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Greystoke - The Legend of Tarzan

4.4 out of 5 stars 337 customer reviews

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  • Greystoke - The Legend of Tarzan
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes (DVD)

This savagely beautiful and profoundly moving saga of a man caughtbetween two very different worlds tells the story of Tarzan from hisboyhood among the great apes of Africa to his return to Britain to takehis place as part of the aristocracy. Based on the story Tarzan of theApes by Edgar Rice Burroughs.

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Additional Features

For the 20th anniversary of this adventure, the DVD delivers a new remastered Dolby 5.1 soundtrack and digital transfer of the extended edition that has been on video for years. This additional footage (about six minutes) includes an opening scene with the apes and a key sequence when Tarzan starts his trek to civilization. The only bonus feature is a lackluster commentary track with director Hugh Hudson and producer Garth Thomas. They talk about how their craftsman made the sets blend well with location shooting, but no aspect of the film's checkered history--from a star's voice-dubbing to Robert Towne taking his name off the film--is mentioned. Instead, we get lots of talk about the character's interior monologue, which is pretty apparent. The DVD does include the fantastic original trailer. --Doug Thomas

Special Features

  • All-new 20th anniversary digital transfer of special video cut, remastered in Dolby 5.1
  • Trailer

Product Details

  • Actors: Ralph Richardson, Ian Holm, James Fox, Christopher Lambert, Andie MacDowell
  • Directors: Hugh Hudson
  • Writers: P.H. Vazak, Michael Austin
  • Producers: Hugh Hudson, Stanley S. Canter
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    PG
    Parental Guidance Suggested
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: February 8, 2005
  • Run Time: 137 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (337 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0001NBLYK
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #528 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Greystoke - The Legend of Tarzan" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Wayne Klein HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 31, 2004
Format: DVD
Although it doesn't quite live up to Robert Towne's original script, "Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan Lord of The Apes" manages to bring much of the spectacle of Edgar Rice Burroughs' original tale with a distinctive, powerful edge missing from every other version of the novel. Towne's script and the film adhere to most of the narrative about Tarzan growing up while drifting away from some of the more extreme fantasy elements present in the original novel.

When the child of a female gorilla is mercilessly beaten to death, his mother adopts an infant human whose parents were killed by the same gorilla. The couple were shipwrecked and thought dead by the man's grandfather the Earl of Greystoke. The infant continues to have conflicts with the lead gorilla of the group as he grows up and is, in fact, beaten up and left for dead at one point. As he grows into manhood, he discovers the home of his parents, his mother's locket, and his father's knife and sees his reflection for the first time. He's horrified and fascinated at the same time realizing that, while he doesn't quite look like his mother, she is still his mother. Gradually, he discovers children's blocks that show him what a human looks like for the first time.

When his mother is murdered by tribesmen hunting the gorillas for food, he fights back for the first time killing one of the tribesmen breaking the man's back. He also stands up to and kills the gorilla that tried to kill him and succeeded in killing his parents long ago.
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Format: DVD
This film was an attempt to do justice to teh original idea of Tarzan that ERB had intended. There was just too much in the orignal story that could not be done in a single film, but I think this version has been the best attempt to date.

And the comment in the official Amazon review that having a French accented actor play Tarzan was a "mistake" shows that the reviewer never read the orignal book. The first human SPOKEN language that Tarzan learned was French which he learned from a French officer whom he had rescued. The Ian Holm character was in the original book. He was not an "add on." So not only was the casting of Christopher Lambert appropriate; it was true to ERB's orignal story line.
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Format: Blu-ray
A fascinating curiosity but something of a troubled and uneven picture, "Greystoke" was originally the brainchild of "Chinatown" writer Robert Towne. After languishing in pre-production hell for years, Warner Bros. finally decided to rework Towne's script - which he had originally wanted to direct himself -- as a vehicle for director Hugh Hudson, then a red hot commodity after the Oscar-winning "Chariots of Fire."

The resulting film, which Towne removed his name from (in favor of the pseudonym "P.H. Vazak" - Towne's dog!), reportedly retained the structure of Towne's script in its first half - showing the upbringing of young Lord Greystoke (Christopher Lambert) in the wilds of Africa by a society of apes and his eventual discovery by a group of adventurers led by Ian Holm. However, Hudson deviated from both the script, as well as Edgar Rice Borroughs' source material, in its tedious second half, when Tarzan returns to the family manor in Scotland and meets dear old grandpa (Ralph Richardson). Suddenly the film shifts gears from a gorgeous, albeit serious adaptation of Tarzan in the wild to a drawing room drama a la Merchant-Ivory, compounded by leaden scenes (Richardson's Earl of Greystoke sliding down a flight of stairs on a dining service tray) and the decision to have Glenn Close dub the movie's Jane - Andie McDowell (a film debut she's spent her career living down). The latter eliminates any chance of Lambert and McDowell generating any chemistry together, so the love story comes across as limp while the dramatic development of Greystoke (he's never called Tarzan at any point in the film) and his failure to acclimate to civilization seems misplaced compared to the upbeat, exciting thrills of Borroughs' original stories.
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Format: VHS Tape
There have been many film adaptations of Edgar Rice Burrough's tales of Tarzan. Most of them were produced in the earlier days of movie making, and were filmed on back lots in Hollywood. While a number of them provided good entertainment, few of them really depicted Burrough's book, "Tarzan, Lord of the Apes." "Greystoke" is, however, different in that respect.
While there are certainly disparities between Burrough's book and this movie, "Greystoke" is the most faithful in storyline, character development, and essence of any Tarzan movie I have seen. Christopher Lambert does a great job as Tarzan. And Andie MacDowell makes an enticing Jane.
I wonder how the movie would have played though if the director/producer had decided to use Andie MacDowell's own voice instead of opting to have Glenn Close do voice overs for all of Andie's lines? Perhaps they thought that Andie's slight southern accent would detract from the atmosphere they were trying to develop?
Anyway, the visual impact of the movie is great. The scenery is awesome. The sound track is supporting and blends into the overall sensory effect that helps drive the movie forward. One down side has to be the costuming for the apes. While the costumes were adequate, they were inferior to other top-notch visual effects of the movie. To be fair to the special effects folks, there were few other options in 1983 that would allow a more realistic representation of animals like great apes and the kinds of ape-human interactions needed to make the film work.
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