Animation Adventures

Unleashing the Wild: The Making and Impact of Disney’s Cheetah

Cheetah is a 1989 adventure film that follows two American teenagers, Ted and Susan, as they embark on a journey to Africa to reunite a cheetah with her family. The film, set against the stunning backdrop of the African savanna, explores themes of family, friendship, and the importance of wildlife conservation.

In this article, we will delve into the details of the film’s synopsis, its main characters, and the message it conveys.


The film begins with Ted and Susan, played by Keith Coogan and Lucy Deakins, respectively, arriving in Kenya to spend the summer with their parents, who are doing research on elephants. During one of their outings, they come across a poacher who has captured a young cheetah and is planning to sell it to a wealthy businessman.

Ted and Susan, determined to rescue the cheetah, beg their parents to help them. After some convincing, their parents reluctantly agree to let them take care of the cheetah.

Ted and Susan name the cheetah Duma and take her back to their camp. They soon form a strong bond with her, and Ted even teaches her to hunt with his falconry skills.

However, they realize that Duma needs to be reunited with her family in the wild. They seek the help of a Maasai warrior named Morogo, who agrees to lead them to Duma’s family.

The journey proves to be dangerous and challenging, as they have to navigate through treacherous terrain and avoid wild animals. Along the way, they meet a kindhearted veterinarian, who helps them when Duma is injured.

They also encounter poachers, who try to capture Duma, but the group manages to outsmart them and escape. As they finally approach Duma’s family, they realize that the cheetah they have been caring for is not a she, but a he.

They also discover that Duma’s father had died protecting his family from poachers. Determined to help Duma, Ted and Susan come up with a plan to save him from the same fate as his father.


The film’s main characters are Ted and Susan, two teenage siblings who love adventure and animals. Keith Coogan and Lucy Deakins deliver excellent performances, portraying the characters’ determination and compassion.

They are joined by a talented cast that includes Colin Mothupi as Morogo, who brings his wisdom and expertise to the group, and Breon Gorman as Dr. Kruiper, the kind veterinarian who provides aid when needed.


At its core, Cheetah is a story about the value of family and the importance of protecting wildlife. The film explores themes of bravery, compassion, and determination in the face of adversity.

It also sheds light on the issue of poaching, highlighting the devastating impact it has on wild animals and their habitats.


Through its thrilling adventure and touching story, Cheetah has captured the hearts of audiences around the world. The film’s message of conservation and preservation of wildlife continues to be relevant to this day.

Whether you’re a fan of adventure films or a wildlife enthusiast, Cheetah is a must-watch for all ages. Cheetah is a heartwarming film that follows the adventures of two American teenagers, Ted and Susan, who go on a journey to Africa to reunite a cheetah with her family.

The film takes viewers on a thrilling ride through the African savanna, as the protagonists face various obstacles while trying to save the cheetah. In this addition, we will delve into the plot of the movie, exploring the key events that shape the story, and how it all comes together in the end.

The film opens with Ted and Susan arriving in Kenya, where their parents are conducting research on elephants. The siblings soon discover that their parents have a new addition to their family – a young cheetah that they have rescued from a poacher.

The siblings name the cheetah Duma, and quickly form a bond with her. However, they become increasingly concerned about Duma’s well-being, and the need to return her to her natural habitat.

Ted and Susan soon realize that the only way to save Duma is to reunite her with her family in the wild. They decide to embark on a perilous journey to find Duma’s home with the help of a Maasai warrior named Morogo.

Despite the danger they face, the siblings remain determined to save Duma, convinced that it is the right thing to do. Along the way, Ted and Susan meet a kindhearted veterinarian named Dr. Kruiper, who helps them when Duma injures herself.

They also face various challenges, including being attacked by a leopard and encountering a group of poachers who try to capture Duma. Despite the danger they face, Ted and Susan remain committed to their mission.

As they get closer to their destination, the group discovers that Duma is not a female, but actually a male. They also learn that Duma’s father had died while protecting his family, leaving her mother to fend for herself and Duma.

Ted and Susan work tirelessly to reunite Duma with his family, but their mission is not without challenges. They risk everything to save Duma from the same fate as his father and eventually reunite him with his family.

The plot is engaging and keeps viewers on the edge of their seats throughout the film. It showcases the beauty of Kenya and the natural habitat of cheetahs, providing a stunning backdrop to the story.

