Anaconda (film)

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Snake eyes
Theatrical release poster
Directed byLuis Llosa
Produced by
Written by
Music byRandy Edelman
CinematographyBill Butler
Edited by
  • Michael R. Miller
  • Gregg London
Distributed byColumbia Pictures
Release date
April 11, 1997 (1997-04-11)
Running time
89 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$45 million
Box office$136 million[1]

Anaconda is a 1997 American adventure horror film directed by Luis Llosa, starring Jennifer Lopez, Ice Cube, Jon Voight, Eric Stoltz, Jonathan Hyde and Owen Wilson. It centers on a documentary film crew who have been taken hostage by a snake hunter who is going after the legendary giant anaconda, which is discovered in the Amazon rainforest. The film received mixed reviews but was a box-office success and was followed by a series of films.


A poacher (Danny Trejo) hides from an anaconda in his boat. While it breaks through the boat, the poacher commits suicide.

While shooting a documentary about a long-lost indigenous tribe, the Shirishamas, on the Amazon River, director Terri Flores (Jennifer Lopez) and members of her crew—including cameraman Danny Rich (Ice Cube), production manager Denise Kalberg (Kari Wuhrer), her boyfriend, sound engineer Gary Dixon (Owen Wilson), visionary Warren Westridge (Jonathan Hyde), anthropologist Professor Steven Cale (Eric Stoltz), and boat skipper Mateo (Vincent Castellanos)—come across stranded Paraguayan snake hunter Paul Serone (Jon Voight) and help him, believing he knows how to find the tribe they are searching for.

Most of the crew are uncomfortable around Serone, and Cale clashes with him several times in regards to Shirishama lore. Later, while trying to free the boat's propeller from a rope, Cale is stung in the throat by a wasp inside his scuba regulator, which swells his throat shut and leaves him unconscious. Serone performs an emergency cricothyrotomy, seemingly saving Cale's life. With that, Serone takes command of the boat and the crew. They are then forced to help him achieve his true objective—hunting down and capturing a record-breaking giant anaconda he had been tracking.

Mateo is the first of the crew to be killed by the anaconda, which coils around him and then breaks his neck near the boat where the poacher had been killed. A photograph in an old newspaper reveals that Mateo, Serone, and the unnamed poacher were working together to catch animals, including snakes. The others try to find him while Gary sides with Serone, who promises if they help him find the anaconda, he will help them get out alive. Later at night, the anaconda attacks the boat. When Serone attempts to capture the snake, it crushes Gary, killing and eating him, leaving Denise devastated. The survivors overcome Serone and tie him up. The next day, the boat becomes stuck at a waterfall, requiring Terri, Danny, and Westridge to enter the water to winch it loose. When Denise attempts to kill Serone as revenge for Gary's death, he gets the edge and strangles her to death with his legs before dumping her body in the river. When the anaconda returns, Westridge distracts it long enough for Terri and Danny to return to the boat while he ascends the waterfall. Danny and the freed Serone fight, as Westridge is coiled by the snake. Before it can kill him, the tree supporting the anaconda breaks, sending everyone into the water and waking up Cale. With Westridge killed in the fall, the snake coils itself around Danny, only to be shot in the head by Terri. An enraged Serone attacks Terri, only to be stabbed with the tranquilizer dart by Cale, who soon loses consciousness again. Danny punches the drugged Serone, knocking him into the river.

However, Terri and Danny are soon re-captured when Serone catches up to them. He dumps a bucket of monkey blood on them and uses them as bait in an attempt to capture a second, larger anaconda. The anaconda appears and coils itself around Terri and Danny and begins to suffocate them. They are caught in a net by Serone, but the snake breaks free. Serone tries to escape, but the anaconda finally manages to coil itself around him and suffocate him. Terri and Danny cut their bonds and watch in horror as the anaconda slowly swallows Serone whole. Terri finds a nest of baby (normal sized) anacondas in a building, but the snake arrives and, after regurgitating the still twitching Serone, chases her up a smoke stack. Danny traps the anaconda by pinning its tail to the ground with a pickaxe. Danny ignites a fire below the smoke shack and burns the snake alive. The burning anaconda is sent flying out of the building and plunges into the water where it sinks. As Terri and Danny recuperate on a nearby dock, the anaconda appears one final time before Danny slams a splitting maul into the snake's head, killing it. Afterwards, Terri and Danny reunite with Cale, who begins to revive on the boat. As they float down the river, they accidentally locate the natives for whom they were originally searching. They realize Serone was right and begin filming their documentary as the film ends.



Gillian Anderson and Julianna Margulies were the first choices for the role of Terri Flores (whose last name was originally Porter), but they passed due to scheduling conflicts with both The X-Files and ER respectively before Jennifer Lopez signed on. Jean Reno was considered to play the part of Paul Serone, until Jon Voight was cast. The filming took place in the mid-spring and summer 1996.


