Gorillas in the Mist (1988) Poster

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A wonderful portrayal of one woman's dream
GilraenEstel10 January 2001
Who was Dian Fossey? Enviromental enthusiast? Insane eco-warrior? Or both?

Gorillas In The Mist is the story of this extraordinary woman whose work with Mountain Gorillas in Congo, and subsequently Rwanda, quite possibly saved these beautiful creatures from extinction. Her hard work and determination in studying these wonderful animals led to an amazing living arrangement with them.

How simply amazing must it be to touch, play and hold hands with a silverback Gorilla in the wilds of Africa? How would it feel to find that same silverback with his head, hands and feet cut off by poachers? To be frank, these gorillas were Dian Fossey's children - each had a name, each had their own unique trait - so it is hardly surprising that she became a little possessive and started treating the animals as her own. The horrors that she experienced on those mountains would send anyone mad.

Sigourney Weaver is simply superb as Fossey, portraying her hard work and gradual decline into insanity with that touch that only a few actresses possess. Her chemistry with co-star Bryan Brown adds to the feel of the film and the fact that she was brave enough to go anywhere near real gorillas is fascinating. To be fair, the two hours do drag a little, but Weaver is talented enough to carry the film through it.

Weaver once said "I only get the parts that Meryl [Streep] passes up" but to be honest, I couldn't imagine this brilliant woman being played by anyone else but Sigourney.
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Inspiring, moving, provoking and educational.
aaronnz26 October 2004
Based on Dian Fossey's own autobiography, this true life story is inspiring and has helped these amazing animals in many ways by waking us up to their plight. Originally Dian herself was helping to make the film, until she was murdered and the production team had to go back and start it all over again several years later in 1988.

I am aware she did complete a degree when she returned to the USA in 1980 and wrote her book, which was published in 1983, and then revised in 1985. She returned to Africa in to help the gorillas and was murdered in 1984/1985 I believe near Christmas.

She may have done things that weren't ethical according to some, though her plight to save the gorilla came first.

This movie does give a fairly accurate but slightly toned down version of the events, which took place, though there were a few changes in details. It would be impossible to fit 13 years of events into just over one and a half hours of footage. So I think Hollywood did a good job.

The main alterations, leaving out some of the details of horrific animal abuse that would have otherwise pushed the rating up to an R16 and probably left any animal lover in tears. The details they left out as well may have made the film a little to shocking for the chief censors.

The special effects makeup, I believe done by Rick Baker, and real gorilla footage is seamless, making it hard to tell which parts were real gorillas and which are very well created costumes.

After purchasing the DVD I now realize they had Dian Fossey's original tracker with them to help with the film.

All up I think this film gives us just enough drama, action and thrills to make it a hit. I think Sigorney Weaver should have won an academy award for this especially considering how brave she was to film on location with real gorilla right next to her.

This movie has inspired myself to change my career path and am also reading the book, which I would recommend for anyone who wants to see how much more horrific the events were in reality.

This movie is a must see, who knows it may even change your life.
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A story of survival, heart break and Gorillas in theMist
matay195 November 2000
This amazing film inspired me to do something, to somehow involve myself in the rescue attempt of one of Mother Natures most cherished possesions, Animals.

This inspiring tale is a true story and is based in the Congo region of Africa, where Dian Fossey (Sigourney Weaver), is sent to find more information about the little known, Mountain Gorillas.

Dian starts as a bystander pleading to be sent for the trip to Africa in-order to help in some way or form. And boy does she finish wrapped in the core of the Mountain Gorillas chance of survival.

Dian Faces love, war, and poachers and beats them of one by one as her courage and determination prevails, she is truly an icon, a lady to be remembered.

This is made possible by the outstanding performance of Sigourney Weaver who amazingly succeeds in portraying this strong willed; complex character. Sigourney is an fantastically gifted actor and shows us this in this movie.

