The Jungle Book (1967)

Film and Plot Synopsis

Based on the classic Rudyard Kipling novel of the same name, The Jungle Book tells the story of the young boy named Mowgli who is raised by wolves in the jungle. Mowgli is endangered when the tiger Shere Khan seeks to kill him for being a human. Bagheera the black panther and Baloo the sloth bear accompany Mowgli on his journey through the deepest parts of the Indian jungle on his way to the man village where his friends believe that he will be safe from harm. Mowgli encounters a dangerous python, deranged monkeys, and militaristic elephants on his journey. However, will Mowgli join his own kind or stay in the jungle and face Shere Khan?

‘The Jungle Book’ Movie Summary

The summary below contains spoilers.
The Jungle Book (1967)In The Jungle Book, a young man cub is found in a basket in the jungles of India. A black panther named Bagheera (Sebastian Cabot) finds the baby and takes the man cub to a mother wolf named Raksha. Raksha has her own litter of cubs with her mate Rama (Ben Wright) so she takes the young boy in. The boy, named Mowgli (Bruce Reitherman), is raised by his adoptive family until he is ten years old.

After Mowgli turns ten, the wolf pack learns that the Bengal tiger, Shere Khan (George Sanders), has returned to the wolf pack’s portion of the jungle. The pack decides to send Mowgli to live with his own kind in the nearby man village for his own safety. The wolf pack knows that it will be difficult to send Mowgli away because he has become part of the pack and does not want to return to his own kind. Bagheera, who has become a close friend to the man cub, volunteers to escort Mowgli back to the man village.

During their journey, Mowgli meets a hungry python named Kaa (Sterling Holloway) who attempts to eat the young boy before he is stopped by Bagheera. They meet a herd of elephants out on patrol led by Colonel Hathi (J. Pat O’Malley) and his wife Winifred (Verna Felton). Mowgli befriends their son the little pachyderm named Junior (Clint Howard). But most importantly, Mowgli meets the sloth bear named Baloo (Phil Harris). Baloo is a fun loving, singing, and dancing bear who promises to raise Mowgli as a bear and never take him to the man village. Bagheera leaves Mowgli with the bear having grown frustrated with the boy.

Shortly thereafter, a group of monkeys kidnap Mowgli and take him to the monkey kingdom to meet their leader, the orangutan named King Louie (Louis Prima). King Louie is the king of the swingers and a jungle VIP. He offers to help Mowgli stay in the jungle if the man cub will teach the orangutan how to make fire. Mowgli doesn’t know how to make fire since he was raised by wolves. Baloo and Bagheera arrive at the monkey kingdom in order to save Mowgli. Baloo dresses as a monkey to infiltrate the kingdom, but he soon dances out of his disguise requiring him to grab Mowgli and make a run for it. The monkey kingdom is ultimately destroyed, and Bagheera, Baloo, and Mowgli are able to escape.

Once they are safe, Bagheera explains to Baloo that Shere Khan is looking to kill Mowgli. Baloo understands the danger and tells Mowgli that he needs to go live in the man village. Mowgli feels betrayed and runs off by himself in the jungle. Baloo and Bagheera split up to search for Mowgli. Bagheera runs into the elephant patrol again and enlists their help to find the missing man cub. Unfortunately, Shere Khan lies in the grass nearby and hears their entire conversation and knows that Mowgli is unprotected.

Meanwhile, Mowgli encounters Kaa again, who tries to eat him once again. Ironically, Mowgli is saved by Shere Khan when he insists on inspecting Kaa’s coils. The python must release Mowgli to submit to the tiger’s inspection. Mowgli encounters a group of vultures in a desolate part of the jungle. The vultures (Digby Wolfe, Lord Tim Hudson, and J. Pat O’Malley) see Mowgli as an outsider and adopt him as one of their own. However, Shere Khan appears and scares off the vultures, leaving Mowgli alone with the tiger. The tiger charges at the young boy, but Baloo arrives and grabs Shere Khan by the tail, preventing him from getting to Mowgli. Lightning strikes a nearby tree and Mowgli grabs one of the branches that is engulfed in flames and ties it to Shere Khan’s tail, frightening the tiger into running away. Baloo, who is badly beaten up during the fight, survives.

Bagheera and Baloo take Mowgli to the edge of the man village. Mowgli still wants to stay in the jungle until he sees a young girl down at the river gathering water. Mowgli is transfixed by the beautiful young girl and crawls closer to get a good luck. The girl notices Mowgli and pretends to spill her water pot. Mowgli retrieves it for her and follows her to the man village. Mowgli makes the decision to live with his own kind. Baloo and Bagheera return to the jungle, Baloo sorry for the loss of his friend.

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Buena Vista Distribution Company released The Jungle Book on October 18, 1967. Wolfgang Reitherman directed the film starring Phil Harris, Sebastian Cabot, and Louis Prima.

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