Up 740 this week

Mountains of the Moon (1990)

R  |   |  Adventure, Drama, History  |  23 February 1990 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.3/10 from 2,680 users  
Reviews: 36 user | 17 critic

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 »



(novel), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
0Check in

Watch Now

From $9.99 on Amazon Video


The 25 Most Immersive Worlds in Cinema

Highly immersive cinematic worlds can carry a movie, and we've rounded up the best of the best.

See the full list

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 28 titles
created 04 Jul 2011
a list of 39 titles
created 29 Aug 2011
a list of 29 titles
created 29 Aug 2011
a list of 23 titles
created 14 Apr 2013
a list of 31 titles
created 07 Nov 2013

Related Items

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: Mountains of the Moon (1990)

Mountains of the Moon (1990) on IMDb 7.3/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Mountains of the Moon.

User Polls

1 win. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Comedy | Mystery | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 2.7/10 X  
Director: Arielle Dombasle
Stars: Omar Sharif, Arielle Dombasle, Hippolyte Girardot
Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Two women, black and white, in 1955 Montgomery Alabama, must decide what they are going to do in response to the famous bus boycott lead by Martin Luther King.

Director: Richard Pearce
Stars: Sissy Spacek, Whoopi Goldberg, Dwight Schultz
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

The son of a priest slain by the Mau Mau moves in with a police officer and his wife in 1950 Kenya.

Director: Harry Hook
Stars: Bob Peck, Edwin Mahinda, Phyllis Logan
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Faced with the prospect of a dim future in his impoverished village, young Shankar bids farewell to his family in rural Bengal and makes a journey to the fabled "Mountain Of The Moon" in search of gold and diamond mines.

Director: Kamaleswar Mukherjee
Stars: Dev, Gérard Rudolf, Martin Cito Otto
Man Trouble (1992)
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.6/10 X  

A sleazy but affable guard dog trainer is blackmailed to steal a manuscript for a tell-all book from one of his clients.

Director: Bob Rafelson
Stars: Jack Nicholson, Ellen Barkin, Harry Dean Stanton
Mother (1992)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Recounts Henri Verneuil's relationship as a grown man with his father who had brought his Armenian family to Marseilles, France, in order to escape from the Turkish genocide in Armenia.

Director: Henri Verneuil
Stars: Richard Berry, Omar Sharif, Nathalie Roussel
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.3/10 X  

The 'keys to freedom' for citizens of Hong Kong are US passports, as their city quakes with the imminent transition to Chinese Communist rule. A deadly black market for passports is ... See full summary »

Director: Steve Feke
Stars: Jane Seymour, Omar Sharif, Denholm Elliott
Black Widow (1987)
Crime | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A federal investigator tracks down a gold digging woman who moves from husband to husband, kills them and collects the inheritance.

Director: Bob Rafelson
Stars: Debra Winger, Theresa Russell, Sami Frey
Musical | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

An unnamed Traveler boards the Guildford-Waterloo train and proceeds to daydream about his life and of having interactions with his fellow passengers.

Director: Ray Davies
Stars: Tim Roth, Kenneth Colley, Claire Parker
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

'It's Monopoly out there'. Jason Staebler, The King of Marvin Gardens, has gone directly to jail, lives on the Boardwalk and fronts for the local mob in Atlantic City. He is also a dreamer ... See full summary »

Director: Bob Rafelson
Stars: Jack Nicholson, Bruce Dern, Ellen Burstyn
Shadey (1985)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.4/10 X  

A young man discovers that not only does he have the ability to read minds, but that if he holds a camera next to his head he can transmit the thoughts he sees onto film. He strikes a deal ... See full summary »

Director: Philip Saville
Stars: Antony Sher, Billie Whitelaw, Patrick Macnee
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

An American woman driving through Sicily to her father's funeral gives a cocky, streetwise kid a lift. His amorous attentions are soon obvious, and leads to a fairly obvious ending.

Director: Vito Zagarrio
Stars: Greta Scacchi, Luca Orlandini, Tim Finn


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 film was made and released about eight years after its source historical novel "Burton and Speke" by William Harrison had been first published in 1982. See more »


Sir Richard Francis Burton is depicted as an Irishman in the film, however he was born in England and would have spoken with an English accent. See more »


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


Spoofed in Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls (1995) See more »


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

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Sophisticated epic story telling with depth and intelligence
12 June 2005 | by See all my reviews

It was my good fortune to see MOUNTAINS OF THE MOON several times in its original theatrical release at New York's Ziegfeld Theatre in 1990. An article in the New York Times months earlier had alerted me to the possibility that this was my kind of movie. That easily proved to be true. MOUNTAINS OF THE MOON promptly became a great personal favorite, leading me to read two biographies of Sir Richard Francis Burton.

When MOUNTAINS OF THE MOON was originally released on DVD on the Pioneer label I bought it immediately. Once again, I was lucky because the Pioneer release was in the original 1:85 theatrical ratio. The Pioneer release was withdrawn and this title was subsequently reissued on DVD on a different label. Regrettably it was in a full screen pan and scan version that spoiled this film's excellent visual compositions.

MOUNTAINS OF THE MOON is superbly directed by Bob Rafelson. Although known as an excellent director of contemporary material, there is nothing in his previous body of work to prepare you for Rafelson's outstanding achievement in a period epic. It is uniformly well acted and technical credits are on a very high level. This overlooked classic deserves to be restored to it correct technical specifications on DVD. Hopefully, Bob Rafelson could do a commentary. Criterion Collection, are you listening?

If you have not had the great good fortune to see this film theatrically, then let me urge you to seek out the Pioneer DVD release in the correct aspect ratio. MOUNTAINS OF THE MOON is practically the only film that I would seriously compare to LAWRENCE OF ARABIA. Each one is what you might call a thinking man's epic. Both of them succeed in asking provocative questions, without succumbing to giving the audience banal answers.

Thematically, MOUNTAINS OF THE MOON is one of the relatively few films that seriously deals with male friendship gone wrong. Although the theme of toxic friendships has been well explored in so-called women's films, it's comparatively rare in films dealing with men. In order to accomplish this aim, MOUNTAINS OF THE MOON takes some license with the facts. However, it does so in order to serve a larger measure of the truth.

MOUNTAINS OF THE MOON never resorts to cliché. This is a film for people who have a taste for sophisticated epic story telling and intimate character study. It has an unflinching eye for the best and the worst in it's characters. Layer by layer, Burton and Speke are revealed to be all too human.

Allow me to recommend MOUNTAINS OF THE MOON to you without reservation.

27 of 31 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
a burton bio pic razaali1984
Missing Fencing scene. Jerry63
reviewer error upert
Blu-ray release for this masterpiece? mdtrot
Did anyone notice? YammaD
I am watching this on Cine Moi.... drd90274
Discuss Mountains of the Moon (1990) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: