Story

Disney’s animated adventure movie The Jungle Book opens with Bagheera the panther (voice of Sebastian Cabot) discovering a baby boy named Mowgli (voice of Bruce Reitheman) abandoned in the Indian jungle. Bagheera rescues the ‘man cub’ and takes him to a family of wolves, who adopt Mowgli into their pack.

Ten years later Mowgli is well adapted to living life in the jungle and is still living with his wolf family. But then the tiger Shere Khan (voice of George Sanders), who hates humans, returns to Mowgli’s part of the jungle. Mowgli’s wolf parents decide that it’s no longer safe for Mowgli to stay in the jungle and that Mowgli must be sent away to a human village. Feeling responsible for Mowgli, Bagheera volunteers to take him.

On the way to the village, Mowgli has several misadventures. They involve a hypnotic python named Kaa (voice of Sterling Holloway), a herd of elephants on a dawn patrol, a carefree bear named Baloo (voice of Phil Harris), and a band of monkeys lead by an aristocratic orangutan named King Louie (voice of Louis Prima).

Eventually Mowgli finds himself face to face with Shere Khan.

Themes

Abandonment; family; jungle animals

Violence

The violence in this movie is mostly slapstick, showing mild accidental injury to various jungle animals. But the movie does have a couple of scenes that show some menace and peril. One scene at the end shows an intense fight between large jungle animals, which might scare young children. Here are some other examples of violence in the movie:

  • Animals talk about how Shere Khan the tiger has sworn to kill Mowgli the man cub.
  • A large snake describes Mowgli as delicious.
  • A large bear slaps Mowgli on the bottom. The force of the slap sends Mowgli crashing into a fallen log.Mowgli punches a large bear in the jaw and the bear pretends to fall to the ground in a funny way.
  • A large bear runs headfirst into a tree, the force of the blow nearly knocking him unconscious. Later he falls down a cliff, and a large boulder lands on his head.
  • Kaa, a large python, has hypnotic eyes that swirl around like spirals. Kaa uses his eyes to hypnotise Mowgli into a trance. Kaa then coils his tail and body around Mowgli’s body, neck and throat. Kaa says something scary about Mowgli not being around in the morning and opens his mouth wide as if about to eat Mowgli. Another animal stops Kaa.
  • An ancient ruin crashes down on top of an orangutan and a bear, but it doesn’t hurt them.
  • After a fight with a group of monkeys, a panther and a bear both have black eyes.
  • Shere Khan uses his claws to threaten Mowgli, saying that Mowgli should be afraid.
  • Mowgli, a bear and a panther have a big fight with Shere Khan the tiger. The tiger chases Mowgli. Mowgli hits the tiger with a stick. The tiger claws the bear and tries to strangle and bite him. The animals tie a flaming tree branch to the tiger’s tail, which makes him panic and run away. At the end of the fight, the bear seems to be dead, but then he wakes up unhurt.

Content that may disturb children

Under 5

In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, this movie has some scenes that could scare or disturb children under five years. For example:

  • Kaa the python is a scary character with hypnotic eyes.
  • One scene shows a tiger stalking a deer. The deer is frightened off when a herd of marching elephants pass by.
  • Shere Khan is scary. He has long extended claws and a threatening appearance. 

From 5-8

Children in this age group might also be scared by some of the scenes and images mentioned above. 

From 8-13

Nothing of concern 

Over 13

Nothing of concern 

Sexual references

This movie has some sexual references. For example, when a young girl mildly flirts to get Mowgli’s attention, Baloo the bear says, ‘Forget about those [girls] – they’re nothing but trouble’. 

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

None of concern 

Nudity and sexual activity

This movie has some very mild nudity and sexual activity:

  • There’s a brief glimpse of Mowgli’s buttock when Baloo the bear tugs at his loincloth.
  • A young girl flirts with Mowgli. She flutters her eyelashes and pretends to drop a water container to get his attention. 

Product placement

There is no product placement in the movie, but plenty of associated merchandise is marketed to children. 

Coarse language

This movie has some mild humorous name-calling that young children might copy. 

Ideas to discuss with your children

The Jungle Book is a digitally restored version of a classic Disney family adventure movie.

The movie has some catchy songs, great character voices and lots of humour and slapstick comedy. But it does feature some menacing characters, scary scenes and one intense fight that might disturb young children. The movie might be too scary for children under five years, and parental guidance is recommended for children aged 5-7 years.

The main message from this movie is that having friends and family is the most important thing in life. Many of the animals make sacrifices to either care for or protect Mowgli. Baloo the bear and Bagheera the panther are willing to sacrifice their lives to protect him.

You could talk with your children about Shere Kahn the tiger’s fear and hatred of humans. What makes Shere Kahn fear humans? Is his fear justified? Is this an accurate representation of how wild animals respond to humans?