7.0/10
6,537
49 user 39 critic

Tarzan the Ape Man (1932)

Passed | | Action, Adventure, Romance | 2 April 1932 (USA)
A trader and his daughter set off in search of the fabled graveyard of the elephants in deepest Africa, only to encounter a wild man raised by apes.

Director:

W.S. Van Dyke

Writers:

Edgar Rice Burroughs (based upon the characters created by), Cyril Hume (adaptation) | 1 more credit »
Reviews

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Prime Video

ON DISC
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Certificate: Passed Action | Adventure
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

The idyllic life of Tarzan and Jane is challenged by men on safari who come seeking ivory, and come seeking Jane as well.

Directors: Cedric Gibbons, James C. McKay, and 1 more credit »
Stars: Johnny Weissmuller, Maureen O'Sullivan, Neil Hamilton
Certificate: Passed Action | Adventure
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

An expedition seeking to bring Jane back to civilization, and Tarzan into captivity, gets more than it's bargained for.

Directors: Richard Thorpe, John Farrow, and 3 more credits »
Stars: Johnny Weissmuller, Maureen O'Sullivan, John Buckler
Certificate: Passed Action | Adventure
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Tarzan and Jane go to New York to rescue Boy after he is kidnapped into a circus.

Director: Richard Thorpe
Stars: Johnny Weissmuller, Maureen O'Sullivan, Johnny Sheffield
Action | Adventure | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Tarzan's jungle home, and his family, Jane and Boy, are threatened by men greedy for gold.

Director: Richard Thorpe
Stars: Johnny Weissmuller, Maureen O'Sullivan, Johnny Sheffield
Action | Adventure
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A group of archaeologists asks Tarzan to help them find an ancient city in a hidden valley of women. He refuses, but Boy is tricked into doing the job. The queen of the women asks Tarzan to help them.

Director: Kurt Neumann
Stars: Johnny Weissmuller, Brenda Joyce, Johnny Sheffield
Certificate: Passed Adventure
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

With Jane still away for the war effort, Tarzan and Boy set off to retrieve rare medicinal herbs, only to run into an American messenger, Nazi spies, and the mysterious desert's treacherous fauna and flora. Will they make it in one piece?

Director: Wilhelm Thiele
Stars: Johnny Weissmuller, Nancy Kelly, Johnny Sheffield
Certificate: Passed Action | Adventure | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

To equip the American zoos with as many animals as possible, a cruel trio of big-game hunters team up with an unexpected ally, threatening the African fauna. Will Tarzan allow the fiendish huntress to pillage the jungle?

Director: Kurt Neumann
Stars: Johnny Weissmuller, Brenda Joyce, Johnny Sheffield
Certificate: Passed Action | Adventure | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

As WWII rages on, a group of Nazi paratroopers land on the secret city of Palandria to exploit its wealth, and they start taking hostages. Can the powerful King of the Jungle and his trusted companions--Cheeta, and Buli--save them?

Director: Wilhelm Thiele
Stars: Johnny Weissmuller, Frances Gifford, Johnny Sheffield
Action | Adventure | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

As a spate of leopard attacks causes panic, a sceptical Tarzan joins a hunting expedition, only to face a pagan cult of Leopard-God worshippers and their fiendish High-Priestess. Can he escape the sharp claws of the savage Leopard Woman?

Director: Kurt Neumann
Stars: Johnny Weissmuller, Brenda Joyce, Johnny Sheffield
Action | Adventure
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

To escape from an arranged marriage to Aquatania's pagan god, a desperate maiden ends up in Tarzan's fishing net. But soon, he, too, finds himself before a well-planned conspiracy. Can Tarzan save the mermaid from the barbaric idol's will?

Director: Robert Florey
Stars: Johnny Weissmuller, Brenda Joyce, George Zucco
Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 3.4/10 X  

While on an African expedition with her father, Jane Parker meets Tarzan, and the two become fascinated by each other.

Director: John Derek
Stars: Bo Derek, Richard Harris, Miles O'Keeffe
Action | Adventure | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4/10 X  

This movie has little connection with the 1932 original. It does, however, have lifted footage (tinted to more-or-less match the color), including obvious footage of Weissmuller's ... See full summary »

Director: Joseph M. Newman
Stars: Denny Miller, Cesare Danova, Joanna Barnes
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
Johnny Weissmuller ... Tarzan
Neil Hamilton ... Harry Holt
C. Aubrey Smith ... James Parker
Maureen O'Sullivan ... Jane Parker
Doris Lloyd ... Mrs. Cutten
Forrester Harvey ... Beamish
Ivory Williams Ivory Williams ... Riano
Edit

Storyline

James Parker and Harry Holt are on an expedition in Africa in search of the elephant burial grounds that will provide enough ivory to make them rich. Parker's beautiful young daughter Jane arrives unexpectedly to join them. Harry is obviously attracted to Jane and he does his best to help protect her from all the dangers that they experience in the jungle. Jane is terrified when Tarzan and his ape friends first abduct her, but when she returns to her father's expedition she has second thoughts about leaving Tarzan. After the expedition is captured by a tribe of violent dwarfs, Jane sends Cheetah to bring Tarzan to rescue them... Written by Gary Jackson <garyjack5@cogeco.ca>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Here is a picture so unusual, so romantic, so dramatic that you will want to see it all over again. See more »


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

2 April 1932 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Tarzan, the Ape Man See more »

Filming Locations:

Lake Sherwood, California, USA See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$652,675 (estimated)

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$6,027,700
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Color:

