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The African Queen (1951)

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In Africa during World War I, a gin-swilling riverboat captain is persuaded by a strait-laced missionary to use his boat to attack an enemy warship.

Director:

John Huston

Writers:

C.S. Forester (novel), James Agee (adapted for the screen by) | 1 more credit »
Won 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Humphrey Bogart ... Charlie Allnutt
Katharine Hepburn ... Rose Sayer
Robert Morley ... The Brother / Rev. Samuel Sayer
Peter Bull ... Captain of Louisa
Theodore Bikel ... First Officer
Walter Gotell ... Second Officer
Peter Swanwick Peter Swanwick ... First Officer of Shona
Richard Marner ... Second Officer of Shona
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Storyline

September 1914, news reaches the colony German Eastern Africa that Germany is at war, so Reverend Samuel Sayer became a hostile foreigner. German imperial troops burn down his mission; he is beaten and dies of fever. His well-educated, snobbish sister Rose Sayer buries him and leaves by the only available transport, the dilapidated river steamboat 'African Queen' of grumpy Charlie Allnut. As if a long difficult journey without any comfort weren't bad enough for such odd companions, she is determined to find a way to do their bit for the British war effort (and avenge her brother) and aims high, as God is obviously on their side: construct their own equipment, a torpedo and the converted steamboat, to take out a huge German warship, the Louisa, which is hard to find on the giant lake and first of all to reach, in fact as daunting an expedition as anyone attempted since the late adventurous explorer John Speakes, but she presses till Charlie accepts to steam up the Ulana, about to brave... Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The greatest adventure a man ever lived...with a woman! See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for thematic elements, some violence and smoking | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA | UK

Language:

English | German | Swahili

Release Date:

21 March 1952 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

African Queen See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$536,118, 24 December 1967

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$10,750,000, 10 April 1990
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

There was a language barrier between the film people and the locals that led to wild misunderstandings. For instance, for the scene that called for Brother Samuel's mission to be burned by the Germans, the crew built a village for the express purpose of burning it down. John Huston asked a local leader to bring a bunch of locals to be extras in the scene. However, when the day came for filming, not one of them showed up. It turned out that a rumor had spread among them that the film people were cannibals and it was a trap--anyone who came would be eaten. See more »

Goofs

Obvious double for Robert Morley as he tends the garden after the Germans leave. See more »

Quotes

Charlie Allnut: How'd you like it?
Rose Sayer: Like it?
Charlie Allnut: White water rapids!
Rose Sayer: I never dreamed...
Charlie Allnut: I don't blame you for being scared - not one bit. Nobody with good sense ain't scared of white water...
Rose Sayer: I never dreamed that any mere physical experience could be so stimulating!
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: GERMAN EAST AFRICA September 1914 See more »

Connections

Referenced in Brows Held High: Yeelen (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

God of Grace and God of Glory (Cwm Rhondda)
(uncredited)
Words by Harry Fosdick
Music by John Ceiriog Hughes
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Out of Africa with Bogey and Kate
6 February 2002 | by gaityrSee all my reviews

This is one of those films whose special effects and scenery must have been astounding at the time (1951), but which seem mediocre at best today. BUT, and that's a big 'but', this does not detract from the greatness of the movie overall. The scenery truly is beautiful, for one thing--and the direction and cinematography is great.

However, what truly makes this film a classic, and deservedly so, is the performances given by the lead actors. For their one film together, Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn pull out all the stops. Bogart is crude, dirty and a low-life river-rat with a heart of gold. He gives the Oscar-winning performance of his lifetime. Hepburn is prim and prissy, but always manages to win us over with her radiance and vulnerability, as well as that core of steel and strength she lends to all her on-screen characters. He's charming, in his way; she's achingly beautiful in hers. You can't help but warm to Charlie and Rosie, and truly, genuinely root for them to get together.

The ending is predictable; all 'opposites-attract' romance adventure stories are. You know without a doubt that the sunset will be there for Charlie and Rosie to ride off (or swim) into together. But you still hurt when Charlie hurts; and you still smile like a fool when he sees Rose, and when he tries to explain her forthrightness away by jungle fever. You believe the love, and that's what the African Queen is all about.

Oh, and the gin and leech scenes, of course. Those are brilliant, as everyone else here has already mentioned! ;)


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