Kon-Tiki is the Academy Award-winning film of an astonishing adventure, a journey spanning 4,300 nautical miles across the Pacific Ocean by raft.  Intrigued by Polynesian folklore, Norwegian biologist Thor Heyerdahl suspected that the South Sea Islands had been settled by an ancient race from thousands of miles to the east, led by the mythical hero Kon-Tiki. Heyerdahl knew that the trade winds and ocean currents off the South-American coastline bear in the direction of Polynesia.



MSRP: $19.95
CATALOG #: 20327
UPC #: 6-4603203279-6
ISBN #: 1-56839-227-3
DIRECTOR: Thor Heyerdahl

In addition to being available as a DVD for home-use only, this title is available to colleges, universities, non-profit institutions and community groups with both Public Performance Rights (PPR) and Digital Site Licenses (DSL). For PPR and DSL ordering information, click here.


Ridiculed by the scientific establishment, who had concluded that a voyage by aboriginal balsa raft from Peru to Polynesia was impossible, he decided to prove the possibility of his theory by duplicating the legendary voyage. The ensuing expedition was hailed as one of the most fantastic feats of daring and courage of its time.

On April 28, 1947, Heyerdahl and his five crew members embarked from Peru on their daring voyage to the Marquesas Islands, on a balsa wood raft which was built according to the traditions of South America’s pre-Columbian Indians. After 101 suspenseful days on the open sea, alone amid raging storms, whales, and countless sharks, they landed on the Polynesian island of Raroia.

The expedition attracted worldwide interest. Heyerdahl’s book Kon-Tiki was translated into 67 languages, and sold more than 20 million copies. Heyerdahl had been presented with a film camera before the journey began, and both the building of the raft and the voyage across the Pacific were filmed in detail. In this fascinating black and white film was awarded an Oscar for the most outstanding documentary of 1951. The raft is now exhibited at the Kon-Tiki Museum in Oslo, Norway, where it is seen by hundreds of thousands of tourists every year.

  • Commemorative 1997 Edition celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Voyage
  • Winner of the Academy Award for Best Documentary, 1951

Extra Features »

  • Thor Heyerdahl:Explorer & Scientist
  • Photo Gallery
  • Expedition Map
  • Rare Color Footage

Awards »

  • Winner of the 1952 Academy Award for Best Documentary


“…an adventure that stirs the blood and the soul and of which this enterprising picture is a gripping and memorable account.” -Bosley Crowther, The New York TImes (Read the full review here)

A worthy program about a modern Columbus (minus the empire-building avarice and cruelty) whose hard work, vision, humor and environmental awareness has helped make the world a more interesting place to live. Highly recommended” - Video Librarian

“No one can deny that Kon Tiki is a fascinating film record of a marvelous adventure. Filmed in black and white with a handheld camera on a pitching raft, it remains a classic and should be in any video collection.” -Library Journal

“For what is essentially a sixty-year-old, black and white, amateur home-movie, Kon-Tiki holds up extremely well. The narration provided by the late Ben Grauer is wryly informative. The production values are primitive by today’s standards, but the subject matter is fascinating. Between the comparatively tame details of life aboard the raft and the more dramatic encounters with whales, sharks, and gales, there is plenty to engross. It is easy to see why Kon-Tiki won the Academy Award for Best Documentary. Regardless of Heyerdahl’s scientific legitimacy or lack thereof, Kon-Tiki is still a remarkable film. It would be suitable for collections supporting history, anthropology, and South American studies and is highly recommended.” - Educational Media Reviews Online

“Winner of the 1952 Academy Award for Best Documentary. Kon-Tiki is the famous 101 day voyage by Thor Heyerdahl in a balsa raft from Peru to Polynesia… Kon-Tiki is an exciting, engaging, timeless and highly recommended addition to any personal, school or community library video collection. Recommended.” -The Children’s Bookwatch