Talk to the Animals

For the Australian TV series see, Talk to the Animals (TV series).

"Talk to the Animals" is a song written by British composer Leslie Bricusse.[1]

Written for the film Doctor Dolittle, it won the Academy Award for Best Original Song at the 40th Academy Awards.[2] It was performed in the film by Rex Harrison. The song was not generally well appreciated, and in some cases was disliked, by those who were working on the film during the time of its production.[3] However, it has since become the signature song of the character as evidenced by it being sung in the 1998 remake of the film starring Eddie Murphy.

Story context

The song first appears in Dolittle's residence, when the Doctor fully realizes from his parrot, Polly, that intelligently communicating with animals is an acquirable skill. In reaction, Dolittle resolves to master it with as many species as possible and starts the song as he muses about the skill's possibilities. The song is reprised outdoors when the Doctor finds he has mastered the skill and joyfully celebrates, surrounded by animals.

Cover versions

The song has also been performed by Herb Alpert,[4] Bobby Darin,[5] Sammy Davis, Jr.,[6] Alvin and the Chipmunks, Roger Moore and the Muppet animals on The Muppet Show,[7] and Chief Wiggum of The Simpsons, in the episode "Homer's Barbershop Quartet". Chief Wiggum's voice was provided by Hank Azaria [8] The children's television show, Kidsongs, produced a music video of their rendition of the song. A cover recording of the song by Louis Armstrong is played during the end credits of the 1998 film, Dr. Dolittle, starring Eddie Murphy.

It was the theme song of the Australian Talk to the animals television show.

The 1970 Depatie Freleng cartoon series based on Doctor Dolittle has the song as its opening and closing themes, with vocals in the opening (lyrics changed to have song verses sung by the character Sam Scurvy).


  1. Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 135. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  2. Internet Movie Database - Doctor Dolittle(1967) - Awards
  3. Pictures at a Revolution: Five Movies and the Birth of the New Hollywood. New York: The Penguin Press. 2008. ISBN 978-1-59420-152-3. |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  4. The Beat of the Brass
  5. Bobby Darin Discography: The Albums
  6. Sammy Davis, Jr. Studio Recordings 1965-1969
  7. The Internet Movie Database - "The Muppet Show" - Episode # 5.24 (1980) - Soundtrack
  8. The Internet Movie Database - "The Simpsons" - Homer's Barbershop Quartet (1993) - Soundtracks

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