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Cannibal Holocaust (1980)

Unrated | | Adventure, Horror | 7 February 1980 (Italy)
1:07 | Trailer

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During a rescue mission into the Amazon rainforest, a professor stumbles across lost film shot by a missing documentary crew.


Ruggero Deodato


Gianfranco Clerici (story), Gianfranco Clerici (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
1,696 ( 149)



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Complete credited cast:
Robert Kerman ... Professor Harold Monroe
Francesca Ciardi ... Faye Daniels
Perry Pirkanen ... Jack Anders
Luca Barbareschi ... Mark Tomaso (as Luca Giorgio Barbareschi)
Salvatore Basile ... Chaco Losojos
Ricardo Fuentes Ricardo Fuentes ... Undetermined Role
Carl Gabriel Yorke ... Alan Yates (as Gabriel Yorke)
Paolo Paoloni ... 1st Executive
Lionello Pio Di Savoia Lionello Pio Di Savoia ... 2nd Executive (as Pio Di Savoia)
Claudia Rocchi Claudia Rocchi ... Undetermined Role (as Luigina Rocchi)


With the intention to venture into the unexplored areas in the deep jungle of the Amazon rainforest at the border between Brazil and Peru, in 1979, a film crew composed of four young Americans attempted to make a documentary about the never seen before indigenous cannibalistic tribes. However, it's already been two months since anyone last heard from the crew, so without further delay, the noted anthropologist Professor Harold Monroe and his rescue team of the seasoned guide Chaco Losojos and his assistant, embarked on a mission to locate them in the depths of the Green Inferno. Following the Yakumos, a tribe that no white has ever seen before, soon enough, the Professor's rescue party will encounter the elusive Yanomamos or Tree People and the fearsome Shamataris or the Swamp People. Eventually, as more evidence is found concerning the fate of the film crew, the Professor will try to recover the raw footage that was paid in blood, and return it to New York to the executives of the ... Written by Nick Riganas

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The most grueling film ever made. See more »


Adventure | Horror


Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »


Official Sites:

Grindhouse Releasing




English | Spanish | Italian

Release Date:

7 February 1980 (Italy) See more »

Also Known As:

Ruggero Deodato's Cannibal Holocaust See more »

Filming Locations:

Guri, Venezuela See more »


Box Office


$100,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

F.D. Cinematografica See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


| (heavily cut) | (animal cruelty-free) | (Québec)

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)| Dolby Digital (2001 re-release)


Color (Eastmancolor) (uncredited)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


When the professor meets the shaman's son for the first time, the boy has a symbol "tattooed" on his nape. The same symbol can be seen on a truck passing by at the very last scene, right after the professor says "I wonder who the real cannibals are". See more »


During the impalement scene, the lower portion of the "stick" is perfectly smooth and straight, while the portion through her mouth is rough and somewhat jagged, like an actual tree limb. The upper part should also exit through her eye sockets. See more »


[first lines]
PABS Reporter: Man is omnipotent; nothing is impossible for him. What seemed like unthinkable undertakings yesterday are history today. The conquest of the moon for example: who talks about it anymore? Today we are already on the threshold of conquering our galaxy, and in a not too distant tomorrow, we'll be considering the conquest of the universe, and yet man seems to ignore the fact that on this very planet there are still people living in the stone age and practicing cannibalism.
See more »

Crazy Credits

In the end credits: "Projectionist John K. Kirov was given a two-month suspended sentence and fined $10,000 for illegal appropriation of film material. We know that he received $250,000 for the same footage." See more »


References The Cruel Ones (1967) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Ruggero Deodato has truly achieved a milestone new level of depravity and meaningless violence…
10 November 2008 | by Michael DeZubiriaSee all my reviews

What you have in Cannibal Holocaust is a story about a group of people from NYU that go to document a culture of cannibals and never come back. Not that the story matters. Having watched I think three cannibal movies now (this is three more than the average healthy adult's lifetime recommended dosage), it has become clear to me that they are nothing more than exhibitions of movie violence and sickness. And in that area, the movie succeeds brilliantly. It is so tasteless and so disgusting that it's amazing that things like this ever get made.

And not just for the animal mutilations or the feces flinging (yeah that really happens in this movie. It's not just a t-shirt for smartass teenagers) or the orgies of misogynistic violence, but of course there are tons of naked natives in the movie, many of them obviously underage. But I guess that is just not a concern in whatever country the movie was distributed from.

I am guessing we are meant to be impressed by the feeding scenes, since logic would lead you to believe that that is what a cannibal film centers on. If so, maybe that explains why all the natives must smear their food all over their faces before they eat it, although I am at a loss to explain why women are regularly mutilated, dismembered, fornicated with and THEN eaten.

It becomes clear early on that surely someone in the group of NYU people must snap, unable to take what they're seeing anymore, and of course it does happen.

One guy, since the natives 'distrust' them (maybe it was all that shooting?) decides to strip naked to "become like them." Evidently this man has never seen the whiteness of his naked self before, but the island girls don't seem to mind. As soon as this awkward white guy strips off his khakis a whole group of naked girls run up to him and start grab-assing for a little while. Hey, maybe cannibals aren't so bad after all…

Oh, but minutes later, the group are forced to eat human, as is to be expected. The natives gleefully shove entrails in their faces as they inexplicably turn into savages for the purpose of this bizarre plot. Why the instant and total descent into barbarism? I have no idea, the movie isn't intelligent enough to explain such a thing, all it knows how to do is show you something that you would be much better off never seeing.

A giant turtle is torn apart alive with bare hands while the cameraman zooms in for an extreme close-up so as not to miss a single revolting detail, a monkey gets its face cut off, a backwoods amputation is cauterized with a hot machete and, when the poor amputee immediately dies, the rest of the crew forget seconds later, laughing and joking in the subsequent footage.

This is, of course, all documentary footage that they're watching of a past film crew. It seems that these mental giants went into the village and started screaming and shooting their guns and burning the village, and then wondered why they were massacred. It is not exactly a massive intellectual surge when one of the new crew says "these people probably think WE'RE the savages!"

Yeah, what tipped you off? The burning of their village or the fornicating in the ashes?

Clearly this is meant to be the movie's thinly disguised message. White people are savages at least as much as the people that we think of as savages. Oh and in case you didn't happen to catch that message when it smacked you in the head numerous times like a ton of bricks, at one point the "civilized" people grab one of the native girls and rape her, trying to show her the errors of her ways. Clever.

These people are nothing like any manner of civilized people, they are absolute degenerates and should be imprisoned. They even shout for joy when they find a woman impaled on a pole. What the hell is this garbage?

But in watching a movie like this, it seems to me that it is the people that would make and distribute something like this that are the savages.

At least horror movies are FUN, even bad ones. And this is not a bad horror movie. It's not a horror movie at all, I don't know what you would call it, but it is truly horrible.

A mother gives birth to an infant in the movie, for example. The baby is taken away from it's mother, drenched in blood and then buried in the mud while the mother is beaten to death with rocks.

There is a point in the movie where the utterly talentless writer, evidently unaware of how breathtakingly obvious his story is, has one of his characters spoon-feed you the real meaning of the movie:

"Today people want sensationalism. The more you rape their senses, the happier they are."

This sentence betrays a staggering lack of understanding of film-going audiences, but at least it is a flawless description of the thought behind the movie. Too bad you have to watch it to learn that you should never have watched it…

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