African Cats

African Cats

Alastair Fothergill (2011)

U Certificate


Our Score
In the wake of the remarkable achievements of David Attenborough, it's easy to be blasé about wildlife films and to forget the ground-breaking work of Disney, which stretches back to the late 1940s. African Cats (from Disney and Attenborough's sometime producer Alastair Fothergill) takes superb footage of lions, cheetahs and other animals on the Masai Mara reserve in Kenya and wraps it up in a storyline that plays like a feline soap opera, focusing on the ups and downs of a couple of big-cat families. The pride of lions is supposedly headed by Fang, though his role model seems to be the Cowardly Lion from The Wizard of Oz rather than The Lion King's Musafa. Meanwhile, cheetah Sita is struggling to raise five little cubs on her own. And in true soap style, you can be sure not all the characters will make it through to the final credits. Some people will find the story deeply moving, but others may feel somewhat manipulated. The end product, as packaged by Disney, is certainly very sentimental and deeply old-fashioned. But the footage of these spectacular animals in their natural habitat is breathtaking, irrespective of the merits of the story and the attempts to anthropomorphise the creatures.


Wildlife documentary following the experiences of big cats in the wild on an African savannah. A lion cub under her mother's protection learns to grow up, a cheetah has five newborn offspring to deal with, and the leader of a pride of lions must fend off a rival for his position. Narrated by Patrick Stewart.

Cast & Crew

Narrator Patrick Stewart
Director Alastair Fothergill
Director Keith Scholey
Writer Keith Scholey
Writer John Truby

Other Information

Language: EnglishColourTheatrical distributor: Disney