Madagascar is a 2005 American computer-animated comedy film produced by DreamWorks Animation and released to theaters on May 27, 2005. The film tells the story of four animals from the Central Park Zoo who unexpectedly find themselves stranded on the island of Madagascar. It features the voices of Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer, and Jada Pinkett Smith, with Sacha Baron Cohen, Cedric the Entertainer, and Andy Richter voicing secondary characters.

Despite its mixed critical reception, it was a success at the box office. The film launched a franchise with a series of films, including the sequel Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa in 2008 and another film Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted in 2012. A spin-off featuring the series' penguin characters, Penguins of Madagascar, was released on November 26, 2014.


At the Central Park Zoo, Marty the zebra is celebrating his tenth birthday, but has grown bored with his daily routine and longs to experience the wild. Marty's best friend is Alex the lion, who enjoys showing off for the public and his celebrity status as "the king of New York". Alex attempts to cheer Marty up, but Marty, still unsatisfied, gets some tips from the zoo's penguins—Skipper, Kowalski, Rico, and Private—who are trying to escape the zoo, and follows them out. Alex, Melman the giraffe, and Gloria the hippopotamus pursue Marty in an attempt to convince him to return. The four, along with the penguins and two chimpanzees named Mason and Phil, find themselves at Grand Central Station, where they are quickly sedated via tranquillizer gun when Alex's attempt to communicate with humans is mistaken for aggression. The zoo, under pressure from anti-captivity activists, is forced to ship the escaped animals by sea to a Kenyan wildlife preserve. During their travels, the penguins escape from their enclosure and take over the ship, intent on taking it to Antarctica. Their antics on the bridge cause the crates containing Alex, Marty, Melman, and Gloria to fall overboard and wash ashore on Madagascar.

The animals are soon able to regroup, initially believing themselves to be at the San Diego Zoo. Upon exploring, however, they come across a pack of lemurs, led by King Julien XIII, and learn their true location. Alex blames Marty for their predicament and attempts to signal for help to get back to civilization. Marty, on the other hand, finds the wild to be exactly what he was looking for, with Gloria and Melman soon joining him in enjoying the island. Alex eventually comes around, but, being separated from the raw steaks he was provided at the zoo, his prey drive begins to show as hunger kicks in. The group is accepted by the lemurs, though King Julien's adviser, Maurice, cautions them about Alex's predatory nature. King Julien ignores Maurice's concerns and persuades the group to help the lemurs fend off the fossa, who hunt the lemurs as prey. While Alex initially scares the fossa away and is worshiped by the lemurs, later, compelled by hunger, he attacks Marty. Realizing that Alex is now a threat, King Julien banishes him to the far side of the island where the fossa live. Seeing what has happened to Alex, and how difficult it is to survive with so many predators around the island, Marty begins to regret his decision to leave the zoo.

The penguins, having been to Antarctica and found that it "sucks", land the ship at Madagascar. Seeing this as a chance to return Alex to New York, Marty rushes after his friend against the wishes of the others. Marty attempts to convince the now grizzled, starving Alex to return, but Alex refuses out of fear of attacking Marty again. The penguins, Gloria, and Melman go to find Marty, but are trapped by the fossa. At the last minute, Alex overcomes his predatory instincts and scares the fossa away from the lemur territory forever. The lemurs regain their respect for Alex, and the penguins help him satisfy his hunger through sushi. As the lemurs throw a farewell celebration for the foursome, the penguins decide not to break the news that the ship has run out of fuel.