A must see, a winner, Go Sigourney!
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very fine movie "based on" the life of Primate expert Dian Fossey
disdressed1220 March 2007
this movie is based on the life of Dian Fossey and her work with the gorillas in a remote part of Africa."based on" usually means that some of the content is true and parts of it are fictionalized for dramatic effect.for sure Dian Fossey did work with gorillas in Africa and was instrumental in the increase of their population.some of the details may have been altered,but the gist of the story is true.i thought it was a very entertaining,touching and heartbreaking story.i think Sigourney weaver did a great job as Dian Fossey.she really brought some passion to the character.the movie was also thought provoking and i actually became angry more than a few times about some of the incidents that occurred.i find it rare to become so actively involved with a movie nowadays.for me "Gorillas in the Mist" is at a strong 8/10
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A Magnificent Movie; Heart-Breaking Yet Hopeful; Sigourney Weaver At Her Best
sddavis6328 July 2003
Warning: Spoilers
Like most movie buffs, I have seen Sigourney Weaver in a variety of roles and genres, from "Ghostbusters" to "Alien" to "A Map Of The World" among others, and yet I don't think I have ever seen her offer a better performance than in "Gorillas In The Mist," in which she plays fanatical gorilla researcher and protector Dian Fossey. Fossey's life - and ultimately her tragic and violent death - leaps out from the screen through Weaver, as we watch her evolve from the uncertain and inexperienced assistant to the great anthropologist Louis Leakey to the committed expert on these marvelous creatures, sometimes going over the top in her quest to save them. Be warned of some possible spoilers ahead.

The movie is absolutely heart-breaking in places. The terrified mother gorilla trying to save her baby as the tree they've climbed is cut down by poachers; Fossey's anguished cries of "I'm sorry, I'm sorry," to the baby she nursed back to health only to have to turn her over to zookeepers; the horrible death of Digit. I have to confess that each of these scenes brought a few tears to my eyes. And yet the basic gentleness and nobility of the gorilla is brought out as well, and the movie ends on a sad yet hopeful note. Fossey is murdered - certainly by the poachers she opposed for years - but her body is buried beside her beloved Digit, and the gorillas (even Digit's group) live on and increase in number.

The movie contains strong supporting performances from Bryan Brown as National Geographic photographer Bob Campbell, with whom Fossey falls in love but for whom she won't leave her gorillas, from John Omirah Miluwi as Sembagare, Fossey's gentle guide through the African jungles to Iain Cuthbertson who was perfectly believable as Louis Leakey.

This is spectacular. From the photography to the acting to the reality behind the story. I honestly can't come up with a flaw.

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Not boring at all
manuelvillalta19 March 2001
despite what other people might say this movie was not boring at all, it had beautiful acting, specially from Mrs. Weaver, beautiful cinematography and a strong story, just because the movie had a very sad and not expected ending it doesn't make it boring, give it a chance, we might be just giving our personal opinions. please make your own.
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Was emotionally stirring, and inspiring.
eviestar25 June 2001
This movie was emotionally stirring, and inspiring. This movie is about someone very brave who saw a terrible problem and tried to do something about it. Not just fussed about it, but actually DID something. The movie is hard for a tender hearted person to take sometimes, but it will inspire you to get out there and make a difference. I had tears streaming down my face the first time I watched...and the second and third time too. There should be many more movies like this made.
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Anyone who loves animals must see this film....
MarieGabrielle28 September 2006
While this film may have taken certain creative license with some facts, this story is important and upsetting. Many people in the US are still not aware of the poaching issues, the wild horses that are being sold for profit now, and many horrific things that still go on, simply because animals have no one to protect their rights.

This film is upsetting and sad, but also beautiful. To see the silver back gorillas, how gentle they are to each other, and see Sigourney Weaver as Dian Fossey, who attempted to communicate and understand them.

It is sometimes difficult to learn what inhumanity man is capable of; against both humans and animals. But by learning about this issue, one may be galvanized into learning more, joining a humane association, or teaching their children to respect animals. Animals, especially in the wild are also God's creatures, and deserve to be respected. 10/10.
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An incredible story about an incredible woman.
Shopaholic3522 February 2014
This movie shows you how far we have come with species preservation, even if we still have a way to go. Although I was vaguely aware of Dian Fossey's work I had no idea how crucial she was to the conservation efforts of the beautiful Gorillas. It saddens you that some people are so money hungry that previously we were heading towards extinction for many animals, not just gorillas.

