The next classic from the Disney canon is none other than a retelling of Rudyard Kipling’s tales of Mowgli, the orphan boy who grew up in the jungle. But maybe calling it re-imagining is more accurate. While The Jungle Book is based on Rudyard Kipling’s novel of the same name, the source material was largely discarded for the film. Walt even reportedly told his animators and storytellers to ignore Kipling’s tale when developing Disney’s version of Mowgli’s story.
While the story is a fun, heartwarming tale of a boy urged to find where he belongs in the world (namely the Man Village with the other humans), and introduces us to charming characters like Baloo the Bear and Kaa the Snake, it is the behind-the-scenes drama that makes this film so interesting. The making of this movie was filled with arguments, clashes over creativity, key personnel leaving the company and, of course, tragedy. Yes, The Jungle Book was the last film Walt personally oversaw; he died in December, 1966, due to complications from lung cancer.