File:David Schwimmer Jul 2005 London, England.jpg
  • Ben Stiller as Alex, a lion. Tom McGrath explained that "Ben Stiller was the first actor we asked to perform, and we knew we wanted his character, Alex, to be a big performing lion with a vulnerable side."[2]
  • Chris Rock as Marty, a zebra. McGrath explained the character: "Marty is a guy who thinks there might be more to life than what's in the zoo. We wanted his character to be energetic, so we listened to Chris Rock."[2]
  • David Schwimmer as Melman, a hypochondriac giraffe who is afraid of germs.[2] When they were looking for a voice actor for Melman, they listened to Schwimmer's voice on Friends and, according to McGrath, thought that it "sounded really neat."[2]
  • Jada Pinkett Smith as Gloria, a strong, confident, but sweet hippopotamus.[2] McGrath said that they found all these traits in Pinkett Smith's voice, when they listened to her.[2]
  • Sacha Baron Cohen as King Julien, a ring-tailed lemur and the king of the lemurs. King Julien was initially only meant to be a "two-line" character until auditioning Baron Cohen improvised eight minutes of dialogue in an Indian accent.[3]
  • Cedric the Entertainer as Maurice, an aye-aye and King Julien's royal advisor.
  • Andy Richter as Mort, a Goodman's mouse lemur.
  • Tom McGrath as Skipper, the leader of penguins. McGrath, who was also the film's co-director and co-writer, initially only lent his voice to the temporary tracks.[4][5] Growing up with films starring tough actors like John Wayne, Charlton Heston, and Robert Stack, McGrath wanted Stack for the voice of Skipper.[6] Stack was approached about voicing the character, but died two weeks before production on the animation began.[6][7][8] After that, DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg decided to keep the temporary voice, with McGrath explaining: "People were used to me doing that voice. We knew it worked when we screened it."[6] Many character's traits were based off Stack's work.[8] McGrath especially emphasized The Untouchables, a 1959 television crime drama series starring Stack.[8]
  • Chris Miller as Kowalski, a penguin and Skipper's right hand.[4]
  • Jeffrey Katzenberg as Rico, a smart and silent penguin who is only expressed through grunts and squeals.[4] Mireille Soria, the film's producer, commented on Katzenberg's uncredited role: "The irony for us is that he's the one who doesn't talk. There's something very Dadaistic about that, isn't there?"[4]
  • Christopher Knights as Private, an eager, lowly penguin.[4] Knights was also an assistant editor on the film.[4]
  • Conrad Vernon as Mason, a chimpanzee (Phil, the other chimpanzee, is unvoiced)
  • Eric Darnell and Tom McGrath as the fossa
  • Eric Darnell and David P. Smith as lemurs
  • Elisa Gabrielli as Nana, an elderly New Yorker
  • Bob Saget as an unspecified off-screen zoo animal
  • David Cowgill as a police horse
  • Stephen Apostolina as a police officer


Madagascar was released on DVD and VHS on November 15, 2005.[9] The DVD included a short animated film The Madagascar Penguins in a Christmas Caper, and a music video "I Like to Move It," featuring characters from the film dancing to the song.[10][11]


Critical receptionEdit

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film received a 55% approval rating based on 178 reviews.[12] On Metacritic, the film has 57% approval rating based on 36 reviews falling under the "Mixed or Average" category.[13]

Box officeEdit

Despite the mixed response from critics, the film was a commercial success. On its opening weekend, the film grossed $47,224,594 with a $11,431 average from 4,131 theaters making it the number 3 movie of that weekend behind Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith and The Longest Yard.[14] However, the film managed to claim the top position in the U.S. box office the following week with a gross of $28,110,235.[15] In the United States, the film eventually grossed $193,595,521, and in foreign areas grossed $339,085,150 with a summative worldwide gross of $532,680,671.[16] As of December 2013, the film is the ninth highest-grossing DreamWorks animated feature in the U.S. behind Shrek 2, Shrek the Third, Shrek, Shrek Forever After, How to Train Your Dragon, Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted, Kung Fu Panda, and Monsters vs. Aliens.[17]


The film has won three awards and several nominations.[18]

Award Category Recipient Result
AFI's 10 Top 10 Animated Nominated
Annie Award[18] Best Animation Nominated
Animated Effects Matt Baer Nominated
Animated Effects Rick Glumac Nominated
Animated Effects Martin Usiak Nominated
Character Design in an Animated Feature Production Craig Kellman Nominated
Music in an Animated Feature Production Hans Zimmer Nominated
Production Design in an Animated Feature Production Yoriko Ito Nominated
Storyboarding in an Animated Feature Production Tom McGrath Nominated
Storyboarding in an Animated Feature Production Catherine Yuh Rader Nominated
Kids' Choice Awards Favorite Animated Movie Won

In 2008, the American Film Institute nominated this film for its Top 10 Animation Films list.[19]


various artists
Released May 26, 2005
Genre Soundtrack, disco, new-age
Length 31:27
Label Geffen
No. TitleWriter(s)Performer(s) Length
1. "Best Friends"  Hans Zimmer, Heitor Pereira, Ryeland Allison & James S. Levine  2:24
2. "I Like to Move It"  Erick Morillo & Mark H. QuashieErick Morillo (Instrumental)
Sacha Baron Cohen (Vocals)
3. "Hawaii Five-O"  Morton StevensThe Ventures 1:49
4. "Boogie Wonderland"  Allee Willis & Jonathan G. LindEarth, Wind & Fire 4:49
5. "Whacked Out Conspiracy"  James Dooley  2:16
6. "Chariots of Fire"  Evangelos PapathanassiouVangelis 3:29
7. "Stayin' Alive"  Barry Gibb, Maurice Gibb & Robin Gibbthe Bee Gees 4:44
8. "Zoosters Breakout"  Hans Zimmer  1:39
9. "Born Free"  John Barry  1:24
10. "The Fossa Attack"  Heitor Pereira  0:37
11. "Beacon of Liberty"  Hans Zimmer & James S. Levine  2:09
12. "What a Wonderful World"  Bob Thiele & George David WeissLouis Armstrong 2:16
Total length:

