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The World's Greatest Athlete (1973)

A down on his luck coach travels to Africa where he spots the world's greatest athlete - a white Tarzan-type. The coach brings him back to the U.S. of A. to compete.


Robert Scheerer

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Tim Conway ... Milo Jackson
Jan-Michael Vincent ... Nanu
John Amos ... Coach Sam Archer
Roscoe Lee Browne ... Gazenga
Dayle Haddon ... Jane
Billy De Wolfe ... Dean Maxwell
Nancy Walker ... Mrs. Petersen
Danny Goldman Danny Goldman ... Leopold Maxwell
Don Pedro Colley ... Morumba
Vito Scotti ... Games spectator
Liam Dunn ... Dr. Winslow
Ivor Francis ... Dean Bellamy
Leon Askin ... Dr. Gottlieb
Howard Cosell ... Himself - Announcer
Frank Gifford ... Himself - Announcer


Coach Archer is has not won anything in any sport that his school has participated during his tenure. Now the head of the Alumni Association, who was one of the people who endorsed him for the job, feels like Archer is making him look bad. He then tells him that this coming season is the last on his contract and will be his "last" unless he turns things around. He and his assistant, Milo go to Africa for a little vacation. While there they discover a man named Nanu, who grew up in the jungle after his missionary parents died, and who is also by all aspects the greatest athlete in the world. And if Archer can get him back to the States, he can save his job. However, Nanu is happy where he is. So Archer tricks him into doing an act by jungle law obligates him to be with Archer. When they arrive Archer gets him into the school and gets him a tutor, Jane. The two of them fall for each other the moment they meet each other. This does not make Leopold, her former boyfriend, very happy, so ... Written by <rcs0411@yahoo.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


From the Jungle to the Gym...He's the Greatest! See more »


G | See all certifications »


Official Sites:

Disney's Official Site





Release Date:

14 February 1973 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Big Boy - Der aus dem Dschungel kam See more »


Box Office

Gross USA:

$22,583,370, 31 December 1973
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Walt Disney Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.75 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


This Disney movie's high-concept of recruiting an athlete from Africa was later used around twenty-one year's later for the 1994 basketball comedy The Air Up There (1994) which was released through Disney's adult production-house brand of Hollywood Pictures. See more »


Bengal tiger's are from India not Africa. See more »


Nanu: [Nanu is smitten on meeting Jane] Me Nanu. You Jane.
Milo Jackson: Now that doesn't sound quite right...
See more »


Referenced in NCIS: Jack-Knife (2010) See more »

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User Reviews

Jan Michael Vincent - cuddling and wrestling with a REAL TIGER!!!!!!
4 November 2008 | by robespierre9See all my reviews

If you are a fan of Jan Michael Vincent and would like to see him with very little threads on, this is the film for you! Yes, there's also a cute plot about a black football/baseball/basketball coach (John Amos) who travels to Africa on safari with his hopelessly stupid assistant (Tim Conway). While in Africa, they discover Nanu (Jan Michael Vincent)a young white African boy who possesses amazing athletic abilities. Nanu travels to the USA with the coach to excel in sports. Of course his witch-doctor adoptive father disapproves, and all sorts of goofy 70's effects ensue. JMV wouldn't be remembered for his acting in this movie, but his physique certainly got attention! He's slim and muscular, with long blond hair, and he looks perfect in the skimpy Tarzan outfits. But really, the star of this film is the TIGER! You never see this in movies today - a real, live, full-size tiger wrestling with the leading actor! With his teeth around JMV's neck, no less!! Can you imagine? One false move, and CRUNCH! Dead actor! Wow. I was amazed. JMV cuddles and rolls around with this Tiger throughout the movie. It's awesome. Move on over Russell Crowe - Jan Michael Vincent takes on real tigers, not CGI ones!!!

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