In 1941, before the United States entered into World War II, the United States Department of State commissioned a Disney goodwill tour of South America. The tour was commissioned by the government mainly to lead to a movie to be shown in the United States, Central America, and South America as part of the Good Neighbor Policy.
The film features classic Disney characters Donald Duck and Goofy, who represent American tourists in South America, and also introduces a new character named Jose Carioca. Jose is a Brazilian parrot who is introduced in the final segment, titled "Aquarela do Brasil" ("Watercolor of Brazil" in English). In the segment, he shows Donald around South America and introduces him to the samba (to the tunes of "Brazil" and "Tico-Tico no Fuba."
When Saludos Amigos was released, it was a modest hit and the critics gave mostly mixed reviews, mainly positive. The film was nominated for three Academy Awards: Best Musical Score, Best Original Song (for "Saludos Amigos"), and Best Sound Recording (C.O. Slyfield). Saludos Amigos also inspired Chilean cartoonist Rene Rios Boettiger to create Condorito, an anthropomorphic condor who is one of Latin America's most ubiquitous cartoon characters.
Two years later, Disney released a sequel titled 'The Three Caballeros' (1945).