Quest for Fire
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Product Description

Quest for Fire is so detailed in its depiction of prehistoric man that it might have been made by time-traveling filmmakers. Instead it's a bold and timeless experiment by visionary director Jean-Jacques Annaud (The Bear), inviting scientific debate while presenting a fascinating, imaginary glimpse of humankind some 80,000 years ago. Using diverse locations in Kenya, Scotland, and Canada, Annaud tells the purely visual story of five tribes (some more advanced than others) who depend on fire for survival. They "steal" fire from nature, but the actual creation of fire remains elusive, lending profound mystery and majesty to the film's climactic, real-time display of fire-making ingenuity. Employing primitive language created by novelist Anthony Burgess and body language choreographed by anthropologist Desmond Morris, a unique ensemble of actors push the envelope of their profession, succeeding where they easily could've failed. They're carnal, violent, funny, curious, and intelligent; through them, and through the eons, we can recognize ourselves. --Jeff Shannon

Customer Reviews:

  • a masterpiece
    this movie is a masterpiece. suited for anyone.
    kids, adult, its a all genre-all-kind movie in the same one, under a believable story with story about our ancestor in it, cave man.
    no language in it. its only roaring so anyone can understand it. my friends loved it, my girlfriend loved it, my parents loved it, my boss loved it, you can even show it during a school class if you a story teacher or whatever suited for this opportunity to teach some lesson on our primitive state. all animals in it are real , no cheap CGI, tiger with make up to look like sabre tooth tiger, and hair was put on elephant to look like mamooth. its fantastic travel across time...more info
  • i am an ANTHROPOLOGIST (i am biased and there are spoilers)
    first off, read ANY book about paleoanthropology written in the last thirty years and you will discover that just about every inaccuracy possible is present in this film. if you want a laugh watch it. if you are interested in a truly anthropologically correct film, watch "Nova" or something on the discovery channel. The species presented in this film did not even exist and the phylogenetic traits presented in the "cro-magnons(which are not even recognized as a species)" completely bogus, as they are closer to neandertals than they are to modern humans (read anything by Don Johanson). and the domestication of the mastadons, yeah that really happened; megafauna hunting probably did not even happen, so obviously we made friends with giant animals which would crush us if they thought we were even close to being a threat to them. the missionary position creating the nuclear family is also a lie. sex does not make us human, the bonobo chimps use sex the same way as humans, and presumbly for just as long (and they use the missionary position as well). all in all, this movie is worth it if you are looking for a laugh, but if you are looking for anything close to the actual paleoanthropological record you need to look somewhere else....more info
  • Quest for Fire DVD
    This was an exceptional movie 25 years ago, and it is still a classic. Every wide shot is a work of art. The interactions of the tribes portrayed, was facinating, and very human. People never really change, no matter what their tier of technology....more info
  • classic
    This is a movie that was awesome when it came out and remains awesome to this day....more info
  • Awesome music
    No one has mentioned the music by Philippe Sarde. When I saw this film for the first time, I went out in search of that haunting sound. Apparently Philippe employed four foot pan pipes (the ultra-low flute sound). A very "primitive" instrument from the Andes. It sends chills up your spine. Very effective for this incredibly abstract film....more info
  • I loved it......
    I forgot how good this film was. Way ahead of its time. Very well done....more info
  • Old school cavemen
    I had never heard of this movie till only recently when my father mentioned to me it might be is favorite movie of all time because it is so real. It, I imagine, seems really true to form with reality of the age. Also, I definitely understand why it won the Oscar for best make-up. This film is difficult to get into - there are no speaking parts. But you have to stick with it to really understand this story's plot. ...more info
  • interesting look at our past
    i enjoyed this film for the most part. the invention of missionary position was definitely hilarious. seriously though, it was well done and had great music. it's not every day you see a movie with no real language; i definitely recommend it....more info
  • It's just a movie for crying out loud.
    In a review posted on May 3, 2005, a reviewer gave this movie only one star. He/She states, and I quote: "i am an anthropologist. First off,read ANY book about paleoanthropology written in the past 30 yrs. and you will discover that just about every inaccuracy possible is present in this film."
    Hey, like I'm gonna run right out and search for THESE books, just to check on accuracy. As of the last 30 years, they have re-named just about every species of dinosaures we grew up knowing.
    This movie is just that. A movie. It is art. It depicts what the director, producer, writer and actors felt things were in
    that specific time frame. Do we condem the Mona Lisa as being a feeble attempt at depicting the human form just because she can't model for Victoria Secret?
    It is a great movie for entertainment. If you want to see what early man went through at the beginning of time, then watch the movie and enjoy. So what if the time frame is off. So what if the characters are somewhat "modern day" look-a-likes. It's a movie. And damn fine one at that, in my opinion. By all means, buy it, watch it, enjoy it. Then if you can find out what it really is, look for a job described as a "paleoanthropolgist".
    Good luck....more info
  • Those Weren't the Good Old Days
    I like this movie. It's one of the easiest films to make fun of I've seen, and it has sure taken more than its share of hits from clever critics. It's basically about three Neanderthals (I think) who leave their tribe to find another source of fire, theirs having been doused. (No one knows how to start fire). They encounter cannibals, mammoths, sabretooths, a tribe further up the evolutionary ladder and some great scenery. They eventually discover how fire can be made, how to think a little better, and, in one of the major advances of civilization, the missionary position.

