Tarzan the Ape Man - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Tarzan the Ape Man Reviews

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November 9, 2015
Strange blend of previously shot footage of African animals and natives (both treated badly and with disrespect) and live action involving Olympic swimmer Johnny Weissmuller as Tarzan and Maureen O'Sullivan as Jane Parker, some actual chimpanzees and elephants and some guys in monkey suits. When Jane joins her father (C. Aubrey Smith) in the jungle where he is searching for the secret "elephants' graveyard" to score a huge stockpile of ivory, she is unexpectedly abducted by an ape man. Although the hunters try their best to get her back (including shooting Tarzan and killing some of his friends), she falls in love with Tarzan and eventually decides to stay in the jungle with him, even though they can barely communicate. Obviously, Stockholm syndrome is involved. Despite its flaws and overall sloppiness, the movie does have a raw, rough and ready feel for action (it has some zing) and there are some peaceful establishing shots. This was probably fun for the audiences in 1932 and Weissmuller made 11 sequels.
March 26, 2014
tarzan + pre-code= racy winner
October 18, 2014
great film. i can see why it is a classic. i enjoyed it. i liked the part when Tarzan fought the ape at the end.
March 24, 2010
(First and only viewing - 7/23/2010)
June 29, 2013
Good story. Weissmuller is competent, if not perfect. Lot of interesting symbolism & study into human nature. It was great to see, for the first time, so many references that one is familiar with, via pop culture. (eg. Tarzan's call)

Jane is cute enough, but her barely intelligible mid-Atlantic accent is grating on the ears, dah-ling. It gets old after the 7000th time. There's also an irritating feminist aspect about it. And I mean feminism, in the most annoying way possible.

However, after that nonsense, & when they begin looking for the ivory, the film really picks up. Especially when the titular character is introduced. Tarzan is a man who has been living in the jungle as a liberal for much of his life.

For living in the jungle, his hair is stylized quite perfectly. Some pretty risque wardrobe.

The use of animals is exceptional. Maybe the best in the history of film (not counting Jumanji). The special effects were pretty good for their day. Also, I detect some Return of the Jedi inspiration, here.

An annoying instance of moral equivalence once again. An ape kidnaps a woman & won't let her go. Her relatives shoot the ape. Tarzan kills the ape-killers. Apparently, we're told that the crime is no different.
right...

Despite the adequate story, it was kind of an uneven ending.

*best scene in the movie (63 minutes in) is when Jane comes running from something, and the monkey is caught off guard and runs at her with a forearm shiver. lol. commendably, O'Sullivan doesn't break stride. Cheeta is awesome.
½ January 21, 2014
The one and only real Tarzan-Johnny Weissmuller--Love, Action, & Adventure!!
September 23, 2013
I thought I'd seen this before, but after watching it again, I'm not sure I've ever seen it in its entirety. I've read the first 6 books in the series, albeit many years ago, and I have to say I enjoyed them much more than this film. Naturally, the mentality of the greedy white expedition leaders sickened me. If it moves, shoot it! It reminded me so much of the redneck, hillbilly mentality of humans today. If it moves, shoot it, then drink some beers! Unfortunately, one of them managed to make it out of the jungle, while every single one of their well whipped, dark skinned pack mules got wasted. I also had to laugh at them acting in front of a screen playing a film as if they were right there. Even for 1932, I thought that was shoddy. The meat of the film was entertaining enough, with some action, a small bit of suspense, a bunch of sadistic pygmies and even some wild, white monkey romance. It was also nice to watch a film with just a touch of dialogue in my native Swahili. I guess it's all the senseless animal slaughtering that left such a bad taste in my mouth. Oh, and since when are there trapezes hanging in the trees in Africa? Ehh, extra half star 'cause it's fucking Tarzan!
July 19, 2012
Obvious racism aside, this is a pretty entertaining film that I dearly loved as a child and it still holds up today as a fun film. Originally filmed do made use of a unused stock footage from a more expensive film shot on location in Africa, this film ended up the bigger hit and started an enormous franchise that ran for decades. The film also has a pre-production code sexiness that's missing from Hollywood films post Hays code.
May 4, 2012
Grew up on the cartoon film which was great. But I would love to see how it all started.
December 30, 2011
Loved this as a boy. Thrilling.
½ December 17, 2007
Great film from the 30`s. A review of film shown in the poster. Not the 81 version.
September 4, 2011
The first of the famous Tarzan series starring Johnny Weissmuller is a decent movie...it isn't great, but it is decent. I liked both Weissmuller and O'Sullivan, but the pacing leaves something to be desired.
½ May 27, 2011
Tarzan the Ape Man (1932) dirigida por W.S. Van Dyke. Es una gran produccion, un poco mas salvaje de lo que uno esperaria de la pelicula de esa epoca, ya que es un poco cruda la parte de la caseria, la matanza y asesinatos. Pero en general entretiene, hay escenas bien filmadas, la historia es de cierta forma divertida, hay cosas que uno no se cree, pero creo que para la epoca estaban muy bien.


*Esta pagina esta mala, el aņo, la descripcion y los actores son de la version del 81, pero el poster, el trailer y el director son de la original.
½ August 8, 2010
One of the better adaptions of Tarzan ever. The movie hits on all cylinders and contains the best actors to ever play the roles of Tarzan and Jane.
February 21, 2010
Great old movie, though Maureen O'Sullivan screams WAY too much.
December 18, 2009
Johnny Weismuller is the quintessential Tarzan for me, nobody else can come close to matching him in the role. Grew up watching his antics along with Jane, Boy and the hilarious Cheetah the Chimp. Brilliant movie.
July 24, 2008
This is the first of the Johnny Weissmuller Tarzan movies. Johnny Weissmuller was the best of all actors to play Tarzan. The main reason is because he perfected the Tarzan Yell. In this movie he is still young and trim and looks the part of Tarzan perfectly. The movie has nothing to do with the original book Tarzan of The Apes. In this movie they never explain where Tarzan came from. Since this movie was made just after the transition to sound movies from the silent era, there are long stretches without any dialog or background music. The story is basically that Jane and her Father are looking for a mythical elephant's graveyard. They think it is on top of an escarpment that doesn't exist in the real world. Tarzan finds them and snatches Jane. The movie is a love story between Jane and Tarzan with a lot of action thrown in. Tarzan wrestles lions and crocodiles and at the end a giant ape. Of course the apes in both the Tarzan books and the Tarzan movies don't exist in real life. Edgar Rice Burroughs made them up. In Africa there are chimpanzees and gorillas but no large vicious man-like apes. A lot of stock footage of actual African Natives is used in the beginning of the movie. Other than that this Africa looks a lot like Southern California. Although they used baby chimpanzees for the baby apes, the adult apes are obviously people in ape suits. The crocodiles are mechanical and the elephants have fake canvas ears. For people living in the early 1930's this was a sexy exiting movie. It was good on Saturday afternoons on black and white television when I was a kid. Today the lack of dialog and the primitive sound effects in the long action scenes can get kind of boring. But the movie is a classic.
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