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Tarzan's Greatest Adventure

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Title: Tarzan's Greatest Adventure  
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Subject: John Guillermin, Tarzan Goes to India, Tarzan the Magnificent, Tarzan, Harry Holt (Tarzan)
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Tarzan's Greatest Adventure

Tarzan's Greatest Adventure
Directed by John Guillermin
Produced by Harvey Hayutin
Sy Weintraub
Written by Les Crutchfield
Based on Characters created by 
by Edgar Rice Burroughs
Starring Gordon Scott
Anthony Quayle
Sara Shane
Sean Connery
Al Mulock
Scilla Gabel
Niall MacGinnis
Music by Douglas Gamley
Distributed by Solar Films
Paramount Pictures
Release dates
  • 1959 (1959)
Running time 88min.
Language English
Box office $1 million (est. US/Canada rentals)[1]

Tarzan's Greatest Adventure is a 1959 adventure film directed by John Guillermin, produced by Sy Weintraub and Harvey Hayutin, and written by Les Crutchfield, based on the character created by Edgar Rice Burroughs. With a strong supporting cast that included Anthony Quayle and Sean Connery, and a focus on action and suspense, the movie won critical praise as a Tarzan film that appealed to adults as well as children.

The film features a literate Tarzan portrayed by Gordon Scott. The character of Jane, Tarzan's wife, does not appear and is not mentioned. At one point, Tarzan briefly romances a female character, suggesting that he is a loner, not a family man. Cheeta, Tarzan's chimp companion in many movies, appears only a few times near the start of the film, and the kind of comic relief that Cheeta represents is generally absent from the movie.


A native village is robbed, supposedly by natives. Before a man dies, he mentions the name "Slade". Black colouring is found on his hand so they know it is white people who did it, disguised as Africans. Tarzan arrives, remembering Slade from a year previously as a man who let three of his men die during a hunt for a rogue elephant and has a grudge against him. A woman (Angie) turns up, Sanchez' latest woman, flying one of his planes. Later she buzzes Tarzan in his canoe, and crashes the plane so now Tarzan is stuck with her as he goes after Slade. Slade has 3 men and a girlfriend with him. He knows where a diamond mine is and has got his supplies for his trip by stealing them. Tensions run high amongst his men. Kruger is an ex-Nazi and a diamond expert. O'Bannion is an Irish rebel, a drunk and a trouble maker who keeps hassling Dino till Dino decides to kill him but falls foul of a wild animal and quicksand.

Tarzan and Angie lose their canoe but take an overland short cut where he fells some trees into the water to stop Slade's boat. Tarzan attacks them with arrows but they respond with (stolen) dynamite and Tarzan is injured. He later kills O'Bannion but collapses, needing Angie's help. Angie is captured trying to get penicillin for Tarzan and the group continue in their boat. Tarzan recovers and follows them to the diamond mine. Toni (Slade's girlfriend) falls into a trap meant for Tarzan. In the cave, Kruger realizes that Slade is more interested in danger than diamonds and tries to kill him but is in turn killed. Slade then goes out to wait for Tarzan with his prepared weapon, a metal noose for garrotting him. There is a final fight between the two on a cliff top.


Production notes

This film portrayed a grittier, more realistic Tarzan who could be as savage as his opponents but could also speak eloquently and politely to a woman (Sara Shane) who gets involved in the plot (he also makes love to her in the jungle at one point, without making any reference to Jane). A fair bit of library film of animals was used.

It heralded a whole new direction for Tarzan films under the leadership of producer Sy Weintraub (who soon bought out partner Hayutin), who continued to portray the Ape man as literate in the follow-up Tarzan the Magnificent, and in the films in the 1960s starring Jock Mahoney and Mike Henry as Tarzan. Considered one of the best of the Tarzan films by many.


  1. ^ "1959: Probable Domestic Take", Variety, 6 January 1960 p 34
  • Essoe, Gabe, Tarzan of the Movies, 1968, The Citadel Press
  • Fury, David, Kings of the jungle : an illustrated reference to "Tarzan" on screen and television, 1994, McFarland & Co.

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