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Credited cast:
Carlo Ninchi ...
Il maggiore Castagna
Mario Ferrari ...
Il capitano Del Grande
Doris Duranti ...
Carlo Romano ...
Il maresciallo Romano
Annibale Betrone ...
Il dottor Alberti
Elio Steiner ...
Il tenente Negri
Erminio Spalla ...
Il meccanico "Mago Bakù" Brambilla
Corrado De Cenzo ...
Il capitano De Cenzo
Guido Notari ...
Il maggiore Squillace
Mario Liberati ...
Il telegrafista Liberati
Nico Pepe ...
Il tenente Corsi
Emilio Cigoli ...
Il maggiore John Williams
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Gino Baghetti ...
Il tenente Baghetti
Roberto Bianchi Montero ...
Il capitano medico (as Roberto Bianchi)
Vasco Brambilla


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Drama | History | War





Release Date:

8 May 1942 (Italy)  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Some filmographies include the name of stage actress Diana Torrieri for this film. She in fact does not appear in it, her role (that of Olga, the prostitute) was cut from the final released print. See more »


There's a scene in which English soldiers fight with Italian rifles (muskets model 91) See more »

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User Reviews

Standoff in the desert.
17 December 2002 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Goffredo Alessandrini's GIARABUB, perhaps the most famous war film produced in Italy during World War II, gets its title from the name of an Italian military oasis-post in the Libyan desert. The Italians are under siege by enemy British forces, and the situation for the Italians is hopeless; they have few supplies, almost no food. It is a matter of time before they are overtaken. An emissary from the British forces gives the Italians an ultimatum for surrender. But to Major Castagna (Carlo Ninchi) surrender is not an option. The point of the film seems to be to send a patriotic message to the Italians as the worst days of the war approached, that they might maintain their calm and dignity and sense of sacrifice for the motherland in the face of overwhelming odds. The movie was required inspirational viewing for all students in Italy. The song written for the film's credits has the lyrics: "Colonel, I don't want bread, I want lead for my rifle. I don't want praise; I died for my country, but the end of England starts with Giarabub."

The movie does not deal with the thornier aspects of Italian/German military aims or fascism. Mussolini is never referred to. This is a kind of Italian DUNKIRK or LOST PATROL. Much of the film centers around the paternal major, his assessment of the situation he knows to be hopeless, his personal interest in his men (he writes addenda to their letters home noting that they are "bravi ragazzi"---good lads.) In the midst of all there very improbably appears Dolores, played by Doris Duranti, who provides some romantic appeal for as while, but is absent in her quarters for much of the movie. Alessandrini described her role as that of a soldiers' masseuse/manicurist. Doris Duranti was the great feminine icon of the Italian fascist cinema, and was reputed to have had relations with the Duce himself. Most of the film is quiet and talky, illustrating the camaraderie among men in war. The film's ending is filled with "optimism in defeat." In its way, for its human elements, the film is actually quite likable.

The battle scenes were convincing and incorporated footage from Luce documentaries that had been shot on location in Africa. The exteriors were shot in Italy. The fort itself was reconstructed in the Scalera Studio. At the same time at Cinecittà, Augusto Genina was shooting BENGASI, another North-African war film. Among the cast of GIARABUB is a very young Alberto Sordi as a wounded lieutenant. Renzo Rossellini, brother of Roberto, provided the musical score, as he did for his brother's fascist era films and post-war OPEN CITY and PAISAN.

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