King Kong is a Pre-Code 1933 fantasy monster adventure film co-directed by Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack, and written by Ruth Rose and James Ashmore Creelman after a story by Cooper and Edgar Wallace. The film tells of a gigantic island-dwelling apeman creature called Kong who dies in an attempt to possess a beautiful young woman. The film stars Bruce Cabot, Fay Wray and Robert Armstrong and opened in New York City on March 2, 1933 to good reviews. Kong is distinguished for its stop-motion animation by Willis O'Brien and its musical score by Max Steiner. The film has been released to video, DVD, and Blu-ray, and has been computer colorized. In 1991, the film was deemed "culturally, historically and aesthetically significant" by the Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry. It has been remade on two occasions; one in 1976 and the other in 2005.
- King Kong the Gorilla-like Beast (Gigantopithecus)
- Stegosaurus (the ship's crew killed it),
- Brontosaurus (mauls four crew members to death),
- Megalania (seen climbing up to attack Jack Driscoll),
- Tyrannosaurus Rex (it attacks Ann but Kong breaks its jaws),
- Teratornis (seen pecking at the carcass of the tyrannosaurus),
- Tanystropheus (tries to strangle Kong, who slams it to the ground and kills it),
- Pteranodon (the first major flying creature on the island that menaces Ann, but it is killed by Kong).
Before King Kong hit the silver screen, a long tradition of jungle films existed, and, whether drama or documentary, such films generally adhered to a narrative pattern that followed an explorer or scientist into the jungle to test a theory only to discover some monstrous aberration in the undergrowth. In such films, scientific knowledge could be turned topsy-turvy at any time and it was this that provided the genre with its vitality, appeal, and endurance.
At the turn of the 19th to 20th century, the Lumière Brothers sent film documentarians to places westerners had never seen, and Georges Méliès utilized trick photography in film fantasies that prefigured that in King Kong. Jungle films were launched in the United States in 1913 with Beasts in the Jungle, a film that mixed live actors with lions, a tiger, and other animals. The film's popularity spawned similar pics including a few about "ape men" and gorillas. In 1918, Elmo Lincoln starred in Tarzan of the Apes, and, in 1925, The Lost World made movie history with special effects by Willis O'Brien and a crew that later would work on King Kong.