Tarzan, the Ape Man - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Tarzan, the Ape Man Reviews

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½ September 15, 2018
One of the worst movies that MGM has ever done and undoubtedly the worst version of Tarzan ever. The story made no sense, the characters were dumber than humanly possible, it was very ordinary (for a movie that is not supposed to be ordinary) and it was too violent (that is, of course there is almost no blood in the movie, but the characters have many violent behaviors). Horrible, I would not recommend anything.
November 23, 2017
Edgar Rice Burroughs is reduced to softcore porn. Instead of this being a story about a man who was raised by apes, it's a story about the sexual awakening of Jane, and it's a ludicrously awful awakening. "Tarzan the Ape Man" is so awful that it does achieve Ed Wood/Showgirls levels of so-bad-it's-good, which makes this film essential viewing for fans of bad cinema. Pretty, but talentless Bo Derek plays Jane. High points of camp include Tarzan pawing at Jane in a very odd early courtship scene. Aother scene has Tarzan rescuing Jane from a tribe of natives who roughly wash her and then cover her in mud, which I'm assuming director John Derek (Bo's husband) meant to be erotic. Oh, and over the end credits, Bo is pawed by a real ape, an orangutan, which I'm hoping was some sort of nod to the 70s/80s ape cycle of comedies (i.e "Every Which Way But Loose," "Going Ape," "BJ and the Bear," etc.). These scenes were all likely intended to be titillating, but similarly to "Showgirl," they are anything but. Overall, "Tarzan the Ape Man" is about as bad a film as can be made (I hope Richard Harris was paid handsomely for appearing), but it's sooooooooo bad, that it's absolutely worth watching, which is why I suppose Turner Classic Movies chose to air this unintentional laugh riot. FUN FACT! United Artists was sued by the Edgar Rice Burroughs estate over the film.
½ May 25, 2016
One of those bad movies you only watch because they are so fascinatingly weird and bizarre.
½ November 24, 2015
The film that put an end to Bo Derek's once-promising career, along with her late husband John's Hollywood career.
½ October 6, 2015
To be fair, I actually attempted to rematch this "film." I saw it during it's initial release. My father decided that this was an appropriate film for his son to see. I have to say that this might be one of the worst movies I've ever seen. As that was in 1981 and I was still but a child, I decided I should look again. Maybe I was exaggerating. No. I stand correct. However, it might say something that a movie I saw 30+ years ago is still so fresh in my mind. It remains exactly as I remember it. Bad. Just really bad.
½ November 21, 2014
Bo Swings

This movie was a remake of the Johnny Weissmuller classic movie. Bo Derek plays Jane without any clothes. The movie was filmed in Sri Lanka and the Seychelles islands not Africa. The geography of the fictional Africa was totally unrealistic. As in the original movie they climb an escarpment to find Tarzan's home but in this movie they find an inland sea at the top of the escarpment. There is no inland sea in Africa. There is one lake but no inland sea and no escarpments either. They also had Tarzan living with chimpanzees and an orangutan. There are no orangutans in Africa. The natives in this movie didn't look very African either. The movie's dialog is boring. The whole purpose of the movie is to see Bo Derek in the nude. The movie was directed by her husband John Derek. He was an excellent photographer but not a very good movie director. The movie has great pictures but no acting. As in the original movie they never explain were Tarzan came from. The fight scene at the end was in slow motion which was a cliché from 1970's westerns. I saw this movie at a theater in the corner of a strip mall off South May Avenue in Oklahoma City. The theater is closed now but the mall is still there. One of the women leaving the movie complained how bad the movie was but said Tarzan was cute. I enjoyed it the first time I watched it but when I got the Laserdisc and watched it years later I could see that it was pretty boring. It was still the only movie I ever went to that no one got up to leave during the closing credits. They just sat there and watched a nude Jane frolicking with Tarzan and the orangutan.
February 21, 2014
Remember in my "Glitter" review how I said that movie was the first film to ever give me a headache? Well "Tarzan, The Ape Man" is the first to literally put me to sleep. Seriously, I must've dozed off like 2 or 3 times while watching this stupid movie. I haven't seen a movie so empty since The Bling Ring. It's really hard to really review this film properly because literally nothing happens in "Tarzan, The Ape Man". Nothing really works in it whether it be the idiotic writing, the atrocious acting, the crappy dialog or the flat as a board characters. Let's have an awkward look at a very awkward movie, "Tarzan, The Ape Man".

Jane (Bo Derek) finds her long lost father (Richard Harris) on a quest to find Hidden Secrets about an African Jungle. One of which happens to be a an Ape Man kown as Tarzan. As Jane and Tarzan encounter each other, they grow a bond... I'm not sure what kind of bond it is but clearly they're close. Yeah you're probably just as confused as I am.

By the title, you would think this would be just an adaptation of the Tarzan Novel. However, if you were lucky to see the trailer as I was you can easily tell this film is just an excuse to have Bo Derek get naked. Really if this film wasn't so long it could easily join the fun bad movies I like to watch like Supergirl or The Room. Unfortunately, there are times when the film really drags and has constants stops and starts. There is literally a scene of Jane and Tarzan fighting an obvious rubber snake for 10 whole minutes. I would be okay with this if the fight was exciting or added something to the "story" but it just comes off as a huge waste of film.

Do I even need to say anything about the acting in this? In particular Bo Derek's? Yeah Pia Zadora is a terrible actress too but at least she can do two emotions somewhat properly. Bo pretty much does nothing but pose and moan erotically in the entire film. Whenever she says anything, I just don't believe the way she says her lines or how she delivers them. For instance, there's a scene where she is eating a banna (in the most erotic way possible) and tells Tarzan she's a virgin. Yeah, I'm going to call Bull Crap on that. I don't want to be mean here, but it's hard for me to believe Bo Derek as a virgin in this movie. I don't know if it's the way the character of Jane is acted or the way she's written but I have a hard time believing this character has no experience in anything sexual. I will say this, Richard Harris' acting is hilarious. I would almost say he's the male counterpart of Faye Dunaway. Whenever he spoke or yelled at the top of his lungs I would just laugh out of nowhere.

I would say the huge issue with the film is the fact that it's so boring. Supposedly, Tarzan, The Ape Man is an "adventure" film. Excuse me, but where the hell is the adventure? For more than half the movie, we see nothing but people walking through a boring jungle and camping out somewhere to have stupid dialog about fear or whatever. Even the scens with Tarzan and Jane together are pretty boring. They don't even have sex they pretty much just elude to it without doing the deed. Which leads to another issue with the film, these two morons don't belong together! Really is there relationship only going to be all about sex? There's an obvious language barrier and it's quite maddening to think you two will do nothing but bone each other while you look into each other's eyes awkwardly.

As much as I bash this film "Tarzan, The Ape Man" is not the worst movie I ever seen. I would say "Mommie Dearest" or "Glitter" would still be way more horrible than this movie. Still, that's not saying much. This is still a really awful film. The chemistry is not believable, the acting in general is not believable, the writing is completely off, the dialog is moronic and the characters are nothing but tolls in a film that cannot ever be fixed. It doesn't matter how many times Bo Derek gets naked in this, she's still a bad actress and this is still dumb movie.
½ June 1, 2013
Bo Derek as a nekkid Jane can't hold a loincloth to Maureen O'Sullivan in husband John Derek's home movie. Well deserved Razzie winner.
½ January 27, 2013
Sorely tedious and entirely absurd.
December 19, 2012
Intended as a starring vehicle for Bo Derek and directed by her husband, John Derek, this awful excuse for an adventure film was panned by the critics and dubbed "The little Bo peep show" as the heroine spent a good portion of the film in the nude.
Unfortunately, it didn't help and the poor direction, bad acting, and mediocre script (not to mention the infamous fight scene with the rubber snake) make it the worst of the Tarzan films.
Where is Johnny Weissmuller when we need him?
September 23, 2012
This started out all right but degenerated into pure silliness, the height of which being the slow-mo python scene. Still nowhere near as bad as advertised.
August 8, 2012
I love this movie. It's honestly one of my favorites. I can watch it over and over again.
August 7, 2012
Even when it first came out the joke was that it should of been titled "Jane of the Jungle" as this was all about Bo Derek in various states of undress. Riding on the success of "10" the Derek's made this unabashed ripoff of the Tarzan name. It seems they made a movie with the least amount of extras as possible while highlighting Bo's body in a vacation setting.
Bo looks great but the movie is a complete mess and is a movie about Tarzan in name only and has nothing to do with the actual character of the books.
May 4, 2012
So bad, it's good. You can watch Bo Derek getting wet and wetter and Richard Harris growing more and more frustrated until his final great monologue on the pleasures of Irish pubs. Best actors are the animals and most of all the apes who definitely deserved an Academy Award. Interesting for ethologists.
April 9, 2012
Bo Derek was so hot in this movie....
½ February 10, 2012
Bo Derek rightfully earns her Razzie award in this pile of trash! I can't even imagine what else could have been worse than this. The story is boring, the acting is beyond terrible, and the nudity isn't even fun! Sorry, but I didn't need to see Bo Derek get her nipple sucked by a chimpanzee...I mean, WTF!?! I was never much of a fan of Tarzan...but this certainly didn't do his character (or story) any favors.
½ December 30, 2011
The focus in this version is squarely on Jane, and it isn't hard to see why.
½ December 16, 2011
Cheesy but highly watchable due to Bo Dereks perfect naked body.
½ December 10, 2011
Bad doesn't adequately describe this mangy apeman tale.
½ October 9, 2011
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