The Roots of Heaven

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The Roots of Heaven
The roots of heaven(2).jpg
Original film poster
Directed by John Huston
Produced by Darryl F. Zanuck
Written by Romain Gary
Patrick Leigh-Fermor
Based on The Roots of Heaven
(1956 novel) 
by Romain Gary
Starring Errol Flynn
Juliette Gréco
Trevor Howard
Music by Malcolm Arnold
Cinematography Oswald Morris
Edited by Russell Lloyd
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release date(s)
  • October 15, 1958 (1958-10-15)
Running time 121 mins
Language English
Budget $3.3 million[1]
Box office $3 million

The Roots of Heaven is a 1958 American adventure film in CinemaScope and DeLuxe Color made by 20th Century Fox, directed by John Huston and produced by Darryl F. Zanuck. The screenplay by Romain Gary and Patrick Leigh Fermor is based on Romain Gary's 1956 Prix Goncourt winning novel The Roots of Heaven (Les racines du ciel).

The film starred Errol Flynn, Juliette Gréco, Trevor Howard, Eddie Albert, Orson Welles, Paul Lukas, Herbert Lom and Gregoire Aslan. The film itself was shot on location in French Equatorial Africa.[2]


Set in French Equatorial Africa, the film tells the story of Morel (Trevor Howard), a crusading environmentalist who sets out to preserve the elephants from extinction as a lasting symbol of freedom for all humanity. He is helped by Minna (Juliette Gréco), a nightclub hostess, and Forsythe (Errol Flynn), a disgraced British military officer hoping to redeem himself.



  • William Holden left the production and Trevor Howard replaced him. Errol Flynn assumed top billing.[3]
  • Flynn left the cast of the play The Master of Thornley to appear in the movie.[4]
  • The film was made on location in Chad.
  • The cast and crew suffered from the heat, malaria and other tropical diseases.
  • It is the memories of the challenging location that Flynn mentions with affection in his memoirs My Wicked, Wicked Ways (1959).


  1. ^ Solomon p251
  2. ^ "The Roots of Heaven (1958) - Trailers, Reviews, Synopsis, Showtimes and Cast". AllMovie. Retrieved 2014-07-13. 
  3. ^ Thomas p 219
  4. ^ "Lana, Yul Brynner in Faulkner Story" Hopper, Hedda. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 22 Feb 1958: B2


  • Flynn, E. My Wicked, Wicked Ways. G.P. Putnam’s Sons 1959, Pan Books 1961 in association with William Heinemann Ltd, 5th Printing 1979.
  • Norman, B. The Hollywood Greats. Arrow Books, 1988 edition.
  • Solomon, Aubrey. Twentieth Century Fox: A Corporate and Financial History (The Scarecrow Filmmakers Series). Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press, 1989. ISBN 978-0-8108-4244-1.
  • Thomas, T. Behlmer, R. & McCarty, C. The Films of Errol Flynn. Citadel Press. 1969.

External links[edit]