Night Ambush (1957)
"Ill Met by Moonlight" (original title)

Unrated  |   |  Action, Adventure, Drama  |  July 1958 (USA)
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Led by British officers, partisans on Crete plan to kidnap the island's German commander and smuggle him to Cairo to embarrass the occupiers.


(adapted from the book: "Ill Met By Moonlight" The Wartime Diary in Crete of), , 1 more credit »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Major Patrick Leigh Fermor D.S.O. O.B.E. also known to the Cretans and the German Secret Police as PHILEDEM
Marius Goring ...
Major General Kreipe
David Oxley ...
Captain W. Stanley Moss, M.C.
Dimitri Andreas ...
Niko (as Demetri Andreas)
Laurence Payne ...
Wolfe Morris ...
Andoni Zoidakis
John Cairney ...
Brian Worth ...
Stratis Saviolkis
Roland Bartrop ...
Micky Akoumianakis (as Rowland Bartrop)
George Eugeniou ...
Charis Zographakis
Paul Stassino ...
Yani Katsias
Adeeb Assaly ...
Theo Moreas ...
Village Priest


Based on the true story of how, during World War II, a gang of desparadoes (British officers enlisted for "hostilities only" and local partisans) went to the occupied island of Crete and kidnapped a German General from under the nose of his army. That was the easy bit !!! They then had to get him back to Cairo, dodging an intense air and land search. Written by Steve Crook <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


They stole a General under the noses of his 20,000 crack paratroops See more »


Unrated | See all certifications »




| |

Release Date:

July 1958 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Night Ambush  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The General was never identified by his first name in the film. In the credits he is referred to as Maj. Gen. Kreipe. In real life he was Majorgeneral Heinrich Kreipe. Calling him Karl, as many sources do, seems to have been an invention of the Rank publicity department. See more »


The headlight covers switch between the wartime "slit" to no covers and back again when the general is being abducted in his car. See more »


Maj. Patrick Leigh Fermor aka Philedem: Field Marshal Rommel won't be in Cairo but you will be!
See more »

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User Reviews

Comments on past comments, and a little more
19 December 2002 | by (UK) – See all my reviews

Like 'Spleen', I first thought that we were seeing genuine Cretan landscapes. But what puzzled me was not being able to recognise any of it - even allowing for change - especially the coastline where Moss and his party landed. (In his book, he refers to a distinctive landscape) A little digging

  • on this site- revealed that the film was made in France and Italy with

no mention of Crete. The title, 'Ill met by moonlight' surely refers to the 'meeting' of Kreipe and his abductors. The film couldn't really show the fact that Leigh Fermor and Moss et al attempted the abduction on the four evenings that preceeded the actual abduction. The earlier attempts were abandoned because Kreipe came along whilst it was too early for moonlight! (one wonders why was it necessary to change the title for the US market?) I thoroughly enjoy the film, watch it every opportunity and each time pick up something that I've missed previously. However, I cannot help but wonder how much better it might have been if the writers had stuck more closely to the original script throughout. They had informed advisers available, Micky Akoumianakis was a true participant, and Houseman was in Crete as an British agent for a long part of the occupation. Though thoroughly grounded in fact, the few 'elaborations' detract from what was surely a solid enough story to stand on its own.

Regardless of the differences, I continue to regard the film as one of my most favourites.

12 of 13 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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