi-Tarzan (1981) 
14."Tarzan/Lone Ranger/Zorro Adventure Hour, The" (1980) TV series 
15."Batman/Tarzan/Lone Ranger Adventure Hour, The" (1980) TV series 
16."Tarzan/Lone Ranger Adventure Hour, The" (1980) TV series 
17."Tarzan and the Super 7" (1978) TV series 
18."Batman/Tarzan Adventure Hour, The" (1977) TV series 
19.Tarzán y el tesoro Kawana (1974) 
20.Tarzán en las minas del rey Salomón (1973)
21.Tarzán y el misterio de la selva (1972) 
22.Tarzán y el arco iris (1972) 
23.Tarzan's Deadly Silence (1970) 
24.Tarzán en la gruta del oro (1969) 
25.Tarzana, sesso selvaggio (1969) 
26.Tarzan and the Jungle Boy (1968) 
27.Tarzan and the Four O'Clock Army (1968) 
28.Tarzán contra los Hombres Leopardo (1967) 
29.Tarzan and the Great River (1967) 
30.Tarzan and the Perils of Charity Jones (1967) 
31.Tarzan and the Valley of Gold (1966) 
32."Tarzan" (1966) TV series 
33.Tarzan's Jungle Rebellion (1965) 
34.Tarzan's Three Challenges (1963) 
35.Tarzanova smrt (1962)
36.Tarzan Goes to India (1962) 
37.Tarzan the Magnificent (1960) 
38.Tarzan's Greatest Adventure (1959) 
39.Tarzan, the Ape Man (1959) 
40.Tarzan and the Trappers (1958) 
41.Tarzan's Fight for Life (1958) 
42.Tarzan do 5o Esquerdo, O (1958) 
43.Tarzan and the Lost Safari (1957) 
44.Tarzan's Hidden Jungle (1955) 
45.Tarzan and the She-Devil (1953) 
46.Tarzan's Savage Fury (1952)
47.Tarzan's Peril (1951) 
48.Tarzan and the Slave Girl (1950) 
49.Tototarzan (1950) 
50.Tarzan's Magic Fountain (1949) 
51.Tarzan and the Mermaids (1948) 
52.Tarzan and the Huntress (1947) 
53.Tarzan and the Leopard Woman (1946) 
54.Tarzan and the Amazons (1945) 
55.Tarzan Triumphs (1943) 
56.Tarzan's Desert Mystery (1943) 
57.Tarzan's New York Adventure (1942) 
58.Tarzan's Secret Treasure (1941) 
59.Tarzan Finds a Son! (1939) 
60.Tarzan's Revenge (1938) 
61.Tarzan and the Green Goddess (1938) 
62.Tarzan Escapes (1936) 
63.New Adventures of Tarzan, The (1935/II) 
64.New Adventures of Tarzan, The (1935/I) 
65.Tarzan and His Mate (1934) 
66.Tarzan the Fearless (1933) 
67.Come On, Tarzan (1932) 
68.Tarzan, the Ape Man (1932) 
69.Tarzan the Tiger (1929) 
70.Tarzan the Mighty (1928) 
71.Tarzan and the Golden Lion (1927) 
72.Adventures of Tarzan, The (1921) 
73.Revenge of Tarzan, The (1920) 
74.Son of Tarzan (1920) 
75.Romance of Tarzan, The (1918) 
76.Tarzan of the Apes (1918) 

Copyright © 1990-1997 The Internet Movie Database Ltd

MOVIE - Animated: Tarzan
The sleeve for Disney's version of the Tarzan story in VHS format carries this comment in the plot summary: "neurotic elephant pal Tantor".

© Edgar Rice Burroughds Inc and Disney Enterprises Inc

MOVIE: George of the Jungle
For reasons known only to the Disney brain trust, they did not follow with more Tarzan movies. Instead they invented George, George, George of the jungle ... look out for that tree. Brendan Fraser played the inept jungle man with live actors but the elephant was a fantastic bit of digital magic.

Film is rated PG but I'd say fine for kids. It is funny if a bit hokey with overplayed slapstick.

© Walt Disney Pictures

MOVIE - Animated: Babar
The ever popular Babar has many films and a TV series featuring his animated adventures. Our collection contains these three: "Babar The Move", Babar's First Step", "Babar The Elephant Comes to America".

VHS format videos released by Random House in USA

MOVIE - Animated: Horton Hears A Who
From the best selling book of the same title by Dr. Seuss [pseudonym for Theodor Seuss Geisel]. Horton has spawned more than one video.

The upper left is earliest, ©1954 by Theodor S. Geisel and 1970 by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. That release was narrated by the late actor Hans Conried of "Danny Thomas Show" fame as Uncle Tanuse.

Next, at upper right came a version from Green Light media Inc and Random House Home Video in ©1992. The voice of Dustin Hoffman did the honors in this VHS release.

