7.2/10
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Mountains of the Moon (1990)

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The legendary true-story of Capt. Richard Francis Burton and Lt. John Hanning Speke's tumultuous expedition to find the source of the Nile river.

Director:

Bob Rafelson

Writers:

William Harrison (novel), William Harrison (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Patrick Bergin ... Richard Francis Burton
Iain Glen ... John Hanning Speke
Richard E. Grant ... Larry Oliphant
Fiona Shaw ... Isabel Arundell (Mrs Burton as from 1861)
John Savident ... Lord Murchison
James Villiers ... Lord Oliphant
Adrian Rawlins ... Edward
Peter Vaughan ... Lord Houghton
Delroy Lindo ... Mabruki
Bernard Hill ... Dr. David Livingstone
Matthew Marsh ... William
Richard Caldicot ... Lord Russell
Christopher Fulford ... Herne
Garry Cooper ... Stroyan
Roshan Seth ... Ben Amir
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Storyline

The story of Captain Richard Francis Burton and Lt. John Hanning Speke's expedition to find the source of the Nile river in the name of Queen Victoria's British Empire. The film tells the story of their meeting, their friendship emerging amidst hardship, and then dissolving after their journey. Written by Greg Bole <bole@life.bio.sunysb.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

23 February 1990 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

As Montanhas da Lua See more »

Filming Locations:

Africa See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$19,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$4,011,793
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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

Color:

Color (Rankcolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

English actor Richard E. Grant, who plays Larry Oliphant, was actually born in Africa, in Mbabane, Swaziland. Grant has starred in such other Africa set movies as Zambezia (2012) and The Story of an African Farm (2004) as well as writing and directing the Swaziland set Wah-Wah (2005). See more »

Goofs

Sir Richard Francis Burton is depicted as an Irishman in the film, however he was born in England and would have spoken with an English accent. See more »

Quotes

Arab chief in Cairo: In this wilderness you will find only Allah's terrible whimsy.
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Connections

Spoofed in Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls (1995) See more »

Soundtracks

Wagogo Marriage Ritual
Recorded by David Fanshawe
From the album "Africa - Ceremonial & Folk Music"
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User Reviews

The Great Journey
27 January 2002 | by Shield-3See all my reviews

Every time I watch "Mountains of the Moon," I grow more and more fascinated by it. An epic drama and adventure, an exploration of what makes a hero and the value of friendship... this movie is a marvel.

I barely know where to begin. The acting is exceptional, of course. Patrick Bergin really makes Captain Richard Francis Burton come alive, so much so that I started reading up on Burton on my own after seeing the movie. His Burton is a man of great courage and insatiable curiosity, but also of great pride (the film only hints at Burton's infamous sexual escapades). Iain Glen brings great depth to John Hanning Speke, a man who desires greatness but cannot escape his fundamental weakness. It would have been so easy to make these two characters into square-jawed cartoons or place them in the easy Great Hero / Cowardly Villain mold, but director Bob Rafaelson, the script, and the actors wisely give us three-dimensional real people.

While I was watching this movie, I felt like I was actually transported to Africa in the 1850s, when the first explorers ventured into what was truly the Dark Continent. You see Burton and Speke's expedition endure weather, illness, injury, and attacks by hostile tribesmen, bringing home the reality of how dangerous these expeditions really were. By the time the film ended, I felt I had been to Africa itself.

If you want to see a real epic and a fine, exciting film, this is the one to see.


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