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Khartoum (1966)

Approved | | Action, Adventure, Drama | 15 June 1966 (USA)
In the Sudan, in 1884-85, Egyptian forces led by a British general defend Khartoum against an invading Muslim army led by a religious fanatic, the Mahdi.



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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Sir Evelyn Baring
Johnny Sekka ...
Lord Granville
Zia Mohyeddin ...
Zobeir Pasha
Sheikh Osman
Gen. Wolseley
Lord Hartington
Ralph Michael ...
Douglas Wilmer ...
Khalifa Abdullah
Edward Underdown ...
Col. William Hicks
Peter Arne ...


After an Egyptian army, commanded by British officers, is destroyed in a battle in the Sudan in the 1880's, the British government is in a quandary. It does not want to commit a British military force to a foreign war but they have a commitment to protect the Egyptians in Khartoum. They decide to ask General Charles "Chinese" Gordon, something of a folk hero in the Sudan as he had cleared the area of the slave trade, to arrange for the evacuation. Gordon agrees but also decides to defend the city against the forces of the Mahdi - the expected one - and tries to force the British to commit troops. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


They say the Nile still runs red from the Battle of Khartoum! See more »


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

15 June 1966 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Kartum  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$6,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Bernard Wicki was in the running to direct, and Heston was keen to get either Guy Green ( who had done " Diamond Head" , and helped out on " 55 Days at Peking " when everything was falling apart ) or Ken Hughes to helm this large scale epic. See more »


When Mahdi told that it's prayer time. They said "Allahoo Akbar" while bending and said the same when they were standing. But, actually while standing in prayer after bending, followers of Mohammad (PBUH) say: "Samee Allahoo Layman Hamidah". These are Arabic texts. See more »


The Mahdi: It is sometimes wise, Gordon Pasha, to provide the man with a few sunny hours of fraudulent hope so that when night comes he will have a more perfect inward vision of the truth of his hopelessness.
See more »


Edited into The Time Tunnel: Raiders from Outer Space (1967) See more »

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User Reviews

Drama and Detail
12 October 2001 | by See all my reviews

Khartoum is an account of the 1885 massacre of British General Charles (Chinese) Gordon (played by Charlton Heston) and British Egyptian troops in Khartoum in the Sudan by the hard-line Muslim forces of The Mahdi (The Chosen One), played by Sir Laurence Olivier--good make-up job.

This is an even-handed job (meaning, of course, all the favorable sides of things might have been assumed to be with Gordon, but they are not)--the views of both sides of the struggle are sympathetically represented, and Gordon's vanity is not spared. Nevertheless, he clearly has heroic stature, embellished by dramatic flourishes and some historical bending. Indeed, there is substantial historical detail in the tradition of epic films, much of it basically true, but certain parts are pure fantasy. In a film like this, neither is a problem for me--after all, isn't the point of this event its sheer drama, a white man mystic hero being massacred in a lonely outpost and achieving martyrdom? And I am one who is all for the historical stuff, and a checker of detail. The cadences of the screenplay and the swirling climax are entirely appropriate and make for great entertainment. Although Gordon's conduct in handling the situation was less unobjectionable than presented here (and not to say that there were no criticisms brought to the forefront in the film), it is likely his passion for the Sudan and the Sudanese and his desire for martyrdom are not much exaggerated. One of my favorites.

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