Like the movie intro line "Many strange legends are told of these jungles of India. But none so strange as the story of a small boy named Mowgli. It all began when the silence of the jungle was broken by an unfamiliar sound. It was a sound like one never heard before in this part of the jungle. It was a man-cub.". Mowgli is found in a basket as an orphaned baby in the deep jungles of Madhya Pradesh, India. Bagheera, a serious black panther who discovers the boy, promptly takes him to a wolf (Rama) that has just had cubs. She raises him along with her own cubs and Mowgli soon becomes "favorite with all the young wolf cubs of the pack". Ten years later, the wolf tribe learns that Shere Khan, a Royal Bengal Tiger, has returned to the jungle, and Mowgli must be taken to the man village. Bagheera volunteers to escort him back. They leave that very night, but Mowgli is determined to stay in the jungle and loses Bagheera. The next morning, Mowgli tries to join the Indian elephant patrol led by Hathi. Bagheera finds Mowgli and they argue; Mowgli runs away from Bagheera. The boy soon meets up with the fun-loving bear Baloo (Bagheera about Baloo: "That shiftless, stupid jungle bum"), who shows Mowgli the fun of having a care-free life and promises not to take him to the man village. Mowgli now wants to stay in the jungle more than ever. Before long, Mowgli is caught by a gang of monkeys and taken to their leader, King Louie the orangutan, who makes a deal with Mowgli that if he tells him the secret of making fire like a human, then he will make it so he can stay in the jungle. However, since he was not raised by humans, Mowgli doesn't know how to make fire. Mowgli is rescued from King Louie by Bagheera and Baloo, but soon Mowgli runs away from them after Baloo realizes the man village is best for the boy. Kaa, a hungry Indian Python hypnotizes Mowgli into a deep and peaceful sleep, and tries to eat him, but thanks to the intervention of Shere Khan, Mowgli escapes. He encounters a group of solemn vultures and they say they'll be his friend. The vultures argue and continually sidetrack Mowgli with their pointless arguments. Shere Khan appears shortly after and challenges Mowgli to a fight, but when Baloo and Bagheera rush to the rescue; they manage to get rid of the ruthless tiger. Bagheera and Baloo take him to the edge of a man-village, but Mowgli is still hesitant to go in. His mind soon changes when a young girl from the village comes down by the riverside to fetch water. After noticing the boy, she "accidentally" drops her water pot, and Mowgli retrieves it for her and follows her into the man village. After Mowgli chooses to stay in the man village, Baloo and Bagheera decide to "Baggy, buddy, let's get back to where we belong."
Produced by Walt Disney
Director: Wolfgang Reitherman
Original music by George Bruns
Film editing by Tom Acosta, Norman Carlisle
Production management by Don A. Duckwall
Sound department by Robert O. Cook
Visual effects by Dan MacManus
Animation Department: Frank Armitage,Dale Barnhart, Eric Cleworth, Tom Codrick, Basil Davidovich, Al Dempster, John Ewing, Don Griffith, Fred Hellmich, Ralph Hulett, Ollie Johnston, Milt Kahl, Hal King, Eric Larson, Bill Layne, John Lounsbery, Dick N. Lucas, Art Riley, Sylvia Roemer, Walt Stanchfield, Frank Thomas, Thelma Witmer, Milton Gray, Burny Mattinson, Floyd Norman
Editorial department by April McMorris
Music department: Terry Gilkyson, Evelyn Kennedy, Walter Sheets, Richard M. Sherman, Robert B. Sherman
Bruce Reitherman as Mowgli, an orphaned boy, commonly referred to as "man-cub" by the other characters
Phil Harris as Baloo, a sloth bear who leads a carefree life
Sebastian Cabot as Bagheera, a serious black panther who is determined to take Mowgli back to the village
George Sanders as Shere Khan, an intelligent and sophisticated yet merciless Bengal tiger
Sterling Holloway as Kaa, an Indian python who also seeks Mowgli as prey, but comically fails each time he attempts to eat him
Louis Prima as King Louie, an orangutan who wants to be a human
J. Pat O'Malley as Colonel Hathi the Indian elephant / Buzzie the Vulture
Verna Felton as Winifred, Colonel Hathi's wife
Clint Howard as Junior, Colonel Hathi's son
Chad Stewart as Flaps the Vulture
Lord Tim Hudson as Dizzy the Vulture
John Abbott as Akela the Indian wolf
Darleen Carr as Shanti, a human girl
Ben Wright as Rama the Father Wolf
Leo DeLyon as Flunkey the Langur
Digby Wolfe as Ziggy the Vulture
Hal Smith as The Slob Elephant
Ralph Wright as The Gloomy Elephant
Bill Skiles and Pete Henderson as Monkeys
BAGHEERA: Shere Khan has returned to this part of the jungle and he has sworn.
ZIGGY: I've got it! Let's flap over to the east side of the jungle. They've always got a bit of action, a bit of a swingin' scene, all right.
MOWGLI: Stay in the jungle? I sure do.
KING LOUIE: Good. And ol' King Louie, Bop-boo do-bay doo-boo-do that's me, can fix it for you. Have two bananas Have we got a deal?
MOWGLI: Yes, sir. I'll do anything to stay in the jungle.
BAGHEERA: This spot where Baloo fell will always be a hallowed place in the jungle, for there lies one of nature's noblest creatures.
BALOO: I wish my mother could have heard this.
BAGHEERA: So you can look out for yourself, can you? So you want to stay in the jungle, do you?
MOWGLI: Yes, I want to stay in the jungle.
WINIFRED: Never mind. How would you like our boy lost and alone in the jungle?
COLONEL HATHI: Our son? But Winifred, old girl, that's an entirely different matter.