'Saludos Amigos' - the Film

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Saludos Amigos is known as the 6th Disney Classic film. It was released in 1943 and intersperses short animated scenes with clips from a live action documentary.


'Saludos Amigos' means 'Hello Friends' and this film (only 42 minutes long) aimed to introduce audiences to the culture of South American countries, including Brazil and Argentina, and thus encourage good relations between the USA and South America during the Second World War.

The film begins with Walt Disney and his team making a journey to South America. The first stop is Lake Titicaca in Bolivia. There the Disney artists sketch people and scenes. Donald Duck is then introduced in an animated segment. Donald plays the role of a tourist - first he discovers the effects of altitude sickness by the mountain lake and then he takes a 'balsa' boat to the marketplace where he tries on a native costume1 and plays with a llama.

Meanwhile, the animators travel to Chile where they draw a cartoon based on the Mail Plane that crosses the Andes mountains between Chile and Argentina. Pedro the baby plane goes to school to learn the route over the Andes and then one day when his parents are ill it is his turn to transport the mail. At first Pedro doesn't take the mission seriously, but when a storm arrives he finds his inner strength.

Next the artists go to Buenos Aires in Argentina but leave the big city to meet the Gauchos (like cowboys) and watch the Argentine country dances (like North American square dances). Goofy is then introduced in an animated segment. He plays a cowboy from the Texan Prairie who visits the Argentine Pampas. There he puts on a Gaucho costume, learns to saddle a horse, hunts an ostrich and dances with the horse. He is then wafted back to Texas on the breeze.

Finally the team travels to Brazil, and Rio de Janeiro. They see the statue of Christ the Redeemer and study the mosaic sidewalks (pavements) before sketching birds, plants, people and scenery. The 'Old Papagaio' bird of Brazilian legends inspires the creation of a new Disney character: José Carioca. 'Joe' Carioca meets Donald Duck and takes him on a tour of the town. Donald tries chilli sauce and learns to dance the Samba - the pair follow the mosaic waves on the sidewalk to various nightclubs and then dance the night away.

Making Of

The short animated films featuring Donald, Pedro, Goofy and José had originally been produced separately, following the 1942 documentary South of the Border with Disney. The documentary shadowed Walt Disney and 18 of his artists, writers and musicians as they went on a tour of South America to gather inspiration. Some of the footage from the documentary was then used to link the animated segments together into Saludos Amigos.

In addition to the scenes incorporated into the film, the documentary also showed the temporary animation studio in Rio. The team watched an Independence Day Parade, saw 30,000 children singing in a stadium conducted by renowned composer Heitor Villa Lobos, went to Sugarloaf Mountain, visited the Botanic Garden and went to the zoo.

They also visited Montevideo in Uruguay, Tito in Ecuador, and Bogota in Colombia. On the way back to Hollywood, they stopped in Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala and Mexico - these visits would go on to inspire the 7th Disney Classic The Three Caballeros (1944).

1Or rather makes off with a boy's clothes.

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