Sigourney Weaver is fantastic in this movie and immerses herself in the role. You feel her characters passion and respect her efforts with placing herself in dangerous conditions so she can carry out important research. She never gives up and refuses to be defeated.

This is a very emotional movie that encourages you to respect the earth and all the living creatures on it. I promise that you will not be disappointed and you may even learn something.
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Moose-5918 September 1999
A beautiful film exploring the life quest of an important 20th century scientist. The cinematography was excellent and the script and music enjoyable. One of Sigourney Weaver's best performances. This was the first feature film to use real gorillas.
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great compelling biopic
SnoopyStyle16 November 2013
Dian Fossey (Sigourney Weaver) brow beats Dr. Louis Leakey into letting go into the jungle to research mountain gorillas. She's joined by a local guide Sembagare and a National Geographic photographer Bob Campbell (Bryan Brown).

It's a well biopic from director Michael Apted of an amazing woman and an amazing life. The performances are first class. Sigourney Weaver is able to project a certain self confidence in the character.

The other thing I want to mention is the realism of the gorilla suits. It is hard to tell the difference between the real thing and the suits. It's of the utmost importance because we wouldn't want to be hampered by 'Planet of Apes' retreads.
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A story worth telling
Leofwine_draca8 August 2011
One reviewer called this film 'superficial' and I can't really disagree with him: it tells a simple, true-life story about a white woman who pioneered research into the life of mountain gorillas in darkest Africa. There isn't a great deal or depth or moralising here. Instead, what you see is what you get - an interesting, evocative and sometimes compelling story of mankind's relationship with nature.

The film has strengths and weaknesses evenly distributed. Of course, the gorillas are the real stars of the show here (no disrespect to Sigourney Weaver, turning in another Ripley-esque tough-as-nails performance) and whenever they're on screen, the film comes to life. The film isn't afraid to tug at the heartstrings when poachers come into the plot, but that's fine by me.

Where the film doesn't work is in its attempts at Hollywood convention. The real life of Dian Fossey - including her mysterious death - just doesn't tie up neatly into a package. Hence we get the shoehorned-in romantic subplot involving an extraneous Bryan Brown. Nonetheless, GORILLAS IN THE MIST is worth seeing and far more enlightening than most nature documentaries you see on TV any night of the week.
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L_Koebel7 November 2003
I thought this movie was so wonderful. I makes me want to take my dreams of being an Anthropologist even further. This woman Sigourney Weaver plays was an incredible woman and Weaver did the best job in portraying Dian Fossey! I recommend it to anyone who is against poaching and killing wild animals...a very moving story.
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one amazing woman
Trinity_422 April 2003
I disagree with comments that Dian Fossey isnt a heroine.

Whether or not,in real life, she was a loner or unsociable, she was

an amazing woman and someone we should remember. Her tactics in the films arent condemable, when she scares th

child she doesnt hurt him she just stands with a mask and roars,

leaving it up to the child to think shes a witch. As for her apparent disrespect for marriage vows jut saying that it

complete c**p.She falls in love with him she cant help that the

simple fact that heart wants what the heart wants. Also it takes 2 to

tango. When she pretends to hang the poachers she didnt actually kill

them she used scare tactics. She came to love the gorillas as her own kids, so when she saw

Digit with his head cut off she reacted in unpredictable ways.She

never brutally murdered anyone or thing and she didnt kill for

money. Dian Fossey is one of the true heros of the 20th century. Also Sigourney Weaver is great in this role and should of won the

Oscar. 10 out of 10 stars
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An incredible portrayal of incredible courage
bob_mand11 May 1999
Sigourney Weaver in her "role of a lifetime" as Dianne Fosse, savior of the Mountain Gorilla. Fosse, who with a background in physical therapy, left her home, life and fiancee to perform a census of mountain gorillas for The Leakey Foundation, turned her life into a crusade to both alter mankind's perception of the gorilla and save the species from mankind (in the form of poachers) as well. This is not a simple nice lady learns to cohabitate with funny apes, this is heart touching, powerful drama that shows Fosse's relentless courage in the face of bureaucracy, brutality, and superstition. I wished I believed in anything that much that I would risk my life for it.
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Powerful and Moving.
jerekra22 February 2009
Gorillas in the mist is a film that touched me deeply. It made me have a better understanding of what Dian Fossey did in her life and also made me see how bad some Gorillas have it.

