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Tarzan the Ape Man (1932)

Passed | | Action, Adventure, Romance | 2 April 1932 (USA)
A trader and his daughter set off in search of the fabled graveyard of the elephants in deepest Africa, only to encounter a wild man raised by apes.

Director:

W.S. Van Dyke

Writers:

Edgar Rice Burroughs (based upon the characters created by), Cyril Hume (adaptation) | 1 more credit »
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1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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More Like This 

Certificate: Passed Action | Adventure
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The idyllic life of Tarzan and Jane is challenged by men on safari who come seeking ivory, and come seeking Jane as well.

Directors: Cedric Gibbons, James C. McKay, and 1 more credit »
Stars: Johnny Weissmuller, Maureen O'Sullivan, Neil Hamilton
Certificate: Passed Action | Adventure
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

An expedition seeking to bring Jane back to civilization, and Tarzan into captivity, gets more than it's bargained for.

Directors: Richard Thorpe, John Farrow, and 3 more credits »
Stars: Johnny Weissmuller, Maureen O'Sullivan, John Buckler
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Tarzan and Jane go to New York to rescue Boy after he is kidnapped into a circus.

Director: Richard Thorpe
Stars: Johnny Weissmuller, Maureen O'Sullivan, Johnny Sheffield
Action | Adventure | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Tarzan's jungle home, and his family, Jane and Boy, are threatened by men greedy for gold.

Director: Richard Thorpe
Stars: Johnny Weissmuller, Maureen O'Sullivan, Johnny Sheffield
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A group of archaeologists asks Tarzan to help them find an ancient city in a hidden valley of women. He refuses, but Boy is tricked into doing the job. The queen of the women asks Tarzan to help them.

Director: Kurt Neumann
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Certificate: Passed Action | Adventure | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

To equip the American zoos with as many animals as possible, a cruel trio of big-game hunters team up with an unexpected ally, threatening the African fauna. Will Tarzan allow the fiendish huntress to pillage the jungle?

Director: Kurt Neumann
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Certificate: Passed Action | Adventure | War
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As WWII rages on, a group of Nazi paratroopers land on the secret city of Palandria to exploit its wealth, and they start taking hostages. Can the powerful King of the Jungle and his trusted companions--Cheeta, and Buli--save them?

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As a spate of leopard attacks causes panic, a sceptical Tarzan joins a hunting expedition, only to face a pagan cult of Leopard-God worshippers and their fiendish High-Priestess. Can he escape the sharp claws of the savage Leopard Woman?

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Certificate: Passed Adventure
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With Jane still away for the war effort, Tarzan and Boy set off to retrieve rare medicinal herbs, only to run into an American messenger, Nazi spies, and the mysterious desert's treacherous fauna and flora. Will they make it in one piece?

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Action | Adventure
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To escape from an arranged marriage to Aquatania's pagan god, a desperate maiden ends up in Tarzan's fishing net. But soon, he, too, finds himself before a well-planned conspiracy. Can Tarzan save the mermaid from the barbaric idol's will?

Director: Robert Florey
Stars: Johnny Weissmuller, Brenda Joyce, George Zucco
Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 3.4/10 X  

While on an African expedition with her father, Jane Parker meets Tarzan, and the two become fascinated by each other.

Director: John Derek
Stars: Bo Derek, Richard Harris, Miles O'Keeffe
Action | Adventure | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4/10 X  

This movie has little connection with the 1932 original. It does, however, have lifted footage (tinted to more-or-less match the color), including obvious footage of Weissmuller's ... See full summary »

Director: Joseph M. Newman
Stars: Denny Miller, Cesare Danova, Joanna Barnes
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Johnny Weissmuller ... Tarzan
Neil Hamilton ... Harry Holt
C. Aubrey Smith ... James Parker
Maureen O'Sullivan ... Jane Parker
Doris Lloyd ... Mrs. Cutten
Forrester Harvey ... Beamish
Ivory Williams Ivory Williams ... Riano
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Storyline

