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Quest for Fire
Quest for Fire
Actors: Everett McGill, Ron Perlman, Nicholas Kadi, Rae Dawn Chong, Gary Schwartz
Director: Jean-Jacques Annaud
Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Drama, Science Fiction & Fantasy
R     2003     1hr 40min

A colossal adventure odyssey that turns back the hands of time to the very beginning of man's existence. 80,000 years ago, when man roamed the earth, he was exposed to the many harsh elements of nature. Against the perilo...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Everett McGill, Ron Perlman, Nicholas Kadi, Rae Dawn Chong, Gary Schwartz
Director: Jean-Jacques Annaud
Creators: Claude Nedjar, Denis Héroux, Garth Thomas, Jacques Dorfmann, John Kemeny, Gérard Brach, J.H. Rosny Sr.
Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Drama, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Sub-Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Drama, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 03/04/2003
Theatrical Release Date: 11/16/1977
Release Year: 2003
Run Time: 1hr 40min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 8
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

A trio of Cro-Magnons go off in search of fire...
Lawrance M. Bernabo | The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota | 11/16/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Already people are fretting about this movie Mel Gibson is making about the last days of Christ in which everybody will be speaking Latin and/or Arameic without subtitles. Well, if you are a-feared of such a prospect you can warm up on 1981 Canadian/French production from Jean-Jacques Annaud. "Quest for Fire" ("Le Guerre du feu") should be a good test for you because in this story, set among the Cro-Magnons of eighty thousand years ago, you know neither the characters nor the plot.The genesis for this story is quite primal. A tribe of Cro-Magnons is attacked by its neighbors and has its fire stolen. This requires a small band to go forth and seek fire, which is necessary to ensure the tribe's survival. The trio consists of the brains of the outfit, Naoh (Everett McGill), the hulking brute, Amoukar (Ron Perlman), and the wiry comic relief, Gaw (Nameer El-Kadi). Along the way they hook up with Ika (Rae Dawn Chong), a young woman who is rescued from slavery because she actually knows how to MAKE fire, as opposed to waiting for lightning to hit something and start only a very small little fire. The authenticity of the "language" in this film comes from the work of authors Anthony Burgess("A Clockwork Orange") who created the spoken languages and Desmond Morris ("The Naked Ape") who worked on the body language and gestures. I have certainly met a few people who were bothered by the lack of sub-titles, but never anyone who did not understand what was going on or what was being communicated. Without your eyes darting to the bottom of the screen throughout the movie you can pay attention to the nuanced performances and each viewing allows you to further amplify the dialogue you are conjuring up in your mind. For realism, "Quests of Fire" has everything from "One Million B.C." to "Clan of the Cave Bear" beat big time. Ultimately, this story is not just a quest for fire, but a quest for love at a time when we think men simply knocked a woman over the head with a club and dragged her home to his cave, and if the film had not suggested the birth of true civilization came with the discovery of the missionary position, this film would enjoy a much better reputation. Annaud was probably trying to make a point about the importance of romance as a contributing factor to human evolution, but that idealization goes up in smoke when Ika shows Naoh a better way of doing it (it was almost enough to cost this film a star, but overall the ambition and execution on this one is too good to be that petty over one small screw up). For now the biggest complaint is that "Quest for Fire" is not yet available in wide-screen, because Claude Agostini's cinematography loses a lot in the scan-and-pan version of this decidedly "foreign" film."
Excellent Film
A. Naik | Philadelphia, PA USA | 03/01/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Quest for Fire is a film that will not only alter one's perception of modern human behavior but also show the dawn of what we call human civilization. This movie portrays man distilled to his original raw instincts, many of which in today's ultra modern society would be denounced as barbaric and foreign. It is hard to fathom that 8,000 years ago our predecessors had pretty much the same cognitive ability as modern humans do. It is simply the continual growth of technology and civilization that separates us from the characters in Quest for Fire. After knowing this morsel of knowledge, it was apparent that this movie not only defines life in the ancient world but also paints vividly shocking portrait of who we really are. Simply put, watching this film is quite humbling. The film climaxes when the main character discovers that man can create fire. This moment is quite inspirational and thought provoking simply because it is more important than man discovering the atom or the structure of DNA. That is, man is now capable of changing his environment instead of being controlled by it. In essence, the progress of humanity is a long and detailed history. In order to understand who we really are we must learn from where we came. Quest for Fire delivers a wonderful image of where we once were and who we are now."
It is so Cold Without Fire!
Maximiliano F Yofre | Buenos Aires, Argentina | 04/26/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Undoubtedly Jean-Jacques Annaud is an unconventional director. With only ten films done up to this moment he has managed to impact the audience more than once.
His movies in brief: "Black & White in Color" (1976) won the Best Foreign Film Oscar, "The Name of the Rose" (1986), "The Bear" (1988), the controversial "The Lover" (1992) and "Enemy at the Gates" (2001) a realistic recount of the Battle for Stalingrad completes his works.

