96 user 62 critic

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)

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

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



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Crime | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

An intellectually nonconformist friar investigates a series of mysterious deaths in an isolated abbey.

Director: Jean-Jacques Annaud
Stars: Sean Connery, Christian Slater, Helmut Qualtinger
Adventure | Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.3/10 X  

A young Cro-Magnon woman is raised by Neanderthals.

Director: Michael Chapman
Stars: Daryl Hannah, Pamela Reed, James Remar
Comedy | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

French colonists in Africa, several months behind in the news, find themselves at war with their German neighbors. Deciding that they must do their proper duty and fight the Germans, they ... See full summary »

Director: Jean-Jacques Annaud
Stars: Jean Carmet, Catherine Rouvel, Jacques Spiesser
Coup de tête (1979)
Comedy | Drama | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

François Perrin plays football at the AS Trincamp. During a training session, he gets into a fight with Bertier, the team's star, and is ordered off the field. The club's boss, who is also ... See full summary »

Director: Jean-Jacques Annaud
Stars: Patrick Dewaere, France Dougnac, Dorothée Jemma
L'odyssée de l'espèce (TV Movie 2003)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

8 million years of the human species

Directors: Jacques Malaterre, Javier G. Salanova
Stars: Pere Arquillué, Peter Batakliev, Léa-Marie Cantin
The Lover (1992)
Biography | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

In 1929 French Indochina, a French teenage girl embarks on a reckless and forbidden romance with a wealthy, older Chinese man, each knowing that knowledge of their affair will bring drastic consequences to each other.

Director: Jean-Jacques Annaud
Stars: Jane March, Tony Ka Fai Leung, Frédérique Meininger
Caveman (1981)
Comedy | Romance | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

A cave-man seeks revenge on a much larger competitor for the hand of a beautiful cave-woman.

Director: Carl Gottlieb
Stars: Ringo Starr, Dennis Quaid, Shelley Long
Excalibur (1981)
Adventure | Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Merlin the magician helps Arthur Pendragon unite the Britons around the round table of Camelot even as forces conspire to tear it apart

Director: John Boorman
Stars: Nigel Terry, Helen Mirren, Nicholas Clay
Flesh+Blood (1985)
Adventure | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A band of medieval mercenaries take revenge on a noble lord who decides not to pay them by kidnapping the betrothed of the noble's son. As the plague and warfare cut a swathe of destruction... See full summary »

Director: Paul Verhoeven
Stars: Rutger Hauer, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tom Burlinson
Adventure | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

While flying mail across the Andean mountains, Henri Guillaumet's plane has to crash-land, he must trek back to civilizatin on foot.

Director: Jean-Jacques Annaud
Stars: Craig Sheffer, Elizabeth McGovern, Tom Hulce
Comedy | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.1/10 X  

Described as a mythical comedy set on an island in the Aegean Sea before the founding of Ancient Greece.

Director: Jean-Jacques Annaud
Stars: José Garcia, Vincent Cassel, Sergio Peris-Mencheta
The Mission (1986)
Adventure | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

18th century Spanish Jesuits try to protect a remote South American Indian tribe in danger of falling under the rule of pro-slavery Portugal.

Director: Roland Joffé
Stars: Robert De Niro, Jeremy Irons, Ray McAnally


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?


Actors went through make-up sessions that lasted five hours each morning. See more »


Early in the movie when the Ulam tribe is being attacked from the cliff above there is a tire clearly visible in the foreground in two shots on the cliff top; the first as a shot showing right after the boulders being pushed over the cliff and then again when the Ulams come up to meet them. 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 Weird Science: Wyatt Erectus (1994) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

A journey through the essence of the human spirit.
15 June 1999 | by (Massachusetts) – See all my reviews

Jean Jacques Annaud's "Quest for Fire" caught me by surprise. I have always been enthralled by movies that take place in prehistoric times, but I never expected this movie to be filmed with such consistency. This film captures an innocent adventure, in which three men (Naoh, Amoukar,& Gaw) are selected by the tribe to recapture their snuffed out fire. The journey brings them into many trials of existence, which we modern beings very seldom come in contact with. At points, there scenes that capture a sense of humor that is so basic to our modern way of thinking, but for these characters they are just discovering such things like the concept of laugher. At other points of the film, these brave men encounter situations that show the true brutal world of the survival of the fittest. The manner in which these characters search for fire gives the viewer a true love for the characters courage and heroic nature. For if they do not succeed, it is surely the end of their tribe and for them. The fire holds the key to survival with its warmth, cooking function, and most of all its ability to ward off stalking predators. Fire is power for beings at this point in time. Just as knowledge is for modern human beings.

This film succeeds in it's proportions,direction, settings, music, great special effects,and acting. The acting especially is something to take notice of, since there is no recognizable language spoken. The preparation for such a role as this these is amazing in its own right. "Quest for Fire" will lead you into the reality of what once was and capture the essence of the human spirit.

70 of 79 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
100 things I learned from Quest for Fire noe112001
Initial Reactions upon release dizzyBallerina
What species were all the hominids in the movie? aetheral_blood-1
No children fpb
Ron Perlman big_tbone35
A movie without dialogue gia21ca
Discuss Quest for Fire (1981) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: