Does King Kong love the girl?

King Kong is one of the most iconic movie monsters of all time. Ever since his first appearance in the 1933 film of the same name, audiences have been fascinated by the giant ape and his relationship with the human female lead. But does Kong actually love the girl, or is something else driving his attachment to her?

Who is King Kong?

In the original 1933 film, King Kong is presented as a giant prehistoric ape residing on Skull Island. He is worshipped as a god by the island’s natives, who regularly sacrifice local women to him. When a film crew travels to the island in search of exotic locations for their movie, Kong becomes enamored with the lead actress Ann Darrow and abducts her.

Kong battles the crew and takes Ann deep into the island, where he fends off dangerous creatures as he protects her. He is ultimately captured and brought back to New York City to be exhibited as the “Eighth Wonder of the World.” Kong breaks free and rampages through the city searching for Ann, climbing to the top of the Empire State Building before being shot down by airplanes.

Evidence of Love?

So does Kong’s attachment to Ann Darrow signify that he truly loves her? There are a few pieces of evidence that suggest so:

  • He is immediately fixated on Ann and only her, singling her out from the rest of the crew.
  • He risks his life defending her against dinosaurs and other threats on Skull Island.
  • He climbs the tallest building searching for her in New York.
  • He appears to sacrifice himself to try and protect her.

These acts could be interpreted as the behavior of a smitten Kong willing to go to great lengths for the woman he loves. He is protective, jealous, and single-mindedly devoted to her.

An Animalistic Attraction

However, there are also signs that Kong’s fixation on Ann may be more primal animal attraction than romantic love:

  • Immediately after encountering Ann, he sniffs her and removes some of her clothing.
  • On the island, he inspects her body while sniffing her.
  • He reacts possessively when crew members try to rescue her.
  • In New York, he seemingly grabs at random women resembling Ann.

These behaviors suggest a dominant alpha male animal demonstrating territoriality over a potential mate. Kong’s interest appears to be baser physical attraction rather than emotional intimacy.

A Beauty and the Beast Dynamic

In many ways, the relationship between Kong and Ann mirrors the “Beauty and the Beast” archetype. A monstrous beast becomes infatuated with and abducts a beautiful maiden. He contains both gentle, protective impulses toward the woman as well as more sinister animalistic desires. She is frightened yet intrigued by him.

This dynamic plays out between Kong and Ann. He asserts his dominance as a captor yet also demonstrates moments of empathy and connection. She is terrified initially but comes to appreciate his better qualities. Kong never evolves past his primal nature, however, and the relationship is doomed to tragedy.

A Tragic Hero

While Kong may have loving impulses toward Ann, his destructive animal instincts overwhelm the ability to have an emotional relationship. His obsession with Ann leads to capture, exploitation, and ultimately his death atop the Empire State Building. Kong fails to escape his tragic fate.

Yet the mighty Kong also earns pathos in his hopeless infatuation with a human beauty. Audiences sympathize with the primordial creature who, like a classic tragic hero, is destroyed while pursuing his desire. Kong’s love for the girl makes him relatable, even as it seals his doom.


The complex bond between King Kong and Ann Darrow has intrigued audiences for generations. Kong displays affection, protectiveness and attachment suggestive of love. Yet his behavior also signifies animalistic dominance and uncontrolled aggression toward the object of his fixation.

In the end Kong’s feelings for Ann, whatever their nature, lead to his climactic downfall. Their doomed relationship embodied both the uplifting and the destructive sides of love. Eighty years later, the story still resonates thanks to the timeless, universal themes depicted through the friendship between beauty and beast.

So does Kong truly love Ann? The mighty ape’s emotional depth remains ambiguous. But the choice to see him as friend or monster says as much about the viewer as it does about Kong. Either way, his bond with Ann Darrow made Kong one of cinema’s most memorable tragic heroes.

More About King Kong and Giant Monster Movies

King Kong emerged as an icon of the giant monster genre, which remained popular for decades after his first appearance. Here is some background on Kong’s origins and the giant monster craze he helped kick off:

The Creation of King Kong

The original 1933 King Kong film was conceived and produced by Cooper-Schoedsack Studios. Visual effects pioneer Willis O’Brien led the landmark stop-motion animation that brought Kong to life. Concept artist Miguel Gómez created the initial designs for the giant ape.

