Saludos Amigos

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Saludos Amigos
Theatrical release poster
Directed bySupervising Director Sequence Directors
Story by
Produced byWalt Disney
Norm Ferguson
Music by
Distributed byRKO Radio Pictures
Release dates
  • August 24, 1942 (1942-08-24) (Rio de Janeiro)
  • February 6, 1943 (1943-02-06) (Boston)
  • February 19, 1943 (1943-02-19) (United States)[1]
Running time
42 minutes
CountryUnited States
  • English
  • Portuguese
  • Spanish
Box office$1 million (worldwide rentals) [2]

Saludos Amigos (Spanish for "Greetings, Friends") is a 1942 American live-action/animated propaganda[3][4] anthology film produced by Walt Disney and released by RKO Radio Pictures. Set in Latin America, it is made up of four different segments; Donald Duck stars in two of them and Goofy stars in one. It also features the first appearance of José Carioca, the Brazilian cigar-smoking parrot.[5] Saludos Amigos premiered in Rio de Janeiro on August 24, 1942. It was released in the United States on February 6, 1943.

Commissioned by the United States Department of State as part of the Good Neighbor policy, the film is a notable example of American propaganda promoting goodwill towards Latin America.[6][7] The film was a success, helping launch the international popularity of Donald Duck and leading Disney to produce The Three Caballeros (1944), another government-funded film aimed at Latin American goodwill.


Nelson Rockefeller, Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs (1940)

In early 1941, before U.S. entry into World War II, the United States Department of State commissioned a Disney goodwill tour of South America, intended to lead to a movie to be shown in the US, Central, and South America as part of the Good Neighbor Policy. This was being done because several Latin American governments had close ties with Nazi Germany,[5] and the US government wanted to counteract those ties. Mickey Mouse and other Disney characters were popular in Latin America, and Walt Disney acted as ambassador. The tour, facilitated by Nelson Rockefeller, who had recently been appointed as Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs (CIAA), took Disney and a group of roughly twenty composers, artists, technicians, etc. from his studio to South America, mainly to Brazil and Argentina, but also to Chile, Bolivia and Peru.[8]

The film itself was given federal loan guarantees, because the Disney studio had over-expanded just before European markets were closed to them by the war, and because Disney was struggling with labor unrest at the time (including a strike that was underway at the time the goodwill journey began).[5]

The film included live-action documentary sequences featuring footage of modern Latin American cities with skyscrapers and fashionably dressed residents. This surprised many contemporary US viewers, who associated such images only with US and European cities, and contributed to a changing impression of Latin America.[8] Film historian Alfred Charles Richard Jr. has commented that Saludos Amigos "did more to cement a community of interest between peoples of the Americas in a few months than the State Department had in fifty years."[9]

The film also inspired Chilean cartoonist René Ríos Boettiger to create Condorito, one of Latin America's most ubiquitous cartoon characters. Ríos perceived that the character Pedro, a small, incapable airplane, was a slight to Chileans and created a comic that could supposedly rival Disney's comic characters.[10]

Film segments[edit]

This film features four different segments, each of which begin with various clips of the Disney artists roaming the country, drawing cartoons of some of the local cultures and scenery.

Lake Titicaca[edit]

In this segment, American tourist Donald Duck visits Lake Titicaca in Bolivia and Peru and meets some of the locals, including an obstinate llama.


Pedro is about a small anthropomorphic airplane from an airport near Santiago, Chile, engaging in his first flight to retrieve air mail from Mendoza, with disastrous consequences. He manages to safely return to the airfield with the mail, which happens to be a single postcard. RKO Pictures released this particular segment as a theatrical short on May 13, 1955.[11]

Chilean cartoonist René Ríos Boettiger (known popularly as "Pepo") was disappointed with how the character Pedro represented his country. In response, he developed the character Condorito, who went on to become one of the most iconic comic magazine characters in Latin America.

El Gaucho Goofy[edit]

In this segment, American cowboy Goofy gets taken from Texas to the Argentinian pampas by the Narrator to learn the ways of the native gaucho. This segment was later edited for the film's Gold Classic Collection VHS/DVD release to remove one scene in which Goofy is shown smoking a cigarette.[12] This edit appears again on the Classic Caballeros Collection DVD.[13] This sequence has since been restored as the unedited version has been much requested. The fully unedited version is available as a bonus feature on the Walt & El Grupo DVD release[14] and fully unedited and restored on Saludos Amigos and The Three Caballeros 75th Anniversary Edition 2-Movie Collection Blu-ray. When the film was released on Disney's streaming platform Disney+, the edited version of the sequence was used despite disclaimers of the film being presented in its original format with "outdated cultural depictions" and tobacco usage, but it has since been changed to the unedited version.[15]

Aquarela do Brasil[edit]

Aquarela do Brasil (Portuguese for "Watercolor of Brazil"), the finale of the film, involves a brand-new character, José Carioca from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, showing Donald Duck around South America, having a drink of cachaça with him and introducing him to the samba (to the tunes of "Aquarela do Brasil" and "Tico-Tico no Fubá").

Cast and characters[edit]

Trailer of the film, with images of some characters deleted.


The film's original score was composed by Edward H. Plumb, Paul J. Smith, and Charles Wolcott. The title song, "Saludos Amigos", was written for the film by Charles Wolcott and Ned Washington. The film also featured the song "Aquarela do Brasil", written by the popular Brazilian songwriter Ary Barroso and performed by Aloísio de Oliveira, and an instrumental version of "Tico-Tico no Fubá", written by Zequinha de Abreu. "Aquarela do Brasil" was written and first performed in 1939, but did not achieve much initial success. However, after appearing in this film it became an international hit, becoming the first Brazilian song to be played over a million times on American radio.

The film's soundtrack was first released by Decca Records in 1944 as a collection of three 78rpm singles.

Track listing[edit]

  • Side 1: "Saludos Amigos" b/w Side 2: "Inca Suite"
  • Side 3: "Brazil ("Aquarela do Brazil")" b/w Side 4: "Argentine Country Dances"
  • Side 5: "Tico-Tico" b/w Side 6: "Pedro from Chile"



Saludos Amigos premiered in Rio de Janeiro on August 24, 1942. It was released in the United States on February 6, 1943. It was theatrically reissued in 1949, when it was shown on a double bill with the first reissue of Dumbo.

The film returned rentals to RKO by 1951 of $1,135,000 with $515,000 being generated in the U.S. and Canada.[2]

Home media[edit]

In 1995, the film was released on Laserdisc under the "Exclusive Archive Collection" series.

It was later released on both VHS and DVD on May 2, 2000 under the Walt Disney Gold Classic Collection banner,[16] and again on DVD on April 29, 2008 under the Classic Caballeros Collection banner.[17] The film received a third DVD release on November 30, 2010, as a bonus Feature on the Walt & El Grupo DVD.[14] A fourth release, the first on Blu-ray, was released on January 30, 2018 as Saludos Amigos and The Three Caballeros 75th Anniversary Edition 2-Movie Collection).


The film holds an 80% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 15 reviews, with an average score of 6.40/10. The site's consensus reads, "One of Disney's lesser-known animated films, Saludos Amigos may be slight stuff, but it's still a spirited, energetic travelogue."[18]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Award Category Nominee(s) Result Ref.
Academy Awards Best Scoring of a Musical Picture Edward H. Plumb, Paul Smith and Charles Wolcott Nominated [19]
Best Original Song "Saludos Amigos"
Music by Charles Wolcott;
Lyrics by Ned Washington
Best Sound Recording C. O. Slyfield Nominated
National Board of Review Awards Best Documentary Won [20]

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]


  1. ^ "Saludos Amigos: Detail View". American Film Institute. Retrieved April 22, 2014.
  2. ^ a b "Richard B. Jewell's RKO film grosses, 1929–51: The C. J. Trevlin Ledger: A comment". Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, Volume 14, Issue 1, 1994.
  3. ^ ”Donald Duck: An American Diplomat?” The National Museum of American History. Published April 12, 2019. Accessed November 5, 2023.
  4. ^ Gilderhus, Mark T. “The Monroe Doctrine: Meanings and Implications.” Presidential Studies Quarterly, vol. 36, no. 1, 2006, pp. 5–16. JSTOR,
  5. ^ a b c Walt & El Grupo (documentary film, 2008).
  6. ^ Dale, Adams (2007) "Saludos Amigos: Hollywood and FDR's Good Neighbor Policy", Quarterly Review of Film and Video, 24:3, 289-295, DOI: 10.1080/10509200500486395
  7. ^ Sweeney, Mary. "Donald Duck: An American Diplomat?" National Museum of American History. Published April 12, 2019. Accessed September 27, 2023.
  8. ^ a b Adams, Dale (2007). "Saludos Amigos: Hollywood and FDR's Good Neighbor Policy". Quarterly Review of Film & Video. 24 (3): 289–295. doi:10.1080/10509200500486395. ISSN 1050-9208. S2CID 191453804.
  9. ^ Richard, Alfred Charles Jr. Censorship and Hollywood's Hispanic Image: An Interpretive Filmography, 1936–1955. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood, 1993, p274, cited in Adams, Dale (2007). "Saludos Amigos: Hollywood and FDR's Good Neighbor Policy". Quarterly Review of Film & Video. 24 (3): 289–295. doi:10.1080/10509200500486395. ISSN 1050-9208. S2CID 191453804.
  10. ^ updated, Lili Loofbourow last (2018-01-17). "The sterilization of Condorito". theweek. Retrieved 2024-04-04.
  11. ^ "Pedro" (in French). Retrieved December 3, 2010.
  12. ^ Gerald Wurm (May 15, 2008). "Mehr als 4000 detaillierte Zensurberichte zu Filmen, Spielen, Comics, Serien und Musikvideos". Retrieved November 26, 2012.
  13. ^ "Saludos Amigos & The Three Caballeros: Classic Caballeros Collection DVD Review". Retrieved November 26, 2012.
  14. ^ a b "Walt & El Grupo DVD Review". Retrieved November 26, 2012.
  15. ^ Novak, Matt (6 January 2020). "Disney+ Edits Out Goofy's Smoking Scene in Supposedly Uncut Version of Classic Movie". Gizmodo. G/O Media. Retrieved April 16, 2020.
  16. ^ "Allmovie entry". Archived from the original on July 19, 2012. Retrieved November 26, 2012.
  17. ^ "Allmovie entry". Archived from the original on July 19, 2012. Retrieved November 26, 2012.
  18. ^ "Saludos Amigos (1942)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved October 6, 2021. Edit this at Wikidata
  19. ^ "The 16th Academy Awards (1944) Nominees and Winners". Retrieved August 14, 2011.
  20. ^ "1943 Award Winners". National Board of Review. Retrieved July 5, 2021.

External links[edit]