Two Brothers

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For the ballad, see The Twa Brothers. For the ancient Egyptian narrative, see Tale of Two Brothers.
For the ship, see Two Brothers (ship). For the novel Dois Irmãos (The Brothers), see Milton Hatoum.
Two Brothers
Deux Frères
Two Brothers poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud
Produced by Jean-Jacques Annaud
Jake Eberts
Written by Jean-Jacques Annaud
Alain Godard
Story by Jean-Jacques Annaud
Starring Guy Pearce
Freddie Highmore
Music by Stephen Warbeck
Cinematography Jean-Marie Dreujou
Edited by Noëlle Boisson
Distributed by Universal Studios (North America)
20th Century Fox (International)
Kadokawa Pictures (Japan)
Release dates
  • 7 April 2004 (2004-04-07) ((France)
  • 25 June 2004 (2004-06-25) (North America)
  • 23 July 2004 (2004-07-23) (UK)
  • 18 September 2004 (2004-09-18) (Japan)
Running time
109 minutes
Country France
United Kingdom
Language English
Budget $72 million[1]
Box office $62,172,050

Two Brothers (French: Deux Frères) is a 2004 adventure family film directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud. It is about two tiger brothers, Kumal and Sangha, who are separated as cubs and then reunited a year later.


Set in Cambodia during the 1930's during French colonial rule, two tigers; one male and one female, meet and mate. Months later, the tiger couple have given birth to two tiger cubs, who would one day get separated after the ancient temple where they live is disturbed by Aidan McRory (Guy Pearce), who intends to steal and sell the ancient statues at an auction in London.

Two tiger cubs are playing when the second cub (later named Sangha) comes upon a young civet. Sangha chases the civet into its burrow and the mother civet appears and chases Sangha up a tree. The first tiger cub (later named Kumal) appears and chases the mother civet back into her burrow. Eventually, humans come across them in their temple home and the tigress arrives to protect the cubs. She picks Sangha up and runs for safety. Kumal follows, but can't keep up and falls behind. The cubs' father appears, but the men have caught up with them and he is shot dead by McRory when attacking a hunter, who might have harmed his cub, as protection.

McRory is an unscrupulous but kind explorer, big-game hunter, and temple looter. He discovers Kumal and befriends him after having shot his father, but McRory is arrested later on for stealing sacred statues from the ancient temple and Kumal is kept by the chief in the Cambodian village where McRory had been staying. The chief then sells Kumal to a circus owned by cruel circus ringmaster Zerbino, his wife, and his faithful sabre swallowing and fire breathing friend Saladin where he is to be the star attraction.

McRory is soon released from prison by the French administrator, Eugene Normandin due to being a big fan of McRory and all his exploits but is not permitted to leave the country until all the formalities are completed within the three years sentencing. Nevertheless, McRory is permitted to stay at Eugene's home and is introduced to Eugene's wife, Mathilda who admires McRory and reads all his books as bedtime stories to their son, Raoul (Freddie Highmore).

Meanwhile, Sangha remains in the jungle with his mother, but both are soon trapped by McRory as game for a vain Khmer prince to hunt. The mother is shot in the left ear and thought to be dead before she jumps up and runs off with a hole in her left ear after being startled by the flash of a camera. Sangha is then discovered by young Raoul and becomes the child's pet. However, Raoul's mother's dog, Bittsi, a schipperke, is a constant antagonist to the young tiger.

Kumal remains in a cage of the circus next to the cage of an old former tiger star named Caesar. In order to bring back the skin of the tigress for the prince, McRory makes a deal with Zerbino and Saladin to kill Caesar and skin him, thus, to pass off as the dead skinned tigress itself. Kumal is then replaced as the soon-to-be new star attraction of the circus in Caesar's cage with McRory's condition that the circus people take good care of him. However, the tiger skin trick is foiled when the prince's wife discovers the hole through the wrong ear; much to the prince's disappointment.

Sangha meanwhile dwells peacefully with Raoul until he is at last cornered by Bittsi following a prolonged chase. In self-defence, Sangha attacks Bittsi, badly wounding although not killing him. This provokes a hysterical reaction from the household, particularly Raoul's mother, who insists that the cub has now "got a taste of blood" and Sangha is given away. As a result, he is made a part of the prince's palace menagerie, where he quickly gains a reputation as a ferocious animal. Sangha and Kumal are now very close to each other.