    Dialogue is grunts and screeches and the make-up involves lots of hair. The actors do a first-rate job. Everett McGill is the leader of the bunch who has to puzzle things out as they go along. He's a curious actor. I don't think he's really that good an actor, but after seeing his completely different performances in The People Under the Stairs and The Straight Story, I'm not sure. Ron Perlman is teriffic as his hulking sidekick. Rae Dawn Chong, an actress I've always liked, plays a very human early human they meet along the way.

    The DVD transfer is first rate. I'm usually indifferent to most extras, but there is an interesting interview with Annaud on the difficulties of putting this film together....more info
  • No words, just a good story
    Years ago my husband and I watched this movie. We loved it. No dialogue but you know what's happening. It told an amazing story. Human, rough, real but quite good. We take fire for granted, this shows us that life isn't all that easy....more info
  • Wonderful, quirky, timeless
    I remembered seeing this movie back in the early eighties, and was taken with the uniqueness of it at the time...long before Apocalypto, or Passion of the the Christ here was a movie that dared to tell it's story without (over) reliance on dialogue--and it still works, in spite of the fact that we don't understand a single word (or grunt) that the characters make. The combination of gesture, body language, and proto-language are more than enough to convey a surprising array of emotion and information.

    Five REALLY GOOD things about this movie:

    1) Rae Dawn Chong-beautiful, natural, expressive, and not an ounce of body fat--She is truly amazing in this role, her character is the agent of change in this movie--and in many ways she steals the show--as well as any scene she happens to be in. Kudos to the wardrobe / makeup department or whoever decided that her costume would consist of a thin lsyer of earthen body paint--and that's all. Just looking at her is still enough to raise my blood pressure a notch or two. Breathtaking!

    2) Low tech special effects-in this age of digital wizardry, it's nice to experience the 'low-ness" of the films special effects. Although one might wonder how the director would have handled "Jurassic Park-ish" digital effects, I fear that most of the charm would be lost.

    3)Everett McGill-he's great here as the featured cave-man, and he takes the role seriously, showing an amazing range of emotion and enough sensitivity to make the cave dudes on the Geiko commercials proud.

    4)The broad humor- halarious and totally believable. Proof that there's not much evolutionary distance between these guys and the Three Stooges, afterall.

    5) Rae Dawn Chong-Did I mention her already? Ooops, well it bears repeating, she is gorgeous and captivatingly unclad....more info
  • Quest for Fire
    "Quest for Fire" (1981 - 100 minutes), under Jean-Jacques Annaud direction and written by G?rard Brach, was based on the book of J. H. Rosny. The movie develops a travel in time showing one of the biggest conquest of human kind: the domain of fire.
    It's a 80 thousand years ago beautiful drama.
    The Ulan tribe lives nearby a natural source of fire. When the fire went out, three members of the tribe have to search for a new flame.
    After several days of walking and having to face many dangerous situations like wild animals, down temperatures and even cannibal tribes, they found the Ivakas, a more evolved human group that had already discovered how to "make" fire.
    With locations in Kenya, Scotland, Island and Canada, the movie was based on scientific knowledge, showing convincing habitats and characters. The preparation work of the actors body language was done by the Anthropologist Desmond Morris and Anthony Burgess took care of the "talking" of these human ancestors.
    Almost an Anthropology documentary, this excellent movie shows at the end a scene that suggests the "discovery of love" between male and female.
    Absolutely unforgettable.

