IMDb > The Desert Rats (1953)
The Desert Rats
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The Desert Rats (1953) More at IMDbPro »

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Overview

User Rating:
6.8/10   3,059 votes »
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Down 10% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Director:
Writer:
Richard Murphy (written by)
Contact:
View company contact information for The Desert Rats on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
20 May 1953 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
They crawled their way across the blazing sands of Africa... to turn disaster into victory!
Plot:
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. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Awards:
Nominated for Oscar. Another 1 win See more »
NewsDesk:
(2 articles)
Irish Actor Davis Dies
 (From WENN. 21 December 2009, 4:01 AM, PST)

Desert Rats Star Tingwell Dies
 (From WENN. 21 May 2009, 2:55 PM, PDT)

User Reviews:
The beginning of the end for Rommel. See more (25 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Richard Burton ... Capt. 'Tammy' MacRoberts

James Mason ... Field Marshal Erwin von Rommel

Robert Newton ... Tom Bartlett
Robert Douglas ... General
Torin Thatcher ... Col. Barney White
Chips Rafferty ... Sgt. 'Blue' Smith
Charles 'Bud' Tingwell ... Lt. Harry Carstairs (as Charles Tingwell)
Charles Davis ... Pete
Ben Wright ... Mick
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Patrick Aherne ... English Officer (uncredited)
John Alderson ... Corporal (uncredited)
Frank Baker ... British Officer (uncredited)
John Blackburn ... Sergeant (uncredited)
Robert Boon ... German Lieutenant (uncredited)
Frederic Brunn ... German Gunner (uncredited)
Arthur Brunner ... German Radio Man (uncredited)
Paul Busch ... German Orderly (uncredited)
Paul Cavanagh ... Colonel (uncredited)
Frank Chase ... Commando (uncredited)
Tony Christian ... German Sentry (uncredited)
Trevor Constable ... Ginger (uncredited)

Nicolas Coster ... Medic (uncredited)
Ashley Cowan ... Corporal (uncredited)
Gene Darrell ... Aussie (uncredited)
Noel Drayton ... Captain (uncredited)
Harold Dyrenforth ... Observer (uncredited)
Charles B. Fitzsimons ... Fire Officer (uncredited)
John Fraser ... Artillery Man (uncredited)
Arno Frey ... Kramm (uncredited)
Ray Harden ... Hugh (uncredited)
Charles Keane ... Sgt Donaldson (uncredited)
Lester Matthews ... Foreign Secretary (uncredited)
Clyde Morris ... British Communications Man (uncredited)
Gavin Muir ... Captain (uncredited)
James O'Hara ... Communications Man (uncredited)
John O'Malley ... Riley (uncredited)
Pat O'Morre ... Jim (uncredited)
Peter Ortiz ... Wireman (uncredited)

Michael Pate ... Cpl. Currie (uncredited)
Richard Peel ... Rusty (uncredited)
Guy Prescott ... Maj. O'Rourke (uncredited)
Jack Raine ... C.I.C. (uncredited)
Otto Reichow ... Gunner (uncredited)

Michael Rennie ... Narrator (voice) (uncredited)
Jerry Riggio ... Commando (uncredited)
Per Skavlan ... German Guard (uncredited)
Frederick Stevens ... German Major (uncredited)
Gilchrist Stuart ... Captain (uncredited)
Albert Taylor ... Jensen (uncredited)

John Wengraf ... German Doctor (uncredited)
Alfred Zeisler ... von Helmholtz (uncredited)
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Directed by
Robert Wise 
 
Writing credits
Richard Murphy (written by)

Produced by
Robert L. Jacks .... producer
 
Original Music by
Leigh Harline 
 
Cinematography by
Lucien Ballard (director of photography)
 
Film Editing by
Barbara McLean 
 
Art Direction by
Addison Hehr 
Lyle R. Wheeler  (as Lyle Wheeler)
 
Set Decoration by
Fred J. Rode (set decorations)
 
Makeup Department
Ben Nye .... makeup artist
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Richard Maybery .... assistant director (as J. Richard Maybery)
 
Sound Department
Alfred Bruzlin .... sound
Roger Heman Sr. .... sound (as Roger Heman)
 
Visual Effects by
Ray Kellogg .... special photographic effects
 
Stunts
Fritz Ford .... stunts (uncredited)
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Charles Le Maire .... wardrobe director
 
Music Department
Alfred Newman .... musical director
Edward B. Powell .... orchestration (as Edward Powell)
 
Crew verified as complete


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Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
88 min
Country:
Language:
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Recording)
Certification:
Australia:M | Australia:PG (Cable TV rating) | Australia:G (DVD rating) | Canada:G (video rating) | Netherlands:16 | New Zealand:PG | Sweden:15 | UK:U (passed with cuts) | UK:U (tv rating) | USA:Approved (PCA #16243) | West Germany:16 (f)

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 alcohol-related causes.See more »
Goofs:
Anachronisms: In the beginning of the movie Rommel is being addressed as 'Field Marshal' 'though at that time he was still a General. He was promoted to Field Marshal after the capture of Tobruk, which occurred in 1942 not 1941, when the tide of war had swung back again in favor of the Germans.See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in Modern Problems (1981)See more »
Soundtrack:
The Campbells Are ComingSee more »

FAQ

Chicago Openeing Happened When?
See more »
19 out of 20 people found the following review useful.
The beginning of the end for Rommel., 6 April 2000
Author: masonx from Pt Chevalier, New Zealand.

Interesting re-enactment of the desert campaign during WWII as seen through the experiences of one small company in the British army. They are a disparate group of soldiers. A motley band of commonwealth troops of mixed personalities led by Captain MacRoberts played by Richard Burton. Through the fire and hell of battling the Desert Fox and his war-hardened troops MacRoberts by lifting their spirits and their morale eventually melds his men into a fighting fit group of warriors. Enough said.

Although the story has neither the forced authenticity of 'The Longest Day' or the Hollywood panache of 'Where Eagles Dare' I believe it still manages to stand out in a special place on its own. Prior to a host of many other war movies it was the first to concentrate exclusively on the common soldier in the trenches, his anxieties for the present and hopes for the future. I also liked the side story of the young captain who is surprised to have under his command a favourite old school master, Bartlett played by Robert Newton. It causes some quizzical looks amongst the men, especially when he insists on continuing to address the old private as sir. Here the Desert Fox is played with dignity and respect by James Mason. The other german characters are also portrayed benignly, perhaps in view of the fact that very few atrocities were committed by Rommel's troops unlike their counterparts in Eastern Europe. History records accurately what eventually happened to Rommel in the aftermath of the plot to assassinate Hitler but here that is all in the near future. I recommend this b & w film to all war movie buffs of this English made genre but if you're looking for 'Saving Private Ryan' perhaps you should give it a miss.

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