Gorillas in popular culture

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Not to be confused with Gorilla (disambiguation).
Main article: Gorilla
King Kong

With other primates, like Orangutans, representations of the Gorilla are common in popular culture in the Western world[1] - with the full range of electronic media having gorillas as mascots, gorillas behaving like humans, and humans behaving like gorillas.

Examples of representation[edit]

The following sections give an approximate sample of the many forms of representation of the gorilla in popular culture: -


The French sculptor Emmanuel Frémiet won a medal of honour at the Salon of 1887 for his masterly "Gorilla Carrying off a Woman". Although praised in its time, this work now evokes ridicule from some observers for its depiction of a gorilla abducting a nude woman, presumably with the intention of raping her - something totally alien to actual gorilla behaviour. Nonetheless, this act has somehow caught the public's imagination as witnessed by the repeated popularity of the King Kong theme.


Gorilla Grodd
  • A gorilla is seen in Dumbo that was originated from Disney's 1939 Silly Symphony cartoon, hence both the animation of the circus parade and the animation of the gorilla character is reused in Dumbo. His roar is also originated in Disney's 1935 Mickey Mouse cartoon, Mickey's Garden, hence the sound effect is also reused in the Disney's 1939 Silly Symphony cartoon, and Disney's 1941 Goofy cartoon, The Art of Self Defense. A similar gorilla with a roar that resembles him with the same roar is seen in Disney's 1954 cartoon short that is very similar to Social Lion, where he is assuming the role of the lion.
  • Magilla Gorilla is a well known Hanna-Barbera cartoon from 1960s
  • An intelligent gorilla named Grodd is a recurring supervillain of The Flash in DC Comics and the animated TV series Justice League and Justice League Unlimited.
  • In the Dragon Ball manga series, as well as the anime, the protagonist Goku and several other characters known as Saiyans have the unique ability to transform into gigantic gorilla-like Great Apes. The apes are a combination of Mandrill (the head), Gorilla (the main body and limbs) and Monkey (the tail)
  • In the animated Disney version of Tarzan, the hero's adopted family are gorillas (unlike the "Great Apes" of the original book), including the protagonists kind and caring overweight Kala, grumpy Kerchak, overweight Terk, and the antagonist African-American accented Tublat (voiced by Keith David).
  • The Great Grape Ape Show
  • In the Tarzan-parody animated TV series George of the Jungle, George's best friend is an erudite talking gorilla named Ape. In the 1997 film adaptation, Ape is voiced by John Cleese.
  • Windsor, a supporting character in the animated Cartoon Network series, My Gym Partner's a Monkey, is a gorilla.
  • In the anime series "Sakigake! Cromartie High School", a gorilla is one of the more powerful delinquents at Cromartie High. He (she?) also plays backup guitar for "Freddie," a fellow student who may or may not be Freddie Mercury.
  • The Iron Kong in the Zoids universe is a mecha shaped like a gorilla.
  • In the Beast Wars and Beast Machines TV series, the leader of the Maximals, Optimus Primal, adopted an organic-skinned "beast mode" of a gorilla; and later in the series a TransMetal gorilla, and then (Beast Machines) he became a techno-organic gorilla.
  • In the animated TV series Ben 10, the future version of Dr. Animo has a detachable human head and the body of a gorilla as seen in the episode Ben 10,000.
  • Ultimate Spidermonkey from Ben 10: Ultimate Alien is based on a gorilla mixed with a spider.
  • Gor-illa/Gor is a Mountain Gorilla made sentient by an alien race in the science fiction cartoon Captain Simian & the Space Monkeys.


