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The Ghost and the Darkness

  R Closed Captioning

Stephen Hopkins

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Plot Summary

A man bringing modern transportation to the ancient jungles of Africa discovers one of man's oldest enemies lays in wait for him in this period adventure drama. John Beaumont (Tom Wilkinson) is the owner of a British railroad firm who is building a rail line through Uganda. A bridge is needed so that the tracks may cross a large river, and engineer John Henry Patterson (Val Kilmer) is summoned to the African nation to supervise construction. While Beaumont has placed Patterson under a strict deadline, the bridge designer is certain that with his guidance, the local laborers will be able to complete the job in time. However, when several workers are killed in an attack by a lion, Patterson is forced to deal with the animal; while he bags a lion who invades the work site one evening, it soon becomes obvious that there's more than one predator in the nearby jungle. The lion attacks continue, eventually claiming the lives of 130 men, and Patterson and Beaumont finally agree to call in Charles Remmington (Michael Douglas), an expert hunter who understands the nature of the man-eaters and knows how to lure them into his trap. The Ghost and the Darkness is based on a true story, which was previously brought to the screen in 1953, in Arch Oboler's pioneering 3-D adventure Bwana Devil.

Rotten Tomatoes Movie Reviews


  • Reviews Counted: 46
  • Fresh: 23
  • Rotten: 23
  • Average Rating: 5.4/10

Top Critics' Reviews

Fresh: When the movie sticks to fact, the result is a hypnotic spectacle. – Peter Travers, Rolling Stone, Nov 24, 2006

Rotten: Despite mumbo jumbo about the lions being supernatural demons unleashed by the imperialistic white man, it's nothing more than Jaws with claws. – USA Today, Jun 24, 2010

Rotten: Can't transcend a too-familiar script. – Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times, Jan 28, 2006

Read More About This Movie On Rotten Tomatoes

Customer Reviews

The Man-Eaters of Tsavo

This is an excellent movie that depicts John H. Patterson's frightenly true story as only Val Kilmer can. Based off of the book ( The Man-Eaters of Tsavo) of Patterson's real encounters with two lions who have taken to the un-natural act of killing humans for sport (which exceeded 50 men). In the true story one lion is black and one blond, which is not depicted in the movie, but nonetheless captures Patterson's real encounters, his schemes to stop the killer beasts, and the horror of death by lion-as shown in frightening realism in this film. This tale will keep you on edge of your seat till the very end.

A true action adventure movie

A true story of man against nature. An excellent telling of a great adventure. Val kilmer and Michael Douglas are perfectly cast,worth every penny!!

Feels very real

Had seen this a few years ago in India and I was happy to find it on iTunes rental for just $0.99! This is an amazing movie based on a real story. Everything about this movie sounds so real -- be it the beauty of African wilderness, the laborers, the hero, the hunter, and of course, the lions. I liked all the actors. Kept waiting for Michael Douglas -- and he gives a powerful performance, though short. Highly recommended. If not for the gory scenes related to lions attacking humans, this movie wouldn't be an 'R', a 'PG' at the most.

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