Lyricist Don Black managed British singer Matt Monro at the time, and he and Barry asked him to record the song for the film's soundtrack. The producers of the film considered the song uncommercial, however, and deleted it from the print shown at its Royal Command premiere in London. When Monro, who attended the event, made Black aware of the edit, they lobbied the producers to restore it, citing the burgeoning commercial success of the song. Monro's interpretation appeared over the closing credits in a shortened version recorded especially for the film, which enabled it to qualify for the Academy Award. Monro's complete commercial recording was released on the film's soundtrack album and became the singer's signature tune for the remainder of his career.
The song is featured in a 2012 TV commercial for the Land Rover LR4. Land Rover has a history with Born Free, being a corporate sponsor of the Born Free Foundation. and their vehicles having been mentioned prominently in the original Joy Adamson book. In November 2012 Queen guitarist Brian May and West End and Broadway singer Kerry Ellis released their version of "Born Free" in aid of the Born Free Foundation. The 2012 video game Silent Hill: Downpour features the song which can be heard throughout on gramophones. The significance of "Born Free" is in relation to the game's theme of prison and captivity.