Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

The African Queen (1951)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

The African Queen (1951)

In this classic John Huston adventure film set in German East Africa at the start of World War I:

  • the extraordinary characters and their unlikely pairing: gin-swilling river rat Charlie Allnut (Humphrey Bogart) and prim missionary's sister Rose Sayer (Katharine Hepburn): (" crazy, psalm-singing, skinny old maid")
Charlie vs. Rose
  • Rose's draining of Charlie's drink bottles
  • Charlie's mimicking of the look and sounds of submerged hippos and scratching baboons on shore as they floated along and his words to his sweetheart: "Pinch me, Rosie. Here we are, going down the river like Anthony and Cleopatra on that barge!"
  • their roller-coaster, down-river encounters with Germans and the treacherous rapids
  • Charlie's mimicking of Rose's "What an absurd idea!" after he had rejected her idea to go down river and blow up a German warship
  • their struggle against swarms of mosquitos
  • the scene of Charlie pulling leeches off his body after pulling the boat through the tangle of reeds and muck, and his reluctant return to the water

Charlie Pulling Boat Through Reeds and Muck

Stunning Crane Shot - They Were Only a Few Hundred Feet from the Lake
  • the stunning crane shot that pulled up and away from their stuck boat and disclosed how close they were to the lake
  • their sighting of the German gunboat Louisa and their plotting to blow it up by attaching torpedoes to the African Queen and ramming the gunboat
  • and the finale in which both of them were about to be hanged on the deck, but the hanging was delayed by their marriage; meanwhile, the Louisa collided with their partly submerged Queen outfitted with their homemade torpedoes on its prow

Marriage Ceremony Before the Hanging

Escape From Being Hanged

Saved by the Queen
  • after an explosion, the newly-married couple found themselves in the water as black smoke engulfed the Louisa; a piece of the wreckage floating in the water displayed the name African Queen

The African Queen

Charlie's Mimicking of Jungle Animals

The Rapids

A Torpedo Angled Upward from the Submerged Queen

Charlie to Louisa Gunboat Captain: "Marry us"

After the Explosion: Saved and Both In the Water


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