Jungle Book


Jungle Book, www.EFLsuccess.com

Story: The jungle is filled with laughter, song, suspense and friendship, in one of the funniest and best cartoons Walt Disney (1901-1966) ever made. A human orphan is raised by wolves, but when a tiger threatens the wolf pack, leaders decide that the best place for Mowgli is the man-village. When young Mowgli runs away (so he can stay in the jungle), it becomes a race to see who will find him first: his friends (including a panther, bear and elephant herd) or his enemies (a snake and a tiger). Add great songs, colorful animation, and wonderful lessons on contentment and friendship, and you get an unforgettable movie night! (1967; Disney Studios; cartoon, comedy, musical, adventure; G; 78 minutes) (This was the last cartoon Disney worked on; he died before it was finished.)

Setting: India; inspired by a Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) novel

People and proper nouns: 

  • Mowgli – an orphaned human child (called a man-cub in the story), raised by wolves
  • Bagheera or Baggy – the panther, and Mowgli’s friend/guardian
  • Baloo – a bear, who enjoys a lazy life and promises to help Mowgli stay in the jungle with him
  • Colonel Hathi – head of a “military” herd of elephants (pachyderms) who call themselves the “Jungle Patrol” [remember that when this story was written, India was part of the British empire]
  • Kaa – a snake (boa constrictor), who hypnotizes his victims, squeezes them to death, and then swallows them [if the voice sounds familiar, you’ve probably heard this actor as the voice of Winnie the Pooh]
  • King Louie – the orangutan who is head of a “swinging/hip” pack of monkeys; Louie wants to learn the secret of fire from his “cousin” the man-cub
  • Shere Kahn – the tiger (the primary villain in this story)
  • the Vultures – a singing foursome of unpopular birds; they meet Mowgli when he needs a friend


(underlined words are vocabulary terms; *key terms; memorize synonyms in bold type
  • bare necessities: the basic things; the minimal things that are essential (for life, a trip, etc.)
  • brawn: physical strength
  • to drill (military drill): to march in an organized way, often for long hours, doing the same thing over and over
  • *fraud: a fraud is sb who deceives; sb who isn’t what they pretend to be
  • *gibberish: something you write or say that has no meaning or that is too difficult to understand; meaningless or unintelligible talk
  • gonna: oral English, meaning “going to” (you should never write the word “gonna” because it is not really a word)
  • gotta: oral English, meaning “have got to” (you should never write the word “gotta” because it is not really a word)
  • hypnotize/hypnosis: a sleep-like state where one’s thoughts can be influenced by another person
  • *orphan: someone without mother or father (can also be used as a verb: an orphaned boy)
  • a recruit: a new soldier; someone new in an organization, esp the army
  • *rendezvous=meeting (from French)
  • to tickle: to use your fingers, a feather, etc., to make someone laugh
  • trunk: an elephant’s long nose
  • *V.I.P.: Very Important Person
  • wanna: oral English, meaning “want to” (you should never write the word “wanna” because it is not really a word)


  • *”Cross my heart, hope to die!”: means “I promise”; esp said by children to add weight to a promise
  • *”don’t try to kid me”: don’t try to fool me or lie to me; I know better
  • “get with the beat”: (1960s slang) keep up with the music or the times (said to someone who is out of step or old-fashioned; that is, said to a “square” [more 60s slang])
  • *”He’s hooked”: He is caught, like a fish on a hook; he is addicted; he won’t be able to change
  • “Man, what a beat!”: Wow, this is great jazz/music! [It was “cool” in the 60s to start a sentence with “Man…” but this is not as common anymore.]
  • “Search me?”: slang, meaning “I don’t know”; but literally meaning “examine me, my pockets, etc., if you think you will find what you are looking for”
  • “I was just takin’ five”: I was just resting; taking a 5-minute break
  • “What we gonna do?” “I dunno, what’cha wanna do?”: What are we going to do? I don’t know, what do you want to do?

More information:

(to help you understand what you will see)

Note 1: English doesn’t have as many “measure words” as Chinese, but there are several “measure words” for groups of animals: a herd of elephants/cows/sheep, a pack of wolves/dogs, a flock of birds, a pride of lions, a school of fish, a gaggle of geese, a litter of puppies/cubs. As you watch the film, how many such “measure words” can you find?

Note 2: India is located in Southern Asia bordering China, Burma and Pakistan (among others). India is slightly more than one-third the size of the US (or China). The capital is New Delhi. The climate varies from tropical rainforest in the south to temperate in the north. [from the World Factbook; cited at www.capitolarts.com/pdf/junglebooksg.pdf; this link didn’t work in 2010)]

Synopsis: The following summary is adapted from http://www.gardearts.org/doc/6/Disney%20Kids%20Cinderella-Jungle%20Book.pdf; titles in quotation marks are songs.