  • In The Adventures of Tintin comic The Black Island, a gorilla called Ranko was featured, who people thought was a monster.
  • Gorillas were frequently used as a gimmick to sell comics during the Silver Age of Comic Books: see Gorillas in comics.
  • Marvel Apes, a Marvel Comics mini-series in which The Gibbon is transported into an alternate earth where all the Superheroes have simian counterparts (Captain Apemerica).
  • In the Planet of the Apes comic books, normal-sized gorillas fill security/military roles.
  • Grease Monkey is an entire science fiction series centered around intelligent gorillas.
  • In the space opera webcomic Schlock Mercenary, one of the recurring characters is an uplifted gorilla (i.e. a gorilla that has genetically enhanced, human-level sentience). This gorilla also bears the name Kerchak.
  • While he does not appear much in other media, Grodd's nemesis Solovar rules a city of hyper-intelligent gorillas.


Magazines and literature[edit]

A monstrous German gorilla in a World War I propaganda poster (Harry R. Hopps; 1917)
  • Fester Bestertester, the protagonist of Don Martin's Mad strip "National Gorilla-Suit Day" is beset by gorillas (or persons dressed as gorillas). "National Gorilla-Suit Day" is celebrated every year on January 31.
  • In the award-winning novel Ishmael, written by Daniel Quinn, a gorilla teaches the protagonist about the history of humanity and the effect "civilized" culture has had on other species.
  • In J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter series, Vincent Crabbe and Gregory Goyle are frequently compared to gorillas.
  • Congo
  • In The Uplift War, a science-fiction novel by David Brin, gorillas transported to the planet Garth for experiments in uplift play a significant role in the plot.
  • In the North American Confederacy alternate history series by L. Neil Smith, gorillas (along with other greater primates) are recognized as sentient beings and are granted full citizenship in the eponymous political entity. In the first novel in the series, The Probability Broach, a gorilla, Olongo Featherstone-Haugh (pronounced "Fanshaw"), is mentioned as having served as the largely ceremonial Vice-President of the NAC. The second novel, The Venus Belt, states that he was then elected as the equally ceremonial President of the NAC from 1996 to 2000, retiring after one term.
  • In the Animorphs book series, one of the main characters, Marco, shapeshifts into the form of a gorilla as his main 'battle morph'.


Music groups[edit]

Online games[edit]

  • Gorillas are also Beasts in the popular fantasy MMO World of Warcraft some can be tamed and used by the Hunter Class in the game though they are not nearly as commonly used as other potential pets.
  • In the popular superhero-themed MMO Champions Online, Dr Silverback is one of the most important heroes of the setting and a contact for the players.
  • The team-based multiplayer shooter Overwatch features a hero named Winston, a gorilla who was born and raised on a futuristic lunar colony and received an education in science, enabling him to become an advanced engineer and scientist himself.




Video games[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Quammen, David (April 4, 2013). "Book Review: Planet of the Ape -'Between Man and Beast,' by Monte Reel". New York Times. Retrieved April 6, 2013. 
  2. ^ Cooper, Alice. "Thrill My Gorilla." Constrictor. [S.l.]: Premium Masters, 1994.
  3. ^ Dead Milkmen (Musical group). Big Lizard in My Backyard. El Segundo, CA: Restless, 1985.
  4. ^ Flaming Lips. "Shaved Gorilla." Telepathic Surgery. Culver City, CA: Restless Records, 1989.
  5. ^ Ghostface Killah. "Gorilla Hood." The Pretty Tony Collection Chapter 2. n.p., n.p., 2008
  6. ^ Project Pat. "Gorilla Pimp." Mista Don't Play Everythangs Workin. New York: Hypnotize Minds/Loud Records, 2001.
  7. ^ Spin Doctors. "Gorilla Boy." Here Comes the Bride. New York: DAS, 1999.
  8. ^ Taylor, James. "Gorilla." Gorilla. Burbank, Calif: Warner Bros, 1975.
  9. ^ Zevon, Warren. Warren Zevon. Los Angeles, Calif: Imperial, 1969.
  10. ^ Zevon, Warren. "Gorilla, You're a Desperado." Bad Luck Streak in Dancing School. [Miami, Fla.]: Columbia Pictures Publications, 1980.
  11. ^ Z-Ro. Screwed Up Click Representa. Houston, TX: Presidential Records, 2002.

External links[edit]