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Quest for Fire (1981)

La guerre du feu (original title)
This story takes place in prehistoric time when three tribesmen search for a new fire source.

Writers:

Gérard Brach (screenplay) (as Gerard Brach), J.H. Rosny Sr. (based on the novel by)
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Popularity
3,909 ( 1,139)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 10 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Everett McGill ... Naoh
Ron Perlman ... Amoukar
Nicholas Kadi ... Gaw (as Nameer El-Kadi)
Rae Dawn Chong ... Ika
Gary Schwartz ... Rouka - The Ulam Tribe
Naseer El-Kadi Naseer El-Kadi ... Nam - The Ulam Tribe
Franck-Olivier Bonnet Franck-Olivier Bonnet ... Aghoo - The Ulam Tribe (as Frank Olivier Bonnet)
Jean-Michel Kindt Jean-Michel Kindt ... Lakar - The Ulam Tribe
Kurt Schiegl Kurt Schiegl ... Faum - The Ulam Tribe
Brian Gill Brian Gill ... Modoc - The Ulam Tribe
Terry Fitt Terry Fitt ... Hourk - The Ulam Tribe
Bibi Caspari Bibi Caspari ... Gammla - The Ulam Tribe
Peter Elliott ... Mikr - The Ulam Tribe
Michelle Leduc Michelle Leduc ... Matr - The Ulam Tribe
Robert Lavoie ... Tsor - The Ulam Tribe
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Storyline

Anthony Burgess created the primitive language for the early humans in this prehistoric adventure about a trio of warriors who travel the savanna, encountering sabre-toothed tigers, mammoths and cannibalistic tribes in search of a flame that would replace the fire their tribe has lost. Written by Keith Loh <loh@sfu.ca>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A primeval experience set 80,000 years ago. See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Canada | France

Language:

None | French

Release Date:

12 February 1982 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Quest for Fire See more »

Filming Locations:

Lions Head, Ontario, Canada See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$12,500,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$20,959,585

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$20,962,615
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby (35 mm prints)| 70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

La guerre du feu, the novel by J.-H. Rosny Aîné, is credited in the edition by Presses de la Cité, instead of the original literary source. That editor promoted a new edition in 1982, in the wake of the film's success. See more »

Goofs

There were no saber-toothed cats in Europe at any time. Saber-Toothed cats evolved in North America, then spread to South America during the Great American Interchange (when the Isthmus of Panama rose from the sea and connected North and South America). There *were* very large cave lions (Panthera Spelea) in Europe, but they had the regular dentition of modern African lions (Panthera Leo). See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Title Card: 80,000 years ago, man's survival in a vast uncharted land depended on the possession of fire. / For those early humans, fire was an object of great mystery, since no one had mastered its creation. Fire had to be stolen from nature, it had to be kept alive - sheltered from wind and rain, guarded from rival tribes. / Fire was a symbol of power and a means of survival. The tribe who possessed fire, possessed life.
See more »

Alternate Versions

All UK versions are cut by 8 secs and are missing a shot of a wolf on fire. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Burgess Variations: Part One (1999) See more »

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User Reviews

In Search Of The Past
30 January 2007 | by LechuguillaSee all my reviews

Raw and at times brutal, this story follows three primitive warriors who make a cross-country journey in search of that most precious of natural elements ... fire. In prehistoric times, having fire meant survival from the cold and protection from predators.

In this film, facial gestures, hand movements, general body language and mannerisms of the characters are all consistent with conclusions about early man, as a result of thorough anthropological research. In lieu of modern language the film's dialogue consists of some 350 invented words and sounds, also based on research. In addition, an important part of the film is attention to detail in costumes and makeup, for which the film won several awards. All of these technical cinematic elements combine to create a reasonably accurate visual and audio impression of mankind as it existed some 80,000 years ago.

As you would expect, the film is shot entirely in rugged, remote locations, resulting in landscapes that are stunningly beautiful. Background music is generally low-key and ethereal, like what you might hear in a sci-fi film. There's lots of flute sounds, which reinforce the simplicity of the time period.

For all its technical achievements, this film's main weakness may be the screenplay. When you take away the artifacts of modern life, you're very limited in the kind of story you can tell. And that clearly is the case here, with a plot that drones on with a monotony and repetition that can be tedious, and at times difficult for some viewers.

Although the story's entertainment value may be marginal, "Quest For Fire", with its low tech cinematic style, is interesting not only for its technical elements but also for its over arching theme of modern human's continuity with prehistoric man, based on the element of fire.


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