Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954) Script

NARRATOR: In the beginning, God created the heaven and the Earth.

And the Earth was without form, and void.


This is the planet Earth, newly born, and cooling rapidly from a temperature of 6,000 degrees to a few hundred in less than five billion years.

The heat rises, meets the atmosphere, the clouds form, and rain pours down upon the hardening surface for countless centuries.

The restless seas rise, find boundaries, are contained.

Now, in their warm depths, the miracle of life begins.

In infinite variety, living things appear, and change, and reach the land, leaving a record of their coming, of their struggle to survive, and of their eventual end.

The record of life is written on the land, where 15 million years later, in the upper reaches of the Amazon, man is still trying to read it.

MAN: Tomas! Tomas! Tomas!


LUIS: What that is, Dr. Maia?

I don't know, Luis.

I have never seen anything like this before.

It's important?

Yes, I think it is, very important.

We will take one more picture. Then we will dig it out.

Luis, I'm going to Morajo Bay, to the institute.

You two are to wait here in the camp.

You be gone long?

Long enough to find out what this is and get help in digging out the rest of the skeleton.

I want a man in camp at all times. Luis, you will be in charge.

I'm sure you scared all the fish away.

At the depths he's working, Doctor, the fish won't hear a thing, believe me.

Ah. There he is. See him?

What's he waiting for?

He's getting used to the change in pressure.

KAY: Ah. Here he comes.


David. David, I have a surprise for you.


Carl Maia!

It isn't you!

What's left of me, Dr. David Reed.

The last I heard of you, you were up in the Amazon someplace digging for old skeletons and things.

And you two were doing research for an aquarium in California.

What are you doing in Brazil?

On, we've been guests at your institute for a month now.

We're looking for specimens of lungfish.

David, you still don't look like an ichthyologist. (ALL CHUCKLING)

A geologist's point of view.

He expected a loveable old professor with a beard.

I didn't expect him to look like he did when he was a student of mine.

Give me a shoulder, Kay.

Are you two married yet?

No. No, David says we're together all the time anyway, might as well save expenses.

Did you ever hear of two living as cheaply as one?

That's what I keep telling him, Carl.

I'm waiting for Williams to give her that raise.

Then she can afford me. Oh!

Come on. Let's go ashore. it's good to see you again, Carl.

Show him what brought you back, Carl.

I found this in a limestone deposit dating back to the Devonian age.

I was hoping you experts on marine life could make some identification.

DAVID: I've never seen anything like this.

KAY: Look at the webbing between the fingers, David.

DAVID: Yeah.

Maybe we'll know more about it after I find the rest of the skeleton.

Boy, I'd sure like to be with you when you do.

So would I.

What about your boss? You think he would be interested?

Williams? (CHUCKLES)

If there's a chance of any publicity, just try and keep him away.

Now, be fair, David. Publicity brings endowments.

And without money, there isn't any research.

That's right, if it weren't for Dr. Williams going on digging up the dough, we wouldn't be down here.

Where is this thing?

At the institute.

DR. MAIA: Here it is, gentlemen.

Exactly as I found it.

It's amazing. it's incredible!

MARK: Could it possibly belong to a Pleistocene man?

Chances are much greater that that hand belonged to an amphibian, Mark, one that spent a great deal of time in the water.

Well, then now do you account for the structure of the fingers, obviously for land use?

What do you think, Dr. Matos?

We can be sure of one thing. Whatever it was, it was very powerful.

You say you have hopes of finding the rest of the fossil?

As soon as I get a suitable expedition together.

Well, why don't we make up the expedition?

We're here now, and after all, it does come under the heading of our work, doesn't it, David?

It certainly does.

More and more, we're learning the meaning and the value of marine research.

Look, look over here.

This lungfish, the bridge between fish and the land animal.

How many thousands of ways nature tried to get life out of the sea and onto the land.

This one failed. He hasn't changed in millions of years.

But here, here we have a clue to an answer.

Someday, spaceships will be traveling from Earth to other planets.

How are human beings going to survive on those planets?

The atmosphere will be different, the pressures will be different.

By studying these and other species, we add to our knowledge of how life evolved, how it adapted itself to this world.

With that knowledge, perhaps we can teach men to adapt themselves to some new world of the future.

Nice speech, David, but there's still a practical side to it.

If I sound brash and more like a banker than a scientist, try to remember that it takes money to run an institute like ours.

A find of any real importance can be of great financial value to us also.

Certainly, your board couldn’t disapprove.

It certainly couldn't.

