The Mosquito Coast (1986) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Mosquito Coast (1986)




Critic Consensus: Harrison Ford capably tackles a tough, unlikable role, producing a fascinating and strange character study.

The Mosquito Coast Trailers & Photos

Movie Info

Harrison Ford delivers one of his most-acclaimed performances in Peter Weir's adaptation of Paul Theroux's novel (scripted by Paul Schrader). Ford plays Allie Fox, an inventor embittered by the blighted landscape of the contemporary United States. As he tells his oldest son, Charlie (River Phoenix), "Look around you. It's a toilet." He moves his wife (Helen Mirren) and kids -- Charlie, Jerry (Jadrien Steele), April (Hilary Gordon), and Clover (Rebecca Gordon) -- to the rain forests of Central America, where he plans to create a new civilization starting with his own nuclear family. Allie's family compliantly goes along with his scheme to build a free society, but slowly notices that his obsession has turned him into a tyrannical fascist. Rather than create a utopia, Allie's driving egomania demands total subservience from his downtrodden brood.more
Rating: PG (adult situations/language, violence)
Genre: Drama, Action & Adventure, Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
Written By: Paul Schrader
In Theaters:
On DVD: Nov 6, 2001
Warner Bros. Pictures


Harrison Ford
as Allie Fox
Andre Gregory
as Rev. Spellgood
Dick O'Neill
as Mr. Polski
Alice Sneed
as Mrs. Polski
Tiger Haynes
as Mr. Semper
William Newman
as Capt. Smalls
Melanie Boland
as Mrs. Spellgood
Martha Plimpton
as Emily Spellgood
Raymond Clare
as 1st Convert
Emory King
as Man at Bar
Louis Palacio
as Peaselee
Conrad Roberts
as Mr. Haddy
Michael Rogers
as Francis Lungley
Tony Vega Sr
as Mr. Maywit
Aurora Clavel
as Mrs. Maywit
Butterfly McQueen
as Ma Kennywick
Sofia Cho
as Alice
Luis Palacio
as Peaselee
Abel Woodrich
as Mercenary
Abel Woolrich
as Mercenary
Jorge Zepeda
as Mercenary
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for The Mosquito Coast

Critic Reviews for The Mosquito Coast

All Critics (27) | Top Critics (6)

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Full Review… | August 1, 2008
Top Critic

Full Review… | February 9, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Full Review… | August 30, 2004
New York Times
Top Critic

A stretch for Ford, but worth it. Unique and fascinating character study.

October 16, 2004
Kansas City Kansan

Examines the consequences of a father's egotism on his family.

Full Review… | August 26, 2004
Spirituality and Practice

Audience Reviews for The Mosquito Coast


Definitely not for all tastes. This challenging film boasts a full committed performance from Harrison Ford, possibly his best work, with strong support by Helen Mirren and River Phoenix. Weir guides us through a complex portrait of a deeply flawed perhaps insane man's quest for what he sees as a simple life but which twists him into a demagogue imperiling his family on his fruitless journey. Tough going but a good picture.

jay nixon

Super Reviewer


Harrison Ford has made one movie that lost money, this one. Which is a damn shame as it's one of his most interesting. "...(He's) the most dangerous kind of man, a know it all, who is occasionally right." Ford drags his family to South American to bring the ice (and therefore civilization). Chaos ensues.

Weir's direction is concise and tight, performances all round are fantastic. It's a shame that the failure of this drove him to the milk toast that is Dead Poets Society.

An awesome double feature with There Will Be Blood or Fitzcaraldo.

Ken Stachnik

Super Reviewer

A gripping, uncompromising look at a family who follows their father (Harrison Ford) blindly into Central America, due to the father's utter disgust on how corrupted America has become - so he elects to try his luck out in the jungles where he puts his skills on display. This is a solid film, which is worth watching due to Harrison Ford's roaring, knockout performance as a man unaware of his own hypocrisy, and uncaring towards his family's feelings. Helen Mirren and River Phoenix also give very subtle, but still strong performances. Although this film has its flaws (such as the over-zealous extreme Christian missionary who chews up only five minutes of the film - five pretty bad and exaggerated minutes), the strengths of the film and the way the plot unfolds naturally (never once feeling artificial) is a thing of beauty to watch. Definitely a film I will want to revisit in a few years again.

Dan Schultz
Dan Schultz

Super Reviewer

The Mosquito Coast Quotes

– Submitted by Chad E (3 years ago)
– Submitted by Chad E (3 years ago)

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