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Heart of Darkness (1993)

A trading company manager travels up an African river to find a missing outpost head and discovers the depth of evil in humanity's soul.


Nicolas Roeg


Joseph Conrad (novel), Benedict Fitzgerald (teleplay)
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 3 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Tim Roth ... Marlow
John Malkovich ... Kurtz
Isaach De Bankolé ... Mfumu
James Fox ... Gosse
Morten Faldaas Morten Faldaas ... Harlequin
Patrick Ryecart ... De Griffe
Michael Fitzgerald Michael Fitzgerald ... Harou
Geoffrey Hutchings Geoffrey Hutchings ... Delcommune
Peter Vaughan ... Director
Phoebe Nicholls ... The Intended
Allan Corduner ... Verme
Jan Tríska ... White Agent
Alan Scarfe ... Captain Fenard
Michael Cronin Michael Cronin ... Louette
Iman ... Black Beauty


Marlow is an ambitious and adventurous sailor who is employed by an English trading company and sent to an African colony. There he travels up the river, visiting the trading stations who barters for ivory with the natives. On his journey he is told about a man named Kurtz whose station is the one furthest up the river, deep in the African jungle. Some talk of him in awe, others in admiration, but they all seem to fear him. As Marlow gets closer and closer to Kurtz he understands that the man has gone insane and is now doing the most horrible and blasphemous deeds. Based on Joseph Conrad's classic novel about greed and insanity. Written by Mattias Pettersson <seaman@sbbs.se>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

river | insanity | jungle | greed | ivory | See All (7) »




See all certifications »





English | French

Release Date:

13 March 1994 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El corazón de las tinieblas See more »

Filming Locations:

Belize See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby SR



Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


When Orson Welles first set up his production deal with RKO in 1940, this was to be their first movie. Excessive costs made it too prohibitive and so they proceeded with " Citizen Kane " instead. See more »


The Congo River is actually hundreds of meters across and not the pitiful and barely navigable stream it is depicted as in the film. See more »


Referenced in Archie's Final Project (2009) See more »

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User Reviews

Marlow's uneventful and uninteresting journey
17 January 2008 | by panzergirl-2See all my reviews

Overall, the movie "Heart of Darkness" was pitiful compared to the book. Anyone who has ever read the book and had a sufficient understanding of it would be able to see the countless obvious flaws. There is an immeasurable difference between the two. It seems to me that the director was walking into a losing battle. I couldn't imagine that someone would take on the monstrous task of recreating "Heart of Darkness." The immense detail and magic of the story would be impossible to justly interpret. Conrad's story had so many layers and so much depth that it would seem pointless to try to make a visual interpretation.

First, capturing the details of the story is unattainable. The colossal fine points created by Joseph Conrad cannot be rightfully recreated through film. Marlow's feelings and emotions cannot be equally construed in the movie. If you have taken on the enormous task of tackling Conrad's work then, you know as well as I that Conrad only wrote half the story. The additional half is a series of connections made by the reader. You, as the reader are required to be capable of inferring and connecting Joseph Conrad's ideas. As a result, several crucial details are absent in the movie.

Also, although the movie was an adequate length, the film seemed short. It seemed that Conrad was able to pack many more details into 75 pages than the movie could pack in an hour and a half. The speed of the movie kept the viewer from getting to know the characters. Marlow was much more of a stranger. The viewpoint of the book puts you into Marlow's shoes. However, in the movie, you're almost watching Marlow from a distance. I began to think that the director was trying to utilize the same "read between the lines" method as Conrad did. However, the connections were weak. I know that if I had not read the book then, I would, in no way, be able to begin to understand the depth of the situation and the characters.

Finally, Kurtz also seemed to be interpreted incorrectly. His role was short and the details weren't all included. It was impossible to comprehend the true Kurtz in the length of time he was shown. An important detail in the book was that Kurtz had become a god to the Africans. I didn't think that significant detail was defined. Also, in the book, Kurtz represented a soulless being. He had died inside long ago. I believe the director comprehended this detail. However, instead of recreating it, he just had Kurtz mope around and mumble everything. Moreover, it seemed like the director attempted to make Kurtz seem mysterious, however, instead, he seemed entirely unidentified.

Altogether, this movie reminded me of a teenager cramming to finish a science project, due the next day. It appeared to have been crafted effortlessly and in hardly any time. The characters were alienated, crucial details were left out, and, overall, the central plot was lost in translation.

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