Dr. Maia, you've got yourself an expedition.

Good, we'll leave for Manaus in the morning.

From there, we'll take a boat up river.







it's so hot.

It'll get hotter.

Couldn't Maia find anything better than this barge?

Well, I guess not many ships want to go up river as far as we're going.

We didn't exactly expect to get the Ile de France either.

You don't like the Rita?

What the doctor meant, Lucas...

I know what the doctor means.

But what for I need a sweet-smelling boat to carry fish on this crazy river?

How do you like the best cabin on the Rita, Miss Lawrence?

I love it!


Well, now we have a lab, such as it is.

Let's hope we have some use for it.

I'll be disappointed if we don't.

Assuming, of course, that Dr. Maia's facts are well-founded.

Dr. Maia's a scientist, not a fortuneteller How can he guarantee anything?

Well, it seems to me, a scientist has need for both vision and confidence.

I didn't mean it as any personal criticism, Doctor.

It's just that I always look forward to success.




And I thought the Mississippi was something.

It's a winding brook compared to the Amazon.

This is exactly as it was 150 million years ago when it was part of the Devonian era.

Sounds like the beginning of the world.

It is.

Even the animals here grow as they did in Devonian forests.

The anteater is a giant with the strength of a bear.

The centipede grows to be a foot long.

The Amazonian rat is as big as a sheep.

That's incredible.

But it's true.

Don't forget our catfish.

They grow to be nine feet long, and killers!

Like everything in this jungle, all killers.

Dr. Maia says we're gonna drop anchor in a couple of hours.

Maybe you'd better get some rest.


Again, Lucas.


We want to make sure my boys hear us at camp.

When we anchor, we'll take a rowboat.




Luis! Tomas!

Strange they'd be gone.

Could they have gone hunting?

I gave strict orders for one man to remain in camp at all times.

Come on!

Stay here, Kay. Wait till we find out what's going on.


What could have happened?

I don't understand it.

There’s only one explanation. The country is full of wild animals.

I think maybe jaguar. Jaguar's claws, they rip like this.

Where's Kay? Kay?


What happened?

There's been trouble.

Let's go back on board, Kay.


A world-shaking find, all right.

(GROANS) Eight days.

All we dig up are enough stones to pave a road.

Had enough, Mark, or do we keep on digging?

I'll tell you when I've had enough.

We've failed, that's all people will understand.

Carl, have you any idea what this tributary empties into?

My boys used to tell me there's a lagoon at the end of it.

What are you getting at?

I was just thinking.

It could be that at some time in the past, part of this bank broke away and fell into the river here.

Over hundreds of years, perhaps over thousands of years, the current would break it up.

If there is a dead end to this tributary, that's where we'll find the fragments.

We might even find the rest of your fossil.

It's a theory.

What's wrong with that?

Even if David's theory is correct, the chances of finding anything are remote.

Science is always taking the remote chance. Why don't we try it?

We might still turn failure into success.

Well, there's just one thing, Mark, going into unexplored territory with a woman.

I'm not afraid, David, and we've come this far.

Yeah, I know, but I keep remembering what happened to Carl's men.

That doesn't sound like the dedicated scientist talking, David.

Dedication doesn't mean risking the lives of others.

I've always found Kay was able to take care of herself.

But we know nothing about this lagoon.

I can tell you something about this place.

My boys call it the "Black Lagoon," a paradise.

(CHUCKLES) Only, they say nobody has ever come back to prove it.


We'll do it.



(GASPS) om Oh, David.

(CHUCKLES) I didn't mean to startle you.

I don't know what made me do that.

That howling out there doesn't help any.

Those are guariba monkeys.

You sorry now that we came?

You don't understand the species very well, Doctor.

Well, give me time. I thought I was doing well, considering that we've only been together for six months.

How much time do you think you'll need?

From where I'm sitting, I'd say a lifetime.

That's the right answer.


We may not even have a lifetime.

In that case...

You mean this thing really works?

Oh, yes.

It's a very positive weapon, the spear gun, Lucas, and easy to use.

All you do is aim it and squeeze.

What are you going to shoot at?

Does it make any difference?


DAVID: Can you take it any slower?

Ease her off. Little bit, not too much.

Give me that boat hook.

I think we can just make it on this side.

It's tight over here.

It's impossible.

But I, Lucas, will do it.

DAVID: The Black Lagoon.

KAY: The beautiful lagoon.

DR. THOMPSON: Another world.

Take her out a little farther, then we'll get the net over the side.

You expect to catch a fish?

We might as well find out what species are here.

