The Mongols (1961)
"I mongoli" (original title)

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Genghis Khan and his Mongol army invade Poland and lay siege to the city of Cracow. The Polish king tries to make peace in order to save his city, and Genghis Khan seems amenable to that. ... See full summary »

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Credited cast:
Antonella Lualdi ...
Franco Silva ...
Stepen of Crakow
Gianni Garko ...
Henry de Valois
Roldano Lupi ...
Gabriella Pallotta ...
Gabriele Antonini ...
Pierre Cressoy ...
Mario Colli ...
Prince Stefan's ally
George Wang ...
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Andrej Gardenin ...
Vittorio Sanipoli


Genghis Khan and his Mongol army invade Poland and lay siege to the city of Cracow. The Polish king tries to make peace in order to save his city, and Genghis Khan seems amenable to that. However, his son Ogotai is itching for war, and his mistress eggs him on to defy his father and take the city. Written by

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A Savage Era Explodes On The Screen!


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Release Date:

31 August 1961 (Italy)  »

Also Known As:

The Mongols  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Popularized by John Green's Crash Course YouTube series (3-second raid scene) every time he mentions "The Mongols". See more »


During an invasion of the Mongols a character is seen dressed in a sleeveless jacket defending another nailed to a wheel. Ogotai (Jack Palance) drags him down with his whip, only this time the character has lost his sleeveless leather jacked, and is wearing only a wide shirt. See more »


Referenced in Matinee (1993) See more »

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User Reviews

Better than history
7 May 2007 | by (Derby, England) – See all my reviews

This is a highly entertaining Italian epic -- provided that you watch it for fun and not as a history lesson. The real Genghis Khan, historians tell us, was responsible for the deaths of some 20 million people, roughly a tenth of the known world, but in this version Roldano Lupi, bewhiskered and benign, comes across as a sort of Mongolian Father Christmas. As his evil son, Ogotai, Jack Palance has the time of his life dispensing cruelties and whippings with his usual leering relish, but he also imbues his role with a certain depth of character. Palance, carrying on where his maniac charioteer in Barabbas left off, is easily the best actor on show and more than anyone else holds the film together. By contrast, his leading lady is simply hilarious. "We Mongols..." says Anita Ekberg, looking exactly like Anita Ekberg and soon to go for a nude swim in the local river – shamelessly cashing in on her popular performance in La Dolce Vita where she waded into the Trevi Fountain. Her incongruous appearance is explained away by the fact that the Mongols abducted her from her homeland, but one wonders whether they acquired her from modern-day Sweden. Star Trek fans will be pleased to see Lawrence Montaigne, alias Spock's love rival Stonn, in an early role as an ally of Prince Stefan. (Italian references wrongly credit him as the King of Poland, but he's actually the one who changes clothes with Stefan to fool the Mongols). The remarkable score – not too well transferred in the American prints – is by film music legend Mario Nascimbene who has evidently tried to repeat the barbaric qualities of The Vikings. In his autobiography Nascimbene explains that the harsh percussion for The Mongols was achieved using ordinary household utensils. He even toured the Rome shops asking if they had a casserole dish in F-sharp or a frying pan in D-flat, and he was perhaps lucky to get out before they rang for the white coats. Back at the recording studio, conductor and friend Franco Ferrara was well accustomed to these musical eccentricities and asked if the RAI Sinfonica was always going to have a kitchens department? However, one must admit that the final score is both magnificent and ingenious. Dino Solari's choreography for the Mongol court is surprisingly erotic for its day, but disappointingly the US version has some clumsy cuts to exclude the bit where one of the male dancers gets astride and rolls round the floor with a scantily clad girl dancer. Adult ballet fans can see the uncut version on the French video release from Film Office Peplum. The battle scenes, where the Mongols are outwitted into entering a swamp where they all drown, were obviously filmed in two places. We begin in Yugoslavia where the location scenes were shot, then minutes later cut to the studio tank in Rome. Only the Italian epics can get away with this, of course, and all in all, this is a movie full of rich pickings. As long as you aren't expecting to see Henry V, it's a diverting way to spend a couple of hours.

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