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The World's Greatest Athlete (1973)

G  |   |  Comedy, Family, Romance  |  14 February 1973 (USA)
5.6
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Ratings: 5.6/10 from 1,050 users  
Reviews: 14 user | 6 critic

In this Disney comedy, a down on his luck coach travels to Africa where he spots the world's greatest athlete - a white Tarzan-type. The coach brings him back to the U.S. of A. to compete.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Milo Jackson
...
...
Coach Sam Archer
...
Gazenga
...
Jane
...
Nancy Walker ...
Mrs. Petersen
Danny Goldman ...
Leopold Maxwell
...
Morumba
...
Games spectator
Liam Dunn ...
Dr. Winslow
Ivor Francis ...
Dean Bellamy
...
Dr. Gottlieb
Howard Cosell ...
Himself - Announcer
...
Himself - Announcer
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Storyline

In this Disney comedy, a down on his luck coach travels to Africa where he spots the world's greatest athlete - a white Tarzan-type. The coach brings him back to the U.S. of A. to compete. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

G | See all certifications »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

14 February 1973 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Nanou, fils de la jungle  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Scenes featuring the African country of Zambia were not shot there but in fact were filmed at the then 487 acre Lion County Safari Park south of Disneyland in Southern California. The jungle sequences were shot at the Caswell Memorial State Park near Ripon, California. See more »

Quotes

Jane Douglas: [tutoring Nanu in biology, Jane has him hold her hand] Your brain signaled the muscles in your hand to contract in order to hold my hand. Is that clear?
Nanu: Nanu understand.
Jane Douglas: Now when...
[pause]
Jane Douglas: You can stop holding my hand.
Nanu: Nanu's brain is still signaling.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in NCIS: Jack Knife (2010) See more »

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User Reviews

 
"Me Nanu.......You Jane"
24 April 2009 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

When Coach John Amos and his assistant Tim Conway go looking for athletic talent for Merryvale College, they say they'll travel anywhere. And in The World's Greatest Athlete they go to East Africa in search of a legendary jungle boy raised in the wild whose athletic prowess is beyond belief.

The subject of their search is Jan-Michael Vincent who plays the young Tarzan like man and he's every inch the athlete that former Tarzans like Johnny Weissmuller, Glenn Morris, and Buster Crabbe were. They have to use a little trickery to get him out of the jungle and away from his foster father, witch doctor Roscoe Lee Browne. Browne knows all the jungle remedies, but he's lived in the world outside the Kenyan veld and he's up to its challenges.

But he's still got concern for his foster son who ain't used to civilization and all the things that entails. Among which include women in the person of shapely Dayle Haddon who covers him on the academic end of things at college. Talk about remedial education though, this is really stretching it.

She's also got a jealous suitor in Danny Goldman. Goldman's a little ferret of a schemer, the would be Iago sends for Browne from Kenya to work his voodoo magic to get Vincent back to the woodland wilds and a clear path for Goldman back to Haddon. If that means him losing the big NCAA track meet where Vincent is going to represent Maryvale in all events like Jim Thorpe did years ago for Carlisle, so be it.

Jan-Michael Vincent looks just fabulous in a loin cloth. I'm surprised he never was cast in a straight out Tarzan film. He actually did appear in one years later when he was much older and the bad guy in that one. Of course he just had to utter "Me Nanu.......You Jane" to Haddon whose character name of course was Jane.

Vincent and Haddon get great support from the whole cast, especially Tim Conway who has to deal with being shrunk to three inches in height by Browne in a bar. Conway gets a nice fifteen minute sequence trying to deal with his unfamiliar surroundings. Nancy Walker has a fine bit as a Mrs. Magoo landlady who can't recognize a tiger that Vincent has brought from Africa as a pet. He must have gotten him from the zoo in Mombasa because as most kids know, tigers aren't native to Africa.

This was the final feature film appearance of Billy DeWolfe who plays the dean of the college and Goldman's uncle. I suspect he would have had more of a role had health permitted it.

The World's Greatest Athlete is one of Disney's better screen comedies for the Seventies. And as we learn in the end, Jan-Michael Vincent might not just be The World's Greatest Athlete.


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