King Kong (1933)



Critic Consensus: King Kong explores the soul of a monster -- making audiences scream and cry throughout the film -- in large part due to Kong's breakthrough special effects.

Movie Info

"How would you like to star opposite the tallest, darkest leading man in Hollywood?" Enticed by these words, brunette leading lady Fay Wray dyed her hair blonde and accepted the role of Ann Darrow in King Kong -- and stayed with the project even after learning that her "leading man" was a 50-foot ape. The film introduces us to flamboyant, foolhardy documentary filmmaker Carl Denham (Robert Armstrong), who sails off to parts unknown to film his latest epic with leading lady Darrow in tow. … More

Rating: G
Genre: Action & Adventure, Horror, Classics
Directed By: ,
Written By: James Ashmore Creelman, Ruth Rose, James Creelman
In Theaters:
On DVD: Nov 22, 2005
RKO Pictures


as Ann Darrow

as Carl Denham

as John Driscoll

as Charles Weston

as Capt. Englehorn

as Native Chief

as Witch King

as Charley

as 2nd Mate Briggs

as Socrates

as Dock Watchman

as Sailor

as Woman Dropped by Kon...

as Photographer

as Sailor

as Theater Patron

as Theater Patron

as Reporter

as Reporter

as Native Dancer

as Police Captain

as Handmaiden

as Native Woman

as Dock Watchman

as Handmaiden

as Pilot

as Engineer

as Flight Commander

as Chief Observer

as Witch King
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for King Kong

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Critic Reviews for King Kong

All Critics (54) | Top Critics (10)

The story, like Frankenstein and Dracula, has taken on the significance of a modern folk tale, layered with obvious moralizing and as familiar as personal history.

Full Review… | October 5, 2013
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

"King Kong," as spectacular a bolt of celluloid as has thrilled audiences in a couple of sophisticated seasons, is the product of a number of vivid imaginations.

Full Review… | March 7, 2013
New York Daily News
Top Critic

Wholly enjoyable.

Full Review… | October 7, 2008
TIME Magazine
Top Critic

Kong mystifies as well as it horrifies, and may open up a new medium for scaring babies via the screen.

Full Review… | July 2, 2007
Top Critic

Willis O'Brien did the stop-action animation for this 1933 feature, which is richer in character than most of the human cast.

Full Review… | July 2, 2007
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

The throbbing heart of the film lies in the creation of the semi-human simian himself, an immortal tribute to the Hollywood dream factory...

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for King Kong

An impulsive director whisks an unknown actress to an unexplored island to capture a mythic beast on film. The Jurassic Park of its day, King Kong is the original monster movie. Unfortunately the very element that no doubt wowed audiences of the time are now its greatest handicap; the visual effects. Special effects have obviously moved on a great deal over the last 80 years, consequently the creaky stop-motion animation is rather shocking by today's standards and the close ups of the beast's face look like a glove puppet manufactured by someone whose sole information about a gorilla's visage was supplied by an attention deficit toddler. That's not to say that the original Kong is not without its charms; it has a real sense of nostalgic adventure, the other effects have fared rather better than the creatures and Fay Wray manages to be extremely sexy despite being dis-robed by a plasticine primate! Although it's no doubt sacrilege to suggest, but Peter Jackson's re-invention is actually rather better despite its penchant for unnecessary excess and not just because of the visuals. It has better dialogue, greater depth of character, stronger performances and thanks to the talents of Andy Sirkis, a much more emotionally engaging ape. Still, King Kong can be seen as a real benchmark in the evolution of cinema and as such will always be worth a viewing.

xGary Xx

Super Reviewer


As far as I'm concerned, "Action/Adventure" as a genre begins here: this is the strange and beautiful that directors like Spielberg, and Lucas, and Cameron (and unfortunately, Roland Emmerich, too) have kept striving to capture on screen - the sublime, the unimaginable, the terrifying. Animated by stop-motion, (cutting edge for its day), Kong is the Hollywood monster all others wish to be - he even takes down a T-Rex! But leaving aside my childish joy, I can complain that the pre-historic animal fight scenes were a bit extraneous and stretched the movie out longer than it needed to be. It's a small knock on a film for the ages, though. I watched it on Turner Classic, and before it started Ben Mankiewicz said this was the first film for which a score was composed (all previous used other music). It's worth noting because the music is as big a part of the thrill from this movie as any other, setting the pace and quickening your pulse as the story ticks along. Also, the film contains one of the best foreshadows you'll ever see, when Ann (the novice actress) is practicing screaming for the tests. It gives you goosebumps before you arrive on the island and the intrigue begins for real. The scenes with the natives are absolutely riveting, and the effects, though rough, are surprisingly good, allowing for an expressive monster when we finally meet him. In all, it's an age-old story, one of the greater ones ever told, and as soon as enough time has passed, we could probably put it into the class of "archetype." Visionary, brilliant film that should never be forgotten, and essential viewing for anyone who claims to enjoy movies.

Daniel Perry

Super Reviewer


The granddaddy of all the big budget special effects films and they are still pretty impressive today. The interesting part about this action/horror classic is that the real monster is the movie director and not the 50 foot ape.

Graham Jones
Graham Jones

Super Reviewer

King Kong Quotes

– Submitted by Michael B (2 years ago)
– Submitted by Kirk C (3 years ago)
– Submitted by Alex K (3 years ago)
– Submitted by Francis L (3 years ago)

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