IMDb > The Ghost and the Darkness (1996)
The Ghost and the Darkness
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The Ghost and the Darkness (1996) More at IMDbPro »

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The Ghost and the Darkness -- A bridge engineer and an experienced old hunter begin a hunt for two lions after they start attacking local construction workers.


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Down 3% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Writer (WGA):
William Goldman (written by)
View company contact information for The Ghost and the Darkness on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
11 October 1996 (USA) See more »
Control Your Fear See more »
A bridge engineer and an experienced old hunter begin a hunt for two lions after they start attacking local construction workers. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Won Oscar. Another 2 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
"These Lions . . . Don't Act Like Lions." See more (161 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Michael Douglas ... Charles Remington

Val Kilmer ... Col. John Henry Patterson

Tom Wilkinson ... Robert Beaumont

John Kani ... Samuel

Bernard Hill ... Dr. David Hawthorne

Brian McCardie ... Angus Starling

Emily Mortimer ... Helena Patterson

Om Puri ... Abdullah
Henry Cele ... Mahina
Kurt Egelhof ... Indian Victim
Satchu Annamalai ... Worker #1
Teddy Reddy ... Worker #2
Raheem Khan ... Worker #3 (as Rakeem Khan)
Jack Devnarain ... Nervous Sikh Orderly
Glen Gabela ... Orderly #1
Richard Nwamba ... Orderly #2
Nick Lorentz ... Photographer
Alex Ferns ... Stockton
Kaycey Padayachee ... Beaumont's Valet
Giles Masters ... Beaumont's Clerk
Patrick Gifford ... Patterson's Son
Justin Gifford ... Patterson's Son
George Middlekoop ... Station Master

Directed by
Stephen Hopkins 
Writing credits
William Goldman (written by)

