King Kong (De Laurentiis)

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King Kong incarnations
King Kong (King Kong Escapes)
King Kong (De Laurentiis)
King Kong (Universal)
King Kong
King Kong in King Kong Lives
Alternate names Kong, The Big Monkey[1]
Species Giant ape
Height ~50 feet,KK76[2][3][note 1]
60 feetKKL[4]
Foot width 6 feet and 4 inchesKK76
Relations Lady Kong (mate), Baby Kong (son)
Allies Dwan, Amy Franklin, Hank Mitchell,
Lady Kong
Enemies Giant boa, Petrox Explorer crew, American military
Designed by Rick Baker
Modeled by Rick Baker, Carlo Rambaldi
Played by Rick Baker,KK76
Will Shephard,KK76[5]
Peter Elliott,KKL
Peter Cullen (vocals)
First appearance Latest appearance
King Kong (1976) King Kong Lives
19761986More roars
From thy wedding with the creature who touches heaven, lady, God preserve thee.

— Jack Prescott (King Kong)

King Kong is a giant ape monster who first appeared in the 1976 Dino De Laurentiis Corporation film King Kong. The story of the original 1933 film is retold and updated in this remake set in the modern day. Kong reappeared in a sequel to this film ten years later, King Kong Lives, which chronicles his revival through medical science and his discovery of a mate.

A colossal ape regarded with fear in the accounts of explorers who dared sail to "the beach of the skull," Kong was found to be very real by the crew of the Petrox Explorer, a ship sent by a petrochemical corporation to the previously uncharted island in search of hidden oil deposits. The natives of the island abducted Dwan, a castaway rescued by the Explorer, and offered her as a sacrifice to Kong. Though terrified at first, Dwan gradually formed a bond with Kong once the beast demonstrated his gentler and more sensitive side. The majority of the crew was killed while attempting to recover Dwan, but primatologist Jack Prescott rescued her while Kong was distracted by a giant snake. Kong pursued his bride back to the native village but was caught in a trap set by Petrox executive Fred Wilson, who captured him and brought him to New York City as a publicity stunt. Kong escaped his binds and captured Dwan yet again, carrying her to the top of the World Trade Center. A squad of armed attack choppers mortally wounded Kong, causing him to plummet to the plaza below.

Miraculously, Kong survived the ordeal and was left in a coma. Dr. Amy Franklin cared for the great ape for ten years, after which a blood transfusion from a female member of his species enabled a life-saving procedure to revive him with an artificial heart. Kong soon escaped with the female, dubbed Lady Kong, who became pregnant with his child. As his artificial heart began to fail, Kong made a final stand to rescue his pregnant mate from the military. Before his death, Kong reunited with Lady Kong and witnessed the birth of his son.


King Kong (1976)

King Kong in King Kong (1976)

Scattered records by mariners who managed to reach the mysterious, fog-blanketed "Beach of the Skull" and return made reference to a gigantic anthropoid beast as far back as 1605. Fred Wilson, an executive for the Petrox Oil Corporation, believed that this previously-uncharted island contained valuable oil reserves and organized an expedition there. Instead, the expedition found that the island was inhabited by a tribe of natives who lived in a village protected by a giant wall, which separated them from a fearsome god they called "Kong." The natives kidnapped Dwan, a castaway that had been picked up by the expedition team's ship, and attempted to sacrifice her to Kong. Kong emerged from the jungle and grabbed Dwan, then immediately carried her back off to the jungle. Kong took Dwan to a waterfall and washed her underneath it, then blew on her to dry her. Dwan was surprised at how gentle Kong actually was, and began to no longer fear him. Meanwhile, Jack Prescott, a primate paleontologist who had stowed away onto the expedition's ship earlier in the hope of witnessing the fabled beast, joined with several members of the crew to look for Kong. En route, they reached a giant fallen log that acted as a bridge over a deep chasm. Kong spotted the men as they crossed the log bridge and grabbed the bridge, twisting it until all of the men except Prescott and another named Boan fell to their deaths. Prescott decided to continue pursuing Kong on his own, and headed deeper into the jungle. Kong took Dwan to his lair and prepared to undress her, but found himself attacked by a gigantic boa constrictor. Kong set Dwan down and battled the snake, just as Prescott caught up and found Dwan. The two escaped and headed back to the village, while Kong tore the giant boa's jaws apart and killed it. Kong followed Dwan and Prescott back to the village and broke through the wall. However, Wilson and the crew had sprung a trap, which Kong fell into. Kong was then smothered with chloroform and knocked unconscious. With no oil to bring back to New York City after the oil deposits on the island were found to be worthless, Wilson decided to bring Kong back instead and use him as a publicity stunt. Kong was loaded onto an oil tanker and fed with tons and tons of fruit. When Kong began to go berserk and smash against the walls of the oil bay, Dwan fell into it, only for Kong to catch her. Dwan's presence calmed Kong, and he set her down then fell asleep for the remainder of the voyage.

