George of the Jungle (2024)

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George of the Jungle is a 1997 live-action, family-oriented, romantic-adventure-comedy film based on the characters from the original cartoon of the same name


  • 1 Plot
  • 2 Cast
    • 2.1 Voices
    • 2.2 Gorilla suit performers
  • 3 Production
  • 4 Release
    • 4.1 Box office
    • 4.2 Critical response
  • 5 Home media
  • 6 Sequel
  • 7 Gallery
  • 8 Trivia


While touring Burundi with local guide Kwame and a trio of porters, San Francisco heiress Ursula Stanhope is tracked down and joined by her fiancé, Lyle Van De Groot, with two poachers named Max and Thor. Kwame tells the group of the "White Ape", a local legend of a superhuman primate that rules the jungle. The next day, Lyle, insistent on taking Ursula home as soon as possible, goes into the jungle with her to find the White Ape, and they are attacked by a lion. Lyle knocks himself out trying to flee while Ursula is saved by the King of the Jungle, George, who takes Ursula to his tree house home and cares for her, introducing her to his three animal friends: Ape, a sapient, talking gorilla who raised George; Shep, an Asian elephant that acts like George's dog; and Tookie, a toco toucan. George is smitten with Ursula and attempts to woo her; Ursula soon reciprocates his attraction, and her time spent with George makes her no longer wish to return home.

Lyle, Max, and Thor find the treehouse, and Lyle confronts Ursula and George. Max and Thor make to shoot Shep for his ivory, and Ape shouts at Shep to run. Everyone is stunned by the sight of a talking ape, and Max and Thor decide to tranquilize and capture him. George runs to stop them and is accidentally shot by Lyle, who thought his gun was a novelty lighter. Lyle and the poachers are imprisoned, and Lyle is identified as the shooter by the porters; Max and Thor are released and resolve to capture Ape to make a fortune in Las Vegas. Meanwhile, Ursula takes George to San Francisco to get medical help for his wound and to see the human world, which George is fascinated with.

While Ursula is at work, George explores San Francisco on his own and uses his vine-swinging to rescue a paraglider tangled in the Bay Bridge. Uninterested in marrying Lyle, Ursula admits the truth to her parents, but her overbearing mother Beatrice objects. At a party intended to celebrate Ursula's engagement, Beatrice takes George aside and coldly tells him she will not let Ursula's engagement fall apart, and refuses to let George be with her. In Africa, Max and Thor capture Ape, who manages to order Tookie to find George before he falls unconscious. Tookie flies to San Francisco, and George returns to the jungle, leaving Ursula in the night. While comforted by her parents, Ursula realizes she loves George and goes to find him with her father's approval.

Ape tricks the poachers into circling the jungle and returning to the treehouse, where George confronts and eventually incapacitates them with help from a newly arriving Ursula. However, Lyle arrives too, having escaped prison, joined a cult, and become an ordained minister. Lyle has mercenaries he brought with him subdue George and takes Ursula to the nearby Ape River, where he has a boat waiting to escape while he performs a marriage ceremony. However, the river is a harsh series of rapids that hurtle the two into danger. George escapes the mercenaries and performs a big swing to reach Ursula and Lyle, only to crash painfully into a massive tree, which falls over the river and allows him to pull Ursula to safety. Lyle ends up in a cave and, believing he is still sharing the boat with Ursula, proclaims them wedded; he lights his lighter and beholds that he has just married himself to a gorilla.

George and Ursula declare their love for each other and marry, with Ursula moving into George's treehouse. Some time later, the two are raising a son, George Jr., whom they present to the animals from atop Pride Rock. Meanwhile, Ape moves to Las Vegas and becomes a famous stage performer with Max and Thor as props.


  • Brendan Fraser as George, a young man who was raised in the jungle like Tarzan and frequently crashes into trees while swinging on vines.[1] Fraser had concurrently auditioned for the title role in Disney's serious animated adaptation of Tarzan, which would be released in 1999, but lost to Tony Goldwyn.[2]
  • Leslie Mann as Ursula Stanhope, a wealthy heiress and George's love interest.
  • Thomas Haden Church as Lyle van de Groot, Ursula's former narcissistic wealthy fiancé.
  • Richard Roundtree as Kwame, Ursula's jungle guide.
  • Greg Cruttwell and Abraham Benrubi as Max and Thor, two poachers and trackers who were working for Lyle.
  • John Bennett Perry as Arthur Stanhope, Ursula's supportive father who takes a shine to George.
  • Holland Taylor as Beatrice Stanhope, Ursula's controlling mother, who believes that social position is more important than having a loving marriage. She strongly dislikes George.
  • Kelly Miracco as Betsy, Ursula's best friend.
  • Abdoulaye N'Gom as Kip, Ursula's friend and an African tour guide.
  • Michael Chinyamurindi as N'Dugo, Ursula's friend and another African tour guide.
  • Lydell M. Cheshier as Baleto, Ursula's friend and the third African tour guide.
  • Willie Brown as Mayor Willie L. Brown Jr.
  • Lauren Bowles as Ursula's friend
  • Afton Smith as Ursula's friend
  • Samantha Harris as Ursula's friend
  • Noah John Cardoza and Benjamin John Cardoza as George Jr.
  • Crystal as Monkey.
  • Tai as Shep, the Asian elephant with personality of a dog.
  • Joseph, Kaleb and Bongo as The Lion.


