Watch It

On DVD: Now | On Blu-ray: TBD

Mountains of the Moon Details


Director Bob Rafelson fulfilled a lifelong dream when he finally received backing to complete Mountains of the Moon. The film recreates the exploratory adventures of 19th century visionaries Sir Richard Burton (Patrick Bergin) and John Henning Speke (Iain Glen). The heart of the film is the effort by Burton and Speke to discover the true source of the Nile river. This occurs well into the film, after several torturous scenes involving the injuries sustained by the protagonists during other expeditions and their growing friendship (which, the film intimates, goes far beyond friendship). Rafaelson's fascination with this story, and his insistence upon painstaking historical accuracy, unfortunately compromises his ability to make an interesting film. There are so many starts and stops during the first half that we sincerely hope Burton and Speke will chuck it all and set up a pub in Bristol or something. What saves Mountains of the Moon is the rapport between its stars and the brilliant, epic-like cinematography of Roger Deakins. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

  • Release date:February 23, 1990


Patrick Bergin
as Capt. Richard Francis Burton
Iain Glen
as Lt. John Hanning Speke
Richard E. Grant
as Laurence Oliphant
Fiona Shaw
as Isabel Arundell Burton
Peter Vaughan
as Lord Houghton
John Savident
as Lord Murchison
Anna Massey
as Mrs. Arundell
Roger Rees
as Edgar Papworth
James Villiers
as Lord Oliphant
Bernard Hill
as Dr. David Livingstone
Leslie Phillips
as Mr. Arundell
Delroy Lindo
as Mabruki
Paul Onsongo
as Sidi Bombay
Peter Eyre
as Norton Shaw
Omar Sharif
Roshan Seth
as Ben Amir
Doreen Mantle
as Mrs. Speke
Pip Torrens
as Lt. Hesketh
Frances Cuka
as Lady Houghton
Philip Voss
as Col. Rigby
Fikile Mdleleni
as Bearer
Roger Ashton-Griffiths
as Lord Cowley
Ian Vincent
as Lt. Allen
Ralph Nossek
as Doctor
Rod Woodruff
as Fencer
Patrick Letladi
as Bearer
Leonard Juma
as Jemadar
Konga Mbandu
as Bearer
Stewart Harwood
as Attendant
Adrian Rawlins
as Edward
Norta Muhammed
as Somali Girl
Christopher Fulford
as Herne
Wilson Ng'Ong'A
as Bearer
Pineniece Joshua
as Somali Girl
Martin Okello
as Veldu
Craig Crosbie
as Swinburne
Alison Limerick
as Sorceress
Asiba Asiba
as Nubian Servant
Fatima Said
as Somali Girl
Matthew Marsh
as William
Celestia Fox
George Malpas
as Lead Actor
Renny Krupinski
as Reporter
Rocks Nhlapo
as Bearer
Esther Njiru
as Lema
Bill Croasdale
as 2nd Reporter
Jimmy Gardner
as Jarvis
Garry Cooper
as Stroyan
Michael Otieno
as Bearer


Bob Rafelson
Daniel Melnick
Bob Rafelson
William Harrison
William Harrison
Book Author
Roger Deakins
Thom Noble
Norman Reynolds
Production Designer
Fred Hole
Art Director
Maurice Fowler
Art Director
Mario Kassar
Executive Producer
Andrew G. Vajna
Executive Producer
Harry Cordwell
Set Designer
Jenny Beavan
Costume Designer
John Bright
Costume Designer
Alf Joint
Eleanor Fazan