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Quest for Fire (1981)

La guerre du feu (original title)
This story takes place in prehistoric time when three prehistoric tribesmen search for a new fire source.


(screenplay) (as Gerard Brach), (based on the novel by)

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Won 1 Oscar. Another 10 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Nicholas Kadi ...
Gaw (as Nameer El-Kadi)
Rouka - The Ulam Tribe
Naseer El-Kadi ...
Nam - The Ulam Tribe
Franck-Olivier Bonnet ...
Aghoo - The Ulam Tribe (as Frank Olivier Bonnet)
Jean-Michel Kindt ...
Lakar - The Ulam Tribe
Kurt Schiegl ...
Faum - The Ulam Tribe
Brian Gill ...
Modoc - The Ulam Tribe
Terry Fitt ...
Hourk - The Ulam Tribe
Bibi Caspari ...
Gammla - The Ulam Tribe
Mikr - The Ulam Tribe
Michelle Leduc ...
Matr - The Ulam Tribe
Tsor - The Ulam Tribe


Anthony Burgess created the primitive language for the early humans in this prehistoric adventure about a trio of warriors who travel the savanna, encountering sabre-toothed tigers, mammoths and cannibalistic tribes in search of a flame that would replace the fire their tribe has lost. Written by Keith Loh <loh@sfu.ca>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


A Science Fantasy Adventure.


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:







Release Date:

12 February 1982 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Quest for Fire  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$12,500,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(35 mm prints)| (70 mm prints)


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


This film is classified as having no language though where language is a system of grunts, groans and gestures, it can be called Gibberish, as with the French cult movie Themroc (1973). See more »


In one shot the mastodons' faces are completely covered in hair, but in the next shot the hair is gone. See more »


[first lines]
Title Card: 80,000 years ago, man's survival in a vast uncharted land depended on the possession of fire. / For those early humans, fire was an object of great mystery, since no one had mastered its creation. Fire had to be stolen from nature, it had to be kept alive - sheltered from wind and rain, guarded from rival tribes. / Fire was a symbol of power and a means of survival. The tribe who possessed fire, possessed life.
See more »


Referenced in Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Undead (1997) See more »

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User Reviews

"...and Prometheus said, 'Let me give you fire,' and humanity saw that it was good..."
26 April 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

A peaceful tribe of prehistoric humans, unable to create fire, loose their only source of flame due to another tribe's attack. Three of the tribe leave their home to search for a new source of fire to bring back to their people before the cold climate can take its toll. Their journey brings them not only into contact with other tribes of prehistoric humans at different stages of evolution but also advances their own humanity, as well as teaching them to be "prometheuses" in their own right.

An absolutely fascinating film. Those who are partial to history and anthropology will especially enjoy this. An honest, un-PC look at the origins of the species and the development of humanity through loss, tragedy, hardship, hostile elements and the beginnings of laughter, morality, community service, leadership, friendship and of course, love. A wondrous feat of body language performances as there is no truly discernible language/dialogue spoken. This is a well done, well made film all around.

For those into scenery gazing the beauty of the locations (Canada, Iceland, Kenya, Scotland) alone are worth a rental fee.

Ron Perlman is one of the three male leads/would be prometheuses. Watch the body language! Someone did research! A difficult and impressive (first movie) performance.

Definitely worth a buy (the DVD has two commentaries, one with the director Jean-Jacques Annaud, one with producer Michael Gruskoff, Rae Dawn Chong and Ron Perlman).

87 of 96 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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