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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
Andre Gregory ...
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:

How far should a man go to find his dream? Allie Fox went to the Mosquito Coast. He went too far. 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

First of two cinema movie collaborations of actors River Phoenix and Martha Plimpton. Their second and final theatrical feature film together was Running on Empty (1988) which was made and released around a couple of years after The Mosquito Coast (1986). See more »

Goofs

The "Ice from Fire" technique for using heat, ammonia and hydrogen was actually invented in 1824 by Michael Farrady. 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

Referenced in The Holiday (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

Mali Mali
Performed by The Isabel Flores Group
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User Reviews

 
Goodbye America and have a nice day!
8 June 2012 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

The Mosquito Coast is directed by Peter Weir and adapted to screenplay by Paul Schrader from the novel of the same name written by Paul Theroux. it stars Harrison Ford, Helen Mirren, River Phoenix, Conrad Roberts and Andre Gregory. Music is scored by Maurice Jarre and cinematography by John Searle. Story sees Ford as Allie Fox, an inventor who has grown tired of what he sees as the disintegration of America. With his family in tow, Allie heads for what he hopes to be a happier life in the jungles of Central America. Building a self sufficient utopia, things start swimmingly, but can it last? Where does Allie's ambition end?

I have never read the novel, but I have it on good authority that it's cracker-jack stuff. Viewing this brilliant film, I regret not having indulged in the source material first. With that out the way, I can say that Peter Weir's film held me in an vice like grip throughout, it proved to be utterly compelling and beautiful to look at, yet as Allie Fox's ambitions and mindset begin to alter, a bleakness hones in to view and looms large over the picture. Propelled by a quite excellent performance by Ford, his own personal favourite and a film he stands strong in support of, film asks questions of man's place in the imperfect world, idealism and religious fervour; both pro and con. It's a bold and intelligent screenplay by Schrader, which only falters slightly with a mixed message come the denouement. Away from Ford and Searle's sharp photography, Phoenix and Mirren provide very strong support and Weir, a most undervalued director, paces it with his customary slow burn precision.

A hidden gem of the 80s and on Ford's CV, The Mosquito Coast is the kind of adult cinema we could do with more of these days. 9/10


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