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Snakes in Movies
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Must Die!
All Movie Snakes
Want to Kill You!
Dancing With Snakes
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Snakes in
Asian Movies
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Snakes in Movies
Born Free (1966)
Spoiler Alert !

Some of these pictures and descriptions may give away plot details that you might not want to know before watching the film.
This movie, which won Oscars for best music and best song, is based on the bestselling book with the same title that helped to change perceptions about dangerous wildlife. It's about the true story of Joy and George Adamson, a British couple living in Kenya who raised three orphaned lion cubs before being forced to send two of them to a zoo. They kept the third cub, named Elsa, because Joy was too attached to her to let her go. Much of the movie concerns Joy and George's tireless efforts to teach Elsa to survive on her own in the wild - hunting for food and learning to get along with other lions - so she could be returned to the wild permanently. In the end, Elsa has been successfully returned to the wild and she brings her three cubs to show the Adamsons. They decide not to pet the cubs so they will not become tame like Elsa. But like most happy endings, it's not the real end of the story. The books that followed Born Free show that Elsa's cubs did become domesticated, and had to be re-located after Elsa died, but they did eventually disappear, so they may have finally adjusted to living wild.

The Born Free charity, founded by Virginia McKenna and Bill Travers who played Joy and George Adamson in this movie, still exists, with the goal of protecting wildlife and their habitat.

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The snake scene

Just before the cubs were to be taken to the airport to fly to the zoo, Joy went on a last walk with her favorite, Elsa. Elsa is suddenly frightened and growls. We see a shot of a cobra. Joy makes a face. We see the cobra close-up. Elsa gets closer to the snake, but Joy yells at her. Elsa growls and retreats back to Joy.

They return home and Elsa is put on the truck to travel to the zoo. Before they leave, Joy tries to convince George to let her keep Elsa by telling him Elsa stopped her from walking into a great big cobra, and that she knew what she was doing. George is not convinced, and they drive the long distance to the airport. But he decides at the last minute to let Joy keep Elsa.

We see shots of a live cobra, most likely filmed in a controlled setting, not at the location where we see Joy and Elsa. When we see Elsa approach a cobra in the grass, it looks very realistic. It even moves its upper body and hood, but I doubt they used a live cobra in the scene. It's not likely they would endanger the lion with a real cobra. Most likely they used an artificial cobra that was moved by someone pulling a hidden string or wire.

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The snake scene is not the only reptile appearance in the movie. A lizard photobombs the opening credits. It runs in from the left on a rock behind a lioness we see under the title credit. The lizard stops as the title fades out, then continues running to the right out of sight.