Kon-Tiki
1951
This Oscar-winning film chronicles the voyage of Norwegian biologist Thor Heyerdahl, who, in 1947, embarked on a daring passage from Peru to Tahiti to prove his theory that South Americans aboard balsa-wood rafts settled the South Seas Islands. Shot en route with 16-millimeter camera equipment, the documentary follows the Kon-Tiki, a raft made with no nails or rivets, on the journey the scientific community considered foolish and suicidal.

Scott Hardie: “It ruled.”

This brief documentary is too short to provide much context, but it captures an amazing story with you-are-there authenticity. When Thor Heyerdahl's belief that South Americans settled the South Pacific was dismissed by historians as impossible because their primitive rafts wouldn't survive the voyage, he set out to make dramatic proof that it was possible: He built a raft using only the tools of the era, with no modern equipment aboard except a radio and movie camera, and set sail. This film was assembled from the footage and makes for a great adventure tale, a story of modern intellectuals versus the same elements that have battled mankind since ancient times. It's a special story and worth seeing.

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