The 5 Best Lion Documentaries

I could think of no more deserving topic for my first blog post than the Lion! My favourite animal and the subject of so many world class documentaries. I have been lucky to feature numerous great documentaries about lions, and here I am going to tell you about them and link to them. You can watch every one of these documentaries right here on dot org!


1. The Last Lioness (2010)

Possibly one of the best wildlife documentaries ever made, The Last Lioness follows a lioness named Lady Liuwa across the Liuwa Plain national park in Zambia. This film will tug at your heart strings, you see Lady Liuwa is the last survivor in a park which was targeted by trophy hunters. A story of survival and loneliness, this resilient lioness not only survives but thrives.

The story of survival over the four years of filming would be enough alone to justify inclusion on the list but it is a story made that bit more special when Lady Liuwa reaches out to the cameraman for his companionship, a completely wild and free animal trusting and befriending a member of the species that had killed her pride. Anybody with a heart would find it difficult to not be touched by this story.

2. Elsa: The Lioness That Changed The World (2011)

Elsa the Lioness made history when she became the first ever captive Lion to be released back into the wild. Elsa and her two sisters were adopted by George & Joy Adamson after the former had been forced to shoot her mother while on a Safari. Joy Adamson subsequently made it her mission to train Elsa to fend for herself in the wild, her efforts were repaid when they tracked down Elsa and she presented three cubs of her own.

Unfortunately Elsa died young of a common big cat disease, but her cubs lived on having been relocated to a bigger national park. Elsa was made famous through the 1960 book Born Free, and the 1965 film of the same name.


3. A Spy in the Den (2002)

Now for something really different, A Spy In The Den – which also happens to be a documentary narrated by Sir David Attenborough – was filmed almost entirely using a remote control camera disguised as a rock! The production team had some 3000 hours of footage to choose from when selecting clips to chart the progress of a group of lion cubs as they developed into young adult lions.

Some of the incredible footage in this documentary includes an attempt by the young cubs to surround an extremely angry hippo, they also encounter various other dangerous animals including deadly Cobras.


4. A Lion Called Christian (2009)

Christian the Lion is responsible for one of the greatest YouTube clips in existence, surely you have seen the video of the wild Lion hugging the men who had raised him after having been released back in the wild? Christian’s story is a great one; purchased from Harrods department store, he was raised initially in a London apartment before being reintroduced into the wild by George Adamson (see Elsa: The Lioness That Changed The World above!).

Numerous books and films were made about Christian in the 1970′s before that viral YouTube clip renewed interest; the book titled A Lion Called Christian was reprinted in 2008, this 2009 documentary followed.


5. Secrets of Wild India: Desert Lions (2012)

The Secrets of Wild India is a three part National Geographic series (each episode 60 minutes long) showcasing the incredible wildlife of India. The third and final episode was this one, Desert Lions.

It shows how the resident lions, leopards, and desert cats survive in sandstorms, droughts, the scorching heat, and other adverse conditions. It’s a great story of resilience. This series was narrated by wildlife legend Sir David Attenborough, that makes it three out of five on this list!


Your favorite lion documentary not featured on the list? There is a good chance that we haven’t found it on popular video sites such as YouTube to share on the site, if you can find it then feel free to submit it to us!


Tags: , , , , ,