Sheena (1984) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski) and Tuna

I think the tag line will tell you quite a bit about the quality of the project. "Sheena. Part animal. Part legend. All woman." Sheena is a very beautiful lady Tarzan raised by a tribal shaman and jungle animals.

A sportscaster comes to an African country to write about the king's brother, who is also a top football star. The football-playing prince engineers the assassination of his brother, followed by his own ascension to the throne. When he becomes king, he decides to invade the neighboring tribal territory of Sheena's people. Ooh! Bad call. Sheena, of course, summons all the animals to stampede, calls all the birds to make irritating noises, and the usual Tarzanistic clichés.

The film features some great shots of the countryside in Kenya, and lots of wild animals in various degrees of domesticity, because Sheena has the usual obligatory special rapport with animals. The photography is first-rate, so the film makes for an attractive travelogue, and a good nature film. Without the beautiful scenery, this would an be unwatchable throwback to the juvenile, mass-produced jungle pictures of the 1940's and 1950's. The actors are so amateurish they make Johnny Weissmuller seem to be Edmund Kean, and Sheena's dialogue includes stuff like, "The mouth is to eating. Why do you press yours upon mine?" 

The simplistic plot seems to target the kiddie audience, and the film is rated PG, but it includes several beautiful, if innocent, nude scenes. Only in the 80s. Ah, the 80s, how I miss thee!

By the way, here's a tip for you colonialist youngsters - never piss off a white person raised by African jungle animals. I have yet to see this strategy pay off.


DVD info from Amazon

  • Widescreen letterboxed, 2.35:1, and a full screen version.

  • no meaningful features


  • Sheena (Tanya Roberts) does a long distance nude scene, and a luscious bathing scene in great light close to the camera in perfect focus. It's the only thing really worth watching in the entire film.
  • The king's treacherous girlfriend is naked during a massage (buns, brief breasts)
  • Three native dancers are topless in some local tribal ritual.

Tuna's notes

Sheena is based on a comic book of the same name. Think "female Tarzan."

Sheena (Tanya Roberts) is orphaned when her parents are killed trying to rip off the ever-popular "sacred healing dirt" from an African tribe. The female shaman from the tribe can spot a fulfilled prophesy and a future kick-ass honky jungle queen when she sees one, so he raises Sheena, and teaches her. It turns out that he himself was raised by Dr. Doolittle, and can talk to the animals, so Sheena learns to do that, and to ride a horse painted as a zebra, to shoot a bow and arrow from a full gallop, and to take plenty of naked showers in the local waterfall. All of this prepares her for the big battle. Well, in an African-Zen kind of way.

The king's brother is a famous place kicker in the USA, and he decides to off his brother so he can get rich by plundering the world-famous sacred healing dirt. His school buddy, a sports photographer, would rather have sex with Sheena than stay loyal to an arrogant place kicker, so he comes to Sheena's aid.

Naked animals, naked women, beautiful scenery, nearly no plot, and no acting.

The Critics Vote

  • Maltin 0/4

  • Nominated for five razzies, including worst picture

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: IMDb voters score it 3.9 
IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, this film is a D. Film looks good, Roberts looks incredible. Script and acting are roughly at the level of a high school play. (Tuna says: Looks great, but is nothing but eye candy. D.)

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