We're not interested in what species of fish are here.

We're after the rest of that fossil, remember?

I need some rocks from the bottom of the lagoon for a test.

But we just got here. Why waste time?

If any parts of the wall that contained the fossil were ever deposited in here, the rock test should prove it. Yeah.

I'll get the Aqua-Lungs.

You be careful, David. We don't know what's down there.

I hope you're afraid for me too, Kay.

Of course, Mark.


A little faster. Come on! Faster!

All right, let her down. All the way.

Come on, down, down. All the way.

All right. Hold it!

Here we go.

We got the net down, David.


This is crazy kind of fishing. Who eats rocks?

I do, in a manner of speaking.

I crush them and they tell me things.

Now, you be careful.

What these rocks tell you, anyway?

How old they are. It's called the uranium-lead test.

What do you wanna know that for?

So we can match them against the sample in which the fossil was found.

KAY: Hey, they're up!

How long they have to wait there?

It depends on how far down they went.

Well, how was it down there, huh?

Oh, fine.

Come on, I'll help you off with this equipment.

MARK: Good.

DAVID: Carl, I got your samples.


Let me have them.

Here they are.

Thank you, David.

And this is something for you.

Oh! Well, thank you. They're very pretty.

Let's test them right away.

DR. MAIA: Will you help me, Doctor? DR. THOMPSON: Be glad to.

DR. MAIA Thank you.

Come on, David. You can play house later.


David. About Mark.

Well, what about him?

Try to understand.

I've been trying.

Somebody ought to tell him his ambition is showing.

It won't do any good, I know.

Long before you came to work with us, I tried.

But there's this to say for him, he's produced some important findings.

He's also taken credit for some important findings.

Well, coming below?

No. No, I'll wait up here. Hey, what was it like down there?

Like another world.

I'd like to see it.

Crazy kind of fishing, for rocks! (CHUCKLING)

Miss Lawrence!

Miss Lawrence!

You're too far out, Miss Lawrence!

Hey,Zee! Go start the motor!

Chico! Pull up the anchor!

DAVID: Kay, what are you doing out there? Come on back!

LUCAS: You take it easy. We get you!

Drop the anchor.

KAY: Thanks, Lucas.

Kay, that wasn't a very smart thing to do.

KAY; But wonderful! (BOAT BREAKING)

What was that?

Something's in the net.

Pull up your net!

Come on. Hurry up! Take it away!

DAVID: Pull it up!

Pull it up!




Is it fouled against the side?

DAVID: Pull it up!

The boom's cracking!

Slack off your winch!

Slack off!

He can't hear you!

Hey, what kind of fish do this?

Who says it was a fish?

The net could've hooked on to some underwater rock.

Wait a minute.

It was no rock that left this in the net.

It's amazing!

I just finished the rock analysis.

And you were right, David.

Some of the limestone deposit where I found the fossil is on the bottom of this lagoon.

Lucas, put that over the side for me, will you?

Whatever the species might be, if you let it alone, it won't bother you.

Maybe. But if you're wrong, this harpoon will correct any mistakes.

Mark, we're out for photographs for study, not trophies.

This thing alive and in its natural habitat, it's valuable to us.

Why settle for a photo when we can get the real thing?

You don't sound like a scientist.

You sound like some big-game hunter out for the kill.

We may not be back home, David, but you're still working for me.


You didn't wait long enough before coming up.

Why'd you shoot? You weren't attacked!

You sound as though I put the harpoon through you.

What makes you think we're supposed to play tag with the thing, whatever it is?

I tell you, we can learn more from it if it's alive!

Please, what is it that you found?

I don't know what you'd call it.

It sounds incredible, but it appeared to be human.

I tell you, if it's what I think I saw, it's the greatest find yet.

Nothing compares to it.

I've got the proof here in my lens.

LUCAS: Many years ago, I hear this legend on the river.

A very old native tell me of a man who live underwater, but she was crazy.

"Crazy Goole," everybody called her. (LAUGHING)

The unknown always seems unbelievable, Lucas.

One accepts these things as legend and lets it go at that, but to actually believe that there exists something like a human being that can live underwater...

This is no legend, as you'll soon see for yourself.

What about the kamongo?

Science hadn't heard about it until a few years ago.

The kamongo lived way back in the Devonian age.

Interesting that the fossil I found was out of the same period.

The kamongo was a fish that breathed air.

What does that prove? KAY: Nothing.

Except that the kamongo fish, which has lungs, exists today, right here in the Amazon.

It hasn't changed in all these millions of years.

