6.6/10
26,558
110 user 37 critic

The Mosquito Coast (1986)

Trailer
2:27 | Trailer
An inventor spurns his city life and moves his family into the jungles of Central America to make a utopia.

Director:

Peter Weir

Writers:

Paul Theroux (novel), Paul Schrader (screenplay)
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Popularity
3,946 ( 1,379)
Nominated for 2 Golden Globes. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Harrison Ford ... Allie Fox
Helen Mirren ... Mother
River Phoenix ... Charlie
Jadrien Steele Jadrien Steele ... Jerry
Hilary Gordon Hilary Gordon ... April
Rebecca Gordon Rebecca Gordon ... Clover
Jason Alexander ... Clerk
Dick O'Neill ... Mr. Polski
Alice Heffernan-Sneed Alice Heffernan-Sneed ... Mrs. Polski (as Alice Sneed)
Tiger Haynes Tiger Haynes ... Mr. Semper
William Newman ... Captain Smalls
Andre Gregory ... Reverend Spellgood
Melanie Boland Melanie Boland ... Mrs. Spellgood
Martha Plimpton ... Emily Spellgood
Raymond Clare Raymond Clare ... Convert 1
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Storyline

An eccentric and dogmatic inventor sells his house and takes his family to Central America to build a utopia in the middle of the jungle. Conflicts with his family, a local preacher, and with nature are only small obstacles to his obsession. Based on the novel by Paul Theroux. Written by Keith Loh <loh@sfu.ca>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Allie Fox followed his dream to the Mosquito Coast. He planned a paradise. He created a Hell. See more »


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Jason Alexander of Seinfeld fame had a bit part in this movie as a store clerk. During shooting in Rome, Georgia while out shopping in what turned out to be a not so safe area he had a gun put to his head from behind. Not knowing what was the thing pressing on his head, Alexander twisted, reached up, grabbed the robber's hand and arm and pulled forward just as the robber started shooting. Alexander claims he managed this due to long years of martial arts training. He was not hurt and managed to break the man's arm and one finger as he pulled the gun from his hand before fleeing the scene. Alexander has told this story in several interviews, notable on Kevin Pollak's podcast number 86. See more »

Goofs

While Allie Fox and his family are being lashed by violent winds and near horizontal rain during a hurricane a couple of palm trees in the background are standing perfectly still. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Charlie: My father was an inventor, a genius with anything mechanical. Nine patents, six pending. He dropped out of Harvard, "to get an education", he said. I grew up with the belief that the world belonged to him, and that everything he said was true.
Allie Fox: Look around ya, how did America get this way? Land of promise, land of opportunity. Give us the wretched refuse of your teeming shores. Have a Coke. Watch TV.
Charlie: Have a nice day.
Allie Fox: Go on welfare. Get free money. Turn to crime - crime pays in this ...
[...]
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Connections

Referenced in Reel Paradise (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

Clap Your Hands
Words and Music by Gary Johnson
Performed by Grace Gospel Primary School Choir
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User Reviews

 
The Iceman Cometh
23 August 2010 | by LechuguillaSee all my reviews

Frothing at the mouth with disgust for his homeland America, inventor Allie Fox (Harrison Ford), with family in tow, pulls up roots, and moves to Central America. Here, he proceeds to build a new life in the jungle, using his mechanical skills, his inventiveness, and in particular his patented machine, which produces ice, sans electricity. "Ice is civilization", he proclaims with unctuous authority. That will be the foundation for his utopian dream. But Allie is so headstrong, so convinced of his infallibility that his vision blinds him to reality. And the film's ending is poignant.

Delusion and self-deception breed nightmarish outcomes. And the cinema, through the years, has dramatized these themes quite well, in films like "Aguirre: The Wrath Of God", "Fitzcaraldo", and "Deliverance". In real life, delusion and self-deception were the basis for the events surrounding American preacher Jim Jones who, in the late 1970s, relocated his naive flock to the jungles of Guyana, whereupon he established Jonestown, envisioned as a religious utopia. The result was tragic.

Beyond the deep themes thus expressed in the script, "The Mosquito Coast" looks good visually. The tropical scenery is spectacular. Production design and cinematography are terrific. And the film's score, by Maurice Jarre, is wonderfully exotic and majestic.

My only complaint is the character of Allie Fox, who at some point badmouths just about everyone and everything. I could have wished for a quieter, less loquacious, madman. Then too, Harrison Ford plays Fox in a way that overrides subtext. In short, Fox not only is delusional and self-deceptive, he's also preachy, domineering, and totally lacking in compassion for others, someone whom we as viewers cannot root for or have any empathy with.

"The Mosquito Coast" reminds us that the grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence. Chasing that elusive pot of gold at the end of the rainbow is for dreamers. This is a good film to watch when you're facing a pile of problems. You could be like Allie's family, trying to forge some existence in the jungles and listening to the rants of an icy madman.


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

26 November 1986 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Mosquito Coast See more »

Filming Locations:

Baltimore, Maryland, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$25,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$110,313, 30 November 1986

Gross USA:

$14,302,779

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$14,302,779
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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