13 user 5 critic

The Legend of Johnny Lingo (2003)

When a storm washes a canoe bearing an infant boy ashore upon a small South Pacific island, he is at first well-received as a gift from the heavens, even to the point of the tribal chief ... See full summary »


Steven Ramirez


Riwia Brown (screenplay), John Garbett (screenplay)

On Disc

at Amazon

1 win. See more awards »




Credited cast:
George Henare ... Johnny Lingo
Rawiri Paratene ... Malio Chief
Joe Folau ... Tama (as Joe Falou)
Alvin Fitisemanu Alvin Fitisemanu ... Chief Steward
Kayte Ferguson Kayte Ferguson ... Mahana
Peter Sa'ena-Brown ... Miriama's Father
Hori Ahipene Hori Ahipene ... Pioi
Jim Perry Jim Perry ... Malio Elder
Sima Urale Sima Urale ... Hoku
Goeretti Chadwick Goeretti Chadwick ... Malio Seductress
Tausani Simei-Barton Tausani Simei-Barton ... Young Tama
Fokikovi Soakimi Fokikovi Soakimi ... Young Mahana
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Esela Alo Esela Alo ... Young Man
Sela Apera ... Miriama's Mother
Christina Asher Christina Asher ... Ulani


When a storm washes a canoe bearing an infant boy ashore upon a small South Pacific island, he is at first well-received as a gift from the heavens, even to the point of the tribal chief adopting him as a successor. However, with time as hardships are blamed upon Tama (as he is named), he is finally outcast to live with the poorest people on the island, Mahana and her drunken father. Mahana is considered homely and undesirable, but Tama feels differently, so when he is old enough to build a craft to sail away, he vows to return for her one day. A lucky stroke brings him to land upon the island of the legendary Johnny Lingo, the wealthiest trader in the islands, and after years of service to him, Tama has learned much about life and himself as he dreams of honoring his pledge to Mahana. Written by Brian Greenhalgh

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


G | See all certifications »


Official Sites:

Official Site


New Zealand



Release Date:

29 August 2003 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Die Legende von Johnny Lingo See more »

Filming Locations:

Aitutaki, Cook Islands See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Turtles Crossing LLC See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Chief Steward: From now on, I promise not to refer to you as 'shark bait'.
Tama: And I promise not to refer to you as 'the shark'.
See more »


Remake of Johnny Lingo (1969) See more »


Written by Opetaia Foa'i and Malcolm Smith
Performed by Opetaia Foai and Te Vaka
See more »

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User Reviews

Nice update to the old campy movie
1 September 2003 | by sidunrauSee all my reviews

I saw this movie on opening day with about 20 other people (total in the theater); I took my kids & wife to see it today (theater filled this time). It is a nice update to the old campy movie. Although inexpensively done it is well acted, funny, interesting, compelling and fun. It is still campy, however. The central message (that we can influence the self-esteem of others by the way we treat them, whether good or bad) has been expanded nicely. There are a few BIG plot holes and silly movie mistakes (nobody but the main characters seem to age; how did all the cows get there in the end? etc.) but overall it is quite enjoyable. It didn't move me to tears but it was moving; the ending, though contrived, is quite satisfying. And best of all, my favorite line from the old movie ("Mahana, you ugly! get down from that tree") is also in this version. Hey, it won't win any awards, but it was good enough just the same. A definite 7 or 7.5 out of 10.

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