That doesn't prove the possibility of a gillman.

If the evolution of that species could reach a dead end way back then and still survive, why couldn't another?

DR. THOMPSON: Where is he?

I was sure I had him in my finder.

For a merman, he takes a fine picture.

This wasn't imagination, Doctor.

I'm sorry, David.

What proof do we have if we never find it again?

If you hadn't stopped me, we could have taken it!

Dead or alive, what's the difference?



What happened?

ZEE: Chico!


What happened?


Chico is gone.

My brother was dragged down into the water by a demon!

Come on, everybody, look around, quick!


Demon, eh?

It's no more far-fetched than your gillman.

There are many strange legends in the Amazon.

Even I, Lucas, have heard the legend of a man-fish.

DR. MAIA: Over here! Quickly!


All right, Lucas, start your pumps.

Now all we have to do is catch him.

Don't waste your time. You'll never take it alive.

I want to try, Mark.

All right, David, we can always do it my way.

If we could just be sure of its reaction.

Do you suppose it remembers Mark's attack and seeks revenge?

I'll welcome it.

You'll get your wish, all right.

I've got a hunch this creature remembers the past and more.

I don't want him creeping up on us while we're sleeping.

I know a way to bring him up now.


It's a drug which natives make from roots for catching fish in still waters.

Sometimes I catch fish that way. I show you. Look.


One taste of the poison water, and poof!

The paralyzed fish floats up to the top with a big hangover.

Come on! Let's try it.

Still no sign.

Nothing but the little ones so far.

Could be he's dead from the wound.

Then again, maybe the rotenone isn't going deep enough.

Maybe we should fix the rotenone to sink deeper down.

Yeah. Anything is worth a try.


What was that?

I don't know.

Come on. Come on.

You talking to me, Mark, or something out there?

Both, David.

They won't believe it back home, none of them.

I wouldn't have believed it myself.

Sitting out here, waiting for some monster to appear.

That's why we've got to take him.

Why won't they believe, Mark?

Because we deal with known quantities, with knowledge we've accumulated up to now.

We've just begun to learn about the water and its secrets, just as we've only touched on outer space.

We don't entirely rule out the possibility that there might be some form of life on another planet.

Then why not some entirely different form of life in a world we already know is inhabited by millions of living creatures?

We must have the proof!



In the water! The lantern frightened him off.


There he is!


it's foolish to go after him.

But he's drugged.

No, I'd wait anyway.

If he has gills, he may suffocate How long does the effect last?

An hour, maybe two.

But for that thing, who can tell?

Carl, follow me in a rowboat. Bring a net.

Wait, I'm going along with you.

I keep you covered.

That's where he went under.

I'm going to take a look. Wait here.

Take it easy! He went through here, come on.








(SOBBING) oh, David! David!

We got him! We got him!

Don't kill him! What happened?

Give me the net.


How is he?

He's dead.

DAVID: That's the last one.

All right.

Will he live?

I don't know.

It depends on whether he can survive both the rotenone and being out of the water so long.

You sound as if you feel sorry for him.

Why? He could have killed you just as easily.

But he didn't.

It doesn't make any difference now.

The point is, he won't do any more killing.

Any time you're ready, Lucas, we can start back.

Mark, we're not finished here yet.

We've got to make a study of that grotto, we've got to collect photographs, data...

I've got all the proof I need. Get going, Lucas.

Mark, we're not going anywhere until we've finished our work.

All right, David, if it will make you feel any better.

Oh, Doctor, would you mind staying behind and keep an eye on our prize?

KAY: Don't be long, David.

You better get some rest.



I thought I'd come up and get some air.

What do you suppose is taking them so long?

David's very thorough.

But shouldn't you be resting, Kay?

I couldn't sleep. (ANIMALS HOWLING)

Listen to the sounds.

DR. THOMPSON: Hunting calls, mostly. Animals out for the kill.

Some of them are cries of fear, like people who whistle in the dark.

I'm not exactly blind.

You're worried about what's happened between Mark and David.

But once you admit the simple fact that you're in love, which you have, then it becomes a good idea to be the scientist about it.

It's not as easy as that.

Why not?

If it weren't for Mark Williams, I wouldn't have my work or even a job.

It's true, he helped you through your training and gave you a job.

But he needed you just as much as you needed him.

You're oversimplifying.

You've more than repaid him many times over.

Why, a good part of his present position at the institute is due to your valuable research.

And another thing... (CREATURE SNARLING)

Get away, Kay!


Go on, get back! Go on!