Film score by
ReleasedApril 22, 1997
Film scores
LabelEdel Records
Anaconda soundtrack chronology
Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid

The soundtrack for the film was composed and conducted by Randy Edelman and released by Edel Records.[2]

Track listing
  1. Main Title (4:45)
  2. Watching and Waiting (4:43)
  3. Night Attack (2:47)
  4. This Must Be Heaven (1:39)
  5. Down River (2:43)
  6. Seduction (3:27)
  7. Travelogue (2:45)
  8. Baiting the Line (2:47)
  9. My Beautiful Anna... (conda) (2:54)
  10. The Totem's Scared Ground (2:26)
  11. Sarone's Last Stand (3:00)

Sequels and crossover[edit]

A sequel, Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid in 2004, which was released to theaters and followed by three films, Anaconda 3: Offspring (2008), Anacondas: Trail of Blood (2009) and Lake Placid vs. Anaconda (2015), a crossover film with the Lake Placid franchise.

Even though no characters from the first film appear in the sequels, in the second film they are referenced by the character Cole Burris, when he says he knows a man (Warren Westridge) and another man (Danny Rich) that took a crew down to the Amazon and they were all eaten by the snakes; in Lake Placid vs. Anaconda, another character Will "Tully" Tull, spoke to Reba about the same incident of the snakes in the Amazon, but no mention of the characters.


Anaconda received generally negative reviews upon its release. Some critics did praise the film's effects, scenery, and tongue-in-cheek humor, but many criticized the acting, "forgettable" or "cardboard" characters, inaccuracies, and "boring" start.

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a "rotten" rating of 40%, based on 50 reviews.[3] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 37 out of 100, based on 20 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".[4] Film critic Leonard Maltin awarded the film a mixed 2 out of a possible 4 stars, criticizing the film's "hokey" special effects and "expositionless" script but complimented the film's use of Brazilian locale and Voight's campy performance.[5]

Roger Ebert awarded the film 3 1/2 out of 4 stars and called it a "...slick, scary, funny Creature Feature, beautifully photographed and splendidly acted in high adventure style."[6]

Despite the initial negative reception, Anaconda has since become a cult classic, often viewed as being so-bad-it's-good. The film is listed in Golden Raspberry Award founder John Wilson's book The Official Razzie Movie Guide as one of The 100 Most Enjoyably Bad Movies Ever Made.[7]

Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B-" on an A+ to F scale.[8]

Awards and nominations[edit]

The film was nominated for six Razzie Awards in 1998 including Worst Picture (which lost to The Postman), Worst Actor (Jon Voight; which went to Kevin Costner for The Postman), Worst Director (awarded to Costner for The Postman), Worst Screenplay (lost to The Postman), Worst New Star ("the animatronic anaconda"; which went to Dennis Rodman for Double Team) and Worst Screen Couple (Voight and "the animatronic anaconda"; where they lost to Rodman and Jean-Claude Van Damme for Double Team).[9] It was also nominated for two Saturn Awards including Best Actress (Jennifer Lopez; who lost to Jodie Foster for Contact) and Best Horror Film (which went to The Devil's Advocate).

Award Category Subject Results
Golden Raspberry Award Worst Picture Verna Harrah Nominated
Carole Little Nominated
Leonard Rabinowitz Nominated
Worst Director Luis Llosa Nominated
Worst Screenplay Hans Bauer Nominated
Jim Cash Nominated
Jack Epps Jr. Nominated
Worst Actor Jon Voight Nominated
Worst Screen Couple Nominated
The animatronic anaconda Nominated
Worst New Star Nominated
Saturn Award Best Actress Jennifer Lopez Nominated
Best Horror or Thriller Film Nominated

Box office[edit]

The film opened at #1 with $16.6 million in its first weekend [10] and remained at the top spot in its following week.[11] In total, Anaconda went on to gross $136.8 million worldwide,[12] making it a sizable box office success collecting more than three times its $45 million budget.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Anaconda (1997)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved October 13, 2017.
  2. ^ "Anaconda - Randy Edelman". AllMusic. Retrieved April 16, 2018.
  3. ^ "Anaconda". Rotten Tomatoes
  4. ^ "Anaconda". metacritic
  5. ^ Leonard Maltin (2 September 2014). "Leonard Maltin's 2015 Movie Guide". Penguin Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0-698-18361-2.
  6. ^ Ebert, Roger (April 11, 1997). "Anaconda". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved October 2, 2011.
  7. ^ Wilson, John (2005). "The Official Razzie Movie Guide: Enjoying the Best of Hollywood's Worst". Grand Central Publishing. ISBN 0-446-69334-0.
  8. ^ "CinemaScore".
  9. ^ "Razzie Award (1998)". imdb
  10. ^ "Weekend Chart 1". boxofficemojo
  11. ^ "Weekend Chart 2". boxofficemojo
  12. ^ "Anaconda". boxofficemojo

External links[edit]