The Most Dangerous Game



This story has been adapted to film numerous times. The most significant of these adaptations — and the only film to use the original characters — was RKO Pictures' film released in 1932, The Most Dangerous Game. Joel McCrea stars as Rainsford; Leslie Banks portrays Zaroff. The adaptation by James Ashmore Creelman adds two other principal characters, brother-and-sister pair Eve Trowbridge (Fay Wray) and Martin Trowbridge (Robert Armstrong), who are castaways from a shipwreck. The Most Dangerous Game was co-directed by Ernest B. Schoedsack and Irving Pichel; also with a score by Max Steiner, the film was a favorite project of producer Merian C. Cooper. The production shared several sets with King Kong (1933), a simultaneous RKO project that also involved Schoedsack, Cooper, Wray, Armstrong, Creelman, and Steiner. The Most Dangerous Game was a modest success.[1][2]:51

RKO produced a remake titled A Game of Death (1945), directed by Robert Wise, from a screenplay Norman Houston wrote. This film stars John Loder and Audrey Long, with Edgar Barrier as the mad hunter.[2]:206 In order to keep with events of that time, A Game of Death changed Zaroff into "Erich Kreiger", a Nazi, and was set in the aftermath of the Second World War.

In 1956, United Artists released another film adaptation, Run for the Sun, starring Richard Widmark, Trevor Howard and Jane Greer.[2]:206

In 1961, the film Bloodlust! was released, directed by Ralph Brooke and starring Wilton Graff as the Zaroff-type character, and Robert Reed as the leader of a band of youths who become stranded on the island.

John Woo's first Hollywood directorial effort, the Jean-Claude Van Damme thriller Hard Target (1993), was loosely based on the same story. The locale was shifted to 1990s New Orleans, with homeless Vietnam war veterans voluntarily serving (in return for potential payment from a shady businessman) as human prey.

In Surviving the Game (1994), a homeless man is hired as a survival guide for a group of wealthy businessmen on a hunting trip in the mountains. He is unaware that they are killers who hunt humans for sport, and that he is their new prey. Directed by Ernest R. Dickerson, the film stars Rutger Hauer, Ice-T, and Charles S. Dutton.

In The Eliminator (2004), seven captured people are hunted at night for sport on an island as a betting game for the wealthy.

In Beyond the Reach (2014), A high-rolling corporate shark and his impoverished young guide play the most dangerous game during a hunting trip in the Mojave Desert.


In the 1940s The Most Dangerous Game was presented three times as a radio play. On September 23, 1943, it aired on the CBS series, Suspense, and starred Orson Welles as Zaroff and Keenan Wynn as Rainsford. On February 1, 1945, it was presented with J. Carrol Naish as Zaroff and Joseph Cotten as Rainsford.[3] Both Suspense productions presented an adaptation by Jack Finke in which Rainsford narrates the story in retrospect as he waits in Zaroff's bedroom for the final confrontation

On October 1, 1947, another adaption was used for the CBS radio program, Escape.[4]


The story has also been the basis for plots in several television series: Supernatural’s episode "The Benders", Xena: Warrior Princess’ episode "Dangerous Prey", Criminal Minds’ episode "Open Season", and Archer’s episode "El Contador".

In Get Smart’s episode, "Island of the Darned", Agents 86 and 99 are trapped on an island with a mad KAOS killer, Hans Hunter.

In the pilot episode of Fantasy Island, a big game hunter comes to the island to be hunted by a man, an interesting twist on the usual version that the hunted participates against their will.

In Gilligan's Island’s episode "The Hunter", big-game hunter Jonathan Kincaid (Rory Calhoun) turned his sights on Gilligan when he realized there were no wild animals on the island.

In the series finale of "Bonanza", entitled "The Hunter", A deranged killer, Corporal Bill Tanner (Tom Skerritt) who was formerly a tracker for the U.S. Army hunts Little Joe (Michael Landon).

The Canadian show Relic Hunter had an episode called "Run Sydney Run" that was very closely based off The Most Dangerous Game, with Peter Stebbings acting as General Tsarlov.

The Simpsons’ Halloween special "Treehouse of Horror XVI" contained a segment "Survival of the Fattest" which parodied the story closely. In this segment Mr. Burns invited much of the cast to his hunting lodge on a private island only to reveal that he intended to hunt them all for sport.

In an episode of the American animated sitcom American Dad, the Smith family and a young woman become stranded on an island after Francine jumps off a cruise. Stan goes up to the mansion on this island to ask for help, but the inhabitants say that they are going to hunt the family. The Smiths and the young woman become trapped in a cave, where the young woman dies and they eat her to survive. The hunters then break into the cave and shoot the family. Stan sits up, realizing it's paint. At a party later, the hunters reveal that nobody really dies on The Most Dangerous Game island.

The Incredible Hulk episode, "The Snare," has David Banner trapped on a private island owned by an insane hunter who not only craves the challenge of hunting humans, but considers the discovery of Banner's powerful Hulk form as a sign of a particularly appealing quarry.

The Outer Limits episode "The Hunt", is a story in which the hunting of animals has been banned by environmentalists, and black market hunting of obsolete androids takes its place.

In Season 2, Episode 21, "Open Season," of Criminal Minds, two brothers capture people stranded in a remote region of the wilderness outside Challis, Idaho, release them into the hills, and hunt them with crossbows for sport, referring the men as "bucks" and the women as "does."

In Season 13 Episode 15, "Hunting Ground" of Law and Order: SVU, a serial rapist and killer lures female escorts after their date to a remote area where he sets them free while he hunts them down to recapture them again.

Other adaptations

The story has also served as an inspiration for books and films like Battle Royale, Predator, and The Hunger Games.

In an example from television, the 15th episode of Season 1 of Supernatural included a family who would trap humans, let them loose, then hunt them, taking pictures with the bodies afterward. This is largely reminiscent of The Most Dangerous Game.

In the anime series Psycho-Pass, episodes 10 and 11 feature a wealthy cyborg tycoon who dons gentleman's hunting gear and hunts people in an underground maze with his robotic hounds.

The John Leguizamo comedy, The Pest, was loosely based on this story.

In the video game Hitman: Contracts, the mission "Beldingford Manor" takes inspiration from this story.

In the video game "Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc", The character Razoff takes inspiration from General Zaroff, even sharing similar names.

In Clive Cusslers Book "DRAGON" Dirk Pitt is chased by "Kamatori" On Soseki Island

This content is from Wikipedia. GradeSaver is providing this content as a courtesy until we can offer a professionally written study guide by one of our staff editors. We do not consider this content professional or citable. Please use your discretion when relying on it.