The Ten Best Giant Ape Movies

Though he may have been but an animated model given life through primitive special effects, King Kong, with his doomed loved for the beautiful blonde, has become one of the most beloved of all movie characters, revived in remakes, sequels and knock-offs. But Kong wasn’t the only massive simian to grace the silver screen. Here’s a look at the ten best giant ape movies.


The ad campaign for the 1976 Korean film A*P*E warned “Not to be confused with KING KONG”. A captive giant ape, after escapes from a freighter and sets his destructive sights on Seoul, Korea where he falls for an American actress (Joanna Kerns ) filming a movie there. A*P*E was originally filmed in 3-D so there are countless shots of a man in a moth-eaten ape suit throwing Styrofoam boulders at the camera. He also engages in a pitiful skirmish with an obviously dead shark, flips to the bird to his attackers, and in one scene, sports high-top tennis shoes. The same stock destruction footage is repeated in A*P*E, one of the most dismal, if unintentionally funny monster movies of all.


Dino De Laurentiis waited ten years to produce a sequel to his poorly received but modestly successful King Kong remake and brought back director John Guillermin to helm King Kong Lives in 1986. The Jarvik Heart, a medical device making headlines at the time, became the springboard for the story which took place just after Kong’s fall from the World trade Center. He needs a blood transfusion to prevent his body from rejecting his mechanical ticker so a busty Lady Kong is transported from Skull Island to donate. The big guy falls hard for her and the hairy pair bound off into the mountains to make a Kong baby a team of hunters on their tail. The unbelievably goofy premise is played absolutely straight in King Kong Lives. Highlights include an absurd heart-transplant scene (by a team of doctors lead by Linda Hamilton) featuring surgical tools the size of trucks, and a battle with a pair of floppy rubber alligators. This sequel nobody asked for to the remake nobody liked was less offensive, faster-paced, and more fun than its predecessor.


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