Produced by
Michael Douglas .... executive producer
Grant Hill .... co-producer
A. Kitman Ho .... producer
Gale Anne Hurd .... producer
Paul B. Radin .... producer (as Paul Radin)
Steven Reuther .... executive producer
Original Music by
Jerry Goldsmith 
Cinematography by
Vilmos Zsigmond 
Film Editing by
Roger Bondelli 
Robert Brown 
Steve Mirkovich 
Bert Lovitt (uncredited)
Casting by
Mary Selway 
Sarah Trevis 
Production Design by
Stuart Wurtzel 
Art Direction by
Zack Grobler 
Giles Masters 
George Richardson (supervising art director)
Steve Saklad (supervising art director)
Malcolm Stone 
Set Decoration by
Hilton Rosemarin 
Costume Design by
Ellen Mirojnick 
Makeup Department
Paul Engelen .... makeup artist
Robert Maverick .... hair technician: Stan Winston Studios
Suzanne Stokes-Munton .... hair stylist
Cecilia Verardi .... makeup artist
Megan Tanner .... makeup artist (uncredited)
Production Management
Carol Dantuono .... post-production executive
Bruce Devan .... production manager: second unit
Michael L. Games .... production supervisor (as Michael Games)
Thomas Hayslip .... unit manager
Grant Hill .... unit production manager
Toby Pease .... production supervisor: second unit
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Javier Chinchilla .... second second assistant director (as Javier Chinchilla Kern)
Jamie Christopher .... second assistant director
Lee Cleary .... first assistant director: second unit
Jack Couffer .... second unit director
Simon Damast .... second second assistant director
José Luis Escolar .... first assistant director
Jacinta Hayne .... second assistant director: second unit
Patrick Kinney .... second assistant director
Franco Mariola .... third assistant director: second unit
Josh McLaglen .... second unit director
Douglas A. Raine .... first assistant director: second unit (as Doug Raine)
Matt Rebenkoff .... second assistant director (as Matthew Rebenkoff)
Emile Smith .... third assistant director
David H. Venghaus Jr. .... second assistant director (as David Venghaus)
Melanie Walker .... second second assistant director
Art Department
Sean Ahern .... set foreman
Rodney Armanino .... construction coordinator
Victor Botha .... set dresser
Hennie Goddard .... carpenter
Vivienne Gray .... draughtsperson
Zack Grobler .... art director: second unit
Dale Haugo .... lead scenic artist
Roland Hunter .... painter
Michael Hyman .... carpenter
Belinda Johnson .... coordinator
Tim Larsen .... painter
Hank Mayo .... concept designer
Philip McDonald .... property master
Dave Midson .... supervising dressing prop
Marelize Pretorius .... assistant props builder
Marco Rubeo .... set designer
Robert H. Winn .... scenic chargehand
Mickey Woolfson .... chargehand stand-by
Sound Department
Christopher Assells .... dialogue editor
Paul Aulicino .... assistant sound editor
Bob Beher .... foley editor
Gary Blufer .... digital sound effects layback
Lance Brown .... sound designer
Lance Brown .... sound effects editor
Kelly Cabral .... digital sound effects layback
Jeffrey Cranford .... assistant sound editor
Marc Deschaine .... adr assistant
Joe Dorn .... adr editor
Michael Dressel .... supervising foley editor
Gordon Ecker .... sound effects editor
John Michael Fanaris .... sound effects coordinator
Dana LeBlanc Frankley .... assistant sound editor (as Dana LeBlanc)
Rick Hart .... re-recording mixer
Hilda Hodges .... foley artist
Glenn Hoskinson .... sound effects editor
Mildred Iatrou .... dialogue editor
Simon Kaye .... sound mixer
Mary Jo Lang .... foley mixer
John Leveque .... dialogue editor
Martin Lopez .... sound effects recordist
Kimberly Ellen Lowe .... dialogue editor (as Kimberly Lowe Voigt)
Steve Mann .... sound effects editor
Blake Marion .... sound effects coordinator
Donald O. Mitchell .... re-recording mixer
Frank A. Montaño .... re-recording mixer
Gary Mundheim .... sound effects editor
Steve Nelson .... sound effects editor
Mark Pappas .... foley editor
John Roesch .... foley artist
Kim Secrist .... sound effects editor
Bruce Stambler .... supervising sound editor
Tommy Staples .... boom operator
Becky Sullivan .... supervising adr editor
Shawn Sykora .... foley editor
Donald L. Warner Jr. .... sound effects editor
Marshall Winn .... dialogue editor
Richard E. Yawn .... sound effects editor
David Abrahamsen .... sound (uncredited)
Lance Brown .... additional sound re-recording mixer (uncredited)
Peter Gleaves .... adr mixer (uncredited)
Ken S. Polk .... re-recording mixer (uncredited)
Carolyn Tapp .... foley recordist (uncredited)
Special Effects by
Jason Barnett .... special effects technician
Darin Bouyssou .... mold/lab technician
