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The Desert Rats (1953)

 -  Action | Adventure | Drama  -  20 May 1953 (USA)
6.8
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 3,109 users  
Reviews: 25 user | 12 critic

Richard Burton plays a Scottish Army officer put in charge of a disparate band of ANZAC troops on the perimeter of Tobruk with the German Army doing their best to dislodge them.

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Title: The Desert Rats (1953)

The Desert Rats (1953) on IMDb 6.8/10

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
Robert Douglas ...
Torin Thatcher ...
Chips Rafferty ...
Charles 'Bud' Tingwell ...
Lt. Harry Carstairs (as Charles Tingwell)
Charles Davis ...
Ben Wright ...
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Storyline

Rommel has the British in retreat on his way to the Suez Canal. All that stands in his way is Tobruk, held by a vastly out numbered force of Australian troops. Richard Burton leads these troops on daring raids against Rommel, keeping him off balance as they earn the nickname 'The Desert Rats'. Written by Derek Picken <dpicken@email.msn.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

They crawled their way across the blazing sands of Africa... to turn disaster into victory!

Genres:

Action | Adventure | Drama | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

20 May 1953 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Les rats du désert  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Richard Burton was obliged to make the film as part of his short-lived contract with 20th Century Fox. He later said every line of dialog sounded as though it had been taken directly from an army training manual. See more »

Goofs

The German tanks used are actually U.S. built, late-war M-24 Chaffee light tanks, which is to be expected given the lack of German vehicles in the early 1950s. See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: 1941 LIBYAN DESERT NORTH AFRICA See more »

Connections

Edited into All This and World War II (1976) See more »

Soundtracks

Greensleeves
(uncredited)
Traditional
Played on the harmonica
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Unusually well done war flick - well worth a look
24 October 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This is a really enjoyable movie. Burton and Newton do a fine job, as do a cast of familiar British character actors. James Mason in his first outing as Rommel is especially fun. He reprised the role in a later Rommel bio-pic (titled "The Desert Fox: The Story of Rommel").

Despite it's age, most of the attempts at special effects (artillery in the distance, explosions done via matte) come off well. As for the scenes where they really shoot off some pyrotechnics, they spared no expense! The overall portrait of the desert and army life looks very real and has the ring of truth. The plot is exciting and never drags.

The only problems are the over-patriotic script (I guess we should cut them some slack here, this movie was made much closer to the war than we are today!) and as noted elsewhere, the inappropriate German weapons. It's amazing that they used Thompson machine guns instead of MP40's, when for the next 30 years everybody from "The Man from U.N.C.L.E." to James Bond would use the MP40 all over the place. In summary I think this movie was a bit better than I expected and holds up well to repeated viewings.


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