Deep in the Amazon jungle, a horde of killer ants is destroying everything in its path. MacGyver helps his entomologist friend and the plantation owner to battle the ants before the plantation is destroyed.



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Episode complete credited cast:
David Ackroyd ...
Dr. Charles Alden
Will Gotay ...
Maurice Sherbanee ...
Commissioner Santos (as Maurice Sherbanée)
Dr. Andrea Gates
Vincenzo Gagliardi ...
The Cook (as Enzo Gagliardi)
The Guard (as Ranscombe Richmon)
Simone Boisseree ...
Yana (as Simone Boisserée)
Hal John Norman ...
The Old Man (as Hal Jon Norman)
David Cadiente ...
The Non-Com


In the opening gambit, Mac dresses down to a bath-towel to blend in with a Basque extremist group which holds captive a female scientist in the Pyrenees, then makes blow up their open air-shower as a diversion before they flee over a wild mountain stream. In the main story, Mac visits a biologist in Brazilian Amazonia, where an unknown phenomenon causes all kinds of animals to flee massively. Joining the head-strong plantation founder Lucien Trumbo, who employs whole villages of native Indians and created his own self-sufficient little world carved out of the huge forest, they soon find the natural force at work is the unexplained rare awakening of the marabunta, massed colonies of billions of soldier ants who form armies miles wide and long, unstoppable and capable of devouring anything, devastating the whole landscape from grass and grasshoppers to cattle and towering trees. Trumbo, his loyal local lieutenant Luis and Mac try every defense he can think up, from flooding irrigation ... Written by KGF Vissers

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Release Date:

10 November 1985 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The plot for this episode was based on the short story "Leiningen Versus the Ants" written by Carl Stephenson and published in the 1938 edition of Esquire (after originally being published in German in 1937). See more »


When MacGyver puts on his "suit of armor" the legs are pulled tight in back and wrapped to the inside of his leg. In the next scene as he heads out the gate, they are pulled tight in back and wrapped to the outside of his legs. See more »


[first lines]
MacGyver: [voice-over narration] Up in the Pyrenees, there's about as pretty a patch of country as you could ever hope to see. Peaceful forests, raging rivers, and Basque mountain men who've been feuding with France or Spain for as long as anyone can remember. Now and then, an American tourist gets caught in the middle of one of these private wars and that's when I usually get a call. When somebody's in trouble and needs some rescuing.
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Features The Naked Jungle (1954) See more »

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User Reviews

A middle of the road episode, but still fun

MacGyver vs The Ants could be the title of the episode, as MacGyver, for once, is not pitted against other humans, but nature.

It all starts when one of MacGyver's friends, Dr. Alden, asks for his help to get upriver in the middle of the jungle. Something is wrong, as birds are running away from its natural environment, and Alden wants to discover the reason behind it. MacGyver agrees and both decide to investigate together, till their inquiries bring them to the territory of a white man called Trumbo. There they discover that some dangerous ants are causing the birds to run away. And they are planning to continue their advance and take over Trumbo's kingdom.

The show has the same problems that other episodes of MacGyver have. It is still very white-centered (Trumbo, Alden and MacGyver are the center, and you just have some peasants to give color to the episode). Also, it follows clichés (like the peasants running away, save the loyal one, that stays to help his master) of colonialism views of the world. If that was not enough, the beginning of the episode, where MacGyver has an encounter with some Basque terrorists, offers some of the less Basque-looking Basques of the world, which makes for some fun cultural treatment of other cultures (something that the lack of extras brings to basically all the episodes of the series, as the second one in Burma, for example).

It is not the greatest of episodes, but, as always, Richard Dean Anderson's charisma keeps the show going. And it is a little bit darker than other episodes, which makes for some surprises. And seeing MacGyver pitted against something that's not human gives it some originality. Nonetheless, the show is capable of much better.

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