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The Mosquito Coast (1986)

An eccentric and dogmatic inventor sells his house and takes his family to Central America to build a utopia in the middle of the jungle. Conflicts with his family, a local preacher and ... See full summary »

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(novel), (screenplay)
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Nominated for 2 Golden Globes. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Jadrien Steele ...
Hilary Gordon ...
April
Rebecca Gordon ...
Clover
...
Clerk
...
Mr. Polski
Alice Heffernan-Sneed ...
Mrs. Polski (as Alice Sneed)
Tiger Haynes ...
Mr. Semper
William Newman ...
Captain Smalls
...
Reverend Spellgood
Melanie Boland ...
Mrs. Spellgood
...
Raymond Clare ...
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Storyline

An eccentric and dogmatic inventor sells his house and takes his family to Central America to build a utopia in the middle of the jungle. Conflicts with his family, a local preacher and with nature are only small obstacles to his obsession. Based upon a Paul Theroux novel. Written by Keith Loh <loh@sfu.ca>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

He never bargained for what he found. See more »


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

26 November 1986 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Mosquito Coast  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$25,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$14,302,779 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The movie's source 1981 novel of the same name by Paul Theroux won "The Yorkshire Post Novel of the Year" award and was also awarded "The James Tait Black Memorial Prize". See more »

Goofs

While Allie Fox and his family are being lashed by violent winds and near horizontal rain during a hurricane a couple of palm trees in the background are standing perfectly still. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Charlie: My father was an inventor, a genius with anything mechanical. Nine patents, six pending. He dropped out of Harvard, "to get an education", he said. I grew up with the belief that the world belonged to him, and that everything he said was true.
Allie Fox: Look around ya, how did America get this way? Land of promise, land of opportunity. Give us the wretched refuse of your teeming shores. Have a Coke. Watch TV.
Charlie: Have a nice day.
Allie Fox: Go on welfare. Get free money. Turn to crime - crime pays in this ...
[...]
See more »

Connections

Spoofed in Back to the Future Part III (1990) See more »

Soundtracks

Clap Your Hands
Words and Music by Gary Johnson
Performed by Grace Gospel Primary School Choir
See more »

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User Reviews

 
The Iceman Cometh
23 August 2010 | by (Dallas, Texas) – See all my reviews

Frothing at the mouth with disgust for his homeland America, inventor Allie Fox (Harrison Ford), with family in tow, pulls up roots, and moves to Central America. Here, he proceeds to build a new life in the jungle, using his mechanical skills, his inventiveness, and in particular his patented machine, which produces ice, sans electricity. "Ice is civilization", he proclaims with unctuous authority. That will be the foundation for his utopian dream. But Allie is so headstrong, so convinced of his infallibility that his vision blinds him to reality. And the film's ending is poignant.

Delusion and self-deception breed nightmarish outcomes. And the cinema, through the years, has dramatized these themes quite well, in films like "Aguirre: The Wrath Of God", "Fitzcaraldo", and "Deliverance". In real life, delusion and self-deception were the basis for the events surrounding American preacher Jim Jones who, in the late 1970s, relocated his naive flock to the jungles of Guyana, whereupon he established Jonestown, envisioned as a religious utopia. The result was tragic.

Beyond the deep themes thus expressed in the script, "The Mosquito Coast" looks good visually. The tropical scenery is spectacular. Production design and cinematography are terrific. And the film's score, by Maurice Jarre, is wonderfully exotic and majestic.

My only complaint is the character of Allie Fox, who at some point badmouths just about everyone and everything. I could have wished for a quieter, less loquacious, madman. Then too, Harrison Ford plays Fox in a way that overrides subtext. In short, Fox not only is delusional and self-deceptive, he's also preachy, domineering, and totally lacking in compassion for others, someone whom we as viewers cannot root for or have any empathy with.

"The Mosquito Coast" reminds us that the grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence. Chasing that elusive pot of gold at the end of the rainbow is for dreamers. This is a good film to watch when you're facing a pile of problems. You could be like Allie's family, trying to forge some existence in the jungles and listening to the rants of an icy madman.


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