The Ghost and the Darkness

The Ghost and the Darkness is a 1996 American historical adventure film directed by Stephen Hopkins and starring Val Kilmer and Michael Douglas. The screenplay, written by William Goldman, is a fictionalized account of the Tsavo man-eaters, a pair of male lions that terrorized workers in and around Tsavo, Kenya during the building of the Uganda-Mombasa Railway in East Africa in 1898.


In 1898, Robert Beaumont, the primary financier of a railway project in Tsavo, Kenya, seeks out the expertise of Lt. Colonel John Henry Patterson, an Anglo-Irish British military engineer, to get the project on schedule. Patterson travels from England to Tsavo, promising his wife, Helena, that he will complete the bridge and be back in London for the birth of their child. Shortly after his arrival, he meets British supervisor Angus Starling, Kenyan foreman Samuel, and Doctor David Hawthorne. Hawthorne informs Patterson of a recent lion attack that has affected the undertaking.