Link (film)

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Link (film).jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byRichard Franklin
Produced byRichard Franklin
Screenplay byEverett De Roche
Story byLee David Zlotoff and
Tom Ackermann
Music byJerry Goldsmith
CinematographyMike Molloy
Edited byAndrew London
Derek Trigg
Distributed byCannon Films (US)
Thorn EMI (UK)
Hoyts (Australia)
Release date
  • 31 October 1986 (1986-10-31) (U.S.)
Running time
103 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom
Box office$1,720,450 (USA)[1]

Link is a 1986 British horror film starring Elisabeth Shue and Terence Stamp along with a trio of simian stars which consist of Locke as Link, Jed as Imp, and Carried as Voodoo. The title character, "Link", is a super-intelligent yet malicious chimpanzee (played an orangutan) who lashes out against his masters when they try to have him euthanised.

It was directed by Richard Franklin and written by Everett De Roche from a story by Lee David Zlotoff and Tom Ackermann. The score was provided by Jerry Goldsmith. It was filmed in St. Abbs, Scotland.

Shue and Goldsmith received Saturn Award nominations for their contributions.

Link is supposed to be a chimpanzee, as is evidenced by a poster of him in his old circus days as a chimpanzee, but for some unknown reason he is played by an orangutan who has his fur colored darker and is wearing prosthetic ears to make him resemble a chimpanzee.


Human Actors[edit]

  • Elisabeth Shue as Jane Chase, a young American zoology studying in England who takes the opportunity to assist Dr. Phillip with his studies.
  • Terence Stamp as Dr. Steven Phillip, an anthropologist studying the mental capabilities of chimpanzees in his isolated estate in the English countryside. Anthony Perkins was offered the role but turned it down.
  • Steven Pinner as David, Jane's boyfriend who investigates Phillip's estate after Jane's call gets abruptly cut off.
  • Kevin Lloyd as Bailey, Phillip's friend who is called to put Link down.
  • David O'Hara as Tom, David's friend who goes with him on his search for Jane.
  • Richard Garnett as Dennis, David's friend who goes with him on his search for Jane.
  • Linus Roache (uncredited)

Ape Actors[edit]

  • Locke as Link, a 45 year old circus chimp who now serves as Phillip's butler and lashes out against his human masters. Despite being written to be a chimpanzee and having a poster of his old circus days as a chimp, the role was given to Locke who is an orangutan. His fur was dyed darker and wore prosthetic ears to make him resemble a chimp. He was owned and trained by legendary animal trainer Ray Berwick.
  • Carrie as Voodoo, a female chimpanzee who is often caged for her aggressive nature, but is occasionally let loose. This is one of the few times a full grown chimpanzee is used in a film.
  • Jed as Imp, Voodoo's son and Phillip's prized student in his studies. He has a tendency to escape and kill other animals (birds, cats, sheep).


In 1979 Richard Franklin optioned a short outline which he described as "a sort of Jaws with chimps."[2] He did not do anything with it until Everett de Roche showed him a National Geographic article by Jane Goodall about violence among chimpanzees. De Roche wrote the script and the film was made in the UK for EMI Films.

The English setting to me was essential. I wanted to contrast the primitivism of jungle animals with Old World values, high culture, and "civilisation" - which is one of the subjects of the picture.

— Richard Franklin[2]

Filming finished in July 1985. It was one of the last films made under the regime of Verity Lambert at EMI.[3]


When the film was released in the US by the Cannon Group, eight minutes were cut, despite Franklin's objections. When EMI was taken over by the Cannon Group, five more minutes were cut out.[2]


The film received generally mixed to negative reviews. Rotten Tomatoes gave at the film 29% positives reviews based on 7 reviews. Franklin later called the movie "on almost every level... an unsatisfying experience."[4]


  1. ^ Link at Box Office Mojo
  2. ^ a b c "Richard Franklin and Link", Cinema Papers, March 1989 p40
  3. ^ Three of the best: David Newpart on three big theatrical names going into films Newport, David. The Guardian 1 Aug 1985: 11.
  4. ^ "Interview with Richard Franklin", Signet, 15 September 1995 Archived 1 April 2013 at the Wayback Machine accessed 18 November 2012

External links[edit]