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260 Ratings

The Naked Prey

Directed by Cornel Wilde
United States, 1966


After an ivory-hunting safari offends an African tribe, the colonialists are captured and hideously tortured. Only Cornel Wilde’s marksman is released, without clothes or weapons, to be hunted for sport. This stripped-to-the-bone narrative is a meditation on the notion of civilization.

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The Naked Prey Directed by Cornel Wilde

Awards & Festivals

Academy Awards

1967 | Nominee: Best Writing, Story and Screenplay - Written Directly for the Screen

Critics reviews

At its core—and the film is basically all core—The Naked Prey is a cynical, savage film of humanity at its barest, putting the allegedly civilized man on the same leveled playing field—here the wide, wild African grasslands—as the spear-carrying primitive. It's an idea we've seen dramatized many times since, to the point of cliché perhaps, but in terms of American cinema in the mid sixties, Wilde was on to something different: an image of infinite loneliness.
April 22, 2013
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Originally scripted with a Wyoming setting, this survivalist yarn would work in any similarly harsh environment, and its ultimate transplantation to southern Africa raises lots of tacit questions about colonialism and exploitation, even if they're mostly not verbally addressed. Indeed, the trailer's voiceover spells out an anti-colonialist message far more explicitly than does the main feature, surely one of the least talky American films since the talkies were introduced four decades earlier.
October 30, 2015

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