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   3,087 votes »
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Down 13% 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:
A Very Realistic War Movie 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)

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


Production CompaniesDistributors

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:
Continuity: When the British aircraft are attacking German trucks carrying the prisoners, the planes shown in the distant shot are not the same planes as in the closeup. The planes in the closeup shot have black and white stripes painted on their wings, at the root and parallel to the fuselage. Such stripes were not used for identification until D-Day (they were called "invasion stripes" at the time) and then only in Europe.See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in Modern Problems (1981)See more »
Soundtrack:
Waltzing MatildaSee more »

FAQ

Chicago Openeing Happened When?
See more »
18 out of 21 people found the following review useful.
A Very Realistic War Movie, 19 February 2005
Author: Claudio Carvalho from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

In 1941, during the World War II, Field Marshal Erwin von Rommel (James Mason) tries to conquer the city of Tobruk in Libya and the British battalion defends this location to avoid Rommel to reach the Suez Canal. The young, but experienced British Capt. 'Tammy' MacRoberts (Richard Burton) leads a limited number of inexperienced Australian troops in the defense of Tobruk, and uses raids during the night against Rommel forces to keep the balance between the strong German army and the reduced British-Australian forces, and MacRoberts' troops are called "The Desert Rats". "The Desert Rats" is a very realistic war movie, presenting strategies, battles, action scenes and a great duel between James Mason and Richard Burton. I am not sure whether Robert Wise used footage of some real battle scenes along the film, since the realism in the black and white photography is amazing and sometimes it looks like a documentary. There are also excellent lines between Richard Burton and James Mason, and Richard Burton and Robert Newton, in the role of the former teacher of MacRoberts. "The Desert Rats" is a highly recommended movie. My vote is eight.

Title (Brazil): "Ratos do Deserto" ("Desert Rats")

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