Quest for Fire takes place some 80,000 years in the past. A primitive homo sapiens tribe huddles around a natural fire source for comfort and survival. When that source is extinguished, tribesmen Naoh (Everett McGill), Amoukar (Ron Perlman), and Gaw (Nameer El-Kadi) are sent out on a "quest for fire." After several days of wandering through the prehistoric landscape (the film was shot in Canada, Scotland, Iceland, and Kenya), the three come across a cannibal tribe that knows how to produce fire; they save a young girl, Ika (Rae Dawn Chong), from the clutches of the cannibals, with the hope that she'll reveal the secret. Based on a novel by J. H. Rosny Sr., Quest for Fire convincingly creates the world of the past and believably molds its characters within the context of their surroundings and their limited knowledge of the world. The credibility factor is aided by technical consultants Desmond Morris and Anthony Burgess, who respectively developed a set of gestures and a simplistic language for the Ulams and Ivakas. An Oscar went to John Hay and Penny Rose's costume design.
by Hal Erickson synopsis