King Kong (1976)

Adventure, Fantasy, Romance
Jeff Bridges, Charles Grodin, Jessica Lange, John Randolph
A petroleum exploration expedition comes to an isolated island and encounters a colossal giant gorilla.
  • 17 Dec 1976 Released:
  • N/A DVD Release:
  • N/A Box office:
  • James Ashmore Creelman, Ruth Rose, Merian C. Coope Writer:
  • John Guillermin Director:
  • N/A Website:

All subtitles:



Trailer:

Why Does Everyone Hate This Version?10/10
People seem to jump on the old' bandwagon when bashing Kong '76. It's not that bad!!! For '76 I'd say it was quite an achievement. Lange is great in it (and quite stunningly beautiful) and Bridges always rules. Can't go wrong with this version... don't believe the negative hype. I, for one, appreciate it when someone does a remake and actually interprets the story differently. Carpenter did it with The Thing and Cronenberg did it with the fly and both were amazing. I think this movies gets more negative comments because they are comparing it to the original, which back in its day was the first movie of its kind (Mighty Joe Young is still better!). For movie purists, the thought of remaking a landmark film is always touchy territory. Thus, they rip the remake. The core story is still basically the same, the writers just updated key elements that were pivotal 'classic' moments from the original (empire state building for one). Again the purists cry foul. Bottomline, see it and give it a chance... ignore the pompous so called "experts".
Guilty Pleasure7/10

I hate to admit this having read many of the reviews but I can't help but enjoy "King Kong". Yes I realize it is silly and yest I realize the special effects aren't.... well, special. But I was 11 years old when this came out at Christmas in 1976. The hype was huge. The posters screamed that it was "The Motion Picutre Event of Our Time". I was caught up in it all and the film has a lot of fond memories for me.

On the positive side I think John Barry's score is one of his best. The lack of an Oscar nomination was a crime. Jeff Bridges and Charles Grodin (playing a bad guy for a change) are acceptable in their roles. Jessica Lange didn't exactly hint there was a two time Oscar winner present but she looked awfully good. And the supporting cast featuring character actors (Ed Lauter, John Randolph, etc) we've seen over and over again.

It's no classic. It may not even be that good. But every time it's on I watch it and enjoy it despite its flaws. I guess that's what a guilty pleasure is all about. And this may be my guiltiest pleasure.
A GUILTY PLEASURE FOR SURE- I LOVE IT!10/10
Another poster called this Kong a guilty pleasure. I agree. It's flawed and the special effects are not very special by today's standards and there's a lot of silly stuff. I won't argue about any of that. It's all true. And so what? I LOVE THIS MOVIE! I love the flaws and the not-so-special effects and all of the silly stuff. I enjoyed Dwan's comment about telling Prescott's sign by his ears and all of her silly lines to Kong. Jessica Lange is beautiful, lovely, and wonderful. Jeff Bridges is excellent too and how can ya not hate Charles Grodin in this? He's the character I most love to hate! Great work! King Kong himself is always entertaining in this even if he is incredibly goofy at times depending on which special effect they used. The giant robot Kong just kills me! LOL! I loved it! When they use an actor in a costume it works better and dammit this Kong has got the most soulful eyes! My heart strings were tugged by this sweet and silly movie. POOR KONG! HE'S JUST LOOKIN' FOR LOVE! WHY CAN'T THEY JUST LEAVE HIM ALONE?! I guess if they did there'd be no movie. No this isn't a perfect movie but I agree with the poster who said this movie is an old friend. All of the flaws are part of it's charm and I've had a wonderful time with this Kong.
"King" of the remakes...7/10

Okay, I'll admit that I was a kid when I first saw this so this review is done wearing rose-colored glasses. But having seen this '76 remake of "King Kong", my opinion hasn't changed much: it's still great! Maybe not the equal of the original, but how could it be? It does well enough in its own behalf.

The music grabs you right off: John Barry did aces with his pounding, dramatic score. And you couldn't ask for a better cast; Lange does okay for a first role, Bridges makes linear-thought acting look easy and Grodin is about as slimy a baddie as you could ask for. The bit parts are also filled with familiar faces (Bernsen, Piscopo, Auberjoinois, Lauter, Randolph and Lone) who acquit themselves quite well.

A lot of people blast the monkey suit. But I think Rick Baker did a good job with it. Of COURSE it's a guy in a monkey suit, but it's a guy in a WELL-DONE monkey suit. It still gets me when Kong blew-dry Dwan (Lange after her waterfall shower); those puffed-out cheeks, especially in 1976, were high tech enough for me (remember, this was before "Star Wars" came out).

But we all know how the story works; any of us who have a rudimentary knowledge of the original, that is. The new twist was having the emotional connection between Lange and ape. More enlightened than having her scream endlessly. The Twin Towers scene near the end was not only exciting but quietly moving, as it showed just how much the beast cared for his beauty.

There's plenty of corn in this one, no argument, but it's corn for a good cause. I loved "King Kong" and if I had a chance, I'd buy a copy! Anyone have John Guillermin's phone number?

Seven stars for "Kong"; long live the "King"!
One of the great movies of my youth7/10
"King Kong" was one of my all-time favorite movies when I was a teenager. It was the big 'event' movie of 1976 and showed on two screens in most multiplexes. It might have been the first movie to get that treatment. With a production cost of $24 million it was the most expensive movie ever made at that time.

Promotional material offered for sale dwarfed anything that had been done in that area before. A fast-food joint offered King Kong collectible glasses (I still have a set). And you could find posters, T-shirts and a 'Making Of King Kong' book.

I very much enjoyed 'King Kong' as a 17-year-old high school senior, but not so much later as an adult. The romance between Dwan and Jack seemed contrived once I got older. Other aspects of the film struck me as just dumb. Like the ship's radar being able to pick up Kong when he was walking around the island. Or the SUNNY aerial shot of the people walking on the allegedly fog-shrouded island. Or Jack's theory that the fog was produced not by a huge supply of crude oil near the surface, but by 'animal respiration.' As if King Kong's breathing caused the fog bank. Give me a break!

Yet there's something about movies one enjoyed as a youth that makes them special for the rest of one's life, no matter how bad they really are.

But 'King Kong' had it's good points, too. First of all, it was funny. Charles Grodin's portrayal of the greedy, desperate oil company executive is scenery-chewing at its best. For years after, I watched in vain for Grodin to play a similar character, but everything else he has done is nothing like his work in 'King Kong.' (Nothing as good either, I might add.)

Speaking of singular performances, you won't recognize Rene Auberjonois if your frame of reference is his work on 'Benson' and 'Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.' The voice he uses in 'King Kong' is nothing like the gravely voice we're used to hearing.

Jeff Bridges is perfect in the role of Jack Prescott. His long hair is a nice touch, although it probably turned off some of the older people in the theater. Jeff has a way with a sarcastic line that few actors can equal.

Jessica Lange comes off worse than any other actor in the film. Not because of her performance, which is fine, but because her character is an airhead who is only there to be protected (and rescued when that doesn't work) from Kong. The fact that her costumes were chosen for their ability to showcase her body and that her breasts are briefly visible when Kong undresses her has got to make the actress cringe nowadays when she thinks about this movie.

I'll close by noting that John Barry's score of 'King Kong' was terrific. Twenty-six years after the movie debuted and I can still remember the title tune.