  • John Cleese as Ape, a well-educated, talking eastern gorilla who is George’s best friend and foster brother.
  • Keith Scott as Narrator.
  • Frank Welker as Lion, Little Monkey, Shep, Tooki Tooki Bird, and Gorilla sound effects
  • Tress MacNeille as Shep (some many scenes, uncredited)

Gorilla suit performers[]

  • John Cleese – Ape (body)
  • Tom Fisher
  • Jody St. Michael
  • Philip Tan
  • Lief Tilden
  • Robert Tygner – Ape (facial puppetry)


The lion, elephant, and bird scenes were all filmed with a mix of real animals, puppetry (especially for the lion fight), and CGI (to show Shep the elephant acting like a dog). The scenes with the orangutan, a chimpanzee, and the capuchin monkeys were filmed with live animals, but some computer work was used in a scene wherein the little monkey imitates George.[3]

Four live male African lions were used in this film. Bongo and Caesar's trainer was Michael Hackenberger of Clarington, Ontario, Canada's Bowmanville Zoo. Joseph and Kaleb's trainer was Charlie Sammut of Salinas, California's Monterey Zoo.[4] Rick Glassey generously trained all four lions with Hackenberger and Sammut themselves. Sammut temporarily replaced Fraser as his stunt double for the segment of George's extreme physical fight against the lion. Joseph and Kaleb were onscreen separately with Sammut. Fraser was really holding a stuffed life-size lion. Bongo was the lion that intended to attack Ursula after jumping out from behind trees and bushes twice. Caesar's uncredited appearance in this film was when George consoled a capuchin monkey that has been rejected by other capuchin monkeys. The lion winking at George from the behind bushes was really an animatronic puppet.

The large gorillas who live with George were all costumed actors who were Henson puppeteers. Their faces were remote-controlled animatronic heads, which, along with the yak fur gorilla suits, were provided by Jim Henson's Creature Shop.[5][3] Other effects were provided by Dream Quest Images.[5][6]

In the "Pride Rock" scene, when George presents his son to the animals, CGI work is again used.[3]

The jungle setting was constructed on a stage in Playa Del Rey, Los Angeles. The stage was 750 feet long, 71 feet high at the peak, 90 feet wide.[5]


Box office[]

The film debuted at No. 2 at the box office behind Men in Black and grossed $174.4 million worldwide.[7]

Critical response[]

On Rotten Tomatoes the film has a score of 56% based on 54 reviews and an average rating of 5.5/10. The site's consensus states: "George of the Jungle is faithful to its source material—which, unfortunately, makes it a less-than-compelling feature film".[8] On Metacritic it has a weighted average score of 53% based on reviews from 18 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[9] Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film a grade "B+" on scale of A to F.[10]

Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert gave the film two thumbs up on their show At The Movies; Ebert awarded it three out of four stars, praising it as "good-natured" and complimenting the cast's comedic performances.[11] Siskel wrote, "What sets the film apart is a script that has the good sense to laugh at itself".[12] James Berardinelli thought "the comedy in George of the Jungle is not sophisticated, but it is frequently audacious and irreverent".[13]

It was nominated for Best Fantasy film at the Saturn Awards.

Home media[]

This was released on VHS and DVD by December 2, 1997 in Walt Disney Home Video. This was released on Blu-ray by Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment in August 13, 2019.


The film 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 were re-cast using different actors, although Keith Scott, Thomas Haden Church and John Cleese reprised their roles from the original.



  • It is paired with The Jungle Book.
  2. Lawson, Terry. "'Tarzan' Yell", Knight-Ridder, Chicago Tribune, June 16, 1999.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 George of the Jungle.
  4. Josef.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Archerd, Army (November 26, 1996). 'George' crew creates urban 'Jungle'.
  6. Hill, Jim (2003-01-14). The sad tale of Disney's Secret Lab.
  7. "George Of The Jungle' Debut Can't Swing Past 'Men In Black", Orlando Sentinel.
  8. George of the Jungle.
  9. George of the Jungle.
  10. GEORGE OF THE JUNGLE (1997) B+. CinemaScore.
  11. Ebert. "George of the Jungle",, July 16, 1997.
  12. Siskel, Gene (July 17, 1997). LAWRENCE, ROBBINS DUO EASY TO `LOSE'.
  13. Berardinelli, James. George of the Jungle (in en).
George of the Jungle (2024)


Why did they change the cast in George of the Jungle 2? ›

Brendan Fraser hints that he wasn't in 'George of the Jungle 2' because the studio was 'too cheap to hire me' Brendan Fraser suggests the studio behind "George of the Jungle 2" was too cheap to bring him back. Disney released the sequel in 2003 with Christopher Showerman replacing Fraser in the role.

