The Jungle Book, based on Rudyard Kipling’s book, is the 19th animated feature in the Walt Disney Animated Classics series, and the final film produced by Walt Disney, who died during its production. With a group of memorable characters, catchy tunes and all out zaniness, it’s hard not to love The Jungle Book, whether it follows the source material or not.

When black panther Bagheera (Sebastian Cabot) finds a baby boy in a basket in the middle of the jungle, he takes the orphaned boy–-Mowgli (Bruce Reitherman)—to to a mother wolf and her family, who raise the “man-cub” as their own for the next decade. Unfortunately, the ferocious tiger Shere Kahn (George Sanders) has returned to the jungle. Shere Kahn despises man—and if he finds Mowgli, Shere Kahn will kill him. After a meeting among the wolves, they reluctantly decide the only solution is to send Mowgli back to his people. Bagheera volunteers to escort Mowgli to the closest village. Along the way, the meet a host of interesting characters—Baloo (Phil Harris), a fun loving, slacker bear, Kaa (Sterling Holloway), the spell-binding snake, proud Colonel Hathi (J. Pat O’Malley) and his elephant patrol, the colonel’s wife (Verna Felton) and son (Clint Howard), mad King Louie (Louis Prima) and his army of monkeys, and a quartet of compassionate vultures.

The Jungle Book has been a favorite of mine for over thirty years. There’s nothing about it that feels dated. The characters are lovable, and the songs memorable. From Baloo’s classic “The Bare Necessities,” to King Louie’s jazzy “I Wan’na Be Just Like You (The Monkey Song),” the songs complement the story perfectly and add to the playful fun. There’s just something about groovin’ animals that works. Add in the skilled hand-drawn animation, gorgeous watercolor backgrounds, and a bevy of sight gags, and you’ve got a fantastic film.

The Jungle Book looks awesome on Blu-ray. Presented in the 1.7:5 aspect ratio, Detail is razor sharp, and a nice layer of filmic grain remains. Artifacts aren’t an issue, and the watercolor backgrounds look lovely throughout. Black levels are spot-on, and colors blend perfectly with the watercolors.

The DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 surround track is very powerful. At nearly fifty years old, the film’s soundscape is a bit flat. Thankfully, it is rather front-heavy, which it should be. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout. LFE output is somewhat limited, but vigorous. The rare speakers are used sparingly, but make their presence felt when used. George Burns score and the Sherman Brothers’ songs sound so good, it’s like hearing them for the first time.

English, English SDH, French, Spanish, and Portuguese subtitles are included.

The following extras are available:

The disc features new bonus items and selected features from the previous DVD release. The new features are all in HD:

  • Introductions to the Film (1:04, 0:30) The late Diane Disney Miller and songwriter Richard Sherman each offer an introductory comment. These are selected from the original menu upon pushing “play.”
  • Alternate Ending (8:46) The original ending conceived for the film with its accompanying storyboards is presented – “Mowgli and the Hunter.”
  • @DisneyAnimation: Sparking Creativity (9:44) A program at Disney Animation called “Spark” is described by various staff members. Essentially, staff is encouraged to come up with new ideas and innovations.
  • Music, Memories, & Mowgli (9:49) Songwriter Richard Sherman, staff member Floyd Norman, and Diane Disney Miller recall the making of the movie.
  • Disney Intermission: Appears when the pause key is pressed during the movie. It presents five sing along renditions of songs from the film.
  • Bear-E-Oke (12:47) The same intermission sing along program can also be selected from the menu, either individual songs or in montage.
  • I Wanna Be Like You (18:25) Two youngsters Blake and G are given a day-long behind-the-scenes look at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

DVD Bonus Features: these are presented in SD unless otherwise noted:

  • Audio Commentary: composer Richard Sherman, artist Andreas Deja, and star Bruce Reitherman along with archived voices of the director and other important contributors to the movie contribute an informative commentary track.
  • The Bare Necessities: The Making of The Jungle Book (46:27) A look at how the film got made, even detailing the turmoil that occurred behind-the-scenes before The Jungle Book made it to the screen.
  • Disney’s Kipling: Walt’s Magical Touch on a Literary Classic (15:01) A comparison between the original Kipling tale, the original Bill Peet adaptation, and Walt Disney’s own modifications to the story.
  • The Lure of The Jungle Book (9:28) a discussion among present-day Disney animators about how the classic animation in this film influenced their animation techniques in The Little Mermaid, The Lion King, Aladdin, Tarzan, and Beauty and the Beast with clips comparing animals from the various films.
  • Mowgli’s Return to the Wild (5:09): details the present career of star Bruce Reitherman who is now a nature documentarian. His present love of and fascination with filming nature and its animals was born from his work on this movie and through the influences of his father who was the film’s director.
  • Frank & Ollie (3:46): looks to have been lifted from The Wonderful World of Color in which legendary cartoonists Ollie Johnson and Frank Thomas (who drew more than half of the movie on their own) discuss their work on bringing Mowgli and Baloo to life.
  • The Lost Character: Rocky the Rhino (6:36): a series of storyboards and audio tracks detailing this big but shy creature voiced by Frank Fontaine.
  • Disneypedia (14:21): a quick survey of the animals which appear in the film.
  • Song Selection (12:16, HD): takes the viewer directly to four song sequences in the film with optional subtitled sing along lyrics. They may also be selected separately.
  • “I Wanna Be Like You” Music Video (2:51): the Jonas Brothers deliver a raucous version of the catchy tune.


  • Game Booklet: enclosed in the case for the younger members of the family.
  • DVD/Digital Copy: disc and code sheet enclosed in the case.