The Jewel of the Nile

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The Jewel of the Nile
Promotional film poster by Robert Rodriguez[1]
Directed byLewis Teague
Written by
Based onCharacters
by Diane Thomas
Produced byMichael Douglas
CinematographyJan de Bont
Edited by
  • Peter Boita
  • Michael Ellis
Music byJack Nitzsche
The Stone Group, Ltd.
Distributed by20th Century Fox
Release date
  • December 11, 1985 (1985-12-11)
Running time
107 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$25 million[2]
Box office$96.7 million[3]

The Jewel of the Nile is a 1985 American action-adventure romantic comedy film directed by Lewis Teague and produced by Michael Douglas, who also starred in the lead role, reuniting with co-stars Kathleen Turner and Danny DeVito, reprising their roles from the 1984 action-adventure film Romancing the Stone.

Like Romancing the Stone, the opening scene takes place in one of Joan's novels. This time, instead of Jesse and Angelina in Joan's wild-west scenario, Joan and Jack are about to be married when pirates attack their ship. The Jewel of the Nile sends its characters off on a new adventure in a fictional African desert, in an effort to find the fabled "Jewel of the Nile".

The song performed by Billy Ocean, "When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Going", became a major international hit, reaching #1 in the UK and #2 in the US.[4]


Six months after the original events in Romancing the Stone, Joan Wilder's (Kathleen Turner) and Jack Colton's (Michael Douglas) romance has grown stale. While moored at a port in the South of France, Joan, suffering writer's block, wants to return to New York, while Jack prefers aimlessly sailing the world on his boat, the Angelina. At a book signing engagement, Joan meets Omar Khalifa (Spiros Focás), a charming Arab ruler who wants Joan to write his biography.

Joan accepts and leaves with Omar over Jack's protests. Jack later runs into Ralph (Danny DeVito), the swindler from Jack and Joan's previous adventure in Colombia, who demands Jack turn over the stone Jack and Joan found. Shortly after, an Arab, Tarak (Paul David Magid), informs Jack about Omar's true intentions and claims that Omar has the "Jewel of the Nile"; just as Tarak finishes his explanations, the Angelina explodes from a bomb set by one of Omar's men. Ralph and Jack team up to find Joan and the fabled jewel.

Joan soon discovers that Omar is a brutal dictator rather than the enlightened ruler which he claimed will unite the Arab world. In the palace jail, Joan encounters Al-Julhara (Avner Eisenberg), a holy man who is, in fact, the "Jewel of the Nile" and whom Omar fears.[Note 1] Al-Julhara tells Joan that Omar plans to declare himself ruler of all of the Arab world at a ceremony in the city of Kadir.

Realizing that Al-Julhara is the only one who can stop Omar, Joan decides to escort him to Kadir herself. The pair escape and find Jack, and they flee into the desert in Omar's hijacked F-16 fighter jet. Ralph is captured by Tarak's rebel Sufi tribe who are sworn to protect the Jewel so he can fulfill his people's destiny.

After encountering a Nubian mountain tribe, Joan and Jack's romance is rekindled. Joan tells Jack that the jewel is not a gem stone but Al-Julhara. In Kadir, Omar intends to use a smoke-and-mirror special effect provided by a British rock promoter to convince onlookers that he is the prophet who will unite the Arab world. Jack, Joan, and Al-Julhara arrive to expose Omar but are captured. Omar suspends Jack and Joan with ropes over a deep pit (a scenario taken from Joan's biggest-selling novel, The Savage Secret) while Al-Julhara is in a stockade. Ralph, along with the Sufi tribe, arrives in time to rescue the three prisoners.

As Omar takes center stage to address the Arab people, Jack and Joan disrupt the ceremony while the Sufi battle Omar's guards. A fire breaks out, engulfing Omar's stage. Jack and Joan are separated, and Omar corners Joan atop the burning scaffolding. Ralph, using a giant crane, helps Jack reach Joan in the nick of time; he kicks Omar over the side and down into the raging flames, killing him. Al-Julhara rises and safely walks through the blazing inferno, fulfilling the prophecy that he is the true spiritual leader.

The following day, Jack and Joan are married by Al-Julhara. While Ralph is genuinely happy for Jack and Joan, he laments once again having gained nothing for his efforts, but Tarak acknowledges that he is a true Sufi friend and presents him with a jeweled dagger as Jack and Joan happily sail away down the Nile.


