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The African Queen (1951)

PG  |   |  Adventure, Drama, Romance  |  20 February 1952 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 56,161 users  
Reviews: 205 user | 106 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.



(novel), (adapted for the screen by), 3 more credits »
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:
Peter Swanwick ...


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 avenge 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


Bogart the King is back with the 'Queen!' See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:






| |

Release Date:

20 February 1952 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

African Queen  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)


(as Colour by) (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


A myth has grown that the scenes in the reed-filled riverbank were filmed in Dalyan, Turkey. But Katharine Hepburn's published book (p. 118) on the filming states 'We were about to head... back to Entebbe, but John [Huston] wanted to get shots of Bogie and me in the miles of high reeds before we come out into the lake...". The reeds sequence was thus shot on location in Africa (Uganda and Congo) and London studios. See more »


When the feverish Reverend Sayer is in bed, only a few days after being bludgeoned with a rifle butt, his cheek is perfectly smooth and pink with no sign of an injury. See more »


Charlie Allnut: How'd you like it?
Rose Sayer: Like it?
Charlie Allnut: White water rapids!
Rose Sayer: I never dreamed...
Charlie Allnut: I don't blame you for being scared - not one bit. Nobody with good sense ain't scared of white water...
Rose Sayer: I never dreamed that any mere physical experience could be so stimulating!
See more »


Featured in Road to Bali (1952) See more »


Bold Fisherman
Sung by Humphrey Bogart
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Out of Africa with Bogey and Kate
6 February 2002 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

This is one of those films whose special effects and scenery must have been astounding at the time (1951), but which seem mediocre at best today. BUT, and that's a big 'but', this does not detract from the greatness of the movie overall. The scenery truly is beautiful, for one thing--and the direction and cinematography is great.

However, what truly makes this film a classic, and deservedly so, is the performances given by the lead actors. For their one film together, Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn pull out all the stops. Bogart is crude, dirty and a low-life river-rat with a heart of gold. He gives the Oscar-winning performance of his lifetime. Hepburn is prim and prissy, but always manages to win us over with her radiance and vulnerability, as well as that core of steel and strength she lends to all her on-screen characters. He's charming, in his way; she's achingly beautiful in hers. You can't help but warm to Charlie and Rosie, and truly, genuinely root for them to get together.

The ending is predictable; all 'opposites-attract' romance adventure stories are. You know without a doubt that the sunset will be there for Charlie and Rosie to ride off (or swim) into together. But you still hurt when Charlie hurts; and you still smile like a fool when he sees Rose, and when he tries to explain her forthrightness away by jungle fever. You believe the love, and that's what the African Queen is all about.

Oh, and the gin and leech scenes, of course. Those are brilliant, as everyone else here has already mentioned! ;)

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