Elephants are one of Mother Nature’s most beloved and majestic creatures and have attracted the talents of many filmmakers. These movies are our top picks for both documentaries and fictional films about elephants. You can expect to laugh, cry, and fall in love with each story.
These films will not only charm you but get you on the path to a proper elephant education so that you can be an effective elephant advocate. When the occasion arises, we hope you’ll use your voice and newfound elephant education to advocate on behalf of elephants who need someone to speak up for them!
Where available, I’ve provided links to movie trailers and Netflix where you can rent the movies.
1) How I Became An Elephant (Documentary)
Juliette is fourteen years old and she is on a mission to save elephants. After single-handedly raising funds Juliette embarks on a life-altering journey to South East Asia to meet and work with Lek, “The Elephant Lady”. How I Became An Elephant is more than just a film. It’s one girl’s story… which led to a movement, which led to a continuing plan to save a species… which then led to YOU.
Watch the Trailer
Rent the Movie: Available upon request for schools and film festivals.
2) Echo of the Elephants: The Story of an Elephant Family (2005) (Documentary)
This 2005 documentary is the perfect introduction to the fantastic world of African elephants. You’ll get a glimpse of Echo the Elephants and her family up close and personal. Researcher Cynthia Moss studied Echo and other animals in Kenya’s Ambesoli National Park back in 1990 for this gripping documentary.
3) For the Love of Elephants (2010) (Documentary)
This touching film follows orphaned African elephants in a Nairobi, Kenya, elephant rehabilitation center and the trainers who love them. Led by Dame Daphne Sheldrick and her team of elephant lovers, this documentary shows how powerful an animal/human bond can really be. With a little bit of love and attention, many abused and orphaned elephants are brought back to life at this center.
4) Whispers: An Elephant’s Tale (2000) (Fiction)
This family flick will warm your heart instantly. When a baby elephant loses his mom to poachers, he finds a new herd to take him under its wing. Unable to fit in and teased by the other elephants, Whispers has to learn some valuable life lessons.
5) Eyes of Thailand (2012) (Documentary)
Elephant activist Soraida Salwala opened an elephant hospital in Lampang, Thailand, back in 1993 and has since treated thousands of abused, injured, or sick elephants within her care. From landmine accidents to abusive owners, she has seen it all when it comes to elephant abuse. Asian elephants are extremely endangered and Salwala has made it her mission to not only save these beautiful animals, but educate the world about their plights.
6) One Lucky Elephant (201) (Documentary)
Not all circus elephant stories are bad. In this moving documentary, you’ll meet David Balding, a circus producer, who raises Flora – an African elephant – since she was an infant. After performing in his circus for more than 17 years, Balding decides it’s time for her to find a home with her fellow elephants so she can live out the rest of her life in peace. His journey to find the perfect home while learning to let go of his animal buddy will touch your heart.
7) Africa’s Elephant Kingdom and Queen of the Elephants (two movies)
These beautiful documentaries will open your family’s eyes to the magical world of African
8) Larger than Life (1996) (Fiction)
This 1996 comedy stars Bill Murray as Jack, a motivational speaker who gets a lot more than he bargained for when he finds out his clown dad has left him a circus elephant as his inheritance. Do Jack and his new friend end up bonding on the road or will it be back to the circus for Vera the lovable elephant? Your family will be laughing out loud during their entire journey.
9) The Jungle Book (1994) (Fiction)
Rudyard Kipling’s classic story about Mowgli – a boy raised by wolves in the jungles of India – comes breathlessly to life in this live-action Disney adaptation. When Mowgli is thrown back into civilization, he must learn how to adapt and fend off evil British colonists. Good thing he has his friends in the animal kingdom to help out. Also, check out the 1967 Disney cartoon classic. No elephants were harmed in that film!
10) Horton Hears a Who (2008) (Fiction)
Dr. Seuss’ timeless story gets an animated overhaul in this 1998 adaptation. Horton the Elephant’s life is turned upside down one day when he hears a cry for help from a speck of dust. It turns out the town of Whoville lives on the speck of dust and needs Horton’s help to survive. Determined to help his little friends out, Horton, vows to protect the town even though his own friends think he’s lying. Your family will love the colorful world Seuss has created!
Did I leave your favorite elephant flick off the list? Tell us what it is in the comments!
ELEPHANT ABUSE IN THE MOVIE INDUSTRY:
Water For Elephants (2012) (fiction)
We haven’t seen this film but apparently the star of the film, the elephant Tai, was harmed in the making of this film. It is important to educate ourselves on these issues.
Watch the Trailer
Huffington Post article about alleged abuse