  • Paul David Magid as Tarak
  • Howard Jay Patterson as Barak
  • Randall Edwin Nelson as Karak
  • Samuel Ross Williams as Arak
  • Timothy Daniel Furst as Sarak


With a $21 million budget, principal photography began April 22, 1985 with filming wrapped on July 25, 1985.[5] Location shooting took place at Villefranche-sur-Mer and the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès, Cannes, France, Ait Benhaddou near Ouarzazate[6] and Meknes, Morocco, among other locations, including Zion National Park, Springdale, Utah.[7][8][4]

At the time, both Kathleen Turner and Michael Douglas only made the sequel because they were contractually obligated to do so, although Douglas was much more invested in the film as its producer.[9] At one point during pre-production, Turner tried to back out of the project because she found the script "terrible, formulaic, sentimental", until 20th Century Fox threatened her with a $25 million lawsuit for breach of contract. Douglas intervened on her behalf and ensured that a rewrite was made.[10][11]

Turner was disappointed that Douglas did not ask Diane Thomas, the writer who had penned the script for Romancing the Stone, to return for the sequel, apparently because he decided her asking price was too high. When Douglas agreed to undertake rewrites to please Turner, Thomas was asked to consult on alterations, but Turner remained disappointed with the script. She elaborated in an interview in 2018:

"...ultimately I read the script on a plane to Morocco, where the film was shooting, and I was furious. It didn’t have what Michael said it’d have. When I got to the hotel in Fez, Michael and I sat down on the floor with three versions of the script. We were trading pages to get a script that was acceptable to both of us. It was, '“I’ll do this if you’ll do that.”' It was frustrating."[12]

Filming in North Africa was dogged with problems from unbearable 120-degree-Fahrenheit heat to problems with the local crew but the most troubling concern was that the director showed that he was not up to the task of helming an action film. After one massive night scene that was hours in setup, and cast and crew in place, it was only then that someone noticed that there was no film in the cameras. As producer, Michael Douglas exploded; the whole debacle had to be re-filmed another day, only after the raw film stock was finally located.[13] More problems with local customs cropped up, with film and equipment mysteriously held up by customs until the requisite bribes were paid. In the end, being only three weeks behind schedule was a minor triumph for Douglas.[14]

Approximately two weeks before principal photography began, an aircraft carrying Richard Dawking (production designer) and Brian Coates (production manager) crashed during location scouting over the countryside of Morocco, killing all on board. The film is dedicated to the memory of Dawking and Coates, as well as screenwriter Diane Thomas, who had died in an automobile accident six weeks before the film's release.[8] During filming in Morocco, Douglas and Turner, flying in an executive jet aircraft, had a near-accident when their aircraft wing struck the runway in a heavy landing.[14]

The film model of a F-16B two-seat fighter aircraft used in the films The Jewel of the Nile and The Living Daylights (1987) on display at Atlas Film Studios, Ouarzazate in Morocco

The use of a General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon mockup was a key element of the main characters' escaping from a fortified town. The wooden, styrofoam and fibreglass mockup was built on an automobile chassis and powered by a 350ci Chevrolet engine.[15]

As with the first film, the novelization of the sequel was credited to Joan Wilder, the character played by Kathleen Turner; both books were actually ghostwritten by Catherine Lanigan.[16]

The Jewel of the Nile was the final film released on the RCA SelectaVision CED video format. It was also released in other media formats.[17]


"When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Going", performed by Billy Ocean, and "The Jewel of the Nile", performed by Precious Wilson, play during the film and in the end credits respectively. Douglas, Turner, and DeVito also co-starred with Ocean in the MTV music video of the same name. The soundtrack features 1980s rap group Whodini and their single "Freaks Come Out at Night" as Michael Douglas and company make their way through the desert on camel back[18] as well as "Party (No Sheep Is Safe Tonight)" by The Willesden Dodgers during the campfire party scene.

Arista released a soundtrack album on record, cassette and compact disc.

  1. When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get GoingBilly Ocean (4:09)
  2. I'm in Love – Ruby Turner (3:30)
  3. African Breeze – Hugh Masekela and Jonathan Butler (6:00)
  4. Party (No Sheep Is Safe Tonight) – The Willesden Dodgers (5:10)
  5. Freaks Come Out at NightWhodini (4:44)
  6. The Jewel of the Nile – Precious Wilson (4:18)
  7. Legion (Here I Come) – Mark Shreeve (4:49)
  8. Nubian Dance – The Nubians (3:35)
  9. Love Theme – Jack Nitzsche (2:26)
  10. The Plot Thickens – Jack Nitzsche (4:15)


Chart (1986) Peak
Australia (Kent Music Report)[19] 34


While The Jewel of the Nile grossed almost as much as its predecessor, the film was much less successful critically and effectively killed the franchise.[3]

Critics felt the film was loaded with numerous plot holes and that it lacked the first film's original charm. The New York Times opened its review by writing, "There's nothing in The Jewel of the Nile that wasn't funnier or more fanciful in Romancing the Stone."[20] Roger Ebert agreed that "... it is not quite the equal of Romancing the Stone," but praised the interplay between Douglas and Turner. "It seems clear," he wrote, "that they like each other and are having fun during the parade of ludicrous situations in the movie, and their chemistry is sometimes more entertaining than the contrivances of the plot."[9]

Colin Greenland reviewed The Jewel of the Nile for White Dwarf #77, and stated that "The Jewel of the Nile is the sequel to Romancing the Stone, another adventure fantasy with just the right pinch of preposterousness. Against all odds, this is a sequel as enjoyable and endearing as the original."[21]