Most recently, Twentieth Century Fox released a feayure animated film to theaters in ©2008 starring Jim Carrey and Steve Carell as voices of Horton and the mayor of Whoville, respectively. They also released the DVD shown at bottom, in a special package which includes a jigsaw puzzle and many bonus features. This release has received eight industry award nominations.

All the Horton media versions are ©Theodor S Geisel and were renewed in 1982.
The Horton story revolves around him hearing pleas for help coming from a dandelion like flower. He discovers there are living creatures on a tiny world, a speck of dust thereon and tries to hrlp them. The other animals thinks he is crazy. The microscopically tiny people of Whoville think their mayor is crazy. Eventually it works out and Horton saves their world.

Video DOCUMENTARY: Elephant - A Tribute to the largest animal that walks the earth
[ from the cassette sleeve]:
"Of all the creatures that walk this planet, the elephant is the largest, strongest, and among the most intelligent. From Sri Lanka to Kenya, ELEPHANT is a charming,sometimes alarming, in-depth look at this magnificent animal and its precarious future."

©1989 The National Geographic Society
©1990 Vestron Inc package and summary

Video DOCUMENTARY: Reflections On Elephants
[ from the cassette sleeve]:
"Join renowned wildlife filmmakers Dereck and Beverly Joubert as they capture the drama of Africa's largest free-roaming elephant herds on their timeles journey across the bush country of northern Botswana.

"Two years in the making, this remarkable documentary reveals extraordinary elephant behavior never before filmed."

©1994 The National Geographic Society

Video DOCUMENTARY: We Live With Elephants
Sierra Club Series
Narrated by David Niven
[ from the cassette sleeve]:
"This is the story of the five hundred African elephants of Lake Manyara, in Tanzania, and how scientist Iain Douglas-Hamilton lived with them for five years, and in the course of his studies came to know every single one of them."

©1988 1988 Survival Anglia Ltd, content
©1988 Eastman Kodak Company

Video DOCUMENTARY: Eyewitness Elephant
Sierra Club Series
Narrated by Martin Sheen
[ from the cassette sleeve]:
"Trace the impressive history of the greatest mammal to walk the Earth. Through war, pageantry, agriculture, and exploration, the elephant has developed a unique relationship with humankind -- and become one of the most cherished, yet endangered, animals in the world."

©1994 Dorling Kindersley Ltd and BBC Lionheart Television Intnl Inc

Video DOCUMENTARY: Elephants Of India
With Goldie Hawn
[ from the cassette sleeve]:
"Though it is revered in Hinduism and Buddhism, the Asian elephant is in serious trouble; two-thirds of India's wild elephants have been killed in the last hundred years. Elephants are competing with the rapidly incresing population of India for survival."

©Paul Massey/FSP 1996, 1996 Tigres Productions

Video DOCUMENTARY: The Elephant Men
[ from the cassette sleeve]:
"As India's population approaches one billion people, the places where wild elephants can live in undisturbed habitats are dwindling.

"Old traditions and new generations are the backdrop as man and elephant struggle for survival in modern India."

Nature Video Library
©1996 Icon Films
Photos © Chris Vile

Video DOCUMENTARY: Echo of The Elephants - The Next Generation
[ from the cassette sleeve]:
"As India's population approaches one billion people, the places where wild elephants can live in undisturbed habitats are dwindling.

"In The Next Generation we return to Amboseli National Park in Kenya with elephant expert Cynthia Moss to set out with the herd once more."

Nature Video Library
©1996 British Broadcasting Corp photos © Cynthia Moss

Video DOCUMENTARY: The Urban Elephant
[ from the cassette sleeve]:
"The Urban Elephant journeys into the realm of Asian elephants under human care. Traveling across North America and Asia, the film reveals the stories of eight eephants whose lives have been touched by humans."

"In The Next Generation we return to Amboseli National Park in Kenya with elephant expert Cynthia Moss to set out with the herd once more."

Nature Video Library
Argo Films, ©2000 NGT Inc ©2000 Thirteen/WNET New York

Video DOCUMENTARY: Wildlife Tales
[ from the cassette sleeve]:
"Remarkqble footage lets you ride atop rare Sumatran elephants as villagers lasso these wild animals in the forest then enroll them in school! You'll visit the Way Kambas Elephant Training Centre, where these intelligent giants are taught hoe to respond to spoken commands, use their mighty tusks to move timber, help farmers with their crops -- even swoosh through an elephant slalom course."

"In The Next Generation we return to Amboseli National Park in Kenya with elephant expert Cynthia Moss to set out with the herd once more."

©1995 ABC/Kane Productions International

MOVIE: Ele My Friend
[ from the cassette sleeve]:
"Ele, My Friend is a heart-warming tale of courage, friendship and loyalty. Filled with scenic beauty, exciting action heart-warming drama and comedy, ELE MY FRIEND is one of those rare masterpieces that the whole family can enjoy. Set in the time of innocence and tranquillity during the British Raj of the early 1920's, the story unfolds with Charles, a curious and adventurous 10 year old, who stumbles upon a herd of wild elephant living deep in the jungle. Fascinated by his discovery, Charles becomes inseparable with one of the elephants, a baby he names Ele. etc."

