7.6/10
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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)
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins. See more awards »

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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
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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 »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

1 August 1931 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Tabu See more »

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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 »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film's Oscar-winning cinematographer Floyd Crosby was the father of rock legend David Crosby, renowned as a member of The Byrds and, much more famously, of Crosby Stills Nash & Young. 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

Edited into Histoire(s) du cinéma: Une histoire seule (1989) See more »

Soundtracks

Symphony 'Má vlast'
(1874-79) (uncredited)
Written by Bedrich Smetana
See more »

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User Reviews

Not as good as Nosferatu or Sunrise, but still really good
28 March 2004 | by RosebudsthesledSee all my reviews

I saw this film just last night on a double bill with "Nosferatu." Considering that Nosferatu is a !*&@#%$ masterpiece, it was hard to compare this with the movie I just saw, plus my friend who was watching it with me was only thinking of "Mystery Science Theater" comments the whole time, but I had the mature response and I really liked this movie. The cinematography is beautiful, and the story is incredibly convincing. The ending also made me cry. It may not be as good as "Sunrise," but it's one of the last great silent films, and also great as a semi-documentary of Polynesian life. Considering Paramount's silent films barely survive, this should be seen as a treasure.


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