Monkey Kingdom

Synopsis: A nature documentary that follows a newborn monkey and its mother as they struggle to survive within the competitive social hierarchy of the Temple Troop, a dynamic group of monkeys who live in ancient ruins found deep in the storied jungles of South Asia.
Genre: Documentary
Director(s): Mark Linfield, Alastair Fothergill (co-director)
Actors: Tina Fey
Production: Walt Disney Pictures
  2 wins & 1 nomination.
Rotten Tomatoes:
81 min

The wilds of Sri Lanka,

land of myth and legend.

Where rocky pinnacles overlook

vast tropical forests.

And an abandoned city

lies shrouded in jungle.

The kings who once reigned

here are long gone.

These days, there's a new

dynasty in residence.

But this one is governed by

the law of the jungle.

I know what you're thinking.

"Being a macaque monkey

is just fun and games."

But, actually,

it's an intricate society

of 50 members

bound together

by a strict social order.

In this troop,

every waking moment

is a reminder of your place.

From a seemingly

innocent greeting.

Oh! He'll learn.

To your choice

of sleeping branch.

Upper class,

basking in the morning sun.

Lower class,

shivering in the cold.

Your social rank

even determines

what you can eat.

Nowhere is that clearer

than here.

The kingdom's

most prized fig tree.

Only those at the top

of the social ladder

can eat at the top of the tree

where the ripest fruit

is found.

And at the very top,

the alpha male himself,


He is the king

of Monkey Kingdom.

See that move?

That's macaque for "Back off."

Raja arrived from the outside

and fought his way to the top.

So, you know,

he's earned the pampering.

But, if he wants to stay

on top,

he's gotta keep

the real power brokers happy.

The three females

on the other high branches.

The queens behind the king.

The Sisterhood.

Whether you remember them

by their red faces

or their ruthless natures,

you will remember them.

These ladies

get what they want.

Their children

get what they want.

Everything that is good

in the forest

is reserved for them.

Like royalty,

they were born into privilege,

and that's the way

it's gonna stay.

Do not get on their bad side.

Descending the tree,

we descend the social ladder.

With each branch,

the fruit is less ripe,

and the monkey lower in rank.


at the bottom,

the heroine of this story,


Maya's got big, friendly eyes,

three distinctive spots

on her nose,

and, I think you'll agree,

a pretty rad hairdo.

She was born eight years ago,

at the bottom of the troop,

just like her mother.

And her mother before that.

When you're at the bottom,

you're either in the way,

or you don't even exist.

But every day,

you're paying your dues

to monkeys like Raja

without any chance

of promotion.

And so,

back under the fig tree,

Maya takes whatever scraps

fall her way.

A low-born like herself simply

can't improve her position

or dream of eating

from a higher branch.

Yet this is the story

of how Maya fights

to beat the odds

and make a better life.

For Maya and the troop,

home is Castle Rock,

a magnificent granite outcrop

at the center of the kingdom.

It's the most sought-after

residence for miles around.

It's a pretty sweet


Sweeping views

of their territory

are perfect

for spotting rivals.

It's got plenty of rec rooms,

nature's finest roof,

and, of course,

the original jungle gym.

The monkeys think

they own this rock

but there are some tenants.

There's a mongoose

in the building.

Day after day

they ask him to play.

And his answer is always,

"No, thank you."

But rejection only increases

their determination.

They will play

with this mongoose

if it is the last thing

they do.

Nothing will stop them.

Even his absence.

Continuing their search...

"Sloth bear!"

"It's cool.

I knew he was in there.

"Just a bear."

Mama sloth bear

is keeping her cubs cool,

rehydrating them with

her saliva.

She's also keeping her cubs

safe from

this guy,

the unwelcome suitor outside.

Mama keeps her cubs well hidden

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Mark Linfield

Mark Linfield is a British writer, producer and director of nature documentaries for cinema and television. He is best known for his work with the BBC Natural History Unit as a producer of two episodes of the television series Planet Earth (2006) and as writer and co-director of the associated feature film Earth (2007). more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "Monkey Kingdom" STANDS4 LLC, 2022. Web. 26 Nov. 2022. <>.

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