Ape and Super-Ape

Ape and Super-Ape (Dutch: Bij de beesten af) is a 1972 Dutch documentary film directed by Bert Haanstra. It was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.[1][2]

Ape and Super-Ape
Ape and Super-Ape FilmPoster.jpeg
Film poster
Directed byBert Haanstra
Written byBert Haanstra
Anton Koolhaas
Produced byBert Haanstra
Narrated byAnton Koolhaas
Alexander Scourby
CinematographyAnton van Munster
Edited byBert Haanstra
Music byOtto Ketting
Distributed byMinistry of Culture, Recreation and Social Welfare
Release date
  • 1972 (1972)
Running time
104 minutes

The film is also notable for featuring extensive documentary footage of the life of penguins on Antarctica almost thirty years before another documentary film, March of the Penguins (2005) focused on the same subject. [3]


The film is a study of the differences and similarities between human and animal behaviour. The first part of the movie focuses on the behaviour of various animal species. The second half is about the behaviour of humans, often intercutting with footage of animal behaviour. In the original Dutch version writer Anton Koolhaas, who also wrote the script, provided the voice-over.

Haanstra had already shown interest in human and animal behaviour in his previous films, like Zoo (1961). Ape and Super-Ape analyzed these similarities on a much larger scale. In preparation for this documentary Haanstra and his camera crew traveled across the world for three years. They filmed animals and people in many different continents (Africa and Antarctica get extensive attention), while the well known Dutch ethnologist Gerard Baerendts was consulted for scientific advice.

Haanstra would later make two other documentaries about animals: Nationale parken... noodzaak (1978) and Chimps onder elkaar (1984).


  1. ^ "NY Times: Ape and Super-Ape". Movies & TV Dept. The New York Times. Baseline & All Movie Guide. 2012. Archived from the original on 20 October 2012. Retrieved 14 November 2008.
  2. ^ "The 45th Academy Awards (1973) Nominees and Winners". oscars.org. Retrieved 9 June 2019.
  3. ^ "Bij de beesten af (1972) recensie - Cinemagazine". Retrieved 16 September 2016.

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