7.6/10
4,361
23 user 49 critic

Tabu: A Story of the South Seas (1931)

Not Rated | | Drama, Romance, Adventure | 1 August 1931 (USA)
On the South Pacific island of Bora Bora, a young couple's love is threatened when the tribal chief declares the girl a sacred virgin.

Director:

F.W. Murnau

Writers:

F.W. Murnau (told by), Robert J. Flaherty (told by) (as R.J. Flaherty)
Reviews

On Disc

at Amazon

Won 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

City Girl (1930)
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A Chicago waitress falls in love with a Minnesota farmer, and decides to face a life in the country.

Director: F.W. Murnau
Stars: Charles Farrell, Mary Duncan, David Torrence
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

When farmer Rog dies, his son Peter stays, but Johannes can not be satisfied with such a condition (and servant Maria's love) and finds a job as old Count Rudenberg's secretary. His ... See full summary »

Director: F.W. Murnau
Stars: Werner Krauss, Eugen Klöpfer, Vladimir Gajdarov
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

An aging doorman, after being fired from his prestigious job at a luxurious Hotel is forced to face the scorn of his friends, neighbours and society.

Director: F.W. Murnau
Stars: Emil Jannings, Maly Delschaft, Max Hiller
Faust (1926)
Drama | Fantasy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

The demon Mephisto wagers with God that he can corrupt a mortal man's soul.

Director: F.W. Murnau
Stars: Gösta Ekman, Emil Jannings, Camilla Horn
Phantom (1922)
Drama | Fantasy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A shiftless young man becomes obsessed with a mysterious woman and yearns to find her again.

Director: F.W. Murnau
Stars: Alfred Abel, Frida Richard, Aud Egede-Nissen
Tartuffe (1925)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Young man shows his millionaire grandfather a film based on Molière's Tartuffe, in order to expose the old man's hypocritical governess who covets his own inheritance.

Director: F.W. Murnau
Stars: Hermann Picha, Rosa Valetti, André Mattoni
Comedy | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Seeking better life, two convicts escape from prison.

Director: René Clair
Stars: Raymond Cordy, Henri Marchand, Rolla France
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A blue-collar worker on New York's depressed waterfront finds his life changed after he saves a woman attempting suicide.

Director: Josef von Sternberg
Stars: George Bancroft, Betty Compson, Olga Baclanova
Vampyr (1932)
Fantasy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A drifter obsessed with the supernatural stumbles upon an inn where a severely ill adolescent girl is slowly becoming a vampire.

Director: Carl Theodor Dreyer
Stars: Julian West, Maurice Schutz, Rena Mandel
Le Million (1931)
Musical | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

An impoverished painter and his rival engage in a race across Paris to recover a jacket concealing a winning lottery ticket.

Director: René Clair
Stars: Annabella, René Lefèvre, Jean-Louis Allibert
La Chienne (1931)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A woman and her pimp exploit a painter for money.

Director: Jean Renoir
Stars: Michel Simon, Janie Marèse, Georges Flamant
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A bookseller saves a tramp from drowning and shelters him, but the tramp's odd behavior starts to wear everyone down.

Director: Jean Renoir
Stars: Michel Simon, Marcelle Hainia, Sévérine Lerczinska
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
Matahi Matahi ... The Boy
Anne Chevalier Anne Chevalier ... The Girl (as Reri)
Bill Bambridge Bill Bambridge ... The Policeman (as Jean)
Hitu Hitu ... The Old Warrior
Edit

Storyline

In his final film, F.W. Murnau presents the tale of two young lovers on the idyllic island of Bora Bora in the South Pacific. Their life is shattered when the old warrior declares the girl to be the Chosen Maid and it is forbidden for any man to even look upon her. Refusing to accept a life apart, they run off to another island, one that is decadent and westernized. The boy works as a pearl diver but not quite understanding the concept of money, is soon in debt. When the old warrior tracks them down they again plan to run away but in a desperate attempt to pay off his debts, the boy dives for pearls in shark-infested waters. The boy is successful but fate seems determined to keep the two lovers apart. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

1 August 1931 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Tabu See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$150,000 (estimated)

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$1,028,960
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (R.C.A. Photophone System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Producer/director/co-writer F.W. Murnau died in a car accident a few days after starting work on the music for this film. It had its New York premiere a week later. See more »

Quotes

The Girl: [writing a goodbye letter] I must go. Hitu is here and waits for me. You will die if I do not obey. I will go so that you may live. The tabu is upon us. I have been so happy with you far more than I deserved. The love you have given me, I will keep to the last beat of my heart. Across the great waters, I will come to you in your dreams when the moon spreads its path on the sea. Farewell.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Tabu (1982) See more »

Soundtracks

Nocturnes
(1827-46) (uncredited)
Written by Frédéric Chopin
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

One of the last great silent era films
16 March 2015 | by klausmingSee all my reviews

Tabu might best be described as ethnographic-fiction which combines Robert J. Flaherty's documentary style with F.W. Murnau visual sensibilities. The result is one of the last great silent era films. The naturalistic setting is perfectly matched by the realistic acting of the non-traditional cast, the local Polynesian people. As a tragic love story, the plot is deceptively simple, yet it is unexpectedly engaging. Murnau's expressionist background continues to be expressed through his artful use of light and shadow. His decision not to use inter-titles to explain dialogue was perhaps the most fitting to the story and the setting, leaving the majority of the plot development to the actions of the characters and the work of the camera (Klaus Ming November 2008).


0 of 0 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 23 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Trending Movies With Prime Video

Enjoy a night in with these popular movies available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed