Madagascar is a 2005 American computer-animated adventure comedy film produced by DreamWorks Animation and distributed by DreamWorks Pictures. It was directed by Eric Darnell and Tom McGrath from a screenplay by Mark Burton, Billy Frolick, Darnell, and McGrath, and 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. The film's plot revolves around four animals from the Central Park Zoo who unexpectedly find themselves stranded on the island of Madagascar, and must learn to adapt to the wild.

Madagascar was released to theaters on May 27, 2005. 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 (Chris Rock) 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 (Ben Stiller) the lion, who enjoys showing off for the public and his celebrity status as "the King of New York City". Alex attempts to cheer Marty up, but Marty, still unsatisfied, gets some tips from the zoo's penguins—Skipper (Tom McGrath), Kowalski (Chris Miller), Rico (Jeffrey Katzenberg), and Private (Christopher Knights) —who are trying to escape the zoo, and follows them out. Alex, Melman (David Schwimmer) the giraffe, and Gloria (Jada Pinkett Smith) the hippopotamus pursue Marty in an attempt to convince him to return. The four, along with the penguins and two chimpanzees named Mason (Conrad Vernon) and Phil, find themselves at Grand Central Terminal, where they are quickly sedated via tranquillizer 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, because the strap securing the crates broke off due to Alex and Marty fighting.

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 (Sacha Baron Cohen) the ring-tailed lemur, 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 after getting tired of Alex's arrogance. Alex, eventually having a change of heart, comes around, but, deprived from the raw steaks he was provided with 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 (Cedric the Entertainer) the aye-aye, 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 wasn't what they had in mind, 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 Melman and Gloria. 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.

Voice cast

  • Alex - Ben Stiller
  • Marty - Chris Rock
  • Melman - David Schwimmer
  • Gloria - Jada Pinkett Smith
  • Julien - Sacha Baron Cohen
  • Maurice - Cedric The Entertainer
  • Mort - Andy Richter

Additional Voices

  • Skipper, Fossa, Panicky Man on Subway - Tom McGrath
  • Private - Christopher Knights
  • Kowalski - Chris Miller
  • Mason - Conrad Vernon
  • Zoo Announcer, Lemur#1, Fossa, Subway Car Announcer - Eric Darnell
  • Police Horse - David Cowgill
  • Police Officer - Steve Apostolina
  • Old Lady - Elisa Gabrielli
  • News Reporter - Devika Parikh
  • Spider, Lemur#2 - David P. Smith
  • Willie - Cody Cameron
  • Zoo Animal - Bob Saget


In 1998, DreamWorks and PDI had started development on an animated film titled Rockumentary without being formally announced as a parody of The Beatles in a most likely animated mockumentary of their rise and fall to fame, which featured a Beatles-esque penguin rock band. The idea was scrapped, but after production on Madagascar started, director Eric Darnell decided to revive the penguins, but make them a commando unit instead of a rock band.[9]

Home media

Madagascar was released on DVD and VHS on November 15, 2005.[10] 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.[11][12] A blu-ray version of the film was released on September 23, 2008.


Critical reception

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film received a 55% approval rating based on 188 reviews, with an average rating of 6.1/10. The consensus reads: "Though its story is problematic in spots and its humor is hit-or-miss for the adult crowd, Madagascar boasts impressive visuals and enough spunky charm to keep children entertained."[13] On Metacritic, the film has 57% approval rating based on 36 reviews falling under the "Mixed or Average" category.[14]

Box office

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.[15] 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.[16] 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.[17] As of December 2013, the film is the ninth highest-grossing DreamWorks animated feature in the U.S. behind Shrek 2Shrek the ThirdShrekShrek Forever AfterHow to Train Your DragonMadagascar 3: Europe's Most WantedKung Fu Panda, and Monsters vs. Aliens.[18]


The film has won three awards and several nominations.[19]

Award Category Recipient Result
AFI's 10 Top 10 Animated Nominated
Annie Award[19] 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.[20]


No. Title Writer(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. Quashie Erick Morillo(Instrumental)

Sacha Baron Cohen(Vocals)

3. "Hawaii Five-O" Morton Stevens The Ventures 1:49
4. "Boogie Wonderland" Allee Willis & Jonathan G. Lind Earth, Wind & Fire 4:49
5. "Whacked Out Conspiracy" James Dooley    2:16
6. "Chariots of Fire" Evangelos Papathanassiou Vangelis 3:29
7. "Stayin' Alive" Barry Gibb, Maurice Gibb& Robin Gibb the 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 Weiss Louis Armstrong 2:16
Total length: 31:27

Sequels and spin-offs

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.


  1. Script error
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