The Thief of Bagdad (1940)

Not Rated  |   |  Adventure, Family, Fantasy  |  25 December 1940 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 8,852 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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Won 3 Oscars. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Complete credited cast:
John Justin ...
Miles Malleson ...
Morton Selten ...
The Old King
Mary Morris ...
Halima / Six-Armed Lady
Bruce Winston ...
The Merchant
Hay Petrie ...
Adelaide Hall ...
Roy Emerton ...
Allan Jeayes ...
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) »


GIGANTIC! The Wonder Picture of All Time! (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?


Most of the 18 riders who clear the market prior to the Princess's procession are women. This may have been because so many men had been taken into the British armed forces. See more »


Despite taking place in the ancient Middle East, several scenes show local people speaking in Hindi, which is spoken in India. (Again, it's "Oriental" enough for a 1940s audience not to notice.) See more »


Ahmad: Are men only to be ruled by fear?
Jafar: Men are evil. Hatred behind their eyes, lies on their lips, betrayal in their hearts. You will learn one day, Great King, that there are three things that men respect: the lash that descends, the yoke that breaks, and the sword that slays. By the power and terror of these you may conquer the earth.
See more »


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

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User Reviews

Truly "A Remant From The Golden Age"
28 October 2007 | by (Derby, UK) – See all my reviews

An utterly beautiful film, one of a handful of I saw when young that entranced me then and still do, in Thief's case the impression actually seems to get better with the passing of time. By the '90's my daughter and I had seen it many times on TV but still went to the pictures when it came to the local art-house cinema – when it had finished we came out starry eyed with heads full of poetry and Miklos Rozsa's stirring music wishing it could have lasted a couple of hours longer and thinking what a beautiful world it suddenly was again.

Idealistic Prince Ahmad wants to slum it amongst his people for a while to check things out, but evil Vizier Jaffar takes his chance to imprison him and seize the throne. After escaping with a little thief played by Sabu, Ahmad spots a Princess and they fall blindingly in love – along the way they have many adventures (although apparently not enough for Sabu!) and Love not only conquers but annihilates everything. The special effects must have been mesmerising in 1940, but Time has taken its toll and lessened their impact especially since digital cartoonery has taken over even live action – but they still hold up well compared against films like Superman from 40 years later. Anyway, if I'm requested to suspend disbelief in gargantuan guffawing genies, flying horses and carpets I also suspend disbelief in perfect special effects! Favourite bits: the dreamy scene in the sunlit garden when Ahmad reveals himself and Adelaide Hall's suitably romantic song; the stunning colours in the tent in the Land Of Legend – in fact, the stunning colours throughout; Sabu and Rozsa's triumphant but still wistful finale. Conrad Veidt played the baddie in two of the most incredible movie romances ever, this and Casablanca, and then died. John Justin and June Duprez were great in the leading roles of lovers, both of them slightly and refreshingly stilted, but the parts didn't call for a huge range of emotions: only pure love mattered.

There's a couple of mildly violent images in it, but rest assured this is a glorious feelgood experience with a 100% positive message, it's only a pity that nowadays little kids don't watch this instead of the porn they prefer. One of my Top 10 film favourites, I can't recommend this too much – may it be shown to the end of Time.

20 of 23 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Why is this underappreciated???? hapalife52
Similarities to Wizard of Oz iregaa
First Film I ever saw TwilightNinja
Ebert has Added Thief to his Greatest Films List theFoss
Why is there no Director's credit on the print? Stuart Gardner
This is a good remake, but I think I missed one thing about the movie. kellyleighcrutcher
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