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King Kong (1933)

Passed | | Adventure, Horror, Sci-Fi | 7 April 1933 (USA)
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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.

Directors:

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

Writers:

James Ashmore Creelman (screen play) (as James Creelman), Ruth Rose (screen play) | 2 more credits »
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Popularity
3,422 ( 356)
3 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

Out-leaping the maddest imaginings! Out-thrilling the wildest thrills! See more »


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

7 April 1933 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Ape See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$670,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$10,000,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (restored) | (original cut)

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Photophone System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This is the only film to debut at the two largest theaters in New York City, the Roxy and Radio City Music Hall, simultaneously. The total seating capacity was about ten thousand, and it sold out every performance (ten a day) at both theaters. See more »

Goofs

When Kong takes Ann to the edge of the cliff on Skull Island, the animation stand is visible for one frame, accidentally left in the shot for a single frame by the technical artists. NOTE: In the Bluray version of the release, this error has been digitally removed. See more »

Quotes

[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

Other than the sequence where Kong pulls Fay Wray's clothes off, here are the other scenes that were cut in the late '30s, and not restored until the '70s:
  • All scenes of the Brontasourus biting sailors, including the sequence where a sailor climbs to the top of a tree, and soon, a dinosaur comes and takes him away in his mouth.
  • Kong biting and chewing natives when he breaks through the gate on Skull Island, and squashing one under his giant foot.
  • Kong biting a New Yorker when he escapes from the theater.
  • Kong picking a sleeping woman from her hotel room, inspecting her and upon deciding that she's not Ann throwing her to the sidewalk several stories below. Though these scenes were fully restored in 35mm to the 1972 re-release, some prints in the 1960s used 35mm blow-ups of an old uncensored 16mm print to restore the shots, creating a noticeable drop in quality. The 1972 restoration gets the censored shots that were discovered in an uncut British 35mm print from 1933.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Nightworld (2017) See more »

Soundtracks

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

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Classic Extravaganza Still Greatest Movie Adventure of all time.
25 July 2001 | by mk4See all my reviews

As a guy whose pushing 52, I'm proud to say that this movie has been a profound influence on my life and is largely instrumental into launching me into a career as an art director. I've seen this movie perhaps over 1,000 times. Before the advent of VHS, I would catch it anywhere in L.A. where there was a revival house. Saw it countless times before the "lost" footage was restored (which puts a competely different spin on the complex character of Kong). I have a rare tape recording of the original Steiner "prologue Music" lasting over ten minutes (dubbed for me by a collector friend) which I don't think has made it onto the excellent Turner/Rhino CD soundtrack. And still I see something new upon each screening. I first saw Kong in 1956 on the local "Million Dollar Movie" show, a weekly feature of KHJ TV-9 - an RKO-General station. I remember the scenes of Kong throwing the "wrong" woman to her death as still intact...as well as a few feet of film where a New York fire engine flips-over after going around the corner (I've never seen that bit since). I was in a film class being taught by Rudy Behlmer at Art Center in 1971 when he matter-of-factly screened the "lost" footage in class (he had gotten access to it). I've seen nitrate prints screened at the L.A. County Museum of Art, UCLA and MOMA. I have seen this film with Fay Wray in attendance. I don't think I've ever missed a screening anywhere locally to the best of my knowledge. What bothers me is that today's audiences may not be able to project themselves back into time and try to relive the thrilling film-going experience circa 1933. They cannot grasp or accept the dialogue or style of acting at face-value; many consider it corny...or over-the-top. Yet a comparison between Kong and say Jurassic Park III finds the latter's dialogue so stiltedly puerile and instantly forgettable that it cannot stand the test of time even in the present, let alone seventy years. In Kong, Bruce Cabot portrays a "natural" mug who plays his part beautifully as an uncouth mate aboard ship suddenly sharing his space with one of the prettiest women of all time (Fay Wray's looks are timeless, and she is still a "hottie" even by today's standards) . Is there any wonder that similarities between Cabot and Harrison Ford as "Indiana Jones" are not coincidental? If Cabot were alive today, he'd be the one earning millions. Robert Armstrong is perfect playing an impresario so full of energy he bursts at the seams. This is the way show people talked during the third decade of the Twentieth Century...full of what they used to call ballyhoo (check out Jimmy Cagney in "Footlight Parade made in the same year for the same kind of high-voltage enthusiasm). Frank Reicher is totally believable as the captain, lending an even greater amount of quasi-realism to the fable. Never discussed is fact that this movie is shot almost documentary-style...it has a mythical "preserved-in-amber" feel about it. It's as if what you are seeing is truly real...folklore-become-fact...and that the scenes unfolding actually happened once upon a time in 1933. Who cannot visit New York City today and NOT think of King Kong on the rampage close to 70 years ago? I urge anyone who has not seen "King Kong" on the big screen to do so. When you hear the any of the remarkable sound effects as you view the film, you will become a convert; for example, just listen to the all-too-real crunching of the Allosaurus' jawbone just before Kong ends its life (a death made all-the-more poignant by the way the carnivore is introduced to the audience-by innocently and realistically SCRATCHING ITS HEAD WITH ITS CLAW as it enters frame before the fight). Absolute Perfection in a movie made up of absolute perfections. I could yammer on and on. But I won't. All I can tell you is that for these and countless other reasons this film will always rate a 10-out-of-10. It is still the Greatest Adventure Movie Of All Time.


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