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 horror adventure action film directed by Luis Llosa, starring Jennifer Lopez, Ice Cube, Jon Voight, Eric Stoltz, Jonathan Hyde and Owen Wilson. It focuses on a documentary film crew who are captured by a snake hunter as he is going after a legendary green 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 hides from an unknown creature in his boat. While it breaks through the boat and attempts to catch the poacher, he commits suicide by shooting himself dead to prevent the beast from killing him.

Meanwhile while shooting a documentary about a long-lost indigenous tribe known as the Shirishamas on the Amazon River, director Terri Flores and members of her crew including cameraman and childhood friend Danny Rich, production manager Denise Kalberg, her boyfriend, sound engineer Gary Dixon, visionary Warren Westridge, anthropologist Professor Steven Cale, and boat skipper Mateo come across stranded Paraguayan snake hunter Paul Serone 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 up his throat and leaves him unconscious. Serone performs an emergency cricothyrotomy, seemingly saving Cale's life. With that, Serone takes over as commander and captain of the boat and the crew. They are then forced to help him achieve his true goal: hunting down and capturing a giant record-breaking green anaconda he had been tracking.

Later, Mateo gets lost and is the first victim to be killed by the anaconda, which coils around him before it snaps 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 actually working together as a hunting pair to catch animals, including snakes. The others try to find him while Gary works alongside Serone, who promises if they help him find the anaconda, he will help them get out alive.

Later that night, the anaconda appears and attacks the boat crew. When Serone attempts to capture the snake alive, it coils around Gary and begins to crush him before killing and devouring the latter, causing Denise to mourn for the loss of her boyfriend. The survivors overcome Serone and tie him up for punishment. The next day, the boat becomes stuck at a waterfall, requiring Terri, Danny, and Westridge to enter the water to winch it loose. Denise confronts Serone and attempts to kill him in revenge for Gary's death, but he strangles her to death with his legs before dumping her corpse into the river.

When the anaconda returns, Westridge distracts the snake enough for Terri and Danny to return to the boat while he ascends the waterfall. Danny and the freed Serone battle, as Westridge is coiled by the anaconda. Before it can kill him, the tree supporting the anaconda breaks, sending the group into the water and waking up Cale in the process. With Westridge killed by the anaconda in the fall, the snake attacks Danny and coils itself around him, only for Terri to shoot it in the head. An enraged Serone attacks Terri, only to be stabbed with a 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 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, much larger anaconda. The snake soon appears where it begins to coil itself around Terri and Danny and slowly suffocates them. They are caught in a net by Serone, but the snake breaks free. Serone tries to flee, but the anaconda manages to prevent him from escaping by coiling itself around him before suffocating Serone to death. Terri and Danny cut their bonds and watch as the anaconda swallows Serone's body whole.

Terri retreats to a building and finds a nest full of newborn anacondas, but the snake arrives and after it regurgitates Serone's still twitching corpse, it chases her up a smoke stack. Danny traps the anaconda by pinning its tail to the ground with a pickaxe and ignites a fire below the smoke shack which burns the snake. An explosion triggers which sends the burning anaconda flying out of the building and it plunges into the water, causing the snake to sink. As Terri and Danny recuperate on a nearby dock, the anaconda appears one final time. Somehow, Danny slams a splitting axe into the snake's head, finally killing it.

Afterwards, Terri and Danny reunite with Cale, who begins to revive on the boat. As the three remaining survivors float downriver, they suddenly locate the natives for whom they were previously searching. They realize that Serone was right and resume filming their documentary.



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, with a weighted average of 4.72/10. The site's consensus reads: "Anaconda's pulpy pleasures are constricted by its own absurdity, but creature feature fans may enjoy its brazen silliness".[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]