Quest for Fire

1981

Quest for Fire

Critics Consensus

Its characters can't do much more than grunt, but that doesn't keep Quest for Fire from offering a deeply resonant -- and surprisingly funny -- look at the beginning of the human race.

85%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 20

75%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 8,644
User image

Quest for Fire Photos

Movie Info

Quest for Fire takes place some 80,000 years in the past. A primitive homo sapiens tribe huddles around a natural fire source for comfort and survival. When that source is extinguished, tribesmen Naoh (Everett McGill), Amoukar (Ron Perlman), and Gaw (Nameer El-Kadi) are sent out on a "quest for fire." After several days of wandering through the prehistoric landscape (the film was shot in Canada, Scotland, Iceland, and Kenya), the three come across a cannibal tribe that knows how to produce fire; they save a young girl, Ika (Rae Dawn Chong), from the clutches of the cannibals, with the hope that she'll reveal the secret. Based on a novel by J. H. Rosny Sr., Quest for Fire convincingly creates the world of the past and believably molds its characters within the context of their surroundings and their limited knowledge of the world. The credibility factor is aided by technical consultants Desmond Morris and Anthony Burgess, who respectively developed a set of gestures and a simplistic language for the Ulams and Ivakas. An Oscar went to John Hay and Penny Rose's costume design. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Watch it now

Cast

Ron Perlman
as Amoukar
Naseer El-Kadi
as Nam - The Ulam Tribe
Nameer El-Kadi
as Gaw, Ulam tribe member
Gary Schwartz
as Rouka - The Ulam Tribe
Frank Olivier Bonnet
as Aghoo - The Ulam Tribe
Jean-Michel Kindt
as Lakar - The Ulam Tribe
Kurt Schiegl
as Faum - The Ulam Tribe
Brian Gill
as Modoc - The Ulam Tribe
Terry Fitt
as Hourk - The Ulam Tribe
Bibi Caspari
as Gammla - The Ulam Tribe
Peter Elliott
as Mikr - The Ulam Tribe
Michelle Leduc
as Matr - The Ulam Tribe
George Buza
as Kzamm Tribe
Robert Lavoie
as Tsor - The Ulam Tribe
Joy Boushel
as The Ulam Tribe Member #1
Mary Lou Foy
as The Ulam Tribe Member #3
Robert Gondek
as The Ulam Tribe Member #5
Sylvie Guilbault
as The Ulam Tribe Member #7
Steve Ramanuskas
as The Ulam Tribe Member #9
Lydia Chaban
as The Ulam Tribe Member #2
Dena Francis
as The Ulam Tribe Member #4
Hélène Grégoire
as The Ulam Tribe Member #6
Lloyd McKinnon
as The Ulam Tribe Member #8
Georgette Rondeau
as The Ulam Tribe Member #10
Rod Bennett
as The Wagabou Tribe Member #1
Jacques Demers
as The Wagabou Tribe Member #2
Michel Drouet
as The Wagabou Tribe Member #3
Michel Francoeur
as The Wagabou Tribe Member #4
Charles Gosselin
as The Wagabou Tribe Member #5
Bernard Kendall
as The Wagabou Tribe Member #6
Benoit Levesque
as The Wagabou Tribe Member #7
Joshua Melnick
as The Wagabou Tribe Member #8
Jean-Claude Meunier
as The Wagabou Tribe Member #9
Alex Quaglia
as The Wagabou Tribe Member #10
The Great Antonio
as The Kzamm Tribe Member #1
View All

News & Interviews for Quest for Fire

Critic Reviews for Quest for Fire

All Critics (20) | Top Critics (5) | Fresh (17) | Rotten (3)

Audience Reviews for Quest for Fire

  • Jan 14, 2013
    Visually, "Quest for Fire" is an ugly film, and that's not just because all that it captures are filthy Neanderthals. The cinematography is drab and muddled and the idea of shot composition seems to have been ignored almost entirely. Whether this technique is intentional or not is beside the point; it makes the movie hard to watch. It's cool that there's an actual movie about cavemen and their discovery of fire, but it's hard to make unintelligent characters like these interesting or even close to likable. The locations are beautiful and the makeup is amazing, but I personally don't find much of interest in "Quest of Fire." It's a respectable work that I imagine some will grow to love; I'm just not one of those people.
    Stephen E Super Reviewer
  • Dec 06, 2011
    This is one of the coolest, most interesting, and unique films that I've seen in quite some time, possibly (maybe) ever. To simply, this is a feature length version of the "Dawn of Man" segment from 2001: A Space Odyssey. It takes places (likely) in what is now Europe, only 80,000 years in the past. The main story follows a trio of neanderthal tribesman tasked with going on a journey to find fire and bring it back to their tribe after the fire that they had been using and protecting tragically gets extinguished. This would all be simpler if they were more advanced and could make the fire themselves, but at least they're more developed than one of the other tribes depicted in the film. The story is quite simple, but there's so much more to it than that. Besides being a basic man versus nature survival story, it's also very human and deep, and traces the development of man into a less primitive state of being. Four tribes are depicted in the film, all of them in various stages of development, and each with their own set of values, culture, and language or communication abilities. The story starts out as interesting, and only gets even more so from there as the trio's journey takes them to places that alter their world forever. Yes, you do have to suspend disbelief, and sometimes the material comes off as a bit hokey, but you actually really care about the characters, and are just as delighted as they are when they make new discoveries, even if it is something as simple as learning the concept of laughter. This is a really fascinating film, and it feels like a pretty high water mark to me. Some of it got a little slow for me in a couple of places, but that aside, there's not much (that I'm personally aware of) wrong with it. I thought it was pretty realistic, and well researched, and I liked that it was rather artsy and that the film had no narration (outside of an opening crawl) or real language or subtitles, forcing the viewer to follow things solely based on music cues, facial expressions, actions, and body language. As far as acting goes, it's pretty damn good. This was probably more challenging than it might seem, but everyone does a wonderful job. At the time, none of the cast were known, but that has changed for two of them: Ron Perlman and Rae Dawn Chong. The makeup and effects are pretty decent, though I think Perlman might have been too authentic (sorry bud, I love you and your unique look, but that's probably why the types of roles you get are generally pretty limited. All in all, this is some tremendous stuff, and it's definitely great at provoking thought and discussion. Unfortunately I don't think some people would be mature enough to handle this without giggling, and it's not for all tastes anyway, but I do think it's one that everyone should see.
    Chris W Super Reviewer
  • Sep 06, 2010
    A stupid artsy type of movie without any real dialogue or story. I didn't get it! I hate this movie, and I do not recommend seeing it.
    Aj V Super Reviewer
  • Sep 04, 2008
    The sole "prehistoric movie" to assemble the human instinct on species still immature of their physical identity.Warriors,mammals,united or separated,it's a pretty engaging motion picture by Annaud,so don't even bother watching Emmerich's blockbuster atrocity.
    Dimitris S Super Reviewer

Quest for Fire Quotes

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

News & Features