The African Queen

Critics Consensus

Perfectly cast, smartly written, and beautifully filmed, The African Queen remains thrilling, funny, and effortlessly absorbing even after more than half a century's worth of adventure movies borrowing liberally from its creative DNA.

98%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 45

86%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 33,468

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Movie Info

After religious spinster's (Katharine Hepburn) missionary brother is killed in WWI Africa, dissolute steamer captain (Humphrey Bogart) offers her safe passage. She's not satisfied so she persuades him to destroy a German gunboat. The two spend most of their time fighting with each other rather than the Germans. Time alone on the river leads to love.

Cast & Crew

Humphrey Bogart
Charlie Allnut
Robert Morley
Reverend Samuel Sayer
Peter Bull
Captain of Louisa
Theodore Bikel
First Officer
Walter Gotell
Second Officer
C.S. Forester
Writer (Novel)
James Agee
Writer (Adaptation)
John Huston
Writer (Adaptation)
S.P. Spiegel
Producer
Allan Gray
Original Music
Jack Cardiff
Cinematographer
Ralph Kemplen
Film Editor
Connie De Pinna
Costume Designer
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News & Interviews for The African Queen

Critic Reviews for The African Queen

All Critics (45) | Top Critics (9) | Fresh (44) | Rotten (1)

  • The action scenes are expertly handled, the film was a hit and Hollywood liked it so much that it remade it in 1975 as Rooster Cogburn, with John Wayne opposite Hepburn.

    November 25, 2019 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

    Kevin Maher

    Times (UK)
    Top Critic
  • The African Queen is top flight entertainment, delightful, different, always interesting.

    February 20, 2017 | Full Review…
  • A ripping, gripping yarn, a surprisingly erotic love story and, as it happens, a premonition of Herzog's Fitzcarraldo.

    March 3, 2011 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…
  • [A] grand, propulsive and plumly-restored slice of Technicolor derring-do.

    March 3, 2011 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • Five minutes in, and cowriter-director John Huston has already set the stage for something besides your typical '50s jungle-bwana boogie.

    February 9, 2011 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

    David Fear

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • It is a picture with an unassuming warmth and naturalness...

    June 28, 2007 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The African Queen

  • Feb 09, 2015
    A very entertaining and exciting adventure shot on location in Africa in glorious Technicolor and with a wonderful chemistry between Hepburn and Bogart - she as a smart, determined and strong-willed woman and he in a hilarious performance that granted him his only Oscar.
    Carlos M Super Reviewer
  • Sep 03, 2013
    I think the film may be a lot sillier than its reputation suggests (that ending is outrageous), but even so I think the utterly perfect pairing of Bogart and Hepburn make it all work. If not for their performances I sincerely doubt anyone would remember this.
    Alec B Super Reviewer
  • Feb 13, 2013
    Charlie Allnut: Oh, I'm not worried miss. Gave myself up for dead back where we started. "The greatest adventure a man ever lived... with a woman!" The African Queen is a movie I have wanted to see for a long time. It has the distinction of being one of those classic films that very film fan has to see. On top of that, it stars Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn and is directed by John Huston. So there's really nothing to deter you from wanting to watch it. When WW1 is launched, a missionary living in Africa with her minister brother, must leave with a rugged, riverboat captain; after her village is destroyed by German soldiers and her brother dies. Rose wants Charlie to go down the river, which worries Charlie a great deal because as he says, there's only death down the river. He reluctantly agrees and the river, as well as a German U-Boat create many obstacles for the missionary and alcoholic captain. The African Queen wasn't the irrevocable masterpiece a expected, but nonetheless it is still a very good film. I wasn't blown away by anything that the film did, but it was undeniably entertaining and well constructed, written, directed, and acted. The African Queen is a film that needs to be seen by all film buffs. 
    Melvin W Super Reviewer
  • Oct 29, 2012
    "The African Queen" isn't as impressive as it could have been, but it's still a worthwhile romance flick, although underwritten. The main reason it's worth seeing is that Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn act opposite one another and display likable chemistry, delivering their lines with a good amount of gusto. There are also some great on-location shots and well-edited sequences, but disappointingly, not much else.
    Stephen E Super Reviewer

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