6.8/10
3,606
26 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 »

Videos

Photos

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  

Captain Foster plans on raiding German-occupied Tobruk with hand-picked commandos, but a mix-up leaves him with a medical unit containing a Quaker conscientious objector. Despite all odds ... See full summary »

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)
War | Drama
    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
Certificate: M Action | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

As the Allied armies close in, the Nazis 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
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 | 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 | War | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 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
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
Drama | History | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A dramatization of Nazi Germany's final Western Front counterattack of World War II.

Director: Ken Annakin
Stars: Henry Fonda, Robert Shaw, Robert Ryan
Anzio (1968)
Drama | History | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

One of WWIIs bloodiest battles as the Allies smash through the German lines which have enclosed the Anzio beachhead. Four months and 30,000 casualties before the Allies finally march to Rome.

Directors: Edward Dmytryk, Duilio Coletti
Stars: Robert Mitchum, Peter Falk, Robert Ryan
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
Edit

Cast

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

 »

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 film was banned in Egypt. See more »

Goofs

The uncredited general in command of Tobruk's garrison played by Robert Douglas is seemingly the 9th Australian Division commander Leslie James Morshead. 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

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.


8 of 9 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Bad Aussie accents newlifemedia
Day for night shot bobo-29
Nobody Does It Better (Carly singing) jkholman
Discuss The Desert Rats (1953) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page