Mogambo (1953)

Approved  |   |  Adventure, Drama, Romance  |  9 October 1953 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 6.7/10 from 5,513 users  
Reviews: 63 user | 37 critic

Victor Marswell runs a big game trapping company in Kenya. Eloise Kelly is ditched there, and an immediate attraction happens between them. Then Mr. and Mrs. Nordley show up for their ... See full summary »



(screenplay), (play)
0Check in

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Video

Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A director hires an alcoholic has-been and strikes up a stormy relationship with the actor's wife, who he believes is the cause of all the man's problems.

Director: George Seaton
Stars: Bing Crosby, Grace Kelly, William Holden
Red Dust (1932)
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

The owner of a rubber plantation becomes involved with the new wife of one of his employees.

Director: Victor Fleming
Stars: Clark Gable, Jean Harlow, Gene Raymond
Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Set during the Korean War, a Navy fighter pilot must come to terms with with his own ambivalence towards the war and the fear of having to bomb a set of highly defended bridges. The ending of this grim war drama is all tension.

Director: Mark Robson
Stars: William Holden, Grace Kelly, Fredric March
Lone Star (1952)
Action | Adventure | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

Ex-President Andrew Jackson sends Texan Devereux Burke back home on a mission to facilitate Sam Houston's drive for U.S. statehood.

Director: Vincent Sherman
Stars: Clark Gable, Ava Gardner, Broderick Crawford
The Hucksters (1947)
Drama | Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A World War II veteran wants to return to advertising on his own terms, but finds it difficult to be successful and maintain his integrity.

Director: Jack Conway
Stars: Clark Gable, Deborah Kerr, Sydney Greenstreet
High Society (1956)
Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

C.K. Dexter-Haven, a successful popular jazz musician, lives in a mansion near his ex-wife's Tracy Lord's family estate. She is on the verge of marrying a man blander and safer than Dex, ... See full summary »

Director: Charles Walters
Stars: Bing Crosby, Grace Kelly, Frank Sinatra
Mystery | Romance | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

When a reformed jewel thief is suspected of returning to his former occupation, he must ferret out the real thief in order to prove his innocence.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: Cary Grant, Grace Kelly, Jessie Royce Landis
Green Fire (1954)
Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

In Colombia, mining engineer Rian Mitchell discovers Carrero, the lost emerald mine of the Conquistadors, but has to contend with notorious local bandit El Moro's gang and with coffee planter Catherine Knowland's love.

Director: Andrew Marton
Stars: Stewart Granger, Grace Kelly, Paul Douglas
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

At Maria Vargas' funeral, several people recall who she was and the impact she had on them. Harry Dawes was a not very successful writer/director when he and movie producer Kirk Edwards ... See full summary »

Director: Joseph L. Mankiewicz
Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Ava Gardner, Edmond O'Brien
Adventure | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Writer Harry Street reflects on his life as he lies dying from an infection while on safari in the shadow of Mount Kilamanjaro.

Directors: Henry King, Roy Ward Baker
Stars: Gregory Peck, Susan Hayward, Ava Gardner
Adventure | Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  
Director: Henry Koster
Stars: Ava Gardner, Anthony Franciosa, Amedeo Nazzari
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A defrocked Episcopal clergyman leads a bus-load of middle-aged Baptist women on a tour of the Mexican coast and comes to terms with the failure haunting his life.

Director: John Huston
Stars: Richard Burton, Ava Gardner, Deborah Kerr


Complete credited cast:
Philip Stainton ...
Laurence Naismith ...
Denis O'Dea ...
Samburu ...
Themselves (as Samburu tribe of Kenya Colony)
Wagenia ...
Themselves (as Wagenia tribe of Belgian Congo)
Bahaya ...
Themselves (as Bahaya tribe of Tanganyika)
M'Beti ...
Themselves (as M'Beti tribe of French Equatorial Africa)