An orphaned boy, Mowgli, is raised by wolves in an Indian jungle, but when Shere Kahn, the tiger, returns to that part of the jungle, Bagheera, the panther, plans to guide him to the safety of the man-village. Kaa, the snake, interrupts their first night. At first Bagheera doesn’t notice Kaa, but he wakes up just in time to divert Kaa’s attention; then Mowgli pushes the huge snake out of the tree. Next they encounter a herd of elephants (“Colonel Hathi’s March”), and Bagheera rescues Mowgli one more time. Then they meet Baloo, a lazy bear, who “adopts” Mowgli. While Baloo is singing (“The Bare Necessities”), a group of monkeys kidnaps Mowgli. The monkeys take him to their leader, King Louie. While King Louie tells Mowgli that he wants to learn how to be a man (“I Wan’na Be Like You”), Baloo, in disguise, distracts King Louie, while Bagheera rescues the boy. Bagheera convinces Baloo that Mowgli isn’t safe in the jungle, but when Baloo tells Mowgli, he runs away again, and is almost caught by Kaa (“Trust in Me”) and the tiger. When hope is almost gone, Mowgli is befriended by the Vultures (“That’s What Friends Are For”). Shere Khan arrives, but before he can attack, Baloo appears, rallying the other jungle creatures into battle. The battle is exciting, and it has a surprise ending I don’t want to spoil! Eventually, Mowgli “accidentally” ends up at the man-village, where a beautiful girl (Shanti) makes Mowgli face the choice between his desire to stay in the jungle, and this new feeling of wanting to be near Shanti and people of his own kind.


  1. What do you think are “the bare necessities” of life? [when my son was 14 years old, he said: “food, water, and a computer”]
  2. At Baloo’s funeral, Bagheera used this quote: “Greater love hath [has] no one than he who lays down his life for his friend.” Is this truly the greatest expression of love? Explain. Do you think you could “lay down” your life for someone else? Under what circumstances?*
  3. The wolfpack elders were convinced that the best place for Mowgli was the man-village, but Mowgli disagreed (though you eventually chose to go to the man-village). Tell your partner of a time when you disagreed with a parent or teacher, but later found out he/she was correct and you were wrong.
  4. Is it difficult to move from one place to another (like Mowgli having to move from the jungle to the village)? Why or why not? Tell your partner some of the struggles you had when you had to move to a new place.

Sentences/dialogs from the movie:

(there are more at http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0061852/quotes; imdb’s website is a great place to find movie facts and more; blue indicates a key dialog or sentence)

Say these dialogs out loud with your friends; it will help you prepare to watch the movie. The underlined words are defined in the vocabulary section above.

  • 1.   Baloo: Now, look. It’s like this, little britches [child’s pants]. All you gotta do is…
  •       Baloo (singing–this song was nominated for an Oscar): Look for the bare necessities / The simple bare necessities / Forget about your worries and your strife / I mean the bare necessities / Are Mother Nature’s recipes / That bring the bare necessities of life / Wherever I wander / Wherever I roam / I couldn’t be fonder / Of my big home / The bees are buzzing in the tree / To make some honey just for me / When you look under the rocks and plants / And take a glance at the fancy ants / Then maybe try a few…
  •       Mowgli: You eat ants?
  •       Baloo: You better believe it. And you’re gonna love the way they tickle. / The bare necessities of life will come to you! / …So just try and relax. Yeah. Cool it. Fall apart in my backyard. ‘Cause let me tell you something, little britches: if you act like that bee acts… Uh-uh. You’re working too hard. And don’t spend your time looking around for something you want that can’t be found… / When you find out you can live without it / And go along not thinking about it / I’ll tell you something true / The bare necessities of life will come to you.
  • 2.   Bagheera: This will take brains, not brawn.
  •       Baloo: You better believe it, and I’m loaded with both.
  • 3.   Mowgli: Hello. What are you doing?
  •       Junior (elephant): Shh. Drilling.
  •       Mowgli: Can I do it too?
  •       Junior: Sure, just do what I do. But don’t talk in ranks. It’s against regulations.
  •       Colonel Hathi: Espirit de Corps. That’s the way I earned my commission in the Maharajah’s Fifth Pachyderm Brigade. Back in ’88 it was. Or… or was it?
  •       Winifred: Here it comes. The Victoria Cross bit [a worn-out speech] again.
  •       Colonel Hathi: It was then I received the Victoria Cross [award] for bravery above and beyond the call of duty. Ha ha! Those were the days. Discipline! Discipline was the thing! Builds character, and all that sort of thing, you know.

If you don’t want to know the end of the movie, stop reading here.  

  • 4.  Mowgli (to the lifeless Baloo): Baloo, get up. Oh, please get up.
  •       Bagheera: Mowgli, try to understand.
  •       Mowgli: Bagheera, what’s the matter with him?
  •       Bagheera: You’ve got to be brave, like Baloo was.
  •       Mowgli: You… you don’t mean… Oh, no. Baloo.
  •       Bagheera: Now, now. I know how you feel. But you must remember, Mowgli, “Greater love hath [has] no one than he who lays down his life for his friend.”*
  •       (Here, the audience sees that Baloo is not dead, but Bagheera and Mowgli still don’t know)
  •       Bagheera: Whenever great deeds are remembered in this jungle, one name will stand above all others: our friend, Baloo the bear.
  •       Baloo (quietly to himself): He’s cracking me up. [i.e., he’s making me laugh]
  •       Bagheera: The memory of Baloo’s sacrifice and bravery will forever be engraved on our saddened hearts.
  •       Baloo: Beautiful.
  •       Bagheera: This spot where Baloo fell will always be a hallowed place in the jungle, for there lies one of nature’s noblest creatures.
  •       Baloo (still talking to himself): I wish my mother could have heard this.
  •       Bagheera: It’s best we leave now. Come along, man cub.
  •       Baloo: Hey, don’t stop now, Baggy. You’re doing great! There’s more, lots more!
  •       Bagheera (angry): Why, you big fraud! You- you- you… I- I’m fed up!…
  • *This is a quote from Jesus in the Christian Bible. Reference: John 15:13


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