6.8/10
3,854
30 user 12 critic

The Desert Rats (1953)

Approved | | Action, Adventure, Drama | 20 May 1953 (USA)
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.

Director:

Writer:

Reviews

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

ON DISC
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Biography | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

The story of the final years of the respected World War II German general, Erwin Rommel.

Director: Henry Hathaway
Stars: James Mason, Cedric Hardwicke, Jessica Tandy
Certificate: GP Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

In 1942 Libya, a German-speaking British Intelligence officer uses former British POWs, some dressed in German uniforms, to fulfill a secret sabotage mission inside German-captured Tobruk.

Director: Henry Hathaway
Stars: Richard Burton, John Colicos, Clinton Greyn
Action | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

The World War II story of the British Navy's effort to defeat Nazi Germany's most powerful warship.

Director: Lewis Gilbert
Stars: Kenneth More, Dana Wynter, Carl Möhner
Tobruk (1967)
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A Canadian POW major is rescued by a special British military unit made up of Germans to help lead an attack on a major Nazi fuel depot in Tobruk, Libya.

Director: Arthur Hiller
Stars: Rock Hudson, George Peppard, Nigel Green
Adventure | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

In 1944, US Navy specialists run a weather station in the Gobi desert where they are harassed by Japanese warplanes but aided by local Mongol nomads.

Director: Robert Wise
Stars: Richard Widmark, Don Taylor, Max Showalter
Action | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

An American colonel who has never been in combat is assigned to create a special forces unit from Canadian Army troops and a ragtag group of U.S. Army misfits.

Director: Andrew V. McLaglen
Stars: William Holden, Cliff Robertson, Vince Edwards
Action | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

As the Allied armies close in, the Germans decide to blow up the last Rhine bridge, trapping their own men on the wrong side. But will it happen?

Director: John Guillermin
Stars: George Segal, Robert Vaughn, Ben Gazzara
War | Action | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A U.S. sub commander, obsessed with sinking a certain Japanese ship, butts heads with his first officer and crew.

Director: Robert Wise
Stars: Clark Gable, Burt Lancaster, Jack Warden
Action | Adventure | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

An American POW leads a group of mainly British prisoners to escape from the Germans in WWII.

Director: Mark Robson
Stars: Frank Sinatra, Trevor Howard, Raffaella Carrà
Action | War | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

During WW2, German ships are "safely" docked upriver at Bordeaux, but the British send a team of kayakers to attack them.

Director: José Ferrer
Stars: José Ferrer, Trevor Howard, Dora Bryan
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

During World War II, an American destroyer meets a German U-Boat. Both captains are experts, and so begins a deadly game of cat-and-mouse.

Director: Dick Powell
Stars: Robert Mitchum, Curd Jürgens, David Hedison
Torpedo Run (1958)
War | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A submarine commander is forced to blow up a Japanese ship with prisoners.

Director: Joseph Pevney
Stars: Glenn Ford, Ernest Borgnine, Diane Brewster
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
Lt. Harry Carstairs (as Charles Tingwell)
Charles Davis ...
...
Edit

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! See more »

Genres:

Action | Adventure | Drama | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

20 May 1953 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Les rats du désert  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,320,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The character Bartlett (MacRoberts' former schoolmaster) is portrayed as an alcoholic whose drinking caused him many troubles. Sadly, this was actually the case for the actor playing him, Robert Newton. He became increasingly unemployable due to his drinking, was declared a bankrupt in absentia, and would die just 3 years after this film. The cause of death was announced as a heart attack but was widely believed to be multiple alcohol-related causes. See more »

Goofs

During the last few scenes in the dugout, the characters all appear in various states of dirty, dusty, and disheveled, but the radio telephone, papers, and lanterns are all perfectly clean and orderly. See more »

Quotes

Field Marshal Erwin von Rommel: Now, MacRoberts, l respect your pride in this little rat hole you call Tobruk, but don't insult my intelligence by telling me that if it stood in my way, l couldn't crush it like that!
Capt. 'Tammy' MacRoberts: lf you can crush Tobruk, crush it. But don't tell me it isn't a constant threat to your supply line, that it isn't an open sore in your side, or that you can take Egypt without first smashing it.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Referenced in Interview with Charles 'Bud' Tingwell (2001) See more »

Soundtracks

Waltzing Matilda
(1895) (uncredited)
Original music by Christina Macpherson (1895)
(Based on the Scottish tune "Craigielee", music by James Barr, with words by Robert Tannahill)
Revised music by Marie Cowan (1903)
Lyrics by A.B. 'Banjo' Paterson (1895)
Played during the opening credits and often in the score
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Old-skool War-film
19 April 2009 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

The North Africa Campaign, the Siege of Tobruk and the Desert Rats all have an important place in the British and Australian Psyche during and after the Second World War, and it took less then 10 years after the war for a film about the Siege to be made.

In 1941 British and Australian troops had control of the fortress town of Tobruk in Libya. Tobruk gets surrounded by German and Italian troops as the Axis tries to take Egypt and the Suez Canal. The British high command order the Australian General Leslie Morshead to hold Tobruk for 2 months to disrupt the German supply lines. Morshead was a clever commander, trapping German tanks to make them useless and made his troops fight a tough guerrilla campaign. The main focus of the film is on a British officer, 'Tammy' MacRoberts who is given command of a fresh batch of Australian troops, including his former school master. He has to train his troops to get them ready for the battle and first the bitter war.

The acting isn't that good, the Australian accents were awful and it would have been easier if their casted Australian actors. As well their seem to be an American officer with the British and Australians ones, I don't know why? What makes the film work is the war scenes. They are well done and you get to feel the action and sweat of battle. The film is also a short, tort experience. Also there is an historical inaccuracy; the Desert Rats was the name for the 9th Armoured Division of the British Army, not the 7th Australian Army. However Rommel did call the army the rats of Tobruk.

Personally I would like to see a new film about the war in North Africa because their are many interesting stories and battles, from the Battle of El-Alamein, the story of Rommel and Montgomery, Operation Touch, the Birth of the SAS, etc... The Siege of Tobruk would also make an interesting story for a modern film.


2 of 2 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page