Victor Marswell runs a big game trapping company in Kenya. Eloise Kelly is ditched there, and an immediate attraction happens between them. Then Mr. and Mrs. Nordley show up for their gorilla documenting safari. Mrs. Nordley is not infatuated with her husband any more, and takes a liking to Marswell. The two men and two women have some difficulty arranging these emotions to their mutual satisfaction, but eventually succeed. Written by Rob Hardy <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

safari | camp | zoo | maharajah | africa | See All (182) »


The battle of the sexes! The battle of the gorillas! See more »


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

9 October 1953 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Могамбо  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)



Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Ava Gardner was pregnant at the start of filming, and as her pregnancy progressed she began to suffer greatly from the heat. Finally, she took a break in England, where she wound up in the hospital. Publicity flacks, who had not released news of her pregnancy, said she was suffering from anemia. A few years later she would say that she had suffered a miscarriage, but in private she told the wife of cinematographer Robert Surtees that she had had an abortion. At that point in her relationship with Frank Sinatra, she hated him so much she did not want to bear his child. See more »


In the gorilla sequence in the latter part of the movie, Vic is with Nordly when he "cocks" his rifle. He opens/unlocks the bolt a quarter-turn and draw it fully back but when he advances it forward to re-lock there is no bullet in the breech. See more »


Eloise Kelly: Look, Buster, don't you get overstimulated with me!
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening Title Card reads: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer is grateful beyond measure to the government officials of Kenya Colony, Tanganyika, the Uganda Protectorate and the Republic of French Equatorial Africa, whose limitless co-operation made this motion picture possible. See more »


Traditional tune
Lyrics by Robert Burns
Sung by Ava Gardner
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Unusual John Ford
20 August 2004 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

This is a strange, but good picture coming from John Ford. It's not about the usual themes he normally tackles, it lacks the usual supporting cast from a Ford film. Yet it is a good piece of movie making.

In a biography of John Ford by his grandson he said that Gable and Ford were friends for years, not particularly close, but friends nonetheless. Whenever they were together Ford and Gable talked about working together. Finally Gable got MGM to get Ford for his next film and it was Mogambo.

I like Mogambo because it was the start of a trend in Hollywood to show some realism when dealing with Africa. To this day there are people in the United States whose knowledge about things African were gained from Tarzan movies. African Queen, King Solomon's Mines, and Mogambo were all shot on location and all show the native Africans in reality. I was a kid at this time and my first bit of education about Africa came from Ramar of the Jungle. This is light years better.

Gable was criticized for reprising a role he did 20 years earlier in Red Dust. The plot line stays the same, but in Red Dust, Gable is the hard-nosed manager of a rubber plantation in Malaya. Gable as Vic Marswell here is a world weary and cynical game hunter and safari guide. Both portrayals are very good and very different.

By all accounts it was not a happy set. The usual problems with location in Africa presented themselves. In addition Frank Sinatra was on the set. He was waiting on word whether he would get the part he sought in From Here To Eternity. At the time he was married to Ava Gardner and there's was one of the most tempestuous marriages in Hollywood history. He was jealous of Gable as he was of all Gardner's leading men. To be just Ava kind of encouraged the jealous. When Harry Cohn gave him the word about From Here To Eternity he left with the gratitude of Ford, Gable, Gardner and everyone else, he'd become a royal pain in the neck.

Ava Gardner was one of the most beautiful women God ever created and a lot of times she could get by with that. But when called on to act she could. As Eloise "honeybear" Kelly she's as cynical in her own way as Gable was. They were a perfect fit. This was the last of three films she and Gable made.

I don't think Grace Kelly is shown to best advantage here. Her British accent was a bit affected. I'm not sure why MGM just didn't cast a British actress like Deborah Kerr in the part. Of course she also was involved with From Here To Eternity if I remember.

Mogambo because of the location shooting and much bigger budget is better than its predecessor Red Dust. For all the unhappiness on the set, the stars and its director did some good work.

39 of 45 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
One of only two MGM films not to have a scored musical soundtrack neotruelove
Idiots in distress lusso250
Why did Kelly go back to Vic? wrathkins
What is Mogambo? yernar
Pineapples - Ha! Ha! sophybliss
What made her change her mind? RRozsa
Discuss Mogambo (1953) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page