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Tarzan’s Three Challenges (1963)

Tarzan’s Three Challenges (1963)

Released: 1963
Genre: action, adventure, Movie
Director: Robert Day
Starring: Tsu Kobayashi, Woody Strode, Jock Mahoney,,
Run time: 92 min
IMDb: 5.8/10
Country: UK


The spiritual leader of an oriental country is dying. The leader’s evil brother Khan is plotting to prevent Kashi, the youthful heir, from assuming his rightful position. Tarzan is summoned to protect Kashi and, in doing so, he must face Khan in three tests of strength. The final test is a sword fight which takes place on a wide-mesh net stretched over cauldrons of boiling oil. Jeweled elephants lead grand processions, and a thousand girls perform the “dance of the candles”. A baby elephant named Hungry replaces Cheetah in the humor role.
Written by
Ed Stephan <>
User Reviews: Although this film was shot in Thailand, the small inaccessible kingdom where the action of the film takes place looks more like a Tibetian type culture. Jock Mahoney plays Tarzan for the second and last time in Tarzan’s Three Challenges. And the title is a misnomer, the heir to the kingdom has three challenges, Tarzan is his champion in the fourth which is a kind of medieval wager of battle.

Woody Strode is both the old and dying king and his younger ambitious brother. A young child played by Ricky Der is named the heir probably in a process similar to how the Dalai Lama is chosen. The brother who is a warrior and has trained his son to be the same thinks the time has come for a warrior to lead in this modern age and the hell with traditions of pacifism.

Tarzan comes to this kingdom to aid young Master Der on his journey to claim his rights. And of course Strode the warrior tries to stop him as the king Strode dies. When Der completes his three challenges Strode does the wager of battle thing that involves barrels of hot oil. Quite a good challenge as Tarzan is the only guy around who would have chance against Strode.

Actually Strode the warrior does make some rather valid points about moving into the 20th century. Even the Dalai Lama in exile has come to grips with modernity in some ways.

Tarzan’s Three Challenges holds up very well for today’s audiences, these films shot on location are so much better than those shot on the back lot of RKO back in the day.