9 Reasons to love Out of Africa at 30

Out of Africa
Out of Africa starred Meryl Streep and Robert Redford

Amazingly, Out of Africa, which used the natural beauty of Kenya to tell the true story of an epic love story, reached its 30th anniversary of the movie’s original release at the end of last year.

Starring Meryl Streep and Robert Redford the movie was released on December 18, 1985, and was a huge commercial success, despite initial middling reviews.

30 years on, we list 9 reasons to fall in love with this classic Kenyan based story all over again.

1. Out of Africa is based on real events

Out of Africa is an adaptation of the 1937 memoirs of Karen Blixen, a Danish ex-pat who married a baron in 1913 and began a coffee plantation in Kenya. While the movie takes some liberties with the events as Blixen described them in her writings, the romance truly happened. Karen’s legacy is such that a Nairobi suburb in the area where her farm once stood is named after her.

Karen Blixen and Denys Finch Hatton
Karen Blixen and Denys Finch Hatton

2. The Out of Africa cast included decedents of the original coffee farm workers

In addition to location shooting for Out of Africa taking place in as many of the original spots as possible, when casting the roles of Karen’s workers, many of those chosen were descended from the Kikuyu tribespeople the real Blixen had employed.

3. Robert Redford won his role on charm alone

In real life, Denys Finch Hatton was British bur director Sydney Pollack, allegedly decided that no British actor could muster the suave charm that Redford did. Controversially, Pollack opted not to have Redford play the role with a British accent because he believed it could prove distracting to audiences. However, certain scenes where Redford had spoken his lines with a slight British twinge had to be redubbed.

Robert Redford in Out of Africa
Robert Redford as Denys Finch Hatton in Out Of Africa

4. In Out of Africa Meryl Streep went face to face with a lion – for real

It’s reported that in the scene which you can watch below, where a lion attacks one of Karen’s oxen and she tries to drive it back with a whip, Streep was in real danger. She mistakenly believed it was on a leash, but was actually unfettered and got closer to Streep that she expected. Streep’s horrified reaction is allegedly real.

5. Out of Africa is a movie about finding your place in the world

Karen became dissatisfied with the options she has in Denmark,and decided to take the courageous step to move to Kenya. While it’s safe to say that not everything went her way, her move afforded her more opportunities than she ever would have in her old life.

“Here at long last one was in a position not to give a damn for all conventions, here was a new kind of freedom which until then one had only found in dreams!” – Karen Blixen

6. Out of Africa shows off Kenya’s natural beauty

The movie showcases the natural beauty of Kenya and is still a pull factor for tourists today.

7. You can actually visit Karen Blixen’s house

If you’re interested in finding out more about Karen Blixen’s life, you can visit one of her homes which is now a museum. The house contains possessions and furniture which belonged to her as well as props from the movie. However, it isn’t the house which was used for the movie – that was the first property she lived in which isn’t open to the public.

8. Out of Africa overcame average reviews to win an Oscar

Amazingly, Out of Africa is currently only has 53 percent positive on Rotten Tomatoes. However, at the 1986 Oscars, the movie beat out The Color Purple, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Prizzi’s Honor and Witness to win the Best Picture award along with six other Oscars.

9. Out of Africa features Iman in an early acting role

Mrs David Bowie, Somali model Iman has a non-speaking part in one of her earliest acting roles, sharing scenes with both Redford and Streep.

Iman in Out of Africa
Iman as Mariammo in Out of Africa

Do you love Out of Africa? If so, is it because of one of the reasons above or do you have one of your own? Let us know via the comments section below or via our Facebook and Twitter pages.


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