When the expedition returned to New York, Wilson arranged a grand exposition for Kong to promote his company. He imprisoned Kong in a giant metal cage, and placed a giant crown on his head. When Kong was mobbed by hordes of media reporters taking pictures, he became enraged and tore through the metal bars restraining him. Wilson tried to run away but was stepped on and killed by Kong. Kong rampaged through the city, destroying cars, stomping on fleeing citizens, and even destroying a train. Prescott and Dwan escaped over the Queensboro Bridge, expecting that Kong would not be able to swim across the East River. However, Kong merely waded across the river in pursuit of Dwan. Kong found Dwan in an abandoned bar and carried her off. Kong noticed the World Trade Center in the distance, and it reminded him of his lair back on his island. Kong climbed the South Tower with Dwan, while the military pursued him. When Kong reached the top of the tower, he was attacked by a group of soldiers wielding flamethrowers. Kong jumped across the two towers and landed on the North Tower. Out of options, the military sent helicopters armed with machine guns to take Kong down. Kong set Dwan down and swatted at the helicopters, but was mercilessly blasted by machine gun bullets, causing him to bleed profusely. After destroying two choppers, Kong succumbed to his injuries and fell from the tower, plummeting onto the World Trade Center plaza. As crowds of reporters and spectators gathered around Kong, Dwan approached him and looked at him tearfully just as his heart stopped beating.

King Kong Lives

King Kong in King Kong Lives

After being shot off of the World Trade Center in 1976, King Kong was not actually killed, but placed into a coma. Kong was taken to the Atlantic Institute and kept alive but comatose for a decade. Dr. Amy Franklin, the surgeon in charge of Kong, found a way to fully revive Kong by giving him an artificial heart. However, Kong had lost so much blood that he required a blood transfusion for the procedure to work. Thankfully, a female member of Kong's species dubbed "Lady Kong" was discovered in Borneo by Hank Mitchell and brought back to the Atlantic Institute to provide blood for Kong. The transplant was a success, and Kong was revived. However, Kong and Lady Kong mated while in captivity at the Institute, and escaped together. The United States army relentlessly pursued both apes, and tracked them down in the wilderness. Kong fell from a cliff and presumably died in the resulting battle, and Lady Kong was captured and taken to a military base. At the base, it was discovered that Lady Kong was pregnant with Kong's child. Meanwhile, Kong survived the fall and rampaged through the countryside in search of Lady Kong, although his artificial heart was slowly failing. As Lady Kong went into labor, King Kong arrived near the military base and was attacked by the military. Kong was gruesomely wounded in the battle, but managed to destroy the military's forces and kill the insane army colonel who tried to kill him and his mate. Kong entered the base and collapsed in front of Lady Kong, who had just given birth to their son, Baby Kong. Gravely injured and with his heart about to shut down, Kong smiled as he looked at his newborn child before finally dying. Following Kong's death, Lady Kong and Baby Kong were transported back to Borneo to live in peace together.


Physical strength

Kong is extremely strong, picking up and throwing the log the Petrox Explorer crew is trying to cross into a chasm with ease. He is able to smash through the fortified wall of the native village on Skull Island with his raw strength alone. During his battle with the giant boa, Kong withstands the brutal constriction of the snake's body and literally rips the serpent's jaws apart in rage as he sees Jack Prescott escaping with Dwan. When in New York City, Kong breaks through the supposedly unbreakable restraints holding him and escapes. He causes significant damage to the city through his sheer size, even derailing an elevated train in his search for Dwan. During his last stand atop the World Trade Center, Kong grabs a metal object from the roof of the North Tower and throws it at the soldiers firing at him from the South Tower with tremendous accuracy. He also smashes a UH-1 Iroquois out of the sky with both fists during this rooftop battle. In King Kong Lives, Kong shows that he can lift and tear apart full-sized Army tanks with his brute strength.