Sequels and spin-offsEdit

A sequel titled Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa was released on November 7, 2008, and picked up right where the first one left off, with the same voice cast. A second sequel, Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted, was released on June 8, 2012. A short film called The Madagascar Penguins in a Christmas Caper was released with the Madagascar DVD, and was theatrically released with Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit in the United States. A 2009 spinoff series, The Penguins of Madagascar, premiered in March 2009 on Nickelodeon. It is the first Nicktoon to be produced by both Nickelodeon and DreamWorks. Merry Madagascar, a holiday special featuring characters from the film series, premiered on November 17, 2009 on NBC. Madly Madagascar, a Valentine's Day special featuring characters from the film series, was released on DVD on January 29, 2013. A spin-off film starring the Penguins was released on November 26, 2014 and a third sequel, Madagascar 4, was set for release on May 18, 2018, but it was removed from its schedule due to the studio's restructuring.[20]


  1. ^ In July 2014, the film's distribution rights were purchased by DreamWorks Animation.[21]


  1. "Madagascar". The Numbers. Retrieved December 3, 2012. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Keogh, Tom (May 21, 2005). "Animator talks to group of young enthusiasts about his new film, "Madagascar"". The Seattle Times. Archived from the original on September 20, 2014. Retrieved September 20, 2014. 
  3. Lloyd, Robert (December 19, 2014). "Review: 'All Hail King Julien' lets the 'Madagascar' rave begin". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 20, 2014. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 Rosen, Lisa (June 5, 2005). "A colorful quartet of black-and-whites". The Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on September 20, 2014. Retrieved September 20, 2014. 
  5. Fetters, Sara Michelle (2005). "Keeping Control of the Zoo". Archived from the original on March 28, 2006. Retrieved November 2, 2014. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 King, Susan (October 31, 2014). "Little guys take over in 'Penguins of Madagascar'". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on October 31, 2014. Retrieved November 2, 2014. 
  7. Vice, Jeff (November 7, 2008). "'Madagascar' co-director steals show as penguin leader". Deseret News. Retrieved November 2, 2014. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Molina, Melissa (August 13, 2014). "SDCC Directors & Actors Talk Espionage and Hilarity in ‘Penguins of Madagascar’". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved November 2, 2014. 
  9. "DreamWorks Launches Multi-Million Campaign For Madagascar DVD". Chief Marketer. August 25, 2005. Retrieved January 19, 2014. 
  10. Ziebarth, Christian (November 14, 2005). "Madagascar DVD bonus features review". Animated Views. Retrieved January 19, 2014. 
  11. McCutcheon, David (December 8, 2005). "Madagascar". IGN. Retrieved January 19, 2014. 
  12. "Madagascar Movie Reviews, Pictures". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2008-10-24. 
  13. "Madagascar Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved October 24, 2008. 
  14. "Weekend Box Office Results for May 27-29, 2005". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved November 27, 2010. 
  15. "Weekend Box Office Results for June 3-5, 2005". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved November 27, 2010. 
  16. "Madagascar (2005)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2010-07-23. 
  17. "DreamWorks Animation Movies at the Box Office". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2010-07-23. 
  18. 18.0 18.1 Soares, Andre (February 4, 2006). "Annie Awards 2006". Annie Awards via Alt Film Guide. Retrieved May 22, 2008. 
  19. "AFI's 10 Top 10 Nominees" (PDF). Archived from the original on 2011-07-16. Retrieved 2016-08-19. 
  20. Lieberman, David (January 22, 2015). "DreamWorks Animation Restructuring To Cut 500 Jobs With $290M Charge". Retrieved Apr 4, 2015. 
  21. Chney, Alexandra (July 29, 2014). "DreamWorks Animation Q2 Earnings Fall Short of Estimates, SEC Investigation Revealed". Variety. Retrieved July 30, 2014. 

External linksEdit


Template:Madagascar (franchise)

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