Who does George of the Jungle end up with? ›

Ursula Stanhope: Portrayed by Leslie Mann. 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.

Is George of the Jungle ok for kids? ›

Parents need to know that this movie includes a very tame relationship between George and Ursula. There's also some sexual innuendo (Coffee, Tea, or Me, mating rituals of apes, female excitement over George's physique, etc.). The film also includes poop jokes, flatulence, wedgies, and similar potty humor.

Was George of the Jungle filmed in Hawaii? ›

Many of the movies shot in Hawaii this year used the 4,000-acre working ranch and activities attraction on the Windward Coast as a location. Most outdoor filming for Disney's "George of the Jungle" was done at the ranch. When the 1960s cartoon hero (played by Brendan Fraser) rides the elephant, it was at Kualoa.

Why did Brendan Fraser stop acting? ›

But Fraser has his reasons; issues with his own health and his mothers who has since passed away, personal issues, and being the target of sexual harassment have been cited as reasons he left and stayed away. A journey from which, according to his last performance, he seems to have recovered successfully.

Is George of the Jungle a spoof of Tarzan? ›

George of the Jungle is a 1997 American comedy film directed by Sam Weisman and based on Jay Ward and Bill Scott's 1967 American animated television series of the same name, which in turn is a spoof of the fictional character Tarzan, created by Edgar Rice Burroughs.

Is there a sequel to George of the Jungle? ›

George of the Jungle 2 is a 2003 comedy film and the sequel to the 1997 Disney film George of the Jungle. It was directed by David Grossman and written by Jordan Moffet.

Which came first, Tarzan or George of the Jungle? ›

Tarzan is a fictional character created by Edgar Rice Burroughs and first appearing in the novel "Tarzan of the Apes" in 1912. George of the Jungle is a fictional character created by Jay Ward and first appearing in the animated television series "George of the Jungle" in 1967.

Were real animals used in George of the Jungle? ›

Animal Action

George bounces off of a tree and elbows the lion in the chest. He then flips the lion over and grabs its hind leg in a vice grip and picks it up by the scruff of the neck, tossing it into the jungle. This scene was shot in several cuts. A real and a fake lion were used.

Who is the baby in George of the Jungle? ›

George Jr. is a character in George of the Jungle and its sequel. He is the son of the the titular character and Ursula Stanhope and heir apparent to the jungle throne. He was a few months old in the events of the first film and five years old in the sequel.

Who is the narrator in George of the Jungle? ›

How old is George from George of the Jungle? ›

According to the Narrator, George is roughly 25 years old by the film's beginning.

Who plays the gorilla in George of the Jungle? ›

George of the Jungle (1997) - John Cleese as An Ape Named 'Ape' - IMDb.

Who is Ursula's friend in George of the Jungle? ›

Betsy (Kelly Miller) is the perfect best friend for Ursula (Leslie Mann) during her latest escapade with George of the Jungle (Brendan Fraser).

Where was George of the Jungle 2 filmed? ›

Stars Christopher Showerman (George), Thomas Haden Church (Lyle Van de Groot), Julie Benz (Ursula), Christina Pickles (Beatrice Stanhope), Kelly Miller (Betsy), Angus T. Jones (George Jr.), John Cleese (Ape). Based on characters created by Jay Ward. Filmed on location in Queensland, Australia.

Why did they split up in the jungle? ›

But after doubts arise regarding the motives of their leader and a serious foot infection renders one party member incapable of continuing, the group decides to split in two. Determined not to cut the adventure short, Ghinsberg and his companion, Kevin Gale, opt to return to civilization by raft rather than on foot.

Who replaced Brendan Fraser in George of the Jungle? ›

Christopher Showerman as George, King of the Jungle. Showerman replaces Brendan Fraser, with characters referencing this throughout the film.

Why did Boy George walk out the jungle? ›

The Culture Club singer, 61, said that there were four issues that threatened to result in him walking out: unfiltered water, not having socks, being denied chocolate and the infamous buggy-gate incident.

Who plays the kid in George of the Jungle 2? ›

Guileless, feral man-child George (Christopher Showerman) is back living in his African home with his bride, Ursula (Julie Benz), and their son, George Jr. (Angus T. Jones), but the family is called back to the United States to help an old friend.

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