The film is touching and inspiring, highlighting themes such as bravery, perseverance, and love. It also raises important questions around conservation and the need to protect wildlife.

In summary, Cheetah is a film that captivates viewers from start to finish. The plot is well-paced, with enough action and adventure to keep viewers engaged.

The story touches on important themes such as conservation and the importance of protecting wildlife, while also highlighting the strong bond that can exist between humans and animals. The film is a must-watch for anyone who loves adventure films or is passionate about wildlife.

Cheetah is a 1989 adventure film that was shot entirely on location in Kenya. The film was produced by Walt Disney Pictures and directed by Jeff Blyth.

Production for the film was a challenging process that required both creative vision and technical expertise. In this addition, we will explore the various aspects of the production process that brought the film to life, including location scouting, casting, and post-production.

Location Scouting

One of the most challenging aspects of the production process was scouting locations for the film. The filmmakers were tasked with finding the perfect locations that would provide the perfect backdrop for the story.

The locations also had to be accessible for filming, which presented several logistical challenges. The crew traveled to Kenya to search for suitable locations.

They scouted various areas, such as the Rift Valley, the Masai Mara Game Reserve, and Amboseli National Park. They finally found the perfect location in the Ol Pejeta Conservancy, where they filmed most of the outdoor scenes in the film.


Finding the right cast was another crucial part of the production process. The filmmakers wanted actors who could bring the characters to life and portray the emotions and experiences of the story.

They chose Keith Coogan and Lucy Deakins to play Ted and Susan, respectively, and the two actors delivered strong performances that captured the essence of their roles. For the role of Morogo, the Maasai warrior who helps Ted and Susan on their journey, the filmmakers cast Colin Mothupi, who brought a sense of authenticity and cultural knowledge to his role.

Breon Gorman was chosen to play Dr. Kruiper, the veterinarian who helps the siblings when Duma is injured. She provided a warm and comforting presence that added depth to the film.

Technical Aspects

Cheetah was not only a challenging film to create in terms of location and casting but also required technical expertise to bring the story to life. The filmmakers used various technologies to achieve the desired visual effects, including robotics, animatronics, and miniature models.

One of the most prominent technical achievements in the film was the use of robotic cheetahs. The filmmakers used these robots for scenes in which Duma ran at high speeds.

This allowed them to capture the cheetah’s movements accurately and safely while also providing a realistic portrayal of Duma’s movement.


The post-production process for Cheetah involved extensive editing and sound design. The filmmakers used special effects to enhance the film’s action sequences, adding more excitement and a sense of thrill to the story.

The film’s score, composed by Alan Silvestri, created a sense of wonder and added a layer of emotion to the story.


Cheetah is a film that required a lot of hard work, vision, and expertise to create. The production process was filled with challenges and complexities, from location scouting to casting and post-production.

The filmmakers pushed the boundaries of technology and creativity to produce a film that reflected the beauty of Kenya and the natural habitat of cheetahs. The result was an inspiring and heartwarming adventure film that continues to be beloved by fans around the world.

After an extensive production process, Cheetah was finally released on August 18, 1989, by Walt Disney Pictures. The film marked a significant milestone in Disney’s cinematic legacy, as it was the first film the studio released independently after their split from Touchstone Pictures.

In this expansion, we will explore the film’s release, marketing strategies, and its impact on viewers.


Cheetah was released in theaters in the US and Canada on August 18, 1989. The movie’s release was met with critical acclaim, and viewers praised the film’s adventurous plot, stunning visuals, and heartwarming story.

The film’s engaging plot and relatable characters helped to make it a box-office success, grossing over $8 million in the US alone.


The marketing campaign for Cheetah was carefully crafted to appeal to a broad audience, including families and animal lovers. Disney used various media channels to promote the movie, including TV commercials, print ads, and trailers.

The studio also collaborated with various organizations to raise public awareness of the movie and its conservation themes. An important part of the film’s marketing campaign was its merchandise tie-ins.

Several products ranging from clothing to home goods were released in conjunction with the film’s release. These products helped create a buzz around the film and encouraged fans to engage with the movie in more ways than just watching it in theaters.


Cheetah had a significant impact on audiences worldwide, particularly young children. The film’s themes of love, friendship, and conservation resonated with viewers, who praised the movie for its heartwarming story and stunning visuals.