In addition to possessing formidable strength, Kong is surprisingly agile for a creature of his size. He is able to scale the mountainous terrain of his island with ease, making his home in a high mountaintop lair. After recapturing Dwan in New York City, Kong climbs the South Tower of the World Trade Center after recognizing the structural similarity between the skyscrapers and his mountain lair. When confronted by flamethrower-wielding soldiers on the roof, Kong makes an astounding jump over to the top of the North Tower. Even while riddled with machine gun fire, Kong is still able to reach and smash one of the helicopters attacking him out of the sky.


Kong possesses a remarkable degree of physical durability. He withstands the crushing constriction of the giant boa and manages to kill the creature, then gets back to his feet without suffering any ill effects. At the climax of the 1976 film, Kong withstands sustained machine gun fire from UH-1 Iroquois helicopters which tears through his flesh and causes him to bleed profusely. Even as he is mortally wounded, Kong continues to stand and fight, even managing to destroy one of the choppers attacking him. Kong finally plummets from the top of the North Tower and onto the plaza below, and only seems to die after this point once his heartbeat ceases. Remarkably, this failed to kill Kong, and he was kept alive for ten years in a medical facility, albeit unconscious. After having an artificial heart transplanted into him, Kong regains all of his vitality that he had before his near-death experience. Even as his artificial heart begins to fail, Kong demonstrates the same raw strength and stamina he had before. In a final battle to defend his bride Lady Kong as she gave birth to their son, Kong faced off against an Army batallion which included tanks. While the wounds sustained in this battle would prove fatal, Kong not only triumphed but in his mortally wounded state managed to see his newborn son and bid farewell to his mate.


  • King Kong (1976)



One of the two Kong animatronics in Kongfrontation

After derailing two subway trains and battling police helicopters in his New York rampage, civilians evacuating aboard the suspended Roosevelt Island Tramway caught King Kong's attention. While hanging from the Queensboro Bridge, Kong batted at the tram and knocked down a helicopter attempting to defend it. Just as the tram made it to Roosevelt Island, the civilians inside found that Kong had followed them over. Kong grabbed the tram to shake it before bullets from another helicopter caused him to drop it. The tram managed to regain control and reach its destination, while Kong made his way out of the city.

Video games


King Kong's roars in the 1976 remake and its sequel are famous stock roars which date back to the 1957 Universal Pictures films The Land Unknown and The Deadly Mantis. Noted voice actor Peter Cullen, later famous for voicing characters such as the Predator and Optimus Prime, performed additional vocalizations for Kong, during which he strained his voice so much that he injured his throat and began to cough blood.[6] One of them was reused and modified for Kong in The Mighty Kong and Godzilla vs. Kong.

Edited versions of the stock roars uttered by Kong have been used for many movie monsters since, including the dinosaurs from Carnosaur and even Toto from Gamera the Brave. Outside of movies, these roars were even used for the Kraid boss from the Metroid series, specifically in the game Metroid: Zero Mission.

King Kong's roars in the 1976 film


  • The sound of Kong's fading heartbeat at the end of the 1976 film was later used for the sound of Godzilla's dorsal fins flashing in Godzilla: King of the Monsters.[7]
  • This was the last incarnation of Kong to be portrayed onscreen through suitmation. All subsequent live-action incarnations of the character have been realized through computer-generated imagery assisted by motion capture.
  • Makeup artist Rick Baker, who both designed and portrayed Kong in the 1976 remake, makes a cameo in Peter Jackson's 2005 remake as one of the biplane gunners who brings down Kong.


  1. Kong's height is never directly given, however it is estimated in the 1976 film based on the size of his footprints. Fred Wilson notes that the footprint he fell into "measured 6 feet 4 inches" and asks the captain how tall the creature must be if that was the case. He responds "multiply by about eight I guess." This mathematical calculation gives Kong an estimated height of 50 feet and 8 inches. Furthermore, King Kong: The History of a Movie Icon from Fay Wray to Peter Jackson and American Cinematographer Vol. 58 both give Kong's height as 55 feet. Additionally, the full-body Kong animatronic used in the film stood 40 feet tall.


This is a list of references for King Kong (De Laurentiis). These citations are used to identify the reliable sources on which this article is based. These references appear inside articles in the form of superscript numbers, which look like this: [1]


  • Morton, Ray (2005). King Kong: The History of a Movie Icon from Fay Wray to Peter Jackson. Applause Theater and Cinema Books. ISBN 1557836698.
  • American Cinematographer Vol 58. ASC Holding. 31 July 1977.


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