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The African Queen (1951)

8.0
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Ratings: 8.0/10 from 53,223 users  
Reviews: 200 user | 103 critic

In Africa during WWI, a gin-swilling riverboat captain is persuaded by a strait-laced missionary to use his boat to attack an enemy warship.

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(novel), (adapted for the screen by), 3 more credits »
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Title: The African Queen (1951)

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Won 1 Oscar. Another 5 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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Peter Swanwick ...
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Storyline

September 1914, news reaches the colony German Eastern Africa that Germany is at war, so Reverend Samuel Sayer became a hostile foreigner. German imperial troops burn down his mission; he is beaten and dies of fever. His well-educated, snobbish sister Rose Sayer buries him and leaves by the only available transport, the dilapidated river steamboat 'African Queen' of grumpy Charlie Allnut. As if a long difficult journey without any comfort weren't bad enough for such odd companions, she is determined to find a way to do their bit for the British war effort (and revenge her brother) and aims high as God is obviously on their side: construct their own equipment, a torpedo and the converted steamboat, to take out a huge German warship, the Louisa, which is hard to find on the giant lake and first of all to reach, in fact as daunting an expedition as anyone attempted since the late adventurous explorer John Speakes, but she presses till Charlie accepts to steam up the Ulana, about to brave... Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The greatest adventure a man ever lived...with a woman!

Genres:

Adventure | Romance | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for thematic elements, some violence and smoking | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

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Language:

| |

Release Date:

20 February 1952 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

African Queen  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Color:

(as Colour by) (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Columbia originally bought the novel as a vehicle for Charles Laughton and his wife Elsa Lanchester. Instead, they made The Beachcomber (1938), which was same story, but a box office failure. And at one point David Niven and Paul Henreid were each considered for the male lead. See more »

Goofs

When Charlie Allnut gets back aboard the boat after he pulled him with a rope, just after Rose screams because she has seen the leeches on his back, the head of a member of the troupe is visible below the screen. See more »

Quotes

Rose Sayer: [after travelling through the rapids] Now that I've had a taste of it I don't wonder why you love boating.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in White Hunter Black Heart (1990) See more »

Soundtracks

Bold Fisherman
Sung by Humphrey Bogart
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

If some one remakes this, I'm sending out a posse.
17 August 2000 | by (Four Star Video Heaven) – See all my reviews

To face a script in which most of the plot revolves around the dialogue of only two people in one location must be terrifying. Thank goodness for Katharine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart. John Huston's adaptation of C.S. Forester's The African Queen was solid. And the decision to film on location in Africa helped develop the concept of nature as a viable character within the plot helps solidify the film. But without Katharine Hepburn, and Humphry Bogart, this film could have been reduced to a nice little travelog on the beauty and terror of African and the pretty animals living there. Within The African Queen each character undergoes metamorphosis. Charlie Alnutt grows from an apathetic man who enjoys the inside of a bottle, to a courageous man. Rosie in turn allows herself to be human, and vulnerable perhaps for the first time in her life. With lesser actors these changes would have appeared rushed, unexplained,and a dull beginning to an inexplicable romance. But it isn't. It's a captivating film. Rosie's brittle smile, Charlie's face as his vices are destroyed, these are moments of brilliance in an incredible film. I highly recommend it.

It's also worth noting that this was not an easy film to make. These performances survived crew and cast illnesses, constant mechanical errors and inclement weather. For more about the conditions it was created under, I suggest you read Katherine Hepburn's The Making of The African Queen or How I went to Africa with Bogart, Bacall and Huston and almost lost my mind. She's not the sanest author in the world, but all the more enjoyable.


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