    Visit: info

  • "...and Prometheus said...
    ...'Let me give you fire,' and humanity saw that it was good..."

    A peaceful tribe of prehistoric humans, unable to create fire, loose their only source of flame due to another tribe's attack. Three of the tribe leave their home to search for a new source of fire to bring back to their people before the cold climate can take its toll. Their journey brings them not only into contact with other tribes of prehistoric humans at different stages of evolution but also advances their own humanity, as well as teaching them to be "prometheuses" in their own right.

    An absolutely fascinating film. Those who are partial to history and anthropology will especially enjoy this. An honest, un-PC look at the origins of the species and the development of humanity through loss, tragedy, hardship, hostile elements and the beginnings of laughter, morality, community service, leadership, friendship and of course, love. A wondrous feat of body language performances as there is no truly discernable language/dialogue spoken. This is a well done, well made film all around.

    For those into scenery gazing the beauty of the locations (Canada, Iceland, Kenya, Scotland) alone are worth a rental fee.

    Ron Perlman is one of the three male leads/would be prometheuses. Watch the body language! Someone did research! A difficult and impressive (first movie) performance. ...more info
  • Fantastic recreation
    Truly believable reconstruction of prehistoric times. The film is a moving view of man's quest for improvement and love....more info
  • Great acting - poor makeup
    Last saw this movie about 17 years ago. Just watched it again and while I still thought it was great, the effects and makeup are pretty bad. The lesser developed tribes look like they're wearing rubber masks (which they probably were) and the mastodons are pretty humorous. During the fight with the bear - there is never a time when the bear actually looks like he's attacking. It just looks like the two are playing with drastic camera angles and cuts to make it look dramatic. All that said, I still enjoyed this film immensely. The actors really make you believe you're watch events thousands of years ago. The body language, grunts, and limited language are perfect throughout. Very entertaining and worth watching....more info
  • Disappointing caveman movie
    This movie starts out mildly interesting, then starts getting boring throughout. There are no words spoken in the movie that can be understood (the cavemen have their own unique language). I continued watching it to the end, hoping that it would become more interesting, but was disappointed. This is one movie that I don't plan to watch again - unless I need a sleep aide....more info
  • Artsy, good, but not for everyone
    To a student or fan of anthropology this movie reflects the general concepts of human pre-history: neanderthals struggling to survive and the rise of modern humans in their midst. The idea though that neanderthals were brainless apes has more or less been discounted, so the movie is somewhat dated. However, the notion that modern humans were simply better suited to survive seems to be accurately reflected in this movie. The fact that there is no "dialogue" means that the actors had to convey themselves through gestures and movements, and they do this exceptionally well throughout the film. ...more info
  • quest for fire
    Great movie, but I returned as I already had it my collection. thank you...more info
  • You"ll look at lighters in a whole new light-pardon the pun:)
    This movie was one of the best movies I've seen in a long time! If you like survival stories than this is a great one to see! I don't know if I'd see it with younger kids because there are three sex senes and the female is naked throughout the whole movie. The acting is fantastic! This is truely a must see!!...more info
  • Good DVD - Daringly Bold Film
    I have to say, this has to be one of the all-time boldest ideas behind a film: to make a movie about prehistoric times, but do so anthropoligically as accurate as possible while still keeping the story entertaining. The courageous experiment is a success in my opinion. The effect is not only interesting it's believable. This is one possible past that might have been.

    I really like this movie. I think that director Jean Jacques Arnnaud is a brilliantly innovative film director. He takes some big risks and the risks pay off most of all for movie-lovers everywhere: we get to see some very original and highly creative films that are as memorable as they are fun to watch. I think this director loves to play with unorthodox period styles. Whether as Neanderthal men in the Ice Age here or as Medieval monks in the 14th Century in his 1986 film "Name of the Rose", director Jean Jaques Annaud always keeps things unique.

