IMDb > The World's Greatest Athlete (1973)
The World's Greatest Athlete
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The World's Greatest Athlete (1973) More at IMDbPro »

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Gerald Gardner (written by) and
Dee Caruso (written by)
View company contact information for The World's Greatest Athlete on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
14 February 1973 (USA) See more »
From the Jungle to the Gym...He's the Greatest! See more »
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. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
User Reviews:
"Me Nanu.......You Jane" See more (14 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Tim Conway ... Milo Jackson

Jan-Michael Vincent ... Nanu

John Amos ... Coach Sam Archer

Roscoe Lee Browne ... Gazenga

Dayle Haddon ... Jane

Billy De Wolfe ... Dean Maxwell

Nancy Walker ... Mrs. Petersen
Danny Goldman ... Leopold Maxwell

Don Pedro Colley ... Morumba

Vito Scotti ... Games spectator
Liam Dunn ... Dr. Winslow

Ivor Francis ... Dean Bellamy

Leon Askin ... Dr. Gottlieb
Howard Cosell ... Himself - Announcer

Frank Gifford ... Himself - Announcer

Jim McKay ... Himself - Announcer
Bud Palmer ... Himself - Announcer
Joe Kapp ... Announcer Buzzer Kozak
Bill Toomey ... Himself - Announcer

Clarence Muse ... Gazenga's Assistant
Leigh Christian

Virginia Capers ... Native Woman
Philip Ahn ... Old Chinaman

John Lupton ... Race Starter
Sarah Selby ... Woman on Safari

Russ Conway ... Judge with Stopwatch
Al Checco ... Dr. Checco

Dick Wilson ... Drunk in bar

Dorothy Shay
Jack Griffin

David Mooney (as David Manzy)
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Pete Carroll ... Running Back footballer (uncredited)

Brian Sullivan ... Football Player #31 (uncredited)

Directed by
Robert Scheerer 
Writing credits
Gerald Gardner (written by) and
Dee Caruso (written by)

Produced by
Bill Walsh .... producer
Original Music by
Marvin Hamlisch 
Cinematography by
Frank V. Phillips (director of photography) (as Frank Phillips)
Film Editing by
Cotton Warburton 
Art Direction by
John B. Mansbridge 
Walter H. Tyler  (as Walter Tyler)
Set Decoration by
Hal Gausman 
Costume Design by
Chuck Keehne 
Emily Sundby 
Makeup Department
La Rue Matheron .... hair stylist
Robert J. Schiffer .... makeup artist
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Michael J. Dmytryk .... assistant director (as Michael Dmytryk)
Arthur J. Vitarelli .... second unit director
Sound Department
Herb Taylor .... sound
Special Effects by
Art Cruickshank .... special effects
Danny Lee .... special effects
Eustace Lycett .... special effects
Hans Metz .... special effects (uncredited)
Visual Effects by
Alan Maley .... matte artist
Dick Warlock .... stunt double: Tim Conway (uncredited)
Dick Warlock .... stunts (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
Stan Reed .... key grip (uncredited)
John R. Shannon .... still photographer (uncredited)
Bill Williams .... gererator operator (uncredited)
Music Department
Evelyn Kennedy .... music editor
Other crew
Bob Holter .... animal supervisor
Gene Holter .... animal supervisor
Bill Toomey .... athletic technical advisor
Ralph Helfer .... animal supervisor: Gentle Jungle [us] (uncredited)
Leonard Shannon .... unit publicist (uncredited)
Crew believed to be complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
93 min
Color (Technicolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Did You Know?

The name of the television show was "Sports Shorts Around the Globe".See more »
Errors made by characters (possibly deliberate errors by the filmmakers): The film does explain that Harri the tiger IS from India. He is just a house pet that Nanu's parents brought to Africa when the tiger was just a cub.See more »
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...
Jane Douglas:You can stop holding my hand.
Nanu:Nanu's brain is still signaling.
See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in "NCIS: Jack Knife (#7.15)" (2010)See more »


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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful.
"Me Nanu.......You Jane", 24 April 2009
Author: bkoganbing from Buffalo, New York

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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