Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
Khumba Movie Poster Image
Fun Lion King-like zebra adventure with some name-calling.
  • NR
  • 2013
  • 85 minutes

Parents say

age 6+
Based on 5 reviews

Kids say

age 8+
Based on 6 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Educational Value

Kids might learn facts about various wild animals, particularly zebras.

Positive Messages

The positive messages include not judging others by superficialities, working together for the common good, and knowing that friends come in all sorts of shapes and sizes.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Khumba's mother never lets him think of himself as a misfit. She loves him as much as her other children. Khumba's sister also is supportive and doesn't treat him like an outsider. Khumba learns to believe in himself and to trust his new friends Mama V and Bradley.

Violence & Scariness

the leopard can be cruel and seems to be waiting for an opportunity to kill and eat the zebras. A character dies after rocks crush him. A mother dies of sickness.

Sexy Stuff

Some of the female zebras talk about a male zebra who is "hot."


Insults include "dumb jock," "sore loser," "funny looking," "hot shot," "an ass," "muscle-headed lame brains," and "skanky."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Khumba is a South African animation feature about a zebra born without all his stripes. The movie has a positive message about finding your place even when you feel like an outsider. There's some violence (a character is crushed by rocks, a mother dies of sickness) and language ("ass," "dumb," "lame brains"), but ultimately there's a feel-good ending.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 6-year-old Written byGerald Z. November 25, 2016

Not the Lion King, but still fun & entertaining for younger kids.

Not the Lion King, but still fun and with characters that are entertaining for younger kids. Educational messages. Some real insight into the African Savannah... Continue reading
Adult Written byMamabear77 June 3, 2019


This movie isn’t the worst. I wasn’t happy with at the very beginning girl zebras were talking about boy zebras being “hot” and acting sexy kind of? It was weir... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old April 10, 2017
I think the movie overall is pretty good. However, the movie might be a little too sad as it touches some miserable notes, such as bullying.
So why 9+? Well, I... Continue reading
Kid, 9 years old December 15, 2015

One use of the A word...

Khumba says, "I may be a half Zebra, but at least I'm not an a-s-s.".

What's the story?

KHUMBA is the tale of a tight-knit herd of zebras that live protected from outside predators. When the alpha zebra's mate gives birth to a baby boy named Khumba (voiced by Jake T. Austin), it's apparent he's no ordinary zebra: His rump half is all white, unlike the rest of the beautifully striped zebras in the herd. The superstitious zebras consider Khumba's lack of stripes to be an omen, so when a drought falls upon the land shortly after his birth, the zebras all not-so-secretly blame young Khumba. As Khumba grows up, his one adamant supporter is his mother, so when she dies, he leaves the safety of the habitat in search of water and to escape his sadness. Joining him on his journey are two other outcasts: nurturing wildebeest Mama V (Loretta Devine) and high-strung ostrich Bradley (Richard E. Grant).

Is it any good?

Kids who like animal films should enjoy this straight-to-DVD release. With the exception of the masterful Studio Ghibli productions, it's always difficult to judge foreign animated films on the same level as American-produced ones, because our animation studios tend to have higher budgets and greater resources. But this sophomore feature from South Africa's Triggerfish Animation is enjoyable and sweet, although some of the language is surprisingly strong for a kiddie flick. Khumba's story will resonate with any kid who has ever felt different, and even very young viewers will understand why he feels like an outsider in his own home.

Although the movie's not exactly The Lion King, there are some similarities in Khumba's themes and motifs. Both films follow an heir who feels guilty about something bad happening, a dead parent, and a period of escape when the main character comes into his own with the help of two unlikely friends. Devine and Grant are amusing as the wildebeest and ostrich that team up with Khumba once he's outside the zebra commune in search of water. Liam Neeson is naturally formidable-sounding as Phango, the zebra-hungry leopard.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about animal movies. Why are they so popular? What are your favorite animal movies?

  • Why does Khumba feel like an outsider in his own community? How could the other zebras have helped him feel better about himself?

  • What do you think the movie is saying about judging others because of their differences?

Movie details

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