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The Desert Fox: The Story of Rommel (1951)

Approved | | Biography, Drama, War | 17 October 1951 (USA)
The story of the final years of the respected World War II German general, Erwin Rommel.



(screenplay), (biography) (as Brigadier Desmond Young M.C.)

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Complete credited cast:
Dr. Karl Strolin
Gen. Fritz Bayerlein
Capt. Hermann Aldinger
Desmond Young ...
Himself, Lt. Col. Desmond Young

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This biopic follows Rommel's career after the Afrika Korps, including his work on the defenses of Fortress Europe as well as his part in the assassination attempt on Hitler, and his subsequent suicide. Written by Alfred Jingle

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


A great best-seller ! A fabulous adventure ... a true story ! See more »


Biography | Drama | War


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

17 October 1951 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Desert Fox  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)


(archive footage)|

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Apparently, Erwin Rommel's widow, Lucie Marie Rommel acted as a technical consultant and adviser to this movie. She was played by Jessica Tandy in the film itself. Mrs. Rommel lent the production some of her husband's personal artifacts and liaised with Nunnally Johnson, the film's producer and screenwriter. As Frau Lucie Maria Rommel, Mrs Rommel later also acted as a military consultant to the film The Longest Day (1962) made by 20th Century-Fox, the same studio that produced this movie. See more »


Before the July 20 assassination attempt, Hitler is in the meeting room and asks where Goering is and he's told that Goering is on his way. However, Goering was not in attendance at the conference that day. See more »


Gen. Fritz Bayerlein: I don't know how the men on the line feel about it, but so far as the staff is concerned, I'd just as soon have a commander-in-chief with a little touch of cowardice about him. Just enough to get him back to his headquarters every now and then.
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Followed by The Desert Rats (1953) See more »


The Caisson Song
Music by Edmund L. Gruber
Heard during the scenes of D-Day and the ensuing battles
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

a good film spoiled by sloppy details
22 July 2009 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

I like this film despite its obvious flaws and I've always liked James Mason. I can't fault the acting as the cast were all good.

Two main points doubtlessly raised by other commentators.

a)The portrayal of Rommel as a good guy went a bit too far. True he became anti Hitler/Nazi in the end, but this seems to have been primarily due to having been abandoned in Africa and having his requests in Normandy turned down by Hitler, not due to any squeamishness about the Nazi state, who's brutality must have been self evident to him for many years or of Nazi aggression who he was all too willing to promote. Don't forget he was the mastermind Behind the Blitzkrieg in Holland France and Belgium in 1940 and saw no wrong in that campaign.

b) The use of incorrect stock footage, Such as a view of the Maginot line fortification to demonstrate the Normandy beaches. In the strafing attack we see a TMB Avenger transmute into 3 Spitfires who had gun flashes superimposed onto the incorrect section of their wings and also having the sound of whiny pre-war US fixed pitch radial engined planes dubbed over them as did the footage of the Beaufighter strafing. (something that still happens in films today - give em what they expect not what is real) and the tacky patriotic music. Probably taken from the first shelf in the effects room and couldn't be bothered to look any further.

I'm sure military vehicle/weaponry aficionados will have spotted some similar points about the MT/guns portrayed.

The scenes in the train and Rommel's house were authentic enough and seemed to have been filmed on location so its a shame they skimped on these other details.

One scene that did amuse me was when the Gestapo man followed the doctor out of the hospital and never shut the door properly behind him. Now this would have doubtless been re shot, in here the guard merely leaned over and pulled it shut.

Still a masterpiece of history when compared to 'Battle of the Bulge'

4 of 5 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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