The Wild Thornberrys Movie
Directed by Cathy Malkasian
Jeff McGrath
Produced by Arlene Klasky
Gabor Csupo
Written by Kate Boutilier
Starring Lacey Chabert
Danielle Harris
Tim Curry
Jodi Carlisle
Michael "Flea" Balzary
Tom Kane
Lynn Redgrave
Cree Summer
Rupert Everett
Marisa Tomei
Music by Drew Neumann
Paul Simon
Randy Kerber (additional music)
Alan Menken
Edited by John Bryant
Production company Nickelodeon Movies
Klasky Csupo
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release date December 20, 2002
Running time 85 minutes
Budget $35 million
Box Office $60,694,737
The Wild Thornberrys Movie is a 2002 American animated adventure comedy-drama film based on the television series of the same name.


When Eliza tries to save a Cheetah cub named Tally from a pair of poachers in a helicopter, her paternal grandmother, Cordelia who visits the family decides it's high time that Eliza gets a civilized education into an English boarding school, fearing that Eliza is constantly endangering herself in Africa and will be much safer in England much to Debbie's dismay that Eliza had to go instead of her. When Eliza is in England she noticed that her pet Chimpanzee Darwin smuggled in her luggage to go with her, making her excited about not being the only one there. During a food fight at the boarding school, in which Darwin attends, he gets Eliza in trouble after being discovered in the school. Eliza is still depress about Tally being taken away from the poachers.

Later Eliza had a dream in which Shaman Mnyambo, the person who gave Eliza her power to talk to animals, tells her that Tally is alive and she can still save him. Eliza ask her roommate Sarah Wellington for help to get her and Darwin back to Nairobi. While on a train to their family's camp, the duo notice an injured rhino outside the train so Eliza tries to stop the train but is unable too so she jumps off to help it. Eliza speaks with the rhino who tells her that he was shot by the river. They are assisted by a young couple, Sloan and Bree Blackburn, supposedly animal conservationists, but as they attempt to save the rhino, Eliza discovers the same knife carried by the poacher who took Tally. After the rhino is taken away by by a ranger, Eliza and Darwin continue to their camp. When Eliza returns to Africa she stumbles on a plot to kill a herd of forest Elephants, and she races to save them before it's too late. Darwin, Donnie, and Debbie are dragged along for the Adventure.


12-year-old Eliza Thornberry plays with a family of cheetahs in East Africa after being left in charge of the cubs by their mother, Akela. When Eliza strays far from the cheetahs's home, one of the cubs, Tally, is kidnapped by poachers. Eliza is determined to save the cub, which prompts her paternal grandmother Cordelia to bring her to a boarding school in London for her safety. Upon arriving, Eliza discovers that her pet chimpanzee, Darwin, stowed away in her suitcase. He attempts to blend in but gets both him and Eliza in trouble.

After having a dream in which Shaman Mnyambo tells her to save Tally, Eliza and Darwin return to Africa. While taking a train from Nairobi, they encounter an injured rhino, who was shot at the river by the same poachers who kidnapped Tally. They save the rhino with the help of veterinarians Bree and Sloan Blackburn. Meanwhile, Eliza's older sister Debbie is left alone with her feral adoptive little brother Donnie at their RV, the Comvee, while their parents, Nigel and Marianne, go to film a solar eclipse at Tempo Valley. Eliza returns to the Comvee for supplies; after a small confrontation, Debbie pursues her, Darwin, and Donnie. Cordelia and her husband, Colonel Radcliffe, meet up with Nigel and Marianne to inform them of Eliza's escape, and they also begin searching for Eliza.

Darwin, Eliza, and Donnie meet a gorilla who mentions seeing people setting up a fence across Tempo Valley. Then, they run into the Blackburns again. Eliza concludes that the poachers are targeting the elephant herd traveling through the valley. Later, the trio finds Tally in the Blackburns' RV, exposing their true nature as poachers. The Blackburns capture them and reveal the fence is electrified. Meanwhile, Debbie meets a local boy named Boko, who is sent by his village elders to assist her. The two reach the Blackburns's RV, but Debbie is held hostage by Sloan after she reveals she is Eliza's sister. When Sloan threatens to kill Debbie if Eliza doesn't tell him how she found out their plan, Eliza admits it was because of her ability to talk to animals. A storm comes and takes away Eliza's powers while the Blackburns flee.

