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Tarzan the Ape Man (1981)

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While on an African expedition with her father, Jane Parker meets Tarzan, and the two become fascinated by each other.

Director:

John Derek

Writers:

Tom Rowe (screenplay), Edgar Rice Burroughs (characters) | 1 more credit »
2 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Bo Derek ... Jane Parker
Richard Harris ... James Parker
John Phillip Law ... Harry Holt
Miles O'Keeffe ... Tarzan
Akushula Selayah Akushula Selayah ... Africa
Steve Strong Steve Strong ... Ivory King
Maxime Philoe Maxime Philoe ... Riano
Leonard Bailey Leonard Bailey ... Feathers
Wilfrid Hyde-White ... Club Member (voice)
Laurie Main ... Club Member (voice)
Harold Ayer ... Club Member (voice)
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Storyline

The Tarzan story from Jane's point of view. Jane Parker visits her father in Africa where she joins him on an expedition. A couple of brief encounters with Tarzan establish a (sexual) bond between her and Tarzan. When the expedition is captured by savages, Tarzan comes to the rescue. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

See why PLAYBOY calls Bo Derek the sexiest Jane in TARZAN history See more »

Genres:

Adventure | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

24 July 1981 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Tarzan, the Ape Man - Me Jane See more »

Filming Locations:

Seychelles See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$6,500,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$36,565,280

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$36,565,280
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

First movie as a producer for Bo Derek. See more »

Goofs

The film features Asian elephants, not African elephants. See more »

Quotes

Jane: [unpeeling a banana] James Parker you were wrong! I'm still a virgin. Now, I don't know if that's good or bad? What are you? You'd have to be. I mean, there's no one. You'd have to be, wouldn't you?
[bites the banana]
Jane: It's a strange problem. God, if the girls back home could see me now!
[offers a piece of her banana to Tarzan]
See more »

Crazy Credits

Tarzan and Jane play with an orangutan throughout the end credits. See more »

Alternate Versions

CBS edited 17 minutes from this film for its 1983 network television premiere. See more »

Connections

Featured in The Blockbuster Buster: Tarzan & the Lost City (2012) See more »

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User Reviews

 
TARZAN, THE APE MAN (John Derek, 1981) *1/2
12 January 2008 | by Bunuel1976See all my reviews

Surely one of the most ill-advised remakes of a classic in film history – especially since the promise of its tag-line, “The most beautiful woman of our time in the most erotic adventure of all time”, isn’t even properly exploited! Although this film was regularly shown on TV in my neck of the woods since my childhood days, its notoriety (for awfulness not erotic content, mind you) kept me away from it until now – and I only relented because I have recently enjoyed Bo Derek’s previous film, 10 (1979), and have been watching a lot of fantasy stuff as well over the Christmas period.

Lead actress/producer Bo Derek is rather ridiculous playing the schoolgirl-ish sexual innocent (witness the inept banana scene) and, as was to be expected, she is made to get her clothes off a few times but, as welcome as these scenes were, she came off as far more sensual in 10 than she does here; Richard Harris, then, chews the scenery incessantly as Jane’s obsessed explorer father, but John Philip Law barely registers as his aide who meekly shows some initial interest in Jane herself; newcomer Miles O’Keeffe has the title role and he only makes his entrance 45 minutes into the movie, is completely silent throughout except for his famous yodel (which is probably lifted from Johnny Weissmuller anyway!) and, furthermore, is as inexpressive as one of the trees he dangles from at regular intervals throughout the film’s second half!; for the record, he later starred in two ATOR movies (or would-be CONAN imitators) for Joe D’Amato and the King Arthur-era set, SWORD OF THE VALIANT (1984).

When still an actor, director John Derek (who also serves as his own cinematographer here) had worked with some good film-makers (Cecil B. De Mille, William Dieterle and Robert Rossen) and a few great ones (Otto Preminger, Nicholas Ray and Don Siegel) but he clearly learned zilch from them as his direction of this one is a major liability: appallingly pretentious at times (witness the perfectly horrid python attack sequence) with a senseless overuse of the slow motion technique and cheesy transitions; this was Derek’s seventh film as a director (and his second of four with wife Bo) and, eventually, he would only get to make two more.

The film’s utter failure only needs to be gauged by the fact that the Tarzan legend was tackled once more on film – in GREYSTOKE: THE LEGEND OF TARZAN, LORD OF THE APES (which, surprisingly enough, I haven’t watched myself yet) – a mere three years later!! Nominated for six Razzie Awards (including John Derek, Richard Harris and Miles O’Keeffe) and winning one for Bo Derek herself, TARZAN, THE APE MAN was co-written by Gary Goddard, the future director of another highly anticipated but ultimately disappointing transposition to the silver screen of a (this time animated) heroic figure, MASTER OF THE UNIVERSE (1987) which I will be revisiting presently as well (yay)! Despite a charming closing credit sequence showing Tarzan and Jane playing with around with an orang-utan and a music score that is not half bad actually and quite rousing on occasion, any belated good intentions are defeated by an extremely silly climax involving natives painting Bo completely white and, fatally, John Derek’s clear disinterest in the character of Tarzan himself which makes him come off as an unimportant supporting character in his own self-titled movie!!


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