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The Thief of Bagdad (1940)

Not Rated | | Adventure, Family, Fantasy | 25 December 1940 (USA)
After being tricked and cast out of Bagdad by the evil Jaffar, King Ahmad joins forces with a thief named Abu to reclaim his throne, the city, and the Princess he loves.


(screen play and dialogue), (scenario by) (as Lajos Biro) | 1 more credit »

On Disc

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Won 3 Oscars. Another 3 nominations. See more awards »




Complete credited cast:
Bruce Winston ...
The Merchant
Hay Petrie ...
Adelaide Hall ...
Roy Emerton ...
Allan Jeayes ...
The Story Teller


In Bagdad, the young and naive Sultan Ahmad is curious about the behavior of his people. The Grand Vizier Jaffar convinces Ahmad to walk through the city disguised as a subject to know his people. Then he seizes the power telling to the inhabitants that Ahmad has died while he sends his army to arrest the Sultan that is thrown into the dungeons and sentenced to death. Ahmad befriends the young thief Abu that helps him to escape from the prison. They flee to Basra and plan to travel abroad with Sinbad. However Ahmad stumbles upon the beautiful princess and they fall in love with each other. But the evil Jaffar has also traveled to Basra to propose to marry the princess. When they see each other, Jaffar uses magic to blind Ahmad and turn Abu into a dog. Is their love doomed? Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


THE WONDER of the Spider King...ten times human size ---yet Abu dares him to battle! (original poster) See more »


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

25 December 1940 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Le voleur de Bagdad  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)



Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Filming began in Britain, but because of the Blitz--the German air raids on London--the production relocated to Hollywood. There was such a long break in production that Sabu's early scenes had to be re-shot because he had grown several inches. See more »


When Ahmad is to be executed, his head is held down with a rope to steady it. But when the executioner raises his sword the next shots of Ahmad show that the rope has disappeared. See more »


Abu: I am Abu the thief, son of Abu the thief, grandson of Abu the thief.
See more »


Remade as The Thief of Baghdad (1978) See more »


Hungarian Lullabye
Music by Miklós Rózsa
Lyrics by Zoltan Korda
Sung by Adelaide Hall
See more »

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User Reviews

Probably the best "Arabian Nights" film ever made.
6 March 1999 | by See all my reviews

Most of the genre of "Arabian Nights" films were silly, cheesy, low-budget things, like "The Prince Who Was A Thief" starring Tony Curtis as an Arabian prince with a Brooklyn accent. This is an exception: A genuinely magical film, one of the best fantasy films ever made.

A beautiful film made in the most glowing of technicolors, it tells the simple story of a boy thief (Sabu) meeting a dethroned prince (the gorgeous John Justin), and helping him defeat the wonderfully evil usurper Conrad Veidt. Like "The Wizard of Oz" made the year before, the performances are so good that you believe in what you see on the screen. Flying carpets and horses, towering genies, dancing idols, it all seems perfectly believable and exiting. A classic.

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