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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 »
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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
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Major Jack Downing
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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?


Screenwriter Robert Towne was slated to direct this film based on his screenplay. He was sacked following the box-office failure of his directorial debut, Personal Best (1982). See more »


When Tarzan's "ape father" is shot, Tarzan is seen from the left. His hair is messed up on both sides. When Tarzan is seen from the right, the hair on the right side of his head is perfectly combed. Then when seen from the front again, when carrying his "father", his hair is messed up on both sides. See more »


John Clayton: Half of me is the Earl of Greystoke...
John Clayton: the other half is WILD!
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Version of Tarzan and the Lost City (1998) See more »


The Day Thou Gavest
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User Reviews

not the Tarzan you think of......
8 March 2003 | by See all my reviews

SPOILERS Edgar Rice Burroughs's famous character was adapted thousand of times for the screen til one's thirst is quenched, notably during the thirties and the forties by Hollywood. Its productors made Tarzan one of the most successful cinema characters. Several years later, Hugh Hudson decided to make a more ambitious version of the monkey-man and it's a more natural, more wild and more down-to-earth Tarzan that he gives away here. Hudson skilfully avoids the clichés that you usually grant to Tarzan such as his famous scream or his friendly pet, Cheetah. Not only, are we far from the designed and invented character made by Hollwood but we are also far from the film set used to make his stories. The movie was partly made in Africa (more precisely in Cameroon). The movie introduces two obvious parts: the first one which takes place in the jungle where Tarzan lives among his adoptive friends, the apes and considers himself as their lord. But he ignores his real origins. The second one in England where Tarzan discovers the English society. Ian Holm epitomizes the link between the two parts and Hudson avoids all that could make the movie falls into the ridiculous thanks to a clever screenplay. Indeed, Holm teaches Lambert basic rules of manners so as to behave correctly in the English society and the result works. Moreover, in the second part, no-one ever laughs at Tarzan and he's even really appreciated. As far as the end is concerned well it's a both bitter and happy end. Happy because Tarzan comes back to the jungle and meets again his adoptive close relatives. But bitter too, because this homecoming means that the Greystoke line won't be ensured and is condemned to disappear... Christophe Lambert finds here, his first (and last?) great role. Sadly, he'll never equal the achievement of his performance in this movie and he'll play in poor and insipide action movies. Nevertheless, as I said previously, a clever screenplay, a performance of a rare quality, some impressive natural sceneries (both the jungle and the English country and we get a gorgeous movie. It's also an excellent rereading from a popular novel. So why is it only rated barely (6/10)?

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I purposely avoided this film for 26 years... grimandproper
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