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Sword in the Desert (1949)

 -  Action | War | Drama  -  31 October 1949 (Sweden)
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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 73 users  
Reviews: 5 user | 2 critic

Cynical freighter captain Mike Dillon hopes to take the money and run after helping to smuggle Jewish refugees ashore in pre-Israel Palestine. But against his will, he's drawn into the ... See full summary »



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Title: Sword in the Desert (1949)

Sword in the Desert (1949) on IMDb 6.5/10

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Mike Dillon
Märta Torén ...
Stephen McNally ...
David Vogel
Philip Friend ...
Lt. Ellerton
Hugh French ...
Maj. Sorrell
Liam Redmond ...
Jerry McCarthy
Lowell Gilmore ...
Maj. Stephens
Stanley Logan ...
Col. Bruce Evans
Capt. Beaumont
George Tyne ...
Peter Coe ...
Paul Marion ...
Marten Lamont ...
Capt. Fletcher (as Martin Lamont)
David Wolfe ...


Cynical freighter captain Mike Dillon hopes to take the money and run after helping to smuggle Jewish refugees ashore in pre-Israel Palestine. But against his will, he's drawn into the escalating fight between British occupation forces and the founders of Israel. In a battle doubly terrible because the audience sympathizes with both sides, how long can Mike remain a bystander? Written by Rod Crawford <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

middle east


Action | War | Drama


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Release Date:

31 October 1949 (Sweden)  »

Also Known As:

Sword in the Desert  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


David Vogel: You haven't much faith in mankind, have you?
Mike Dillon: Why should I have? What's it ever done for me?
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User Reviews

So accurate, the British government tried to limit distribution.
3 August 2003 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This is another movie I haven't seen in years, although it was last broadcast on AMC. (Despite the setting, it was filmed on the California coast.) Unfortunately, they have not said when, or if, they plan to re-air it.

The story line is quite true-to-life, insofar as historical fiction can be. The number of non-Jewish volunteers helping the Haganah during the Jewish struggle against the British mandate was quite amazing, and they did so for a variety of reasons, from a sense of justice, to Zionist motives, to a desire to get a 'lick in' at England.

British imperial duplicity was so accurately depicted here, that, when the movie was released, the British government protested that it slandered Her Majesty's government. Methinks they didst protest too much.

In reality, there were Brits in the Mandatory Administration who favored the Jewish struggle for an independent homeland, as there were those who favored the Arabs, but most saw it as a foreign posting in their careers, a job to be done fairly, but always with an eye to Britain's interests, even as they protested that they were acting on behalf of the 'natives'.

A complex time, reduced to a movie whose verisimilitude is striking. The Haganah exploits depicted, such as the blowing up of all bridges (not that there were that many) at the borders of Mandatory Palestine, and the announcement of the High Commissioner's replacement (before he learned of it) did happen.

This is the earliest movie about the Ha'apalah, the illegal immigration into Mandatory Palestine before the independence of the State of Israel. Other movies set in the same time and place are Kirk Douglas' "The Juggler" and "Cast a Giant Shadow".

I can only hope it becomes available on video or CD, as I would like to see it again.

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