7.2/10
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207 user 72 critic

Out of Africa (1985)

In 20th-century colonial Kenya, a Danish baroness/plantation owner has a passionate love affair with a free-spirited big-game hunter.

Director:

Sydney Pollack

Writers:

Karen Blixen (based upon: "Out of Africa" and other writings), Judith Thurman (book) | 2 more credits »
Reviews
Popularity
2,759 ( 160)

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Won 7 Oscars. Another 23 wins & 27 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Meryl Streep ... Karen
Robert Redford ... Denys
Klaus Maria Brandauer ... Bror
Michael Kitchen ... Berkeley
Malick Bowens ... Farah
Joseph Thiaka Joseph Thiaka ... Kamante
Stephen Kinyanjui Stephen Kinyanjui ... Kinanjui
Michael Gough ... Delamere
Suzanna Hamilton Suzanna Hamilton ... Felicity
Rachel Kempson ... Lady Belfield
Graham Crowden ... Lord Belfield
Leslie Phillips ... Sir Joseph
Shane Rimmer ... Belknap
Mike Bugara Mike Bugara ... Juma
Job Seda Job Seda ... Kanuthia
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Storyline

Follows the life of Karen Blixen, who establishes a plantation in Africa. Her life is Complicated by a husband of convenience (Bror Blixen), a true love (Denys), troubles on the plantation, schooling of the natives, war, and catching VD from her husband. Written by Tony Bridges <tbridges@spicer.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Based on a true story.


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook

Country:

USA | UK

Language:

English | Swahili

Release Date:

20 December 1985 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Jenseits von Afrika See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$31,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$3,637,290, 22 December 1985, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$87,100,000

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$266,185,197
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

As Karen gives instructions to Farah about the land for the Kikuyu, she mentions that she would not be there to speak for them in case they should fight over the land. In actual fact, the Kikuyu on her farm would have private hearings among the elders in case of internal strife, sometimes taking days to thrash out every detail and possible permutation. Karen would be asked to contribute to these sessions. An example of this was when one of the children was playing with a gun and accidentally killed another child. Karen's input was valuable as the Kikuyu did not differentiate between accidental and intentional crimes. In that specific case, the family of the shooter (who had run away and stayed with the Maasai for five years) should give the victim's family a specific number of goats. Were it not for Karen, the shooter might have been turned over to the authorities and hung. See more »

Goofs

Karen offers the tribal chief a box of cigars made by the La Paz factory, in the Netherlands. That factory started exporting cigars in the 1960s. See more »

Quotes

Denys: [to Karen, whose horse has run away, leaving her at the mercy of an approaching lion] I wouldn't run. If you do, she'll think you're something good to eat.
Karen Blixen: [staring at lion] Have you - Do you have a gun?
Denys: She won't like the smell of you.
Karen Blixen: Shoot - shoot it.
Denys: She's had breakfast.
Karen Blixen: Please shoot her.
Denys: Well, let's give her a moment.
Karen Blixen: [as lion comes closer] Oh my God, shoot her!
[Lion approaches Karen then wanders off into brush]
Karen Blixen: Just how much closer did you expect to let her come?
[...]
See more »


Soundtracks

Missouri Waltz
(1914) (uncredited)
Music John Valentine Eppel
[Played as dance music at the party. Reprised on a record on safari]
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A Dream of Africa
18 October 2006 | by raejeanowlSee all my reviews

My favorite movie of all time, hands down. I watched it for the first time in the theatre. As it ended, the audience sat motionless and quiet for several beats, then burst into loud applause as the ending credits rolled. I'm not always so prophetic, but I was incredibly moved. I said to my husband, "We've just seen the Academy Award winner." If I had no other basis for recommendation, I would say the breathtaking cinematography and transporting musical score would make a viewing worthwhile (case in point: the main theme playing as Denys Finch Hatton gives Karen Blixen her first airplane ride, and we what she sees, as God must have seen it). But these are merely the window dressings.

There are two movie cuts floating around, which I tried to pursue through Universal, and then Disney. Forget it. Suffice to say there is a theatrical version and a Disney TV version, with little consequential difference to the plot except that the latter edits out a little of Karen's physical lovemaking with Denys and slightly expands her intellectual relationship with Farah; which to some degree helped buttress the development of his absolute devotion to her.

The screenplay resembles Isaak Dinesen's semi-autobiographical book very little; even so, she did not tell the whole truth in her book. You'll have to get over it, except that I think the character development suffered the loss of Blixen's deep involvement with the displaced Kikuyu tribe working her coffee plantation. Also, without an understanding of the historical times, it would be too easy to say simplistically that this is a woman trying to live within the terms of a marriage of convenience and then compensating with pursuit of a doomed passion.

What was crafted out of a mishmash of a more-or-less factual account and director Sydney Pollack's vision is still a beautiful love and adventure story in the midst of British colonial rule and an earlier, more racially and sexually biased era.

Klaus Maria Brandauer as Baron Bror von Blixen (whew! - who called Karen "Tannen," adding to my initial confusion) perfectly portrays that fun man you like immensely but could never really trust with anything important like your feelings. He along with several of the key male figures and symbols in this movie will eventually bow in respect to the "man" Karen Blixen becomes despite his often shabby treatment and other travails, because she rises above it all and perseveres. Redford plays mostly Redford. His Finch Hatton's sense of independence is fragile and illusory and will ultimately cost him dearly.

There are a couple of continuity problems that bother me to this day, including the disappearing-reappearing champagne and the continually retracking parade marchers, but for the most part few expenses or attentions to detail were spared, especially in the lavish costuming. "Bare-breasted native women" will unfortunately also make their National Geographic appearance.

Even so, Out of Africa is a treasure with a half dozen or more perfect and unforgettable scenes; a movie as long as this review, but I hope you'll agree, worth your patience.


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