70s Films Header Image

Big Alligator River

Big Alligator River (1979)
Il Fiume del grande caimano

Sergio Martino
George Eastman
Cesare Frugoni
Ernesto Gastaldi
Sergio Martino
Mara Maryl
Luciano Martino
Barbara Bach – Alice Brandt
Claudio Cassinelli – Daniel Nessel
Mel Ferrer – Joshua
Romano Puppo – Peter
Fabrizia Castagnoli – Minou’s Mother
Enzo Fisichella – Lover of Minou’s Mother
Lory Del Santo – Jane
Anny Papa
Bobby Rhodes – Joshua’s man
Clara Colosimo – Tourist
Peter Boom – Tourist With Rifle
Giulia D’Angelo

Review by Sven Soetemans

River of the Alligator God,

Much more than the obvious Italian Jaws rip-off this appears to be, “Big Alligator River” is like a well-scripted and ambitious jungle-exploitation classic. This seventies film was directed by Sergio Martino – an eminent filmmaker in the Italian horror field – and on many different levels it’s almost like a sequel to his earlier triumph “Mountain of the Cannibal God”. That particular movie mainly draws your attention by mentioning a gruesome cannibal-tribe, but the essence of the story handled about anthropology and learning to understand the curious religions a certain primitive tribes. “Big Alligator River” is exactly like that! There naturally is a giant alligator swimming around, devouring people, but I really defend that the actual emphasis of Martino’s seventies film lies on the African tribe members who believe that this animal represents the wrath of a native God.

According the beliefs of this tribe, the Alligator-God is furious because a Western businessman built a tourist complex, neglecting the environment and recruiting the natives as slaves. Almost immediately after the arrival of a first group of wealthy tourists, both the alligator and the war-hungry tribe start a bloody killing spree. Surely, I can’t deny that “Big Alligator River” cashes in on the huge success of Steven Spielberg’s creature-feature milestone “Jaws” a great deal. Particularly the character of Joshua, who owns the resort and ignores all the warnings about the dangerous presence of the alligator in order not to disturb his clients, is an exact copy of the hypocrite mayor in Spielberg’s movie. There are some more obvious influences of other 70s horror movies in the script but, overall, “Big Alligator River” is a solid independent film with a fair amount of suspense, gore and admirable camera-work. Despite the fact that the DVD-cover shows a totally naked woman being eaten by the croc, the film contains few sleaze or gratuitous sex. The filming style is elegant and Martino’s camera has more eye for the African wildlife than for the ravishing bodies of the female stars.

Judging by the other user-comments around here, I seem to be the only one who thinks that the giant alligator looks rather convincing (especially considering the budget of this type of movies) and especially the many close-ups of his pupils come across as quite frightening. The acting is very satisfying and, naturally, Barbara Bach’s good looks are a treat for the eyes. “Big Alligator River” is warmly recommended to fans of Italian horror.

Share it now

70s Films

A tour through the great and not so great films of the seventies The seventies saw a huge change in styles and genres from the advent of the slasher horror movies like Halloween and the blockbuster summers films started by Jaws. More...

Join the Discussion

Register now & join in the discussions, this will allow you to add your own comments, memories, photographs and stories to our ever growing website dedicated to the Seventies. Simply sign up using your Facebook, Twitter, Linked In or Google+ Account

Your API connection setting not working. try to change setting from module option or check your php.ini setting for (cURL support = enabled OR allow_url_fopen = On)

Like this Film ? Share it now