In the middle of the 20th century, the name for adventure was Thor Heyerdahl. The Norwegian biologist-explorer became world famous in 1947 when he sailed an unsophisticated raft 4,300 miles in the Pacific. The remarkab...展开le voyage was made to prove Heyerdahl's theory that ancient South American natives could populate Polynesia by sailing across the Pacific. Heyerdahl and his five crewmates supervised the creation of an aboriginal balsa wood raft (made with no nails or rivets) that sailed the trade winds on a voyage the scientific community thought was foolish and suicidal. The film record shot on board--which became this 58-minute documentary--shows that amazing passage of the raft, the Kon-Tiki, and its various encounters with sea life. The low-key Heyerdahl tells his story without irony, certainly a trait that helped during the four-month journey. Heyerdahl's book of the voyage sold over 20 million copies and the film won the 1951 Oscar for Best Documentary. Heyerdahl went on to later journeys (including another voyage in the ship Ra) and discoveries, but this uncluttered black-and-white film delivers thrills all these years after the voyage. Young explorers age 8 and older will get caught up in the excitement. --Doug Thomas
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. On April 28, 1947, Norwegian biologist Thor Heyerdahl and his five crew members embarked from Peru on a daring voyage to prove Heyerdahl's theory that the South Sea Islands were settled by South Americans aboard balsa wood rafts. Building a similar raft according to the pre-Columbian Indians' traditions, Heyerdahl and crew spent 101 suspenseful days on the open sea, alone amid raging storms, whales, and countless sharks until finally landing on the Polynesian island of Raroia. The expedition attracted worldwide interest, with Heyerdahl's book "Kon-Tiki" selling over 20 million copies in 67 languages and this Oscar-winning documentary, the commemorative 1997 edition celebrating the 50th anniversary of the voyage.