The African Queen (1952)

 ●  English ● 1 hr 45 mins

Where did you watch this movie?

September 1914, news reaches the colony German Eastern Africa that Germany is at war, so Reverend Samuel Sayer became a hostile foreigner. German imperial troops burn down his mission; he is beaten and dies of fever. His well-educated, snobbish sister Rose Sayer buries him and leaves by the only available transport, the dilapidated river steamboat 'African Queen' of grumpy Charlie Allnut. As if a long difficult journey without any comfort weren't bad enough for such odd companions, she is determined to find a way to do their bit for the British war effort (and revenge her brother) and aims high as God is obviously on their side: construct their own equipment, a torpedo and the converted steamboat, to take out a huge German warship, the Louisa, which is hard to find on the giant lake and first of all to reach, in fact as daunting an expedition as anyone attempted since the late adventurous explorer John Speakes, but she presses till Charlie accepts to steam up the Ulana, about to brave a German fort, raging rapids, very bloodthirsty parasites and the endlessly branching stream which seems to go nowhere but impenetrable swamps... Despite fierce rows and moral antagonism between a bossy devout abstentionist and a free-spirited libertine drunk loner, the two grow closer to each-other as their quest drags on...
See Storyline (May Contain Spoilers)

Cast: Humphrey Bogart, Katharine Hepburn

Crew: John Huston (Director), Jack Cardiff (Director of Photography), Allan Gray (Music Director)

Genres: Adventure, Romance, War

Release Dates: 20 Feb 1952 (India)

Tagline: The greatest adventure a man ever lived...with a woman!

Movie Rating
Based on 0 rating
Did you know? The water scenes shot through a telephoto lens of the boat going down the rapids was actually a model about eight feet long. This miniature of the original boat is now displayed inside a restaurant at a Marriott Waterfront hotel at 80 Compromise Street in Annapolis, Maryland. It is at the restaurant entrance. Read More
No reviews available. Click here to add a review.
as Charlie Allnut
as Rose Sayer
as Captain of Louisa
as Second Officer of Shona
as The Brother / Rev. Samuel Sayer
as First Officer
as Second Officer


Assistant Director


Production Company
Production Manager

Camera and Electrical

Director of Photography


Music Director


Sound Editor


Art Director



Makeup and Hair

Makeup Artist
Film Type:
Colour Info:
Sound Mix:
Frame Rate:
24 fps
Aspect Ratio:
The greatest adventure a man ever lived...with a woman!
Character Error
When Allnut is telling the Reverend and Rose about the war, among the countries he says are involved in it is Spain. In fact, Spain was never at war throughout the 1910s.

Character Error
Robert Morley's character refers to a college friend slightly younger than him being made a Bishop. American Methodists have Bishops, but British ones don't.

Character Error
The torpedoes that Charlie made for the African Queen were constructed from red hydrogen cylinders. He said they were oxygen cylinders, which are black.

When arguing about who is going to steer the torpedoes, a cigar suddenly appears in Charlie's mouth.

When Charlie wakes up in the rain, his blanket is completely soaked. After Rosie lets him in out of the rain, his blanket is dry.

During the final storm, a wave swamps the boat, fills the furnace, and extinguishes the fire. In the next scene, the fire is still flickering.

Blue sky and sunshine can be seen in the shots of assorted wildlife during the major rainstorm.

Crew/Equipment Visible
When Charlie Allnut gets back aboard the boat after he pulled him with a rope, just after Rose screams because she has seen the leeches on his back, the head of a member of the troupe is visible below the screen.

Errors in Geography
The nameplate on the front of the church says "1st Methodist". American Methodists sometimes call their churches 1st Methodist, British Methodists never do.
Sources claimed that everyone in the cast and crew got sick, except Humphrey Bogart and John Huston, who said they avoided illness by essentially living on imported Scotch. Bogart later said, "All I ate was baked beans, canned asparagus, and Scotch whisky. Whenever a fly bit Huston or me, it dropped dead."

According to Katharine Hepburn's autobiography, John Huston initially found her performance too serious-minded. One day, he visited her hut and suggested that she model her performance on Eleanor Roosevelt; putting on her "society smile" in the face of all adversity. After Huston left, Hepburn sat for a moment before deciding, "That is the best piece of direction I have ever heard."

To show her disgust with the amount of alcohol that John Huston and Humphrey Bogart consumed during filming, Katharine Hepburn drank only water. As a result, she suffered a severe bout of dysentery.

Lauren Bacall famously ventured along for the filming in Africa to be with husband Humphrey Bogart. She played den mother during the trip, making camp and cooking. This also marked the beginning of her life-long friendship with Katharine Hepburn.

The African Queen was played by the LS Livingston, which had been a working steamboat for 40 years. It is now docked next to the Holiday Inn in Key Largo, Florida, just off US Highway 1.

While filming the "leeching" scene, Humphrey Bogart insisted on using rubber leeches. John Huston refused, and brought a leech-breeder to the London studio with a tank full of them. It made Bogart queasy and nervous, qualities Huston wanted for his close-ups. Ultimately, rubber leeches were placed on Bogart, and a close-up of a real leech was shot on the breeder's chest.

"The African Queen" sank and had to be raised twice during filming of the movie. Lauren Bacall quoted "The natives had been told to watch it and they did. They watched it sink."

This is the role that won Humphrey Bogart the only Oscar of his career.

According to cameraman Jack Cardiff, Katharine Hepburn was so sick with dysentery during shooting of the church scene that a bucket was placed off camera because she vomited constantly between takes. Cardiff called her "a real trouper." In "The Making of The African Queen (1951)" Hepburn said she rushed for the outhouse only to find a black mamba inside, then ran to the trees.

The water scenes shot through a telephoto lens of the boat going down the rapids was actually a model about eight feet long. This miniature of the original boat is now displayed inside a restaurant at a Marriott Waterfront hotel at 80 Compromise Street in Annapolis, Maryland. It is at the restaurant entrance.

Walt Disney used this film as the basis for the Disneyland's "Jungle Cruise" attraction.