Koko: A Talking Gorilla

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Koko: A Talking Gorilla
DVD cover art
Directed byBarbet Schroeder
Produced byMargaret Ménégoz
Francine Patterson
CinematographyNéstor Almendros
Edited byDenise De Casabianca
Dominique Auvray
Distributed byLes Films du Losange
The Criterion Collection
Release date
October 1978
Running time
80 minutes

Koko: A Talking Gorilla (French: Koko, le gorille qui parle) is a 1978 French documentary film directed by Barbet Schroeder that focuses on Francine Patterson and her work with Koko, the gorilla Patterson claims to have taught to communicate with humans using symbols taken from American Sign Language. The film was screened in the Un Certain Regard section at the 1978 Cannes Film Festival.[1][2]


The film introduces Koko soon after she was brought from the San Francisco Zoo to Stanford University by Francine Patterson for a controversial experiment. She would be taught American Sign Language.


Janet Maslin of The New York Times called the film "handsomely photographed", and wrote: "Koko does present some fascinating insights into matters of behavior and education. And Mr. Schroeder has assembled this funny, provocative documentary with gratifying intelligence and care."[3]

Home media[edit]

Koko: A Talking Gorilla was released on VHS.[4] In 2010, the film was released on DVD by the Criterion Collection.[5][6]


  1. ^ "Festival de Cannes: Koko: A Talking Gorilla". festival-cannes.com. Festival de Cannes. Retrieved 23 May 2009.
  2. ^ Hutchinson, Bill (21 June 2018). "Koko the gorilla dies: 'She taught me so much,' trainer says". ABC News. Retrieved 29 April 2020.
  3. ^ Maslin, Janet (4 December 1979). "Film: 'Koko,' Tale of a Talking Gorilla: Fascinating Insights". The New York Times. Retrieved 29 April 2020.
  4. ^ Bleiler, David, ed. (2001). TLA Film, Video, and DVD Guide 2002–2003: The Discerning Film Lover's Guide. St. Martin's Press. p. 323. ISBN 978-0312282097.
  5. ^ "Koko: A Talking Gorilla (1978)". The Criterion Collection. Retrieved 29 April 2020.
  6. ^ "Koko: A Talking Gorilla (The Criterion Collection) [DVD]". Amazon.com. Retrieved 29 April 2020.

External links[edit]