A year later, Kumal (now an adult tiger) is trained by Zerbino to do tricks, such as jumping through a flaming hoop after refusing to obey him and having been "taught a lesson in manners" by Saladin using harsh and cruel methods. Then, the prince decides to hold a festival in which a battle between two great beasts - the brother tigers - will be the centerpiece. Raoul is aware that the prince's tiger is actually Sangha (now an adult tiger as well) even before seeing him in the cage where the fight is to take place despite his parents having made him believe that Sangha had been taken to a zoo in Bangkok or Saigon. McRory, however, is not pleased with the idea of Kumal being the opponent for the prince's ferocious animal (not knowing that it's Kumal's brother either) since the circus people didn't keep their promise to take care of him, so, he leaves the festival with the village chief's beautiful daughter, Naï-Rea, whom he's in love with. Later, when placed in the cage before the audience during the festival, the two brothers do not immediately recognize each other, and Kumal is afraid to fight. However, when the brothers finally recognize each other after a horrible fierce fight, they begin to play together like they used to, instead of fighting, amusing the audience. The trainers see this and attempt to antagonize the tigers into fighting, then Saladin is suddenly attacked by Sangha, biting viciously into his arm. Zerbino opens the gate and retrieves a gun to shoot Sangha, accidentally leaving the gate open. Kumal stops Zerbino from shooting his brother by jumping from behind and attacking him as well. The tigers escape through the open gate, causing panic among everyone in the arena.

After their escape, the two tigers cause havoc to people in the area, such as: eating people's food on a bus, bathing in a woman's home, scaring a person next to a News Stand, scaring people crossing a bridge, and eating meat in a butcher's truck. McRory is determined to hunt the tigers down. After Kumal shows Sangha how to jump through fire (which McRory and the villagers started in order to frighten them and finally have them cornered together to have a perfect shot of them) to escape, McRory and Raoul eventually find them. However, as McRory takes aim at Sangha, as Raoul asks Sangha to promise him to never return to the villages of men and to stay in the jungle forever, to avoid being hunted. He kisses Sangha, and removes the diamond necklace (formerly offered to the prince's wife as a gift) placed on Sangha's neck by the prince when he was in captivity, Kumal appears next to McRory and demonstrates that he remembers the honey sweets McRory used to give him as a cub. McRory puts down his gun, while asking Kumal to forgive him for not having anymore sweets left.

Raoul and McRory watch as the two brothers make their way back to their temple home in the jungle. McRory and Raoul hope their tigers will find another tiger who might teach them how to hunt in the wild as McRory states that they are taking a big risk, but Raoul justifies that sometimes it's good to take a few risks, which McRory agrees to as well. In the jungle, the two brothers soon reunite with their mother, who is identified by the hole in her left ear. All three tigers rest in the jungle, by the stream. Just before the credits, some comments to save tigers (as a species) are shown.


  • Guy Pearce as Aidan McRory
  • Freddie Highmore as Raoul Normandin
  • Jean-Claude Dreyfus as Administrator Eugene Normandin
  • Oanh Nguyen as His Excellency
  • Vincent Scarito as Zerbino
  • Moussa Maaskri as Saladin
  • Maï Anh Le as Naï-Rea
  • Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu as Mrs. Mathilda Normandin
  • Jaran 'See Tao' Petcharoen as The Village Chief
  • Stéphanie Lagarde as Miss Paulette
  • Bernard Flavien as His Excellency's Majordomo
  • Annop Varapanya as Sergent Van Tranh
  • David Gant as the Auctioneer
  • Teerawat Mulvilai as Verlaine
  • Somjin Chimwong as Napoleon
  • Nozha Khouadra as Mrs. Zerbino
  • Sakhorn Pring as Dignitary with Goldfish
  • Jerry Hoh as the Policeman
  • Juliet Howland as Auction Room Stylish Woman
  • Caroline Wildi as Auction Room Companion
  • Thavirap Tantiwongse as Photographer
  • Bô Gaultier de Kermoal as Circus Boy
  • Delphine Kassem as Fleeing Bathing Woman
  • Alan Fairbairn as Assistant to Auctioneer
  • Thomas Larget as Residency Butler
  • Hy Peahu as Dignitaries' Translator
  • Luong Ham Chao as Dignitary
  • Tran Hong as Dignitary
  • Chea Iem as Dignitary
  • Ngo Qui Yen as Dignitary
  • Mathias Ghiap as Residency Cook
  • Luong Hoan as Residency Servant
  • Saïd Serrari as Circus Boy
  • Gerard Tan as Circus Boy
  • Xavier Castano as the Butcher
  • Suban Phusoi as the Bus Driver
  • Christophe Cheysson as the News Stand Man
  • Kumal as Himself
  • Sangha as Himself
  • Mother Tiger as Herself
  • Father Tiger as Himself


Around 30 tigers were used for the film, the majority from French zoos and others from Thailand.[2][3]

Release and reception[edit]

Two Brothers opened at No.9 with $6,144,160 in its opening weekend (25–27 June). The film earned a worldwide total of $62,172,050 by its theatrical close on 9 September 2004.

The film received generally positive reviews, and holds a 78% rating on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes.[4]


External links[edit]