The Thief of Bagdad (1940)

Not Rated  |   |  Adventure, Family, Fantasy  |  25 December 1940 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 8,848 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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Airs Sat. Nov. 28, 2:15 AM on TCM

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) »


Three brave hearts, adventuring in a wonder world! 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?


Film debut of John Justin. See more »


The wires used to suspend the flying carpet are visible in the last scene of Abu on the carpet. The film was originally shot in three strip Technicolor, with prints made using a dye transfer process that resulted in a slight reduction in overall resolution. This reduction in resolution hid the wires in original prints, making them invisible. Modern prints, especially on Hi-Def DVDs, have restored the resolution making the support wires plainly visible. See more »


Halima: Take my hand.
Ahmad: There is no need. My dog sees for me. He gives me more than he can ever receive - like all dogs.
See more »


Featured in Room 237 (2012) See more »


Hungarian Lullabye
Music by Miklós Rózsa
Lyrics by Zoltan Korda
Sung by Adelaide Hall
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.

25 of 29 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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