Tamara Carlson .... fabrication crew: Stan Winston Studio
Jim Charmatz .... key artist: Stan Winston Studio
Chris Corbould .... special effects supervisor
David Covarrubias .... special effects technician
Glenn Derry .... electronics designer: Stan Winston Studio
Paul Dunn .... special effects assistant: second unit
Grady Holder .... mold maker
Doug Hudson .... mold/lab technician
Marc Irvin .... special effects technician
Dana Klaren .... special effects technician
Paul Knowles .... senior special effects technician
Richard J. Landon .... animatronic effects designer (as Richard Landon)
Richard J. Landon .... animatronic effects supervisor (as Richard Landon)
Lindsay MacGowan .... mold department: Stan Winston Studio
David Mahlangu .... assistant special effects: second unit
Bob Mano .... mechanical designer: Stan Winston Studio
Kevin McTurk .... special effects technician
Sylvia Nava .... hair technician: Stan Winston Studios
Jon Neill .... painter: Stan Winston Studio
Tim Nordella .... animatronic effects designer
Tim Nordella .... animatronic effects supervisor
Tim Nordella .... creature designer and fabricator
John Rosengrant .... animatronic effects supervisor
John Rosengrant .... makeup effects supervisor
Stiles White .... production coordinator: Stan Winston Studio
Andy Williams .... floor supervisor
Andy Williams .... special effects foreman
Gary Yee .... creature effects crew
Gary Yee .... special effects makeup
Janek Zabielski .... special effects coordinator: second unit
Stefan Zabielski .... special effects assistant: second unit
Lance Gilmer .... special effects technician (uncredited)
Visual Effects by
Amit Agrawal .... software engineer: SPI
Isa Alsup .... compositor (as Isa Abdulbari Alsup)
Maura Alvarez .... rotoscope artist
Christopher Bailey .... visual effects coordinator (as Chris Bailey)
Ryan Berg .... visual effects coordinator
Ron Brinkmann .... computer graphics supervisor
Randy Brown .... visual effects compositor
Suzy Brown .... digital painter
Suzy Brown .... rotoscope artist
Harold Buchman .... digital effects artist
Colin Campbell .... digital compositor
Joan Collins Carey .... visual effects producer (as Joan Collins)
Rusty Case .... senior systems architect
Jerome Chen .... senior technical supervisor
David Cornelius .... electronics engineer
Art David .... digital artist
John Decker .... lead technical assistant
Bruce Devan .... production manager: visual effects unit
Sheena Duggal .... Inferno artist: SPI
Sheena Duggal .... high speed compositing supervisor
Nancy Evans .... rotoscope artist
Thomas F. Ford IV .... lead Inferno technical assistant
Kiki Francoise .... compositor (as Kiki Candela)
Michael Garcia .... visual effects production assistant
Peter Gornstein .... concept/storyboard artist
Kelly Granite .... visual effects compositor
Amy Hollywood Wixson .... computer graphics coordinator
Amy Hollywood Wixson .... digital production manager
Mark Holmes .... high speed compositing supervisor
Ralph Horan .... executive producer: visual effects
Ivo Horvat .... matte painter: SPI
Stephen Kennedy .... compositor (as Steve Kennedy)
Martin A. Kline .... visual effects art director
J.W. Kompare .... visual effects editor
Susan Kornfeld .... rotoscope artist (as Sue Kornfeld)
Paul McGhee .... film scanning and recording
Tim McGovern .... visual effects supervisor: SPI
M. Scott McKee .... compositor
George Merkert .... visual effects executive producer: SPI
Ann Monn .... high speed compositor
Yolie Moreno .... visual effects assistant coordinator
Megan Omi .... compositor
Nancy Oppenheim .... lead rotoscope artist
Mark Oppenheimer .... visual effects producer: location photography
Kelly Pappas .... high speed compositor
Bob Peitzman .... compositor: SPI
Mike Perry .... digital effects animator
Gayle Reznik .... visual effects production manager: SPI
Stuart Robertson .... senior visual effects supervisor
Andrea Scholer .... compositor (as Andrea Sholer)
Bill Schultz .... visual effects senior management
John R. Shourt .... rotoscope artist (as John Shourt)
Chuck Shuman .... visual effects director of photography (as Chuck Schuman)
Chu Tang .... software engineer
Kristen Trattner .... high speed compositor
Barry Weiss .... senior staff: SPI
Guy Wiedmann .... assistant visual effects editor
Kieran Woo .... production controller: Digital Domain
Doug Yoshida .... technical assistant
Hal Miles .... digital artist (uncredited)
Audrea Topps Harjo .... production software coordinator (uncredited)
Attila Veress .... film recorder operator (uncredited)
Danny Baldwin .... stunt coordinator
Gavin Mey .... stunt coordinator: South Africa
