Kon-Tiki is the Academy Award winning film of an astonishing adventure, a journey spanning 4,300 nautical miles across the Pacific Ocean by raft. Intrigued by Polynesian folklore, Norwegian biologist Thor Heyerdahl suspected that the South Sea Islands had been settled by an ancient race from thousands of miles to the east, led by the mythical hero Kon-Tiki. Heyerdahl knew that the trade winds and ocean currents off the South American coastline bear in the direction of Polynesia. Ridiculed by the scientific establishment, who had concluded that a voyage by aboriginal balsa raft from Peru to Polynesia was impossible, he decided to prove the possibility of his theory by duplicating the legendary voyage. The ensuing expedition was hailed as one of the most fantastic feats of daring and courage of its time. On 28th April 1947, Heyerdahl and his five crew members embarked from Peru on their daring voyage to the Marquesas Islands on a balsa wood raft built according to the traditions of South America's pre-Columbian Indians. After 101 suspenseful days on the open sea, alone amid raging storms, whales and countless sharks, they landed on the Polynesian island of Raroia. The expedition attracted worldwide interest. Heyerdahl's book Kon-Tiki was translated into 67 languages and sold more than 20 million copies. Heyerdahl had been presented with a film camera before the journey began, and both the building of the raft and the voyage across the Pacific were filmed in great detail. This fascinating black and white film was awarded an Oscar for the most outstanding documentary of 1951. The raft is now exhibited at the Kon-Tiki Museum in Oslo.
Thor Heyerdahl, Herman Watzinger, Erik Hesselberg, Knut Haugland, Torstein Raaby, Bengt Danielsson
Although this was an original film in black and white, lacking maybe the finish of a professional team, this was hugely enjoyable.
There frequent episodes of elation and trepidation, and having it related by the actual adventurers made the adventure truly authentic. We didn't feel the need to view the later remake in colour with actors taking the lead roles.