Adapted from the true story of George and Joy Adamson (winningly played here by Travers and McKenna), two married British game-keepers in Kenya who adopt a female lion cub they name Elsa. Though Elsa becomes fully domesticated, once grown, she still causes plenty of damage. Ultimately, the Adamsons must decide whether to send her to a zoo or train her to adapt to the wild, which would be a daunting challenge.
A visually beautiful film, with stunning cinematography of the Kenyan landscape and the myriad creatures who inhabit it, "Born Free" also endures as a touching tale of love and sacrifice, appropriate for all ages. The childless Adamsons raise Elsa almost as their own offspring, then confront the necessity of sending her away. The painstaking way they accomplish this is revealed as an act of total selflessness. John Barry's grand Oscar-winning score (and title song) only add to the visual and emotional sweep of this ideal family movie.