The emerald forest

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German title The emerald forest
Original title The Emerald Forest
Country of production Great Britain
original language English ,
Publishing year 1985
length 109 minutes
Age rating FSK 12
Director John Boorman
script Rospo Pallenberg
production John Boorman
music Brian Gascoigne
Junior Homrich
camera Philippe Rousselot
cut Ian Crafford

The Emerald Forest (Original title: The Emerald Forest ) is a feature film from 1985 by John Boorman .


Six-year-old blond Tommy, the son of civil engineer Bill Markham, who is leading part of the work on the construction of a new dam in Brazil , is kidnapped by Indians from the "Invisible People" during a family outing on the edge of the jungle.

His father Bill starts looking for Tommy every free minute. On free weekends he goes on long boat trips into the area of ​​the Indian tribes and also learns several of their languages.

Ten years later, the construction of the dam is almost complete. In the deep jungle, light blonde Tommy became an Indian as Tomme, he grew up in the family of the tribal chief. He completes the initiation rituals and is accepted into the community of adult hunters. The self-confident girl Kachiri becomes his wife.

Bill and his companion meet Indians of the "Wild People" on one of their short expeditions into the jungle. In their village, to which they both go, however, there is an argument. Bill escapes after killing several of the Indians with his automatic rifle, but his companion is killed. But the Indians pursue the fleeing man. Bill arrives at a river, where he is surprisingly across from the blond Indian Tomme, who recognizes Bill as his spirit father "Papae" from his dreams. At that moment, the persecutors of the “Wild People” also reached the river. Tomme and the badly injured Bill finally escape.

Tomme drags the wounded man to the village of the "Invisible People" in the "middle of the world", where he is nursed back to health. When he has recovered, he is offered to stay instead of returning to the “dead world”. Bill would rather take Tomme back into town, which Tomme refuses: His place is here with the "Invisible People". Bill accepts this decision with a heavy heart. Many men in the village accompany him to the “edge of the world”, which has moved closer thanks to the almost completed dam.

During their absence, warriors of the "Wild People", whose former tribal area is now part of the "Dead World", attack the almost defenseless village and kidnap all young women in order to exchange them for rifles and ammunition with white brothel owners. The Indians of the "Invisible People" can follow their footsteps to the primitive brothel on the edge of the jungle. When they tried to penetrate the fenced and guarded property via the power line, one of them was electrocuted and died. During the chase that followed, the chief, Tommes foster father, was killed along with a few other warriors.

Tomme now decides to look for his father Bill with a companion in town on the other side of the river to ask him for help. Two local Indians from a tribe that has already been dissolved by civilization, who live in a slum on the bank, help them. Tommy doesn't know the address, but he remembers the shape of the skyscraper he lived in as a child. At night he climbs up the facade, Bill wakes up to a noise on the balcony, and Jean Markham sees her son again for the first time.

Armed with several rifles, Bill, the two city Indians and Tomme and his companion drive to the brothel. There is a shooting there, but they can free all young women and also repel the attack of the Indians from the "Wild People" who are persecuting them. Tomme returns to the jungle with the warriors and young women from the “invisible people”. As he parted, Bill explained to Tomme that because of the dam, more and more whites would come here and take away the land of the Indians.

But nature gets ahead of it: After two days of heavy rain, a tidal wave is created that rolls towards the dam. At the same time, lightning strikes a construction crane before Bill can pull the trigger and the dam breaks. The tribe of his son can therefore continue to live in his ancestral area for the time being.

In the credits it is pointed out that 2,500 hectares of rainforest are being cleared every day .


The film is based in part on a true story that took place in the Amazon and was published in the Los Angeles Times in 1972 by journalist Leonard Greenwood .

Book publication

The novel for the film was written by Robert Holdstock .


The lexicon of international film differentiated:

“Perfectly staged adventure film about the conflict between mythical closeness to nature and the occidental-rational exploitative mentality. However, the well-intentioned polemic against the overexploitation of dying cultures and against the destruction of the ecological balance is undermined by some flat Hollywood clichés. "


  • 1986 BAFTA Award nominated for best camera: Philippe Rousselot
  • 1986 BAFTA Award nominated for best make-up: Peter Frampton, Paul Engelen, Anna Dryhurst, Luis Michelotti
  • 1986 BAFTA Award nominated for best film score Junior Homrich, Brian Gascoigne
  • 1986 César nominated for the best poster (Meilleure affiche)


  • John Boorman: Money into Light: A Diary . Faber & Faber, London 1985, ISBN 0-571-13772-5 (English)

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Leonard Greenwood: Long Hunt For Son Ends In Success, But - ; in the Los Angeles Times , October 8, 1972, section F, p.10. Republished on the website on July 19, 2007.
  2. The Emerald Forest. In: Lexicon of International Films . Film service , accessed March 2, 2017 .Template: LdiF / Maintenance / Access used