I think the film did a good job depicting Fossey's life. The main reason why is because Sigourney Weaver does an OUTSTANDING job of portraying her. Seriously, this is acting at its best. Weaver has perfect emotion and also does a good job acting like a gorilla in scenes. She really should have won an academy award. I know she was nominated and lost but I do not understand how.

This movie is very touching. It really made me see what goes on over in Africa and how poaching is a problem. I really felt bad for the Gorillas in this film and this film succeeded in making me feel bad for the Gorillas and make me want to do something about it. I always want to help animals whenever I can so seeing how Fossey fought for the Gorillas sort of inspired me. It is very important to protect all of the endangered species of animals on the planet including the Gorilla.

I must say that this film is very sad at parts. If you are an animal lover you will find it hard not to cry at times. Just a warning.

A great film that shows how important it is to protect animals. Very sad, but I do recommend it.
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Interesting character study
gallenm13 July 2003
This film documents the life of Dian Fossey, from the beginning of her work with the mountain gorillas to her decline into obsession and psychotic behavior. The film has wonderful special effects and great scenery. Furthermore, Weaver gives a marvelous performance as Fossey, making her descent into madness all too believable. The film does have some flaws, though. Julie Harris actually only appears for five minutes in the film (which disappointed me, since she received an honorary degree from my school.) Furthermore, the African actor who plays Fossey's guide has a larger role than either Harris or Bryan Brown, yet is listed further down in the credits. Finally, the film tries to put a happy spin on what is actually a tragic story, and tries to justify Fossey's actions.
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FerdyRSB200425 November 2004
ON New Year's Day 1978, a researcher on patrol in Rwanda's Park of the Volcanoes found the mutilated body of a male gorilla in the forest undergrowth. It was a gruesome sight. The body had multiple stab wounds from spear thrusts, and had been grossly mutilated. Like the victim of some bizarre torso murderer, the young silverback gorilla's head and both its hands had been savagely hacked off and carried away.

That event made headlines all over the world, because the gorilla was called Digit, a name given by the dedicated American scientist, Dian Fossey. She had known Digit since birth, 10 years before.

This fact would be the inspiration for the film "Gorillas in the mist: the story of Dian Fossey.

(Source: "The Environmental Wars" by David Day, a Greenpeace member).
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gorilla my dreams
lee_eisenberg5 October 2006
Even if you have no idea who Dian Fossey was, "Gorillas in the Mist: The Story of Dian Fossey" is still amazing. Sigourney Weaver perfectly captures the spirit of the woman who sought to save Africa's mountain gorillas from extermination by human encroachment. It was eye-opening to see her go from an all-American babe (needing her bras in the jungle) to a politicized woman living with the gorillas.

The end brings up a question: just who was it? Even if we never find out who specifically did it, it just goes to show that various factions wanted her out of the way.