Reginald Mompati .... stunt assistant (as Reg Mompati)
Camera and Electrical Department
Gabriel Beristain .... director of photography: second unit
Todd Carmody .... lighting technician
Frank Connor .... still photographer
Jack Couffer .... director of photography: Kenya unit
Lars Cox .... second assistant camera
Harmon Cusack .... camera operator: "b" camera, second unit
Carlos De Carvalho .... focus puller: "b" camera
Mannie Ferreira .... second unit: second assistant camera
Mark Forster .... b dolly grip
Mauriece Jacks Jr. .... video assist operator
Robert Jason .... gaffer
Daron Keet .... assistant camera
Richard Latham .... focus puller
Wayne Leach .... electrician
Stan McClain .... camera operator: aerial
Neal Norton .... camera operator: "a" camera
Dennis Seawright .... first assistant camera
Clive Shirlaw .... grip
Joseph D. Urbanczyk .... camera operator: "b" camera (as Joseph Urbanczyk)
André Louis van Heerden .... additional video assist operator
Casting Department
Barbara Harris .... adr voice casting
Jane Warren .... casting: South Africa
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Michael Dennison .... assistant costume designer
Dan Grace .... key costumer
Jo Katsaras .... wardrobe supervisor
Carolyn Marston .... key costumer
Janet Schriever .... set costumer
John Scott .... wardrobe supervisor
Editorial Department
Timothy Alverson .... assistant editor
Erik C. Andersen .... assistant editor
Sam Citron .... assistant editor
Megan Gill .... assistant editor
Mo Henry .... negative cutter
Martin C. Heselov .... assistant editor
Sean Hubbert .... associate editor
Julie Janata .... assistant editor
Bob Kaiser .... color timer
Bryan McMahan .... colorist: mastering
Mark Rathaus .... assistant editor
Leon Retief .... assistant editor
Ken Terry .... assistant editor
Location Management
Kevin De La Noy .... location manager
Werner Du Preez .... location scout
Alex Gladstone .... location manager
Music Department
George Acogny .... music supervisor: ethnic music
Kelly Askew .... ethnic music researcher
Sally Boldt .... music editor
Alexander Courage .... orchestrator
Kenneth Hall .... supervising music editor
Kelly Mahan-Jaramillo .... assistant music editor
Ray Phiri .... choir conductor: Johannesburg
Curtis Roush .... location music editor
Sidney Sax .... orchestral contractor
Steven L. Smith .... music preparation
James Thatcher .... musician: French horn
Nick Vidar .... music programmer
Transportation Department
Dale Edwards .... transportation captain
Paul Woodman .... transportation administrator
Other crew
Monique Angeon .... assistant animal handler: lions
Kelly Askew .... dialogue coach: Swahili
Wiebina Berrington .... script supervisor: second unit
Desiree Bertasso .... production coordinator: second unit
Kirk Borcherding .... production executive
Anthony Boswell .... assistant animal handler
Nikki Clapp .... script supervisor
Kathi Danielson .... first assistant accountant (as Kathi D. Evans)
Bryan de Klerk .... stand-in: Val Kilmer
Emile de Kock .... animal wrangler: domestic animals
Dave Evans .... armorer: preparation
Gary Fick .... body double
Stuart Fink .... unit publicist
Anne C. Ford .... first assistant accountant
Vic Fraser .... copyist
Jane Fry .... production accountant
Gareth Gardner .... production assistant
Gareth Gardner .... set office assistant
Joanne Goldstone .... assistant accountant
Michael Hackenberger .... animal trainer: lions
Kelly Helstrom .... assistant: Steve Reuther
Richard J. Landon .... puppeteer
Thierry Le Portier .... animal trainer: lions
Tim Monich .... dialect coach
Michael Morgenthal .... construction accountant
Giana Mucci .... post production assistant
Stacy Plavoukos .... production coordinator
Julie Randolph .... production assistant
Fess 'Reg' Reynolds .... animal trainer: lions
Paul 'Sled' Reynolds .... supervising animal trainer (as Sled Reynolds)
Paul 'Sled' Reynolds .... supervising animal trainer: lions (as Sled Reynolds)
Fran Saidman .... production coordinator
Olly Steele .... on set armourer, weapons instuctor
Jim Stockley .... animal supplier
Ted Strikwerda .... assistant animal handler: lions (as Ted Strickwerda)
Rosanna Sun .... production coordinator: USA
Judy Thomason .... assistant: Steve Reuther
Phillip K. Torretto .... assistant: George Acogny
Trevor van Sweeden .... stand-in (as Trevor van Sweden)
Jean-Roux Viljoen .... base camp manager
Anna Walton .... housing coordinator
Hubert Wells .... animal trainer: lions
Stan Winston .... live/animatronic effects
Kris Wiseman McIntyre .... assistant: Stephen Hopkins
Gary Yee .... mold/technical department