The role of Ann Darrow, Kong’s human obsession, was originally given to Fay Wray. Wray fully embraced the role and her harrowing screams heightened the terror of Kong’s attacks.

Influences on King Kong

The 1933 King Kong drew from a number of inspirations and influential works, including:

  • The Lost World novel, which imagined dinosaurs surviving on a remote plateau.
  • The dinosaurs brought to life through Willis O’Brien’s effects in the 1925 The Lost World film.
  • Fairy tales and myths about beasts and monsters.
  • Beauty and the Beast tales of pretty maidens held captive by monsters.
  • Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book stories about a wild boy raised by wolves.

The Giant Monster Genre

King Kong gave rise to a whole genre of giant monster movies. Some notable examples include:

  • Godzilla – The Japanese kaiju film franchise launched in 1954, featuring the enormous reptilian monster Godzilla wreaking havoc.
  • Them! – The 1954 film about giant ants mutated by atomic radiation.
  • Tarantula – 1955 movie about a colossal tarantula rampaging in the desert.
  • 20 Million Miles to Earth – 1957 Ray Harryhausen film featuring stop-motion animated giant creatures.
  • The Giant Behemoth – 1959 British movie about a huge dinosaur attacking London.
  • The Blob – 1958 sci-fi horror film starring Steve McQueen about an ever-growing alien amoeba.

King Kong helped establish the popularity of the giant monster concept which has endured to the present day. Kong’s legacy lives on through the many massive beasts that have terrorized the screen since his debut.

King Kong’s Film Legacy

The original 1933 King Kong film sparked an entire franchise. Kong has returned in numerous sequels and remakes over the decades:


  • The Son of Kong (1933) – Little-seen hurried sequel released same year as the first film.
  • King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962) – Japanese crossover film pitting Kong against Godzilla.
  • King Kong Escapes (1967) – From Rankin/Bass; featured Kong battling a robot version of himself.
  • King Kong Lives (1986) – Direct sequel to 1976 remake that depicted Kong surviving his fall.


  • King Kong (1976) – Updated version by producer Dino De Laurentiis featuring Kong climbing the World Trade Center.
  • King Kong (2005) – Peter Jackson directed version that returned to the 1933 setting.
  • Kong: Skull Island (2017) – Set in the 1970s and re-envisioned Kong as already giant on his island.

The original Kong is also one of the only films ever remade shot-for-shot, in the 1976 version. Clearly Kong’s story continues to provide creative fodder for new generations of filmmakers.

Analysis of the Relationship

Here is a deeper look at Kong’s attachment to Ann Darrow and analysis of whether it qualifies as love:


Kong demonstrates frequent protectiveness toward Ann. On Skull Island, he shields her from all manner of threats – dinosaurs, giant insects, and the island natives themselves. This protectiveness could signify affection.

However, Kong seems equally prone to jealously and rage when others try to take Ann away. His protection may stem from more selfish impulses than loving care.


Ann initially screams in terror at Kong, but eventually seems comforted by his presence. They share moments almost resembling tenderness – he lets her sleep, dries her after she falls in water, and she feels sympathy seeing him captured.

Still, these moments are fleeting. The communication gap between beauty and beast is vast. Ann never fully grasps Kong’s inner mind.


Kong asserts his dominance over Ann by taking her captive, unwilling to let anyone else near her. He seems to treat her as his personal belonging. This behavior mirrors a possessive animal more than a loving human.

Kong also inspects Ann’s body closely with fascination verging on leering. He shows interest in her as a desirable object.


In the climactic scene atop the Empire State Building, Kong battles swarms of airplanes trying to destroy him. Though he could flee, Kong stays and fights in an attempt to protect Ann. His willingness to die for her hints at devotion.

At the same time, this sacrifice comes only after Kong has already destroyed much of New York City. Perhaps by then it was too late to redeem himself.


Kong’s attachment to Ann Darrow has touched audiences for generations because it seems to give a brooding monster the most human of vulnerabilities – love. But his behaviors ultimately appear driven by animal instinct more than emotional bonding.

Though Kong fights to protect Ann, he also causes her tremendous terror. He exhibits empathy yet also sinister dominance. Their relationship defines the Beauty and the Beast archetype – simultaneously endearing yet uneasily problematic.

In the end, the question of whether Kong truly loves Ann may be less important than what their story represents. Through this tragic relationship, the 1933 film tapped into universal themes of beauty, power, and the fine line between adoration and obsession.

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