They reach Tempo Valley in time to see the elephant herd heading for the electric fence. When Eliza becomes doubtful of herself, Debbie reminds her that she has been helping animals long before gaining her powers, restoring her confidence. The Blackburns, riding a helicopter, order their men to set off explosives, forcing the elephants to charge toward the fence. Eliza triggers the fence's electricity prematurely, causing the herd to stop temporarily, and then convinces the lead elephant to turn around. Infuriated, Sloan grabs Eliza and throws her into the water. He then attempts to shoot the elephants, but they pull the Blackburns' helicopter out of the air and destroy it. They survive but are arrested by rangers soon after. Eliza is saved by Shaman Mnyambo, who tells her she saved the elephants using her heart. As a reward, he gives her back her powers.

Eliza reunites with her family, who decide not to send her back to boarding school, while Boko returns to his village, keeping Debbie's watch as a memento. The Thornberrys return to the Savannah, where Eliza reunites Tally with his family. Debbie is angered when Eliza tells her that she will turn into a baboon if she reveals her secret, and in the process frightens a group of baboons Nigel and Marianne are filming. One of them activates the radio, which plays music that the Thornberrys and the baboons dance to.



  • Boko, an African Tribe member, befriends Debbie and gives her a skirt. She is seen wearing it, and then the next scene when she leaves the Tribe, she is wearing her pants again.

Voice Cast

  • Lacey Chabert as Elizabeth "Eliza" Thornberry, an adventurous 12-year-old-girl, Debbie's sister and Donnie's adopted sister.
  • Tim Curry as Nigel Thornberry, father to Debbie and Eliza, Donnie's adopted father.
    • Curry also voices Col. Radcliffe Thornberry, Nigel's father.
  • Jodi Carlisle as Marianne Thornberry, Nigel's American-born wife and the director/camera operator for his TV nature show, as well as Debbie and Eliza's mother and Donnie's adopted mother. She is a loving, devoted mom who cares deeply for her daughters and adoptive son and worries constantly for their safety-particularly Eliza's-in the family's unorthodox living environment. For this reason, she can be strict when she needs to be (such as sending Eliza to an English boarding school after an encounter with poachers.) It is implied in the movie that Marianne has a testy relationship with her prim-and-proper English mother-in-law, particularly pertaining to child-rearing issues,
  • Danielle Harris as Deborah "Debbie" Thornberry, Eliza's 16-year-old sister and Donnie's adopted older sister
  • Michael "Flea" Balzary as Donald Michael "Donnie" Thornberry, Debbie and Eliza's adopted 5-year-old brother. Donnie's real parents were murdered by poachers prior to the movie. As a result, he was raised by apes as a newborn before being discovered by the Thornberrys. Donnie is a feral child who does not speak any human language, instead communicating in chimp-like chattering.
  • Tom Kane as Darwin Thornberry, A chimpanzee, Eliza's best friend and pet
  • Lynn Redgrave as Cordelia Jasmin McGold Thornberry, Nigel's snobbish mother. She doesn't approve of her son being a nature show host and wants her family to settle down. She thinks it is dangerous for Eliza to be around animals and dislikes her adopted grandson Donnie's feral behavior.
  • Rupert Everett as Sloan Blackburn, Bree's husband
  • Marisa Tomei as Bree Blackburn, Sloan's wife
  • Brock Peters as Jomo
  • Alfre Woodard as Akela, Tally's mother
  • Kimberly Brooks as Tally, one of Akela's cubs
  • Cree Summer as Phaedra, the elephant Eliza is riding at the start of the film
  • Brenda Blethyn as Mrs. Fairgood, the no-nonsense teacher at Lady Beatrice's boarding school
  • Obba Babatundé as Boko, a native boy Debbie runs into later on
  • Kevin Michael Richardson as Shaman Mnyambo
  • Melissa Greenspan as Sarah Wellington, Eliza's snobby roommate at Lady Beatrice's
  • Tara Strong, Hynden Walch, and Mae Whitman as the schoolgirls
  • Roger L. Jackson as Reggie (an English red squirrel) and Thunder (a Scottish clydesdale)
  • John Kassir and Charles Shaughnessy as the Squirrels
  • Jeff Coopwood as Park Ranger Tim
  • Billy Brown as the Rhino
  • Keith Szarabajka as a poacher
  • Earl Boen as the Gorilla