18 user 11 critic

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




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 ... Leopold Maxwell
Don Pedro Colley ... Morumba
Vito Scotti ... Games Spectator
Liam Dunn ... Dr. Winslow
Ivor Francis ... Dean Bellamy
Leon Askin ... Dr. Gottlieb
Howard Cosell ... Announcer
Frank Gifford ... Announcer
Learn more

More Like This 

Comedy | Family | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

Dexter Riley and his friends accidently discover a new chemical mixed with a cereal seems to give anyone temporary superhuman strength

Director: Vincent McEveety
Stars: Kurt Russell, Joe Flynn, Eve Arden
Gus (1976)
Comedy | Family | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

The California Atoms are in last place with no hope of moving up. But by switching the mule from team mascot to team member, (He can kick 100 yard field goals!) they start winning, and move... See full summary »

Director: Vincent McEveety
Stars: Edward Asner, Don Knotts, Gary Grimes
Comedy | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

When John Baxter inherits a ski resort in the Rocky Mountains, he quits his job in New York and moves the family west to run it. Only to find that the place is a wreck. But together they ... See full summary »

Director: Norman Tokar
Stars: Dean Jones, Nancy Olson, Harry Morgan
Comedy | Sci-Fi | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

When Professor Brainard experiments further on Flubber derivatives, he gets in trouble and only his students can help.

Director: Robert Stevenson
Stars: Fred MacMurray, Nancy Olson, Keenan Wynn
Action | Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

When crooks set up operations in a traditional town, a minister and a group of church ladies are willing to do anything, no matter how wacky, to get them out.

Director: Bruce Bilson
Stars: Edward Herrmann, Barbara Harris, Susan Clark
Family | Comedy | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A chemistry student invents a spray that makes its wearer invisible. A crook finds out about it, and plans to steal it for himself.

Director: Robert Butler
Stars: Kurt Russell, Cesar Romero, Joe Flynn
Comedy | Family
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

During school-break, two kids are to stay with their rich Grandpa but they would rather join their mother overseas, so, in need of plane-ticket cash, they convince two petty-criminals to fake-kidnap them for a ransom they could all share.

Director: Norman Tokar
Stars: David Niven, Darren McGavin, Don Knotts
Comedy | Family | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Three orphan children strike gold in 1878 California.

Director: Norman Tokar
Stars: Bill Bixby, Susan Clark, Don Knotts
Comedy | Family | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A college professor invents an anti-gravity substance which a corrupt businessman wants for himself.

Director: Robert Stevenson
Stars: Fred MacMurray, Nancy Olson, Keenan Wynn
Family | Comedy | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Merlin Jones, a precocious and intelligent high-school boy, experiments with hypnosis and creates a mind-reading machine. However, his experiments land him in deep trouble with the law.

Director: Robert Stevenson
Stars: Tommy Kirk, Annette Funicello, Leon Ames
Comedy | Family | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

At Medfield College, an accident with a donated computer gives Dexter Riley the ability to remember any knowledge learned instantly and perfectly.

Director: Robert Butler
Stars: Kurt Russell, Cesar Romero, Joe Flynn
Family | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

A young man who works in the mailroom at a TV network wants to move up the corporate ladder but finds himself stymied by his selfish boss. By chance he discovers that his neighbor's ... See full summary »

Director: Robert Butler
Stars: Kurt Russell, Joe Flynn, Harry Morgan


Sam Archer is the beleaguered head coach of Merrivale College's many hapless sports teams and individual sports athletes, their poor performance placing his job on the line. Taking a break in Zambia with his assistant Milo Jackson to get in touch with his African roots, Sam believes he sees the answer to all his professional problems in the form of Nanu, arguably the fastest, strongest, and most agile person who he has ever come across, Nanu who also has pinpoint accuracy in his aim. After the death of his missionary parents, Nanu was raised as a jungle boy by Gazenga, an African witch doctor. As Nanu is reluctant to leave his African home, Sam and Milo have to manipulate a way for Nanu to want to attend Merrivale. Gazenga may have his own thoughts of what he wants for his son. Eventually, Nanu does go to Merrivale with Sam and Milo, with the one condition that he bring his best friend, Harri, who he's known since he was a child. Beyond adjusting to western life, Nanu finds that his ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


He's a winner...he's a swinger...he's DYNAMITE! See more »


G | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


The cheetah can accelerate to 75 mph. See more »


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


Announcer: I've never seen anything like this in my entire illustrious career!
See more »


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

User Reviews

The World's Greatest Athlete was an amusing enough Disney comedy from the '70s
2 June 2010 | by tavmSee all my reviews

After a few decades of knowing about this '70s Disney comedy, I finally took my borrowed DVD and watched The World's Greatest Athlete. In this one, Coach John Amos and his assistant Tim Conway have been on the losing end of various sports endeavors for so long that dean Billy De Wolfe (in a too-brief role)-who's accompanied by his son Danny Goldman-remind them of just one more year on their contract. Amos tears it up and goes to Africa with Conway to get away from it all. There they find Jan-Michael Vincent who outruns a tiger. The only way they can get him, though, is if he saves one of them...I'll stop there and just say that this is one of those silly family comedies that was the House of Mickey's bread-and-butter during the decade that the other major studios were making big box office and winning Oscars with more mature fare. With the Tarzan-inspired story and many well-established special effects, there are quite a few chuckles here-and even a big laugh concerning a wheelchair-bound old man who can "suddenly" walk-that I admit to doing while watching. And it's fun seeing Conway either putting his head where it sometimes doesn't belong or getting moved by a voodoo doll once owned by a witch doctor played by Roscoe Lee Browne. But the stuff involving Nancy Walker as a near-sighted landlady and Goldman as the dean's interloping son I could do without. And stunning Dayle Haddon as Vincent's girlfriend (called Jane, of course) is just window dressing. Still, this is harmless fare that should provide enough enjoyable distraction for 90 minutes especially as you watch such real-life announcers like Frank Gifford and Howard Cosell join in on the fun. P.S. I just found out, via the IMDb site, that Mr. Goldman was the voice of Brainy Smurf on the "Smurfs" TV cartoon show.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 18 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.


Official Sites:

Disney's Official Site





Release Date:

14 February 1973 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The World's Greatest Athlete See more »


Box Office

Gross USA:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

Recently Viewed