Dr. Thompson! (GROANING)

How is he?

If infection doesn't set in, he may pull through.

The fool! It wouldn't have happened if he hadn't been careless.

There's no one to blame.

Four men dead so far.

If he dies, what a useless waste of experience and ability.

Nobody meant it to happen, David.

Mark, I'm for getting out of this lagoon just as fast as we can.

Without taking what we came for?

We didn't come here to fight with monsters. We're not equipped for it.

We came here to find fossils.

Later, later, we can come back with a properly equipped expedition.

Be reasonable.


What else could I expect?

But you, Carl, it means as much to you.

You're driving yourself too hard, and the rest of us along with you.

We're staying until we get him.

Or until somebody else gets killed.

No, we're not.

Lucas, we're getting out of here just as fast as we can.


I'll make the decisions around here.

But you are wrong, Mr. Williams.

On the water, the captain makes the decisions.

We will do as you say.

You'll listen to me.

You wish to say something, mister, huh?

Dr. Maia, will you please to pull up the anchor?

I will start the engine.

DR. MAIA Look Out!

There's something here. Look out!

Look out!

Hold back. Hold back. There's something here.

Hold back! Hold back!

LUCAS: I tell you, nothing was there when we came in.

It was put there to keep us from getting out.

By mm.

I check below for damage.

I go aft and keep watch.

You better stay with Thompson.

It's our last chance, David, to get the proof.

Look, you can see for yourself, it's still here.

We're trapped and fighting for our lives, and you're worried about whether people will believe us.

Ls all right down below. (SPLASHING)


Go in the cabin and lock the door.

No, no. Stay here with us. You're safer.

Lucas. Lucas, start your winch. Eh?

Go on, go on. Start your winch.

Up an inch!

Hold it!

All right, give me some slack.


A little more.


Take it away! (WINCH WHIRRING)

Easy. A little more. Whoa.

Take it away!

Take it up.

More, more.

Hold it.

All right, take it away!


UP, up!


She must have slipped.

We'll just have to try it again.

How, David?

I'll have to use the Aqua-Lung.

I'm going to help him.


I'm going in with you.

Mark, all we're interested in right now is getting the entrance to this lagoon cleared.

I'll be the bait for him.

Oh, Mark, get out of my way.

Let it come to me, David.

It'll give you a chance to get at him. You're crazy.

Crazy to want to bring back the biggest find anyone has ever made?

You don't know what this can mean, David, to all of us.

Mark, you're not going with me!

I am.



Thank you, Carl. Lucas, stand by the winch.

Carl, stand by that cable.






It's the only way. We've got to clear this inlet.

Hey, that fellow down there, you think maybe he's a mosquito you can shoo away?

We've got to take that chance. Oh, sure!

Whats an expedition without two martyrs, at least?

Kay, Kay, I'm doing the only thing we can do.

If we all just sit here, we'll all end up as Mark did.

Wait a minute! Something you just said, about his not being a mosquito.

Maybe we won't have to fight him on his own terms after all.

How much rotenone have we got left?

Not enough.

Enough to use in a spray gun?


Oh! You mean, to kill like a mosquito!

It worked for us before.

And it took plenty of time.

All we want is to make him groggy.

Keep him away long enough so I can get a cable around that tree.

What do we use for the spray gun?

One of the air bottles.

A solution of rotenone released under pressure, that ought to do the trick.

Some trick! Come on!

Lucas, you stand guard.






Can you hurry it up?

I shoot him, but I miss!

He'll be back. Hurry.

Give me a hand!

KAY: David!


Did you see him?

He's there, all right.

Give me a hand with this equipment.

I'll help you.

I got the cable around the log.


Get ready with that winch.

All right.

I'll get her started.


Give it a little slack.

Ready to take her back. Ready.

Uncleat that line for me, will you?

All right, take her back.

Take it back.

Hard astern. She's coming.

Back. Back.

She's coming. Back.

Keep going. Hard astern.


Whoa! We're clear.

Stand by to pull her up with the winch.

Pull her in.


DAVID: That's it.


I'll go down and unfasten it.

Give me slack! (G ROWLING)


More slack.

Slack. That's enough.

LUCAS: That's good. Now you're getting it.

Just slip it back through the ring.

Hurry, David!

DAVID: I've almost got it.


He got her.

No, don't shoot, don't shoot! You might hit Kay.

Give me a hand.

Lucas, get to the beach entrance.







Kay. Kay, darling.

Oh, David. David!


Get back, Kay. Get back!





DAVID: No, no more. Let him go.