Mountains of the Moon (1990)

R  |   |  Adventure, Drama, History  |  23 February 1990 (USA)
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The story of Captain Richard Francis Burton's and Lt. John Hanning Speke's expedition to find the source of the Nile river in the name of Queen Victoria's British Empire. The film tells the... See full summary »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Larry Oliphant
Isabel Arundell (Mrs Burton as from 1861)
John Savident ...
Lord Murchison
James Villiers ...
Lord Oliphant
Lord Houghton
Richard Caldicot ...
Lord Russell
Ben Amir


The story of Captain Richard Francis Burton's and Lt. John Hanning Speke's expedition to find the source of the Nile river in the name of Queen Victoria's British Empire. The film tells the story of their meeting, their friendship emerging amidst hardship, and then dissolving after their journey. Written by Greg Bole <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

23 February 1990 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Aux sources du Nil  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$4,011,793 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(70 mm prints)| (35 mm prints)



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The actual real-life Mountains of the Moon are shown in David Attenborough's 2013 natural wildlife television documentary series Africa (2013). See more »


Although Larry Oliphant is portrayed as a homosexual, by all accounts he was in real life heterosexual: the filmmakers changed his sexual orientation to create a more dramatic reason for Speke's betrayal of Burton after all they had gone through together. See more »


Arab chief in Cairo: In this wilderness you will find only Allah's terrible whimsy.
See more »


Referenced in Serial Mom (1994) See more »


Wagogo Marriage Ritual
Recorded by David Fanshawe
From the album "Africa - Ceremonial & Folk Music"
See more »

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User Reviews

Historical drama with exceptional photography...
26 January 2005 | by (Saigon, Viet Nam) – See all my reviews

I have seen this movie several times and have enjoyed it immensely each time. The photography is beautiful and captures some incredible views of Africa. The story is of the adventure to discover the legendary source of the Nile, with the character of Richard Francis Burton(the famous 19th Century Irish Adventurer and translator of Kama Sutra and Perfumed Garden,who was fluent in many languages, and the English adventurer, John Speke. It is well worth the seeking out and watching, with the main incidents being historically accurate(such as who finally gets credit for the discoveries). It also brings into the light the prejudices of the Historical Society in the mid 1800's. An excellent movie!

16 of 18 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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