© not readable, worn off

MOVIE: Whispers
[ from the cassette sleeve]:
"In the tradition of Disney's Homeward Bound, Disney's heartwarming, thrilling and majestic Whispers: An Elephant's Tale is an unfogettable adventure your entire family will love."

© Disney Enterprises Inc

STORY: The Elephant's Child
From author Rudyard Kipling's story about how the elephant got its trunk in his "Just So" stories.

Narrated by Jack Nicholson
Illustrated by Tim Raglin
Produced by Rabbit Ears Productions and Random House Home Video ©1986

MOVIE: Ava's Magical Adventure
[ from the cassette sleeve]:
"Life's a bore 'til 10-year-old Eddie steals away with Ava -- a 2-ton circus elephant! Suddenly it's hilarity and high adventure as everyone from the sheriff to the clowns join the hunt for a most unlikely pair of runaways."

"Based on the classic Mark Twain story "Stolen White Elephant".

Rated PG
Artwork and design ©Prism Entertainment
Starring: Timothy Bottoms, Patrick dempsey, George Stanford Brown, Priscilla Barnes

[My review]
If Mark Twain could see this movie he would spin in his grave. Hard to decide who did the worst job among actors, director, screenwriters.

Tells how a girl steals a circus elephant to prevent the owner from killing it to collect the insurance. The 'circus' consists of several parolees who are the clowns, a small tent, and one elephant; no other animals. The owner is in trouble over $80,000 in back taxes but there is no evidence of any profits of any kind coming from the circus. The whole thing is very poorly done.

DOCUMENTARY for Children: Bugs Bunny's Elephant Parade
[ from the cassette sleeve]:
"Animated Looney Tunes characters are mixed with live-action animal footage to create a whole new breed of educational entertainment. Kids laugh with their favorite cartoon stars while they learn fascinating facts about the world of animals."

©1997 Warner Home Video and Survival Anglia Ltd

[ from the cassette sleeve]:
"The Terrytoons Good Guys are all fun loving, fully animated cartoon characters that will delight and entertain children of all ages."

Video Treasures Inc
©1983 Viacom International Inc

CARTOON: Poky and Friends
Starring Saggy Baggy Elephant - 5 adventures

©1999 Golden Books Home Video Inc

MOVIE: Mumfie The Movie
Starring Saggy Baggy Elephant - 5 adventures

[My review]
Magic Adventures of Mumfie the Elephant is an animated movie, nicely done, which combines elements from several of the Mumfie stories.

Summary: Mumfie sets off to have an adventure, meets a scarecrow who joins him, and at the request of a local bird, they go in search of a present to place on a large dead tree.

They encounter an evil sorcerer, pirates beneath the sea and other characters; finally obtain a jewel as a gift from the Queen of the Night and return and hang it on the dead tree which then blooms beautifully.

The art in this movie is interesting; very soft-edged for cartooning. Runs nearly two hours. My six year old granddaughter, though fidgeting the last thirty minutes, was captivated watching the entire movie in one sitting.

Britt Allcroft's Magic Adventures of Mumfie The Movie
Adventure cartoon with sing along songs ages 2-7
©Britt Allcroft, BMG Video

CARTOON: Pink Elephant
[from the sleeve]
The Pink Panther is in for a trunk full of trouble when an enormously eager elephant follows him home from the zoo. But whether he's working for peanuts as a short-order cook, re-creating the famous midnight ride of Paul Revere, or making medical history at an inhospitable hospital, this fantastically feisty feline sure knows how to have jumbo fun!

VHS from the "Pink Panther Cartoon Collection"

© & TM United Artists
package ©1997 MGM Home Entertainment

PERFORMANCE: Elephant Parts - Michael Nesmith
[from the DVD case]
"Michael Nesmith's Groundbreaking Music & Comedy Classic -- Winner of The Very First Grammy Award for Video !."

Package Design ©2006 Anchor Boy Entertainment
Program Content ©1981 Michael Nesmith

FILMSTRIP & AUDIO: The Elephant and His Nose
World Book, Childcraft, How & Why Library program teaches children about science and nature topics.

filmstrip with 33 1/3 rpm record for the GE Show N'Tell viewer
©1964 General Electric Co.

VIEW-MASTER® Reel: Performing Elephants No. 925 St Louis Zoo
This a set of seven 3D photo transparencies of performing elephants. Shown below are the viewing device, a sleeve for a reel, a reel, and an attempt to reproduce a single frame from the tiny cells on the reel. The reel is ©1950 Sawyer's Inc.

The VIEW-MASTER® has an interesting history going back to 1939. You can read all about it on a page at Wikipedia. If the page does not load from the link you can search wikipedia.org using the term 'view-master'.

Viewing lenses     |     Light source side     |     Reel sleeve     |     Reel of 7 pairs of images     |     Single frame


Site Navigation Buttons