The Jewel of the Nile holds a rating of 48% on Rotten Tomatoes based on 27 reviews. The critical consensus reads: "The sense of romantic spark has waned and the prevalence of stereotypes has grown in Jewel of the Nile, although there is still plenty of swooning action for fans of the first adventure."[22]

Then-U.S. President Ronald Reagan viewed this film at Camp David in January 1986.[23]

Unproduced sequels[edit]

Talk of a third film, again starring Douglas, Turner and DeVito, never got beyond a draft. In The Crimson Eagle, Jack and Joan take their two teenage kids to Thailand where they are blackmailed into stealing a priceless statue.[24] The project languished until 1997, when Douglas as tentative producer announced he was no longer interested.[25]

In 2005 and again in 2008, Douglas was working on a second sequel, entitled Racing the Monsoon, although there have been no further developments in recent years.[26] Since 2007, Fox considered a remake of Romancing the Stone with the possibility of a "reboot" of a series. The roles of Jack and Joan would be filled by Taylor Kitsch (or Gerard Butler) and Katherine Heigl.[27] By 2011, the remake was re-worked as a television series.[28]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ From Arabic الجوهرة, al-jawhara, "the jewel."


  1. ^ "Syndicated Comics". 31 July 2020.
  2. ^ Solomon 1989, p. 260.
  3. ^ a b "Receipts: 'Jewel of the Nile'." Box Office Mojo. Retrieved: March 27, 2016.
  4. ^ a b Feaster, Felicia. "Articles: 'The Jewel of the Nile'." Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved: March 27, 2016.
  5. ^ "Notes: 'The Jewel of the Nile'." Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved: March 27, 2016.
  6. ^ "On location in the Moroccan desert". Hello!.
  7. ^ "Jewel Of The Nile filming locations (1985)." Riviera On Film, 2014. Retrieved: March 27, 2016.
  8. ^ a b Eliot 2013, p. 142.
  9. ^ a b Ebert, Roger."Review: 'The Jewel of the Nile'." The Chicago Sun-Times, December 11, 1985. Retrieved: March 27, 2016.
  10. ^ Appelo, Tim and Greg Kilday. "Kathleen Turner: The last movie star." Entertainment Weekly, August 2, 1991. Retrieved: March 27, 2016.
  11. ^
  12. ^ David Marchese (2018-08-07). "In Conversation: Kathleen Turner". Retrieved 2018-08-09.
  13. ^ Eliot 2013, p. 143.
  14. ^ a b Turner 2008, unpaginated.
  15. ^ "The Jewel of the Nile". The Internet Movie Plane Database. Retrieved: March 28, 2016.
  16. ^ Wilder, Joan (pseudonym), Catherine Lanigan (ghostwriter). The Jewel of the Nile (novelization). Good Reads. Retrieved: March 27, 2016.
  17. ^ "RCA SelectaVision VideoDisc FAQ - Why did RCA abandon further development of the CED system in April 1984?" Retrieved: March 28, 2016.
  18. ^ Cabbbage, Jack. "The freaks come out at night." 80s Music Channel, October 4, 2008. Retrieved: March 27, 2016.
  19. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 284. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  20. ^ Maslin, Janet. "Film: 'Jewel of the Nile'." The New York Times, December 11, 1985.Retrieved: March 27, 2016.
  21. ^ Greenland, Colin (May 1986). "2020 Vision". White Dwarf (77). Games Workshop: 11.
  22. ^ "The Jewel of the Nile". Rotten Tomatoes.
  23. ^ "Films Viewed by President and MRS. Reagan".
  24. ^ Eliot 2013, p. 146.
  25. ^ Morris, Clint. "Exclusive : Romancing the Stone remake still on?" Archived 2018-09-10 at the Wayback Machine Moviehole, August 23, 2011. Retrieved: March 28, 2016.
  26. ^ "Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones to co-star in film 'Racing The Monsoon'". The Daily Telegraph. May 19, 2008. Retrieved March 28, 2016.
  27. ^ Schaefer, Sandy (August 24, 2011). "'Romancing the Stone' remake is still moving forward". Screen Rant. Retrieved March 28, 2016.
  28. ^ Fischer, Russ (September 1, 2011). "The 'Romancing the Stone' remake is now a TV series, but there has been no further word on it since". /Film. Retrieved March 28, 2016.


  • Eliot, Marc. Michael Douglas: A Biography. New York: Three Rivers Press, 2013. ISBN 978-0-3079-5237-0.
  • Solomon, Aubrey. Twentieth Century-Fox: A Corporate and Financial History (The Scarecrow Filmmakers Series). Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press, 1988. ISBN 978-0-8108-4244-1.
  • Turner, Kathleen. Send Yourself Roses: Thoughts on My Life, Love, and Leading Roles. New York: Springboard Press, 2008. ISBN 978-0-4465-8112-7.

External links[edit]