James Parker and Harry Holt are on an expedition in Africa in search of the elephant burial grounds that will provide enough ivory to make them rich. Parker's beautiful young daughter Jane arrives unexpectedly to join them. Harry is obviously attracted to Jane and he does his best to help protect her from all the dangers that they experience in the jungle. Jane is terrified when Tarzan and his ape friends first abduct her, but when she returns to her father's expedition she has second thoughts about leaving Tarzan. After the expedition is captured by a tribe of violent dwarfs, Jane sends Cheetah to bring Tarzan to rescue them... Written by Gary Jackson <garyjack5@cogeco.ca>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Breathless Romance Defying Convention See more »


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

2 April 1932 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Tarzan, the Ape Man See more »

Filming Locations:

Lake Sherwood, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$652,675 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Color:

Black and White (Sepiatone)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Despite the ethnic German background of Johnny Weissmuller, it's known that Adolf Hitler--who enjoyed Laurel & Hardy movies, was not a fan of Tarzan films. See more »

Goofs

On the tree, Jane holds the Tarzan's right hand to help him to sit. The next shot shows him sat, with the right hand leaned on the tree. See more »

Quotes

Harry Holt: Can you shoot?
Jane Parker: Like an angel.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Colorized version was available... and shown on TNT See more »

Connections

Referenced in Fire Birds (1990) See more »

Soundtracks

Romeo and Juliet Overture
(1868) (uncredited)
Music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Excerpt played during final scene and closing credits
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
"I wonder what you look like dressed."
18 November 2014 | by utgard14See all my reviews

Ivory hunters James Parker (C. Aubrey Smith) and Harry Holt (Neil Hamilton) are in Africa searching for a mythical elephant burial ground when Parker's daughter Jane (Maureen O'Sullivan) arrives unexpectedly. Despite her father's objections, Jane insists on accompanying them on their expedition. During their journey they are shocked when they see a half-naked white man (Johnny Weissmuller) living among the apes. The ape man kidnaps Jane and takes her to his home in the treetops, where she learns that his name is Tarzan.

Edgar Rice Burrough's Tarzan is one of the most-filmed characters in movie history. Live action or animation, there have been tons of adaptations and they continue to this day. Well, for my money, none beats the Johnny Weissmuller series at MGM (and later RKO). They were exceptional adventure stories, sheer fun for young and old alike. Like most film series, the earlier movies in the Tarzan series are the better ones, starting with this first film.

Olympic swimmer Johnny Weissmuller does a fantastic job as Tarzan. He was obviously cast for his looks and athleticism but he brings a sensitivity to the part that's unexpected. He plays him as a laconic man-child, innocent and peaceful until the things he cares about are threatened. That famous yell of Tarzan's is unforgettable. Maureen O'Sullivan is charming and easy to fall in love with. Her performance is so effortless and real for this period in film. She elevates every scene and makes whoever's acting opposite her give more relaxed performances, as well. She has playful and at times sizzling sexual chemistry with Weissmuller. She also has a nice familial chemistry with C. Aubrey Smith. Their scenes have an authenticity about them that is rare to see but is appreciated. The success of the early Tarzan series owes as much to Maureen's Jane as it does to Johnny's Tarzan. Neil Hamilton, an actor most will remember as Commissioner Gordon from the '60s Batman TV show, does fine playing the part of the guy in love with Jane but can't compete with the rugged but kind Tarzan.

Let's not forget this is a Pre-Code movie. Maureen appears scantily clad and even wearing a soaking wet thin dress in one scene. And, of course, Weissmuller wears nothing but a loincloth throughout. Being that it was filmed in 1932, there is some inevitable creakiness, an overuse of stock footage, and some spotty rear projection effects. But these things are minor negatives. The action scenes are great. Tarzan wrestling with an obviously stuffed leopard may seem hokey to many modern viewers, but it holds a certain quaint appeal for me. The animals are fun. Who doesn't love Cheeta? The matte painting backdrops are also nice. It's exciting romantic escapism with a good cast and solid direction from Woody 'One Take' Van Dyke. Followed by many sequels, the first of which is even better than this classic.


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