The portrayal of the African savanna and its wildlife also sparked an interest in conservationism and wildlife protection. The film’s impact was felt far beyond its release date.

Cheetah has been shown in classrooms worldwide to educate children on the importance of wildlife conservation. The movie has also inspired several conservation initiatives, including the creation of the Cheetah Conservation Fund, a non-profit organization focused on protecting cheetahs and their habitats in Africa.


Cheetah’s release marked a significant moment for Disney’s film legacy, and the film’s enduring popularity is a testament to its enduring quality. For those who grew up in the ’80s and ’90s, Cheetah remains a treasured childhood memory and continues to capture the hearts of new generations of audiences.

The movie’s distribution, marketing, and impact on conservationism demonstrate the power that entertainment can have in shaping public perceptions and cultural influence. Cheetah, the 1989 Disney adventure film, was not only praised for its beautiful cinematography and excellent plotline, but also for its epic and unforgettable soundtrack.

The breathtaking score was composed by Alan Silvestri, and it intertwined with the film’s overarching theme of adventure and wildlife conservation. In this addition, we will delve into the details of the film’s soundtrack, its inspiration, and its impact on the overall experience of watching the film.

Creating the Soundtrack

Silvestri’s work on Cheetah provided an uplifting and emotional score that complemented the action and adventure of the film. To create the film’s score, Silvestri spent time researching and studying African music styles to provide a culturally authentic soundtrack that would capture the essence of the film’s message.

Based on his research, Silvestri created a score that incorporated various musical instruments such as djembes, kalimbas, and harmonicas, along with traditional African vocals. He also added western instruments such as guitars and drums to create a unique and captivating sound.

Impact on the Film

The film’s score adds to the adventure and excitement, elevating the film’s theme and message. Cheetah’s score reinforces the films’ message about the importance of wildlife conservation through the use of specific themes and musical cues.

The music enhances the emotions of the characters during dramatic and poignant scenes, highlights the beauty of the African savanna, and immerses the viewer in the overall experience of the film. The film’s soundtrack also features several songs that capture the energy and emotion of the story.

One of the most notable songs in the film is “Get up and Dance,” written by Rick Eldridge, Mary D’Amico, and Deborah Stark. The song, featuring the vocals of Rick Elias, captures the film’s joyful and adventurous spirit, providing a memorable soundtrack for the film’s climax.

Legacy of the Soundtrack

Cheetah’s soundtrack has continued to enchant both new and old audiences, and the film’s music remains a significant part of popular culture. Music from the Cheetah soundtrack has been used in various forms, from samples in other music, to reference in contemporary TV shows and films.

The film’s original score has resonated with many fans, inspiring them to explore influential African music and other film scores. In the years since its release, the film’s soundtrack has become a beloved and nostalgic gem for music and film lovers alike.


The soundtrack of Cheetah played a pivotal role in enhancing the film’s theme and making it a cultural touchstone. The music added depth and emotion to the overall experience of the film and provided a distinctive flavour that has stood the test of time.

Without a doubt, the work of Alan Silvestri and the entire team behind the soundtrack played an essential role in making Cheetah the beloved family favourite that it is today. In conclusion, Cheetah remains a beloved classic that has stood the test of time.

The film’s production and release, along with its plot, characters, and themes, continue to inspire viewers around the world. The technical aspects and the soundtrack of the film have paved the way for future filmmakers to create meaningful and visually stunning films.

Through its message of conservation and preservation, Cheetah raises awareness of the importance of protecting wildlife and having a deeper connection with nature. It serves as an enduring reminder to viewers of all ages that adventure and friendship can be found in the most unexpected places.


Q: What is Cheetah about? A: Cheetah follows two American teenagers, Ted and Susan, as they journey to Africa to reunite a cheetah with her family.

The film explores themes of family, friendship, and the importance of wildlife conservation. Q: When was Cheetah released?

A: The film was released on August 18, 1989, by Walt Disney Pictures. Q: Who directed Cheetah?

A: Jeff Blyth directed the film. Q: Who composed the soundtrack for Cheetah?

A: Alan Silvestri composed the film’s score. Q: How did Cheetah impact audiences?

A: Cheetah inspired viewers to become more involved in conservation and preservation of wildlife, and the film continues to be an icon of family entertainment. Q: What is the legacy of Cheetah?

A: Cheetah remains a beloved adventure classic that continues to inspire future generations of filmmakers and conservationists.

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