78 user 18 critic

Arabesque (1966)

Unrated | | Action, Adventure, Crime | 5 May 1966 (USA)
Story of international intrigue involving a university professor, an Arab prime minister, a ruthless businessman, a beautiful spy, and hieroglyphics.



(screenplay), (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
Won 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 win & 4 nominations. See more awards »
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Complete credited cast:
Prof. David Pollock
Yussef Kasim
Carl Duering ...
Hassan Jena
John Merivale ...
Maj. Sylvester Pennington Sloane
Duncan Lamont ...
Ernest Clark ...
Harold Kasket ...
Mohammed Lufti


Professor David Pollock is an expert in ancient Arabic hieroglyphics. A Middle Eastern Prime Minister convinces Pollock to infiltrate the organization of a man named Beshraavi, who is involved in a plot against the Prime Minister. The nature of the plot is believed to be found in a hieroglyphic code. Beshraavi's mistress, Yasmin Azir is a mystery intertwined in the plot. Pollock needs her help, but when she repeatedly seems to double cross him in one escapade after another, he can't decide on whose side she is working. Ultimately working together, Pollock and Yasmin decipher the plot and set out to stop an assassination of the Prime Minister. Written by E.W. DesMarais <jlongst@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

professor | cipher | spy | double | code | See All (34) »


Ultra mod, ultra mad, ultra mystery


Unrated | See all certifications »




Release Date:

5 May 1966 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Stanley Donen's Arabesque  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$4,800,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The sequence on the railway viaduct was filmed on the Crumlin Viaduct in South Wales between the closure of the railway to traffic on 13 June 1964 and the demolition of the structure, which began in June 1966. It was built in 1853-57, and at 200ft was the highest in the British Isles (and the third highest in the world). See more »


Near the beginning of the movie when Pollock is in the limo with the Prime Minister, the glass partition is raised and it is very dark such that the driver cannot be seen. Moments later when the ambassador taps on the glass signaling to stop the car, the glass is clear. See more »


Beshraavi: Mr. Pollock, some Bedouins are in the habit of saying to their guests, "All that I possess is yours"... I am not one of them.
See more »


Referenced in Récit de voyage (2005) See more »


""The Fountain in the Park" (aka "While Strolling Through (or Thru') the Park One Day")
Written by Ed Haley
Heard when Pollock is pushed out of the van
See more »

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User Reviews

Alfred Hitchcock Meets James Bond
12 December 2004 | by (Azusa, CA) – See all my reviews

If I had the impossible task of naming one film as "My Favorite Most Enjoyable Movie" this and it's bookend, "Charade," would be it.

It is Stanley Donen's near perfect blend of Alfred Hitchcock meets James Bond. Donen made two simply wonderful films in the Hitchcock mold. The first was Charade in 1963 with Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn. Arabesque is the second. They make a marvelous bookend set.

Both films are light, breezy and loaded with wit and humorous dialog. Both feature classic Henry Mancini scores, stylish female ward-robing by the likes of Givenchy and Christian Dior and both feature memorable titles by 007's legendary title master, Maurice Binder.

But it's Arabesque's wildly inventive cinematography which sets it apart from virtually every other action film. The cinematography is pure art school. It's amazingly inventive use of reflection and shot within a shot camera work is what first interested me in the art of cinematography as a teenager. The cinematography in Arabesque fascinates me and entertains me no end to this day.

Gregory Peck's square yet hip college professor plays perfectly with Sophia Loren's chic spy - and Sophia was never more flat-out stunning. Wow! Check out Arabesque. It's two hours of great fun.

39 of 45 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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