The RA Expeditions (1974)

Genres - Culture & Society, Travel  |   Sub-Genres - Adventure Travel, World History, Biography  |   Run Time - 93 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - G
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Synopsis by Clarke Fountain

At one time, the notion that ancient Egyptians could have sailed either the Atlantic or the Pacific Ocean and landed in the Americas was received with the kind of incredulity and derision that Charles Darwin faced after publishing On the Origin of Species. Thor Heyerdahl's adventures in Kon--Tiki and in The Ra Expeditions proved that it could be done, and now the idea is not considered unusual at all. Curiously, Heyerdahl's reputation has not grown more respectable in the interval. Nonetheless, this documentary of his journey in a crude papyrus raft from Morocco to the Caribbean is entertaining and enlightening stuff. As the film (narrated by Heyerdahl and Lee Brown) shows, there was considerable doubt that Heyerdahl and his crew of eight would survive, much less make it to their destinations. Indeed, their first effort foundered after several hundred miles, and the second, a year later, nearly failed in ferocious ocean storms.