All in all, this is a great movie, one that I recommend to everyone. Once again, Michael Apted (of the "7 Up" series" and the never-released-on-video-or-DVD "Stardust") shows himself to be a great director. Also starring Bryan Brown.
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Surprisingly Good
songbird288217 November 2005
My father actually was the one who rented this movie for me and insisted that I watch it. Apparently one of his all-time favorite movies. Remembering my reaction to The Natural, I wasn't very excited. I like Gorrilas. I'm not a Sogourney Weaver fan but I found her likable, engaging and her acting heartfelt. The footage of the gorillas is breathtaking, as well as the scenery. It reminded me of Out of Africa and Anna and the King at the same time. It's an important film to see, even if it was a little boring, because it reminds people that endangered species are still problems and that we can make a difference. It has inspired me into helping the environment more, and being more focused on Mother Earth.
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National Geographic Channel Has Documentary On Her
Dan19651 June 2003
Check out the National Geographic channel's documentary on the real Fossey I just saw a few days ago when it's on again. She was indeed "that wacko", arguably. They show her putting on Halloween masks to try to scare away the poachers (in the doc.) She wasn't a scientist of primates and knew nothing about gorillas when she went to Africa except that she wanted to study and live with them. Her lack of scientific credentials certainly shouldn't be looked upon as the sole/direct cause of her behavior. --Others in her situation would not necessarily have acted the way she did. In fact posthumously, she probably deserves an honorary degree for her pioneering work in the culturo-anthropological study of primates, if she hasn't been given one already. But her true legacy is one of activism and martyrdom for the mountain gorillas' preservation.
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Dian Fossey, guerilla conservationist
Mr-Fusion5 August 2017
Biopic seems to be the go-to description for "Gorillas in the Mist", but that's a misconception. It only focuses on Fossey's time in the mountains of Africa, and there's an awful lot of material that's glossed over (character motivations, primarily). It's a frustrating script in that respect.

But the movie succeeds where it has to, mainly in the scenes with Sigourney Weaver (superb in the role) spending time with the gorillas and earning their trust. Weave exudes tremendous heart, and despite the movie's problems, it can be extremely touching.

It's a testament to her talent.

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Vincentiu4 April 2014
the name of Diann Fossey is a symbol. for profound dedication to her work, for the hard war for study and protect the gorillas population. this film is a homage. and, more important, a honest exercise to reflect about a life pillars. the seed of its success - extraordinary performance of Sigourney Weaver. because she has science, courage and force to do not only a credible character but a delicate, precise web from shadow and light. the empathy and the tension, the dedication and the veil of madness, the compassion and the admiration, each of them is used for create not an explanation for a death but to feel the entire pressure of story levels. it is a superb portrait and if, at beginning, it seems be a role for Colleen Dewhurst ( for physical resemblance ) or for chameleon Meryl Streep, Sigourney Weaver demonstrates, scene by scene, not only an impressive artistic potential but a beautiful measure of detail and exploration of subtle nuance.
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Gorillas in the Mist
lasttimeisaw27 February 2012
This biographical portrait of Dian Fossey is a meticulously organized character-study work from a strenuous team behind it. The film unscrupulously binds Dian's unusual adventure with an alluring prospect of mystery gorillas' daily lives.

Director Michael Apted chooses a slight mawkish route to expose Dian's journey in the African mountains, channeling the ups-and-downs of her inner state, eventually evolving into an almost lunatic status dragging by her incurable fixation towards the creature. The latter part of the film, when Dian dare to sacrifice anything to protect her gorillas, debatably it has an utmost joy to find something worth dying for, which most of us is still looking for and possibly we will never get it.

At large the film is demystified to watch, apart from a few unavoidably horrendous scenes of massacring the primates. But a top-form Sigourney Weaver alone merits the viewing, even for sundry OTT segments, she carries the impetus all the way till her very last scene, her fully- committed devotion is an exact paragon of a n assiduous actor bringing through a so-so film to an award-worthy stature. Ms. Weaver gleaned two Oscar nominations that year (another is for supporting actress in WORKING GIRL 1988), but miserably ended both hands empty, a mishap later would fall upon my goddess Julianne Moore in 2003. And Sigourney haven't been nominated since and it's a jinx I wish Ms. Moore is not being affected (but the subsequent snubs of A SINGLE MAN 2009 and THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT 2010 are severely swaying my belief).

Back to the film, it has a genuine empathy for whoever holds a heart for the beauty of nature and the fondness for animals. Regardless of Dian's possessed mental overload, her heroic story has effectively rescued the specie from the verge of extinction is the sturdy truth which is recommendable and admirable, maybe the film will be a perfect textbook for high school students and may the world shows bountiful mercy to the afflicted land of Africa.
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