In 1919, equestrian performer and World War I amputee Holt Farrier returns after the war to the Medici Brothers’ Circus, run by Max Medici. The circus has run into financial troubles and Medici has been forced to sell the circus’ horses after Holt’s wife and co-performer, Annie, died from the Spanish flu outbreak, so Medici reassigns Holt as the caretaker for the circus’ pregnant Asian elephant, “Mrs. Jumbo”.
Mrs. Jumbo gives birth to a calf with unusually large ears and Medici orders Holt to hide the ears before allowing the public to see the calf. However, the calf accidentally reveals his ears in his debut performance and the crowd mockingly names the calf Dumbo while pelting him with peanuts and other objects. Mrs. Jumbo is horrified and enraged by her son’s mistreatment and rampages into the ring, causing extensive damage and accidentally killing an abusive handler during the tour in Joplin, Missouri.
Afterwards, to prevent a public relations problem, Medici resorts to selling Mrs. Jumbo. Holt’s son and daughter, Joe and Milly Farrier, comfort Dumbo and discover he can fly by flapping his ears. The children also discover that feathers are the key to Dumbo’s willingness to fly.
Starring: Colin Farrell, Michael Keaton, Danny DeVito, Eva Green, Alan Arkin