In "Quest for Fire" ("La Guerre du Feu 1981) French Cesar Award, Academy of Sci-fi Award and Best Make-up Oscar, tell the story of a cave-man in search of fire, with a vocabulary almost reduced to grunts and growls.

A Cro-Magnon tribe is deprived, after a combat, of its major treasure: fire.
They know the value of fire but hasn't the technique to produce it by themselves. So a group of three tribe-men start the Quest for Fire, a sort of prehistoric Grail Quest.
In their journey they encounter other tribes with different stages of culture; ranging from bestial cannibalistic to fire "technocrats".
They have time to rescue an endangered stone-age lady and of course the hero falls in love with her... and discovers many interesting new possibilities.

There is an amazing anthropological reconstruction work by far better than other filmic intents as "The Clan of the Cave Bear".
Anthony Burgess (author of "The Mechanical Orange") has created a neo-lingua for this movie and Desmond Morris (author of "The Naked Ape") all corporal and gestural language.
The actors and actresses under heavy make-up deliver a very convincing performance, depending mostly on mimics to express themselves.
Musical score in charge of multi-nominated to Cesar Awards Philippe Sarde, underline the action.
Finally a special mention must be done to praise Jean-Jacques Annaud work, who as director, takes a huge risk and complies with honors.

This is a great film for audiences interested in history, anthropology or just uncommon adventures.
Reviewed by Max Yofre.
A movie that transports its audience through space and time.
A. Naik | 10/29/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Quest for Fire is a presentaton through the cinema arts about the foundations of civilization. The things that are shown are fundamental and sophisticated simultaneously. They are group and blood bonds; sacrifice; tangeable and intangeable. The quest originates with a prehistoric tribe that has evolved socially due to the realization of the strength in there community and on the power of fire. Fire is the centerpiece of their communal settings, and ultimately there best tool for protection of their very lives. The group is forced from its home when they are raided by a less socially evolved, but physically stronger group that covets there fire. Once they have regrouped they choose three of their youngest and strongest to search out fire. The accomplishment of this presentation is as important to cinematography as some of Shakespear's plays are to theatre. The effect of this movie allows for the involvement of historical inquisitives with true artists. Artists who focussed on making use of technology to truely recreate historical vision. I first saw this movie on a premium movie channel within a year of its original release. I was fourteen then. I remembered it an picked it up some 12 years later. The fact alone that its impression, on me, lasted is an accomplishment as I am of the Star Wars generation and still blinded by the light of some of its special effects. I will say that I was and still am impressed by Quest For Fire. It portrayed an opinion of how life actually is without the things we value and protect. For example, there was the harsh cold of the marsh after the tribe was driven from its home. I know a particular family that lost its home, ironically, to fire. They reflect on it often and I can see the same types of shivers in their memories that the tribe members suffered on the marsh. The script and the acting touch the very important issues that family is about today. For example, commitment; the young leader of the search party is side tracked by a female of a different clan that his party comes accross during their quest. He follows her to her home village and experienced what must have been delicacies. It turns out that her tribe had mastered the producton of fire and could protect themselves against most pitfalls of their environment. They could create fire and protected themselves from those that would take fire, as fire was not there only technological advancement. They also had superior weaponry. Making the quest the search party is driven by somewhat trivial in their realm of understanding. The leader of the search party upon arriving at the village drank fresh milk (creme), he was shown how to protect his skin from the harsh sun, experienced the drive of a man that claimed a woman, given superior weapons, and ultimately, was driven to tears by witnessing the creation of fire. Through all these things he, with the help of his friends, returned home to complete the quest they set out to accomplish. However, had the other members of the search party experienced what their leader had and received the same treatment as their leader, they may have not been so interested in returning home so quickly. I shared the movie with a respected friend and we through conversing about it and watching it several times came to a greater understanding of each other. It is not uncommon that we get together on occasion and watch the movie; it is without fail that each time I and the people that I watch it with see something that was not noticed before. This is noteworthy considering I have seen the movie in its entirety roughly 10 times, and several times more piecing together partial viewings. I recommend it to anyone who appreciates cinema, but cinema from an unobtrusive view into social dynamics. In effect, life and death situations and their effects on individual and group character were depicted. The effects I am discussing are what allowed growth of community and civilization to develop."