Kon-Tiki is the Academy Award-winning film of an astonishing adventure, a journey spanning 4,300 nautical miles across the Pacific Ocean by raft. On April 28, 1947, Norwegian biologist Thor Heyerdahl and his five crew memb... more »ers embarked from Peru on a daring voyage to prove Heyerdahl's theory that the South Sea Islands were settled by South Americans aboard balsa wood rafts. Building a similar raft according to the pre-Columbian Indians' traditions, Heyerdahl and crew spent 101 suspenseful days on the open sea, alone amid raging storms, whales, and countless sharks until finally landing on the Polynesian island of Raroia. The expedition attracted worldwide interest, with Heyerdahl's book "Kon-Tiki" selling over 20 million copies in 67 languages and this Oscar-winning documentary, the commemorative 1997 edition celebrating the 50th anniversary of the voyage.« less
"Another Image Entertainment release, another disappointment.From the fact that there is no menu...and no extras...to the fact that this is not the complete original release (this is the edited television release), this is yet another loser from Image Entertainment.The original release is 78 minutes long, and has different opening and closing credits.As for the movie...it is interesting for one viewing, but the poor quality of the pictures (not up to the standards of Thor's later movie "RA Expeditions") make it unlikely you will want to see it more than once.My suggestion...stick with the book."
True Life Sea Adventure
J. Brown | Canada | 01/20/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have just finished viewing the 1997 commemorative edition (Janson Associates, NJ) of this 1952 Academy Award for Best Documentary. It is 58 minutes of actual black and white footage taken by the crew of the Kon-Tiki. Thor Heyerdahl, the Norwegian biologist, had suspected that the South Sea Islands had been settled by an ancient race from thousands of miles to the east. He knew that the trade winds and ocean currents off the South-American coastline bear in the direction of Polynesia. The film shows how his team harvested balsa from Quito, took these huge logs to Peru and built a raft according to the traditions of pre-Columbian S.A. Indians. There are no nails on this craft; everything is tied by rope. Heyerdahl's team embarked on a 101 day of ocean voyage, often surrounded by sharks, sometimes whales so close they could look down their blow holes. How and what they ate and how they charted their journey is fascinating. The trip almost ends in disaster because of the coral reefs surrounding the Polynesian islands when they finally encounter land. It is a gripping and informative documentary and worth the Academy award."
A must for all Kon-Tiki fans
Yarby | 05/21/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Thor Heyerdahl's "Kon-Tiki" was one of my favourite childhood
books. I read it many times (every time I had to stay in bed
because of sickness) and always was glad to come back, sit on
that bamboo deck and watch the Pacific waves. There was something
truly magical for me in an idea of that slow ocean-crossing to
Polynesia. Now - 25years after I last read the book I had a
chance to watch DVD. It speaks to me the same way book did.
It is very low-tech, grainy black and white far below any modern
standards for nature cinematography. But it has same spirit the
book had - optimism, perserverence and love and respect for
nature. I recommend that DVD to anybody that read the book."
Informative But Mercifully Short
B. Merritt | WWW.FILMREVIEWSTEW.COM, Pacific Grove, California | 07/15/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Did the Polynesian Islands get seeded by men from South America? That might be tough to say based on this 1951 Academy Award winning documentary by biologist Thor Heyerdahl. But this is exactly what Thor and several other men try to prove by building a raft in Peru and drifting/sailing into the Pacific Ocean.
The film is interesting if very dated. The cartoonish depictions of the world map and their travels were often hard to watch, reminding me of some kid's crayon drawing scrawling across the screen, but informative in a kind of regressive nature.
The more interesting aspects of this 58-minute documentary were how involved the world was in the Kon-Tiki expedition (Ham radio operators were listening around the world), and some of the strange and new discoveries of fish species during their voyage.
But lost to me were the difficulties of the journey. More film time was spent describing the rigors of gathering the rare cork-like wood for their raft than was given to their actual struggles out on the water.
Once we're on the Pacific Ocean with them, we also feel that this is some sort of simple trip, as if they're just trolling around a lagoon (felt kind of Gilligan's Islandish). But this was also a bizarre strength for the film. In today's (2005) reality TV world, every bug bite that some contestant on Survivor receives is broadcast as if a limb were amputated, but here the men seemed minimally interested in the sharks following them and when their cooking facilities nearly burn up.
Scientifically, though, I think this documentary is a serious flop. The initial idea was to prove that the peopling of the Pacific Islands came about by ancient mariners from South America. Although I still believe this is true, doing it in 1946 with a sextant, cooking stove, experimental military food supplies, and other modern conveniences didn't set well in my analytical mind.
Final summation: watch it once if you're a film history buff. If not, stick with the book."
Thor Heyerdahl crosses the Pacific in the Kon-Tiki raft
Lawrance M. Bernabo | The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota | 09/10/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In 1947 Norwegian biologist Thor Heyerdahl and five crew members embarked on a 4,300 mile expedition across the Pacific Ocean from Peru to Polynesia by raft. Ridiculed by the scientific establishment, Heyerdahl wanted to duplicate the legendary voyage of an ancient race of settlers led by the mythical hero Kon-Tiki. The expedition attracted worldwide attention as one of the most daring feats of its day. Heyerdahl's story was told first in his book and then in this 1950 Oscar-winning Documentary Feature directed by Olle Nordemar. The story of "Kon-Tiki" is half Lindberg crossing the Atlantic and half Schleimann discovering Troy, since it has inspired not only other perilous voyages but archeological investigation. This might be black-and-white photography, but "Kon-Tinki" is still an exciting documentary record of an epic journey."