Black and White (Sepiatone)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The leopard that Tarzan slays when first meeting Jane was actually a jaguar. Probably used because they would be much cheaper to import from Mexico than real leopards from Africa. See more »

Goofs

On the tree, Jane holds the Tarzan's right hand to help him to sit. The next shot shows him sat, with the right hand leaned on the tree. See more »

Quotes

Jane Parker: Thank you for protecting me.
Tarzan: Me?
Jane Parker: I said, thank you for protecting me.
Tarzan: [points at Jane] Me?
Jane Parker: No. I'm only "Me" for me.
Tarzan: [points at Jane] Me.
Jane Parker: No. To you, I'm "You."
Tarzan: [points at himself] You.
Jane Parker: No...
[Thinks for a second]
[...]
See more »

Alternate Versions

Colorized version was available... and shown on TNT See more »

Connections

Referenced in Naked Movie (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

Voo-Doo Dance
(uncredited)
Music by George Richelavie
Arranged by Paul Marquardt & Fritz Stahlberg
Played during main title
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Granddaddy of Sound Tarzans Still Entertains...
24 October 2003 | by cariartSee all my reviews

TARZAN THE APE MAN was one of Irving Thalberg's 'pet' projects at MGM, an opportunity to take an existing franchise (Edgar Rice Burroughs' jungle lord had been a film staple since beefy Elmo Lincoln donned a loincloth, in 1918), give it 'A'-list production values and a 'name' director (W.S. Van Dyke), introduce charismatic actors as the leads (28-year old multiple Olympic champion Johnny Weissmuller and 21-year old Irish import Maureen O'Sullivan), and create a 'definitive' success for the studio.

A success? Thalberg created a legend!

Utilizing MGM's vast library of stock footage (primarily from 1931's TRADER HORN), a primordial Africa that was more pulp fiction than reality was created on the back lot, and veteran British character actor C. Aubrey Smith and 20s matinee idol (and future 'Batman' regular) Neil Hamilton were introduced, as James Parker and Harry Holt, adventurers questing after the legendary 'Elephants' Graveyard'. The arrival of Parker's daughter, Jane (O'Sullivan), a free-spirited, raven-haired beauty, complicates matters, but her stubborn refusal to lease, and confidence with the natives (shown as rear projections behind Smith and O'Sullivan) finally win the two men over, and soon the trio, accompanied by whip-induced native labor, are on safari.

When a dying porter points the way to the Escarpment, a massive 'taboo' mountainous plateau protecting the Graveyard, the party has the missing piece to the puzzle, and begin an arduous climb to the top. (How a massive mountain range could be hidden, for so long, is not explained). After losing a porter, and nearly Jane, on the steep climb, the summit is achieved, and the famous Tarzan yell (a combination yodel/howl, created by MGM's sound department), is first heard. A treacherous river crossing, featuring stock footage of hippos and crocodiles, then costs the safari more bearers, with another yell saving their lives.

All this leads up, of course, to Johnny Weissmuller's first appearance as Tarzan, observing the party from the trees. He is simply magnificent...tanned, slim, smoothly-muscled (as opposed to the brawny body builders later cast in the role) and nearly naked. He soon kidnaps Jane (he may be ignorant, but he's not dumb!), and the incredible chemistry between the pair is exhibited for the first time. While initially terrified of the savage (particularly as he pulls off her clothing parts to examine them), he doesn't 'have his way' with her, and she realizes he is far more sensitive than she'd assumed.

Holt kills the ape guarding Jane (one assumes it is Kala, ape 'mother' of Tarzan, in the ERB books), and Tarzan screams in anguish at his loss. Displaying the racism prevalent in so many 30s films, Jane tries to defend her erstwhile kidnapper to her father ("He's WHITE!"), but the two hunters aren't buying it, and soon wound Tarzan, himself. Jungle animals spirit the bleeding jungle lord away...and Jane is soon at Tarzan's side, bandaging his head, and looking lustily at the big lug! When he recovers, the pair consummate their passion (in a scene tastefully off-camera), and are swapping names ("Jane...Tarzan...Tarzan...Jane").

Tarzan returns Jane, and walks away, despite her pleas to return to civilization with them. The safari is soon captured by a height-challenged native tribe ("Are they Pygmies?" Jane asks; "They're dwarves," her father replies...uh, whatever...), and a gruesome scene ensues of the surviving members being lassoed and dropped into a pit with a giant gorilla (a not-quite convincing guy in an ape suit). Holt is knocked unconscious, Parker is mortally injured, Cheeta is tossed against a wall, and Jane swoons in the gorilla's arms (shades of KING KONG), then Tarzan busts in, to kill the ape and save them all. As the ever-available stampede of elephants mash the dwarves into pulp, Tarzan leads the dying Parker, Jane, and Holt to the 'Elephants' Graveyard', where Jane's father passes away. Holt returns to civilization (he would return in the sequel, TARZAN AND HIS MATE) and Tarzan, Jane, and a recovering Cheeta start an exciting new life together!

Yes, the story is unintentionally campy, the 'apes', and animal fights, unconvincing, and there is blatant racism throughout the film. But as sheer entertainment, Depression-era audiences were enthralled. Weissmuller and O'Sullivan conveyed the kind of eroticism that pre-Code Hollywood was notorious for (and would reach even greater heights in the sequel), the action sequences were spectacular, and a new MGM franchise was born, that would produce six more films over the next nine years.

Thalberg had again proven why he was considered the film industry's resident genius!


35 of 46 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 49 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed