Mountains of the Moon 1990 (1990) Other movies recommended for you
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Plot: 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 ... Runtime: 136 mins Release Date: 23 Feb 1990
Sophisticated epic story telling with depth and intelligence (by dknow3)
It was my good fortune to see MOUNTAINS OF THE MOON several times in its original theatrical release at New York's Ziegfeld Theatre in 1990. An article in the New York Times months earlier had alerted me to the possibility that this was my kind of movie. That easily proved to be true. MOUNTAINS OF THE MOON promptly became a great personal favorite, leading me to read two biographies of Sir Richard Francis Burton.When MOUNTAINS OF THE MOON was originally released on DVD on the Pioneer label I bought it immediately. Once again, I was lucky because the Pioneer release was in the original <more>
1:85 theatrical ratio. The Pioneer release was withdrawn and this title was subsequently reissued on DVD on a different label. Regrettably it was in a full screen pan and scan version that spoiled this film's excellent visual compositions.MOUNTAINS OF THE MOON is superbly directed by Bob Rafelson. Although known as an excellent director of contemporary material, there is nothing in his previous body of work to prepare you for Rafelson's outstanding achievement in a period epic. It is uniformly well acted and technical credits are on a very high level. This overlooked classic deserves to be restored to it correct technical specifications on DVD. Hopefully, Bob Rafelson could do a commentary. Criterion Collection, are you listening? If you have not had the great good fortune to see this film theatrically, then let me urge you to seek out the Pioneer DVD release in the correct aspect ratio. MOUNTAINS OF THE MOON is practically the only film that I would seriously compare to LAWRENCE OF ARABIA. Each one is what you might call a thinking man's epic. Both of them succeed in asking provocative questions, without succumbing to giving the audience banal answers.Thematically, MOUNTAINS OF THE MOON is one of the relatively few films that seriously deals with male friendship gone wrong. Although the theme of toxic friendships has been well explored in so-called women's films, it's comparatively rare in films dealing with men. In order to accomplish this aim, MOUNTAINS OF THE MOON takes some license with the facts. However, it does so in order to serve a larger measure of the truth.MOUNTAINS OF THE MOON never resorts to cliché. This is a film for people who have a taste for sophisticated epic story telling and intimate character study. It has an unflinching eye for the best and the worst in it's characters. Layer by layer, Burton and Speke are revealed to be all too human.Allow me to recommend MOUNTAINS OF THE MOON to you without reservation.
One of the best movies no one has ever seen (by The Continental Op)
"Mountains of the Moon" is one of my all time favorites. I saw it first when it came out in theaters and watch it three or four times every year after that. It is the true story of Richard Francis Burton and John Henning Speke, two British explorers , once were great friends and how they allowed pride and envy to destroy their relationship. The focus of the film centers around Burton Patrick Bergin and Speke's Iain Glenn quest to find the source of the Nile river in Central Africa. In the process of the journey Burton becomes quite ill and Speke goes on ahead. It is then <more>
when Speke discovers a lake and declares it as the source they have been searching for. When they return to England, however, Burton is not convinced by Speke's data and becomes convinced that a larger lake has to be the true source. Burton decides to go back, without Speke. This second expedition enrages Speke, who becomes one of Burton's bitterest rivals and critics. Also thrown into this volatile mix is Burton's devoted, strong-willed wife Isabelle Fiona Shaw who will stop at nothing to protect her husband's reputation.It's the complex, very human relationships of this film which makes "Mountains of the Moon" stand out from other period pieces. This film has everything: adventure, romance, scope, and a great performance by Patrick Bergin, playing a true-life swashbuckler whose life could be material for several screen epics. This film is the Anti-"Titanic", a true epic that doesn't replace character and humanity for mindless eye-candy and spectacle. James Cameron should have screened this film before he started his God-awful "Titanic" script. See it. You won't be disappointed.
Capt. Sir Richard Francis Burton and his mate, John Hanning Speke's travels to find the source of the Nile, and travails to claim the rigth to say that either of these two gentlemen adventurers discovered the source of the Nile makes for one of the biggest and best EPIC adventure films in recent memory. The performances from Patrick Bergin better known for PATRIOT GAMES and SLEEPING WITH THE ENEMY , and Ian Glen last seen on Broadway opposite Nicole Kidman in THE BLUE ROOM , turn in career-making perfomances as the two polar opposites who race to find the glory at the end of finding the <more>
source of the Nile. Bob Rafaelson, the man behind the camera, does not feel the need to spare the audience of any graphic details from the expeditions including spearings, native sex, castrations, and ugly political maneuvering , and in the end, this is the best way to go since sparing us would have cheated us. Nor does he feel the need to spare us from any ticks in the characters themselves Burton's blatant drinking and womanizing and their questions Is Speke gay? Who does end up with the bigger ego? . But the film's greatest achievements are:1 - It makes you understand why these two gentlemen lived the lives they lived.2- It makes you want to read more about them.3- It really does make you feel like you too, got to go to see the Mountains of The Moon.
A great story, beautifully filmed and acted about two Victorian era explorers. Irish-born Sir Richard Francis Burton, one of the greatest explorers in history, is in search of knowledge. English-born dilletante John Hanning Speke joins Burton's quest in search of glory. Together they search for the answer to one of the most elusive geographical questions of their time - what is the Nile's source? The film accurately shows how the Royal Geographical Society and other outside interests played Burton and Speke against each other for their own gain.The film's tagline really says it <more>
all: "Two strangers made friends by a savage world. Two friends made enemies by a civilized world."
This is an excellent film, and it's unfortunate that it wasn't more widely seen. I wish I would've caught it in the theater, as I'm sure it would be magnificent there.In it, you're going to see some of the most painfully memorable scenes in cinema that I refuse to give away , and an epic story that is most remarkably, wholly true.I loved Raiders of the Lost Ark, and before "meeting" Sir Richard Francis Burton, thought characters of Indy's ilk were simply figments of Steven Spielberg's imagination. However, with study you will find that Burton's <more>
experience and that well beyond this expedition makes him one of the most enigmatic, interesting people to have ever walked the face of the earth. As they say, truth is stranger than fiction.Slow, smart, challenging, beautiful. And highly recommended viewing.
" I have been to the Great Mother of rivers and seen it's magnificent child " (by thinker1691)
The source of the Nile river captivated many English explorers during the nineteenth century. That majestic river which spans some four thousand miles in length is the basis of this incredible movie. The film written by William Harrison is directed by Bob Rafelson and called "The Mountains of the moon." It stars Patrick Bergin as Capt. Richard Burton. It follows Burton and his traveling companion Lt. John Hanning Speke Iain Glen as two courageous, intrepid and certainly adventurous British explorers as they search for the Headwaters of the Nile. Along the way, they meet Sidi <more>
Bombay Paul Onsongo the most experienced African guide who despite all the rigors suffered by him and the rest of the expedition, receives none of the credit for the discovery. However, the story centers on Burton and Speke who begin as friends and years later end with each believing their society and media friends as they create unaccounted falsehoods and unfounded rumorers of the other's exploits. Still for all it's worth, the movie is a great addition to the treasury of collected works on the Dark Continent. Delroy Lindo has a good part with his character 'Mabruki.' Recommended to any adventurous spirit who wished to visit Africa and the Nile in it's heyday. ****
Too bad no-one seems to know this nice movie. (by philip_vanderveken)
I have to admit that, before it was shown on television a few weeks ago, I had never heard of the movie. When I see how many people wrote a review or voted for this movie on IMDb, I guess I'm not the only one. It's clear to me that this is a movie that has never had any attention. Not from the public, the cinema's nor the festivals. Even journalist didn't pay much attention to it. Does that mean this movie isn't worth seeing? Certainly not, although the subject probably isn't very attractive to the mainstream audience.The movie tells the story of Burton and Speke, two <more>
friends and explorers who tried to find the source of the Nile in the middle of the nineteenth century. Burton was more of an anthropologist who wanted to learn more about the indigenous tribes which they encountered on their journeys, while Speke was more interested in the discovery of the source itself. Once they were back home they become enemies, because Speke tells everybody who wants to hear it that he alone discovered the source of the Nile, namely Lake Victoria. There are different things that I liked about this movie. The acting was very good, the costumes were nice, but what I really liked were the images from the African landscapes, the animals, the people... Seeing the images from England just made me look forward to the next scenes in Africa. It never felt right to see these two explorers in England, you're always left with the feeling that they belong in Africa. I guess that is where the strength of this movie lies ... It makes you feel exactly the way these men felt. I reward this little masterpiece with an 8/10.
What's amazing is...they went BACK. (by tenthousandtattoos)
This film is so atmospheric it makes you want to pack a rucksack, some provisions, bid the family goodbye and jump aboard a boat headed for the dark continent...welcome to Mountains of the Moon, based on the true life exploits of 1850's explorers Sir Richard Burton and John Hanning Speke.Bob Rafelson has done a fine job directing this historical epic, and it's a shame this great film is not more readily available. It begins when Michael Small's wonderful theme segues over the titles into some tribal drums and we see ships landing on an African shore. Speke Iain Glen has <more>
travelled to Morocco to meet Burton Patrick Bergin , a seasoned explorer. Both men have a fascination with finding the source of the Nile River.The film jumps straight into the action, with Burton narrating their first foray together into the fold of the dark continent, the area on maps of the time that was simply a great blank expanse, labelled "Uncharted and Unexplored".Their camp is attacked in the dead of night by a hostile tribe, who kill many of Burton's party, along with most of the African porters along for the journey, and take Speke captive, while Burton flees to the ocean shore with the head porter, but not before taking a spear through the face. Speke awakes in the morning to the brutal tribe picking through the camp and torturing survivors, and after being tortured himself in a truly disturbing scene as we realise this tribesman that is stabbing him in the thighs with a spear is not doing it to "interrogate", he is doing it purely for the fun of it makes a knuckle-biting escape to join Burton at the seaside where ships have come to take them home.After this dramatic opening, the film settles into a nice rhythm, cutting back to some scenes in England where Burton meets Isabel Arundel Fiona Shaw , who would become the love of his life. Fiona Shaw's performance is great, her powerful voice and demeanour a perfect match for Burton's larger than life persona and brash nature.Then it's off to Africa again, and a wonderful trek across the endless savanna to discover the source of the great river that fascinates both men, and indeed an entire nation back home.But Burton is struck ill on the journey, and it is Speke who finishes the trek, finding what he correctly, though he didn't know it then thought to be the source of the Nile, a great lake he named Victoria.Back in England again, the story turns to the subsequent betrayal of Burton by Speke, in claiming sole credit for the discovery, and that drove a permanent wedge between the friends.As in Burton's own words he describes his relationship with John Speke as being as close as two men can become without being lovers. That is truly shown in this film, the relationship is real, and heart-felt, by both performers in a truly amazing film. Particularly moving is when Burton is informed of his friend's death/suicide while giving a speech, and though he tries, is unable to continue speaking. It's very well acted...he doesn't break down or anything, but you can see the sadness crawl across his features like a shadow as he falters over his words.Costumes, music, photography, it's all superb, and to specify how superb it is would be redundant. It's simply better to experience it for yourself. It's immersive and rich, and for a historical epic a genre notoriously prone to too-long, melodramatic and ultimately boring films it moves along at a nice pace that never gets dull. The dialogue is wonderfully written, as is the film itself, adapted in part from Burton's own manuscripts.The scenes in England are all the more beautiful with the performance of Fiona Shaw. Her final words to Burton are stirring and so effortlessly believable. Another standout scene is a brief appearance by Bernard Hill as Sir David Livingstone you'll recognise him most recently as Theodan, King of Rohan in the Lord of the Rings films .Perfect for a comfy night in on the couch, this movie has adventure, action, humour, depth of character and story, great music and photography, and a "sitting round the campfire telling stories" kind of feel that is just great. Highly recommended.
Nicely Done Exploration of an Exploration. (by rmax304823)
I'd never heard of it but it turned out to be a fine study of what was called in the mid-19th century an "expedition" to find the source of the Nile River in central Africa. Everybody seemed to be poking their European and sometimes American noses into the Dark Continent, looking for slaves, money, maps, treasure, trophy animals, conquest, rivers, or fifteen minutes of fame. The expedition of Sir Richard Burton Patrick Bergin and John Hanning Speke Iain Glen was one of the first, the object of which was to track the Nile to its source. They never really did it. The trip was <more>
brutal. The two Englishmen and their bearers were plagued by illness and other dangers. The climate ruined much of their survey equipment. The two men returned separately to England, where Burton found that Speke had claimed most of the credit already, assigning Burton the role of a sickly companion. The former colleagues never spoke again. Speke died of a gunshot wound while hunting. Burton died later of a heart attack on political appointment in Trieste.Speke was always more of a Victorian conformist and colonialist, like so many others. But as for Burton, he hardly needed this trek to gain his fifteen minutes of fame. He'd already accumulated several hours worth.He was a burly, darkly handsome, eccentric adventurer and scholar, something on the order of Lawrence of Arabia. He spoke a couple of dozen languages and wrote, for the first time, unexpurgated versions of "The Kama Sutra" and "The Arabian Nights," among other classics. I read Burton's Arabian nights as a kid, looking for the erotic parts and wasn't too disappointed but, more than that, found it entertaining and even amusing. One tale has an attractive young couple spending the night in bed without touching one another, and Burton had added a footnote: "The young man must have been a demon of chastity." Not very Victorian! I missed the first part of the film and tuned in while Speke and Burton are undergoing some frightening and dismal experiences in an African village. Their loyal chief bearer, an early role for Delroy Lindo of the monumental jaw, is put to an excruciating death before Burton's drugged eyes.Yes, it's well done, directed by Bob Rafaelson, and the two leads are convincing approximations of the originals. The rift between the two, and Burton's final fatalistic shrug, are rather touching. Nobody weeps. Nobody punches anyone else in the nose. A young African king kills a couple of people with a toy revolver boy, was THAT a bad gift but there's no shoot out. No Victorian gentleman ever even shouts at another. It's lushly photographed too. You wouldn't want to make the journey that Speke and Burton did.An all-around good job by everyone concerned.