7.9/10
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206 user 108 critic

The African Queen (1951)

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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) | 1 more credit »
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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...
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The Brother / Rev. Samuel Sayer
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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 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

Taglines:

The greatest adventure a man ever lived...with a woman! See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

|

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

While filming the "leeching" scene, Humphrey Bogart insisted on using rubber leeches. John Huston refused, and brought a leech-breeder to the London studio with a tank full of them. It made Bogart queasy and nervous, qualities Huston wanted for his close-ups. Ultimately, rubber leeches were placed on Bogart, and a close-up of a real leech was shot on the breeder's chest. See more »

Goofs

After the African Queen gets clear of the flying insects and Charlie is comforting Rosie, both characters are in focus and the engine behind them isn't. However, the trees which are behind the engine are sharply in focus. This is proof that the scene was matted and looks very unnatural. See more »

Quotes

Charlie Allnut: You know why did the chicken cross the road.
Rose Sayer: [missing the joke] I beg your pardon.
Charlie Allnut: Nevermind, miss.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: GERMAN EAST AFRICA September 1914 See more »

Connections

Referenced in The 100 Greatest Films (2001) See more »

Soundtracks

God of Grace and God of Glory (Cwm Rhondda)
(uncredited)
Words by Harry Fosdick
Music by John Ceiriog Hughes
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

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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