    This DVD is well-done. The picture looks great. The sound is in 5.1 surround and there's two wonderful commentary tracks to listen along to: one by director Annaud himself and another by three of the actors including Ron Pearlman and Rae Dawn Chong.

    I give this DVD four stars. It's well worth the low price but isn't at all budget-quality. I'm glad I dished out the money and added it to my collection. It's a treat, and a rare one at that. ...more info
    Okay, so "Guerre du feu, La" (it's original French title) inaccurate in its science. I don't really care and nor do most people. It's not a classroom documentary; it's interpretive fictional entertainment with loose basis founded on evolutionary fact and hypothesis, with a good dose of plain old entertaining story telling from the mind's imagination. Rae Dawn Chong sure was beautiful in her youth. I most enjoyed the sweeping scenery. The filmmakers manage to tell a compelling story without any understandable dialogue and just a sprinkling of a made up language. I gazed in wonder, I laughed, I jumped, I cheered, and I sympathized. I couldn't ask for more for my money in two hours. I'd love to see a modern remake with maybe some more factual details....more info
  • movie review
    simplistic movie about Neanderthal meeting a water or plains tribe during a journey to find a new fire source for their clan....more info
  • Snoozfest for Fire
    A highly effective sleep-aid, guaranteed to induce involuntary drowsing with just the click of a "play" button. Plot synopsis: Grunt. Groan. Ooooh! (they find fire). ...more info
  • quest for fire
  • It is so Cold Without Fire!
    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.
    ...more info
  • Good service
    The product was much better than what I expected and arrived in just a few days. ...more info
  • Rated XXX
    A thinly veiled veiw of modern day america set in prehistoric times. Inadverdently, the makers of the film manage to convey what life must have been like without matches, Coleman lanterns or flame throwers. Actually, they do show an early form of the flame thrower. At the beginning of the movie a caveman picks up a burning branch and "throws" it at some stock film footage of a wolf. The net result is that night turns into day for a few seconds of screen time but thankfully, the wolf runs away anyway. Needless to say, the special effects are a bit dated now and in order to enjoy the movie, you have to take into account that special effects have greatly improved since prehistoric times. The fact that you can tell what's going on for an hour and half without anyone speaking english is worthy of some kind of award. This movie still works to some extent because it was well done for the time it was done in and the acting is good. ...more info
  • Gripping
    Wonderful movie.Watch how these cave people do to keep the fire lighted. And watch when they loose it, to get it back...more info
  • A quest for the absurd.
    I tried. I watched Quest For Fire three times and then put it
    out at the curb with the rest of the trash. If you knew nothing
    about evolution or thought the Three Stooges was high art, you
    might like this. Sorry...more info
  • not too clean
    not very believable, not very entertaining, comon, even dogs and cats groom themselves, watch the beginning of 2001 for just 25 min and save yourself some time....more info
  • A Great Film
    Rae Dawn Chong makes it a worthwhile watch. I've been in love with her since seeing the movie on HBO many years ago.

    Oh yeah, the other actors are good also......more info

  • Beautifull
    I realy love this movie, this is a great story,
    this has nothing to do with realistic facts or trying to convince the viewer that now we realy know what went on because we just discovered some new bone, trying to give some fake documentary feel to it, this is not creating nifty special effects because the kids love it so much, this is great acting and a fantastically well told story.
    This is a successful and beatifull reenactment of the things people had to go through as we can imagine it.
    I think the movie makers showed some real integrity in trying to get their facts right but understood the fact thet they weren't making a documentary but a movie, telling a story.
    The story reminds me of great literature like Robinson Crusoe or the biblical tales.
    A real feat as the story inherently can't rely upon verbalisticism.
    An excellent movie, a very moving, touching story.

    ...more info
  • Quest for Fire is a 'forever' film
    As an old time student of this kind of history, the only thing that I could fault the film for, is the last scene: It strongly hints that Neanderthals and modern-man have descendants. There is plenty of evidence that they co-habitated the same land and probably mated from time to time. German scientists have processed the Neanderthal DNA (40,000 years old) and they think, that these people were, of course related back two or three million years ago, however, Neanderthal DNA and modern (us) man DNA do NOT match at critical points in the helix. (831)761-8530...more info