The Legend of Tarzan is a 2016 American adventure film based on the fictional character created by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Directed by David Yates, with a screenplay by Adam Cozad and Craig Brewer, the film stars Alexander Skarsgård as the title character, with Samuel L. Jackson, Margot Robbie, Djimon Hounsou, Jim Broadbent and Christoph Waltz in supporting roles. Principal photography began on June 21, 2014, at Warner Bros. Leavesden Studios in the United Kingdom, and wrapped four months later on October 3.
The film premiered at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles on June 29, 2016 and was theatrically released in the United States on July 1, 2016, in 2D, 3D, IMAX and IMAX 3D. The film grossed over $356 million against a budget of $180 million and received mixed reviews from critics.
As a result of the Berlin Conference, the Congo Basin is claimed by King Leopold II of the Belgians, who rules the Congo Free State in personal union with the Kingdom of Belgium. The country is on the verge of bankruptcy, Leopold having borrowed huge amounts of money to finance the construction of railways and other infrastructure projects. In response, he sends his envoy Léon Rom (Christoph Waltz) to secure the fabled diamonds of Opar. Rom's expedition is ambushed and massacred, with only Rom surviving. A tribal leader, Chief Mbonga (Djimon Hounsou), offers him the diamonds in exchange for an old enemy: Tarzan.
The man once called "Tarzan", John Clayton III, the fifth Earl of Greystoke (Alexander Skarsgård), has long since left Africa behind and settled down in London with his American-born wife, Jane Porter (Margot Robbie), taking up his birth name and ancestral family residence as Lord Greystoke. In the eight years since returning from Africa, John's story as Tarzan has become legendary among the Victorian public, although John himself wishes to leave the past behind him. Through the British Prime Minister (Jim Broadbent), John is invited by King Leopold to visit Boma and report on the development of the Congo by Belgium, though Greystoke politely declines the invitation. An American envoy, George Washington Williams (Samuel L. Jackson), who recognises John from the stories of "Tarzan", privately reveals his suspicions that the Belgians are enslaving the Congolese population. Williams persuades John to accept the invitation in order to prove his suspicions. Jane is disappointed when John says that she should not come, as he thinks the trip would be too dangerous, remembering how both his parents died as a result of the jungle's brutality following their shipwreck there — his mother of disease and his father later killed by the Mangani apes — leaving the baby John to be raised as Tarzan by his Mangani "mother" Kala and "brother" Akut. However, Jane reminds him that she grew up in Africa as well, and misses her home and friends there. John relents, and allows Jane to accompany him.
John, Jane, and Williams take the trip to the Congo. There, the trio encounters a tribal village and villagers who knew John and Jane during their previous stay in the jungle. Jane explains to Williams that her husband was once considered an evil spirit by the African tribes, including that of Chief Mbonga. Jane recalls how, when she was younger, she and her father lived in the tribal village helping to care for local children. There she met Tarzan who was made feral and physically enhanced by his life with the apes. The naked ape man saved Jane's life by shielding her from a vicious mangani attack, suffering severe injuries in the process. Jane took the injured Tarzan home, nursed him back to health, and the two fell in love. That night, as the tribe sleeps, Rom and his mercenaries raid the village and kidnap John and Jane and kill the tribe's leader. They then escape to a nearby steamboat with Jane and several of the tribe's members, but Williams is able to rescue John before he can be taken to the boat.
With the aid of the tribe's warriors, John and Williams intercept a Belgian military train carrying captured slaves, providing Williams with the evidence he needs to expose King Leopold. They also discover that Rom intends to use the diamonds to pay for a massive army to subdue the Congo, and allow Belgium to mine its wealth for Leopold's benefit. As John and Williams continue onward, John encounters the adult Akut, who is now leader of the apes. Aware that Akut considers him a deserter, John prepares to fight Akut, though he soon loses. That night, as John recovers, Williams recalls the massacres of Native Americans during the Indian Wars, comparing to those of Rom and Leopold.
On Rom's steamboat, Jane dines with Rom, before escaping and swimming to shore. Jane stumbles into a group of mangani apes, where she is rescued by Rom, whose men then shoot and kill many of the apes. John saves the remaining group, reconciling with Akut, before pursuing Rom. He is cornered by Mbonga and his tribe, where it is revealed that John once killed Mbonga's only son for previously killing Kala. A defeated Mbonga tearfully accuses John of lacking honor, as his son was just a young boy when John killed him. John spares Mbonga, just as Akut and the manganis arrive to subdue the tribe. Rom takes Jane and the diamonds to Boma, where he plans to take control of the army. John, Williams and Akut trigger a massive stampede of wildebeest through Boma, destroying the town and distracting the soldiers, allowing John to rescue Jane. As Rom attempts to escape by boat, Williams sinks it with a machine gun as John swims aboard. Rom incapacitates John by strangling him and then tying him by the neck to the ship's railing, before trying to escape again. John then summons crocodiles with a mating call to devour Rom, before escaping the destroyed vessel himself.
Williams returns to England and presents the Prime Minister with evidence exposing the slave trade in the African Congo. One year later, John and Jane have remained in Africa and settled in Jane's father's old house. John returns to his rightful place among the great apes as Tarzan and finally actualizes his dream of having a child with Jane.
- Alexander Skarsgård as Tarzan / John Clayton III, Lord Greystoke. On his character Tarzan, Skarsgård said, "This is about a man who’s holding back and slowly as you peel off the layers, he reverts back to a more animalistic state and lets that side of his personality out." To get in Tarzan shape, Skarsgård spent four months in a training regimen before principal photography started and gained 24 pounds. Part of his training was for movement work with choreographer Wayne McGregor.
- Rory J. Saper as 18 Year Old Tarzan
- Christian Stevens as 5 Year Old Tarzan
- Christoph Waltz as Captain Léon Rom, a corrupt merciless Belgian captain sent by King Leopold of Belgium to find diamonds and control the region.
- Samuel L. Jackson as George Washington Williams, an American entrepreneur and a veteran of the American Civil War 
- Margot Robbie as Jane Porter Clayton, Lady Greystoke; Tarzan's wife.
- Djimon Hounsou as Chief Mbonga, the leader of the leopard men of Opar (an African tribe that controls the diamond region), who wants revenge against Tarzan for the death of his son.
- Jim Broadbent as the British Prime Minister
- Casper Crump as Major Kerckhover, Rom's violent first lieutenant
- Ben Chaplin as Captain Moulle
- Hadley Fraser as John Clayton II, Tarzan's father
- Genevieve O'Reilly as Alice Clayton, Tarzan's mother
- Yule Masiteng as Muviro, the tribe leader
- Mimi Ndiweni as Eshe
- Simon Russell Beale as Mr. Frum
- Matt Cross as Akut, Tarzan's adoptive ape brother, Kala's biological son, and the current leader of the Mangani.
- Madeleine Worrall as Kala, Tarzan's adoptive ape mother and the biological mother of Akut
- William Wollen as Kerchak, the former leader of the Mangani who killed Tarzan's father and hates Tarzan.
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