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Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes (1984)

A shipping disaster in the 19th Century has stranded a man and woman in the wilds of Africa. The lady is pregnant, and gives birth to a son in their tree house. The mother dies soon after. ... See full summary »



(novel), (as P.H. Vazak) | 1 more credit »
4,849 ( 816)

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Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 3 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Lord Charles Esker
Jeffson Brown
Major Jack Downing
Sir Hugh Belcher
Captain Billings
Hilton McRae ...
Ravinder ...
John Wells ...
Sir Evelyn Blount


A shipping disaster in the 19th Century has stranded a man and woman in the wilds of Africa. The lady is pregnant, and gives birth to a son in their tree house. The mother dies soon after. An ape enters the house and kills the father, and a female ape takes the tiny boy as a replacement for her own dead infant, and raises him as her son. Twenty years later, Captaine Phillippe D'Arnot discovers the man who thinks he is an ape. Evidence in the tree house leads him to believe that he is the direct descendant of the Earl of Greystoke, and thus takes it upon himself to return the man to civilization. Written by Murray Chapman <muzzle@cs.uq.oz.au>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Adventure | Drama


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:







Release Date:

30 March 1984 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Greystoke, la leyenda de Tarzán, el rey de los monos  »

Box Office


$30,000,000 (estimated)


$45,900,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs



Sound Mix:

(70 mm prints)| (35 mm prints)



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Christopher Lambert nearly quit the film because he didn't wish to be separated for so long from his Paris lover, Nathalie Baye. See more »


In the trading post after Tarzan is convinced to return to England to find his family, he and the Belgium explorer (Ian Holm) encounter a group of men drinking and playing cards. There are various animals in the room and one of the card players has a squirrel monkey on his shoulder. Since they are in Africa this would be highly unlikely as squirrel monkeys are native to South America. Unless the card player traveled from Central America to Africa it would not be possible to see a squirrel monkey in Africa. See more »


Sir Evelyn Blount: Although the circumstances indicate that he is your grandson, we cant prove it. Of course, we, erm, might be able to do so if we could do some tests.
Sixth Earl of Greystoke: [Looking out the window] He's here!
[turns to Sir Evelyn]
Sixth Earl of Greystoke: If he's a Greystoke, I'll know him at a glance!
See more »


Referenced in Uga Uga: Episode #1.1 See more »


Oh God Our Help in Ages Past
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User Reviews

Greystoke: The Legend Of Tarzan, Lord Of The Apes (Hugh Hudson, 1984) ***
6 January 2009 | by (Naxxar, Malta) – See all my reviews

This begins a series (which I'll hopefully keep up every week-end) of films that came out during my childhood – in this case, it's one I've only managed to catch now. It was clearly intended as the last word on the subject, which basically had been debased to the level of hokum over the years; however, in its uncompromising striving for a serious-minded approach (a sure measure of which is that the protagonist is never once referred to by the name he's been known all this time the world over!), the film-makers rather lost track of the fact that the thing was intended primarily as entertainment! Consequently, we get a decidedly staid representation of events – with more care given to meticulous period reconstruction than in providing a functional thematic environment for its mythic jungle hero! Even so, Christopher Lambert rose to stardom – as did another debutante, Andie McDowell, playing his love interest (named Jane, of course) – with the title role, which he handles creditably enough under the circumstances. However, Ralph Richardson (to whom the film is dedicated, this being his swan-song) steals every scene he's in as Tarzan's natural grandfather who, in spite of showing obvious affection for his long-lost kin, can't bring himself to forget tradition in an effort to understand his predicament; the hero, in fact, is much more comfortable interacting with primates (even contriving, after having gone back home, to save his adoptive 'dad' from captivity). The film is otherwise very good to look at (with cinematography by Stanley Kubrick regular John Alcott, no less), features an appropriately grandiose score as well as remarkable make-up effects (by Rick Baker) – and, while essentially disappointing as a Tarzan outing, retains considerable value nonetheless as a prestige picture of its day.

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