Greystoke: the Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes

  • PG
  • Hugh Hudson (1984)
  • UK / US
  • 131 min
Greystoke: the Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes
Film Review
Reviewed By
3 out of 5

Director Hugh Hudson's follow-up to Chariots of Fire claims to be the definitive screen version of Edgar Rice Burroughs's oft-filmed tale about the orphaned aristocrat raised by apes. The early scenes in the primate colony are moving and deftly handled (and aided immeasurably by Rick Baker's stunning make-up). However, despite Hudson's skilful re-creation of the stifling atmosphere of Edwardian England, once the action leaves the jungle, the film begins noticeably to sag. Christopher Lambert certainly looks the part, but is not an adept enough actor to carry off the complexities of Tarzan's plight in this decidedly adult version of the tale. But Ralph Richardson injects some much-needed warmth and fun as the Earl of Greystoke and the film also looks glorious - the money thrown at it is all up on the screen. Although the direction may sometimes lose its way, this still adds up to stirring entertainment.

Plot Summary

Adventure starring Christopher Lambert, Ralph Richardson and Ian Holm. When Lord Clayton and his pregnant young wife are shipwrecked off the coast of Africa in 1886, a legend is born. Their son, John, is reared in the jungle by apes and becomes master of all he surveys. That is until the day a hunting party strays into his territory, bringing with it the violence of civilisation.

Cast and crew


John Clayton, Tarzan
Christopher Lambert
Earl of Greystoke
Ralph Richardson
Captain Phillippe D'Arnot
Ian Holm
Lord Esker
James Fox
Jane Porter
Andie MacDowell
Lady Alice Clayton
Cheryl Campbell
Lord Jack Clayton
Paul Geoffrey
Sir Evelyn Blount
John Wells
Major Jack Downing
Nigel Davenport
Jeffson Brown
Ian Charleson
Sir Hugh Belcher
Nicholas Farrell
Captain Billings
Richard Griffiths
David Suchet
Jane Porter
Glenn Close


Hugh Hudson

Other Information

Theatrical distributor: 
Columbia-Emi-Warner Dists Ltd
Nudity, edited for violence.
Available on video and DVD
Certificate PG