521 user 164 critic

King Kong (1933)

Passed | | Adventure, Horror, Sci-Fi | 7 April 1933 (USA)
1:32 | Trailer
A film crew goes to a tropical island for an exotic location shoot and discovers a colossal ape who takes a shine to their female blonde star. He is then captured and brought back to New York City for public exhibition.


Merian C. Cooper (uncredited), Ernest B. Schoedsack (uncredited)


James Ashmore Creelman (screen play) (as James Creelman), Ruth Rose (screen play) | 2 more credits »
2,791 ( 555)
3 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »





Complete credited cast:
Fay Wray ... Ann Darrow
Robert Armstrong ... Carl Denham
Bruce Cabot ... John Driscoll
Frank Reicher ... Capt. Englehorn
Sam Hardy ... Charles Weston
Noble Johnson ... Native Chief
Steve Clemente Steve Clemente ... Witch King (as Steve Clemento)
James Flavin ... Second Mate Briggs
King Kong ... The Eighth Wonder of the World


Carl Denham needs to finish his movie and has the perfect location; Skull Island. But he still needs to find a leading lady. This 'soon-to-be-unfortunate' soul is Ann Darrow. No one knows what they will encounter on this island and why it is so mysterious, but once they reach it, they will soon find out. Living on this hidden island is a giant gorilla and this beast now has Ann in it's grasps. Carl and Ann's new love, Jack Driscoll must travel through the jungle looking for Kong and Ann, whilst avoiding all sorts of creatures and beasts. Written by Film_Fan

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


A thundering box office giant! His footsteps thundering a reborn showmanship. See more »


Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


Dorothy Jordan and Ginger Rogers were considered for the part of Ann Darrow. See more »


It takes a bit of effort from Kong to break down the door between his world and the village when he goes after Ann, especially as Kong has brute strength. Likewise Kong could have easily climbed over the wall to get into the village as well. See more »


[first lines]
Charles Weston: Say, is this the moving picture ship?
Watchman: The Venture? Yeah. Are you going on this crazy voyage?
Charles Weston: What's crazy about it?
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening Card: And the prophet said: "And lo, the beast looked upon the face of beauty. And it stayed its hand from killing. And from that day, it was as one dead." Old Arabian Proverb See more »

Alternate Versions

Also available in a computer colorized version. See more »


Referenced in Mister Ed: Don't Laugh at Horses (1963) See more »


St. Louis Blues
(1914) (uncredited)
Music by W.C. Handy
Whistled by Robert Armstrong
See more »

User Reviews

One of the most significant movies of all time.
8 October 2012 | by swedzinSee all my reviews

This amazingly large film, is definitely one of the biggest movies ever made, even in his genre, a mixture of adventure, fantasy, SF and horror. The movie that set some new standards that were used over and over, most importantly - the meaning of a true blockbuster adventure. This film was one of the first mega hit blockbusters at big budget and high gross (for that time). Directed by Ernest Schoedsack and Merian C. Cooper, these two guys were credited for creating a large ape adventure. The story was really something new back then, a little bit with that "beauty and the best" element, which goes pretty good here. A director Carl Denham (played by great Robert Armstorng, who created a very lively, charismatic and enthusiastic, original version of Carl Denham) and his film crew travels on a isolated island where they stumble upon a giant ape that takes away their leading actress Ann Darrow (played by lovely Fay Wray. Alas Fay got stuck forever with that role, and most of the time, she played scream queens, but, she did a terrific job here, and that only matters), only to capture the ape and brought him to New York (an excellent ground for one of the most thrilling endings in the history of cinema).

Now, the story was written by Edgard Wallace, whose idea about giant ape was really astonishing, in that period, in movies before the Second world war, he created a modern story idea about the beauty and the beast. Wallace put a rational amount of melodrama in the film, because without it, it would be just another mindless film featuring a large monster, only with cool special effects. And the special effects were amazing for that time, no wonder that filming took almost two years, it was a lot of work to do, and really, I enjoy these stop-motion effects more than today's CGI. Nevertheless, this "dimension" of Kong's which makes him more closely to human, just because he fells in love with the leading lady, makes the plot better and it determined a pattern which will be used in later films. It is interesting that, the same year, The Son of Kong (1933) was filmed and released with even higher melodrama.

So, the cinematography (for that time), make up, filming locations and others were pretty amazing, everything is pretty amazing, to mention the musical score of one of the old master movie composers Max Steiner, who made a badass score. We also have an old manly, heroic element depicted in John Driscoll (played by Bruce Cabot), who saves Ann from the clutches of the large beast. To also mention a fact that Kong is not alone in the island, there were tribes that worships Kong as a God, but that tribe looked little silly... and also - dinosaurs. That's right, there were bunch of dinosaurs, also large insects who pumped action and adventure even more, and don't even let me start talking about the brilliant duel between Kong and T.Rex... now that was amazing! Earnest Schoedsack and Merian C. Cooper were big fans of wrestling and they directed the fighting choreography between two beasts. That's professional, even with stop-motion special effects.

If you haven't seen this film, not even the two remakes... see the 1933 first, than proceed to the other, please don't watch remakes, you'll ruin the impression. Watch it and enjoy!

13 of 15 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 521 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »






Release Date:

7 April 1933 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Ape See more »


Box Office


$670,000 (estimated)

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


| (restored) | (original cut)

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Photophone System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.19 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

Recently Viewed