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The Thief of Bagdad (1940)

Not Rated  |   |  Adventure, Family, Fantasy  |  25 December 1940 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 8,764 users  
Reviews: 97 user | 69 critic

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 »
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Title: The Thief of Bagdad (1940)

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Won 3 Oscars. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Complete credited cast:
John Justin ...
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The Old King
Mary Morris ...
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Bruce Winston ...
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Hay Petrie ...
Adelaide Hall ...
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The Story Teller


Prince Ahmad is the rightful King of Bagdad but he has been blinded and cast out as a beggar. Now a captive of the wicked Grand Vizier Jaffar he is cast into a dungeon where he meets Abu, the best thief in all Bagdad. Together they escape and set about a series of adventures that involve a Djinni in a bottle, a mechanical flying horse, an all-seeing magic jewel, a flying carpet and a beautiful princess. Written by Steve Crook <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

thief | king | flying | princess | prince | See All (168) »


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

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)



Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


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


Abu throws tomatoes at his pursuers as he flees though Baghdad. These would have been unknown on Arabia at this time as they originated in the Americas. See more »


Princess: You don't look wicked. Are you a good Djinni?
Ahmad: Not too good. Very good Djinni are just as tiresome as very good men.
See more »


Featured in Arena: A Pretty British Affair (1981) See more »


The Sea
Music by Miklós Rózsa
Lyrics by Unknown
Performed by Unknown
See more »

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User Reviews

A Historical Treasure, And Good Family Entertainment
6 June 2003 | by (Elma, NY) – See all my reviews

The Thief of Bagdad is a treasure. First and foremost, it is a good story. Though my four children's primary exposure to this tale, the most famous of the stories of the Arabian Nights, comes from the Disney Corporation, the Thief of Bagdad held their interest to the end. The story moves along at a good pace and includes a twist or two that reduced predictability. Sabu, who plays the young thief, Abu, also measures up to any of today's teen actors in appeal, judging from the number of times I heard my oldest daughter say, "He's c-u-t-e!"

In 1940, the film won Oscars for cinematography and special effects. Today, of course, those effects seem very dated ("Look, it's Barbie flying through the air," declared my daughter at the sight of the genie flying). Yet they fit into the story well. The film is, after all, over 60 years old. The effects fit with the script. Furthermore, what ones sees in The Thief of Bagdad remained pretty much state-of-the-art for the next twenty-five years. One need only compare the opening montage from a 1967 Star Trek episode to see this. In that, it was quite an achievement.

This qualifies as a family film, though there are a few stabbings near the end. The acting is so obvious and the wounds so bloodless as to those scenes nearly as artificial as animation.

All in all, a fun film worth watching for either an evening of pure entertainment, or for the historical value of the effects. I recommend it.

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