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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.

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

Complete credited cast:
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Lt. Harry Carstairs (as Charles Tingwell)
Charles Davis ...
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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! See more »

Genres:

Action | Adventure | Drama | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

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Release Date:

20 May 1953 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Les rats du désert  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,320,000 (estimated)
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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

During the German tank/infantry attack mid-way into the film, a German throws himself on the barb-wire. When you see him getting up, he throws his rifle with a bayonet backwards, and you see the weapon is just rubber as it wobbles uncontrollably. 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 The Dick Van Dyke Show: Remember the Alimony (1966) See more »

Soundtracks

The Campbells Are Coming
(uncredited)
Traditional
Played on the bagpipes
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Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
One of my favorites!
29 January 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This was the first movies I was ever allowed to stay up and watch on the old Saturday Night At The Movies show on NBC so it has always had a fond place in my heart. Although some might dismiss it as clichéd, it is a tight, well told story that some of today's films might do well to emulate. The realism, ambivalence, and irony of today's war films is definitely missing but one should remember that this was the "good" war. While the other reviewers may criticize its historical accuracy, as someone who grew up hearing war stories from American and Canadian WWI and WWII veterans, it does capture the feeling of a period without going overboard on heroics or far-fetched plot twists.


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