Production CompaniesDistributorsSpecial EffectsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Rated R for some violence and gore involving animal attacks
110 min
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

After the lions were killed, their skins were used as rugs by Col. Patterson. They were later sold to the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, who had them stuffed and placed on display. Because they were originally used as rugs with resulting deterioration of the hides, the lions are much smaller than they originally were.See more »
Continuity: Cremation of Remington, Colonial Patterson's blood make up on his face/neck.See more »
[first lines]
Samuel:This is the most famous and true African adventure.
See more »
Iye OyehaSee more »


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55 out of 65 people found the following review useful.
"These Lions . . . Don't Act Like Lions.", 8 April 2006
Author: (stevenlshoup) from United States

It is 1898 and charming, cretinous Captain of Industry Beaumont has hired Col. John Patterson,eminent engineer/bridge builder to complete a bridge spanning the river by Tsavo, Africa.

Arriving in the continent he has dreamed of forever, Patterson meets his project. There are problems with it: Competing French and German rivals, Ethnic hatred among the crews and, on Patterson's first day there, a worker is attacked by a lion. He goes to "sort it out" by shooting the beast with one shot; gaining the admiration of his crews, lifting spirits, adding motivation to complete the bridge, and unleashing a nightmare

Only weeks after the shooting the camp is suddenly besieged by a pair of giant man-eating lions. Their first "kill" is Mahina (Henry Cele), considered the strongest man in the camp. This serves to unnerve every man on the project, including Indian rabble-rouser Abdullah, who doesn't like Patterson from the start. Nerves jangle and fray as the lions repeatedly and relentlessly attack and attack and attack! They strike under the cover of night AND during the heat of day; They kill not for hunger, not for sport, but simply because they like it. Men are dragged from their beds and mauled to death in the tall grasses; the hospital becomes a blood-bathe; Laborers aren't safe as the beasts leap out and snatch them from their work. Everything is falling apart and Patterson is at his wit's end as Beaumont arrives to make matters worse. And still the lions attack and attack and attack.

Enter Big Game Hunter Charles Remington who is as determined to destroy the lions as the lions seem determined to eat every man in camp.

This is an under-appreciated, well made, well scripted nail biting adventure. It boasts solid artists on both sides of the lens: William Goldman penned the script, Gail Anne Hurd and H. Kitman Ho are two of the producers who know how to spend the budget wisely, the great Vilmos Zigmond is responsible for the mesmerizing African cinematography. Stephen Hopkins directs with great vision and skill and the actors are uniformly solid and believable in their roles. Val Kilmer plays Patterson with an understated, simple and elegant performance; Tom Wilkerson is the charming snake of a boss Beaumont, Brian McCardie gains the viewers sympathy as a youthful, innocent, and doomed Angus Starling, John Jani is the stalwart Project Manager Samuel, Bernard Hill the irritable/irritating Dr. Hawthorne, Om Puri is the creepy, sarcastic Abdullah ("You are white. You can do anything.") and Michael Douglas, also an Executive Producer – he got the money – plays hunter Charles Remington, removing the sweet edges of his Romancing the Stone role to create our renown hunter.

Hopkins not only knows how to build tension, suspense, and terror, but when to let us relax and how to fill that time. The quiet moments are never dull. They let us empathize with these men, their characters get to develop and we bond with them and their nightmare. Zigmond (Close Encounter of the Third Kind) uses deep oranges and blacks for the African locale, except during a daylight lion hunt and cave exploration when he switches to bright sunlight, vibrant greens and sharp browns as if to show us that even a travelogue holds a nightmare. It is near Hitchcockian.

Rolling underneath the film like summer thunder (or the breathy growl and snarling of our killer lions) is Jerry Goldsmith's pounding, tribal driven score, which accents the mood and gives further dimension to the narrative. Listen closely, you can hear him using tonal motifs he developed for Star Trek: The Motion Picture.

As the hysteria builds and the men frenzy, many explanations are offered for the appearance of these animals: Are they the spirits of medicine men come to exact revenge; Or demons sent by the devil to keep Africa unsoiled; Or have they come to claim John Patterson? Is it to helplessly watch as they strip away the layers of security around him until he is exposed and defenseless against their teeth and claws? It is no coincidence that Kilmer is photographed at times slack- faced and full on and LOOKS like a lion himself.

Once this film starts, I can guarantee you that you won't be able to take a snack break, bathroom break, or even think about dozing off. It is that good. And remember this: You can see the preserved bodies of these two giant man-eaters at the Field Museum in Chicago, Illinois because this incredible story is TRUE.

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