Emerald Forest, The (1985): John Boorman’s Epic Film

Emotionally gripping, visually stunning, John Boorman’s The Emerald Forest is based on a true story, as related by Los Angeles Times correspondent Leonard Greenwood.

The Emerald Forest world-premiered to great acclaim at the 1985 Cannes Film Fest and is considered a comeback for Boorman, after several artistically disappointing movies.

Powers Boothe stars as Bill Markham, a U.S. engineer working on a dam project in the Amazonian jungles. Bill’s young son, Tomme (played by Boorman’s real-life son, Charley Boorman) is kidnapped in the rain forest by a tribe called “The Invisible People,” a group that has reportedly never experienced contact with Caucasians.

The authorities give up the boy for lost, but Bill perseveres in searching for his son, for over 10 years. While fleeing for his life from The Fierce People (enemies of The Invisible People), he’s rescued by Tomme, now an adoptee of The Invisible People’s chief.

To Bill’s frustration, Tomme initially refuses to join his biological father and return to white civilization, but when The Fierce People abduct all of the women in the Invisible People tribe, Tomme seeks his father’s help in rescuing them.

A tale of culture collision, The Emerlad Forest is yet another tribute to John Ford’s The Searchers, starring John Wayne as the obsessively racist white man and Natalie Wood as his niece who is kidnapped by the Indians.


Running time: 113 minutes.

Directed by John Boorman

Written by Rospo Pallenberg

DVD: February 6, 2001