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Khartoum (1966) More at IMDbPro »

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Khartoum -- A spectacular historical epic set in 1885.  Commanded by a determined religious leader called "The Mahdi" (Laurence Olivier), 80,000 fierce Sudanese warriors massacre 8,000 untrained, British-led Egyptian troops in the desert, 100 miles beyond Khartoum.  British Prime Minister Gladstone (Sir Ralph Richardson) learns of the slaughter and that The Mahdi is determined to claim the great city of Khartoum to prove his divine mission and power.  General Charles "Chinese" Gordon (Charlton Heston) is persuaded to try and make peace.  He must also find a way to evacuate the Egyptian army defending Khartoum and protect its inhabitants.  Directed by Basil Dearde.  The stunning action sequences were directed by Yakima Canutt.


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Release Date:
15 June 1966 (USA) See more »
They say the Nile still runs red from the Battle of Khartoum! See more »
After an Egyptian army, commanded by British officers, is destroyed in a battle in the Sudan in the 1880's... See more » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Nominated for Oscar. Another 2 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
An epic entertainment! See more (53 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Charlton Heston ... Gen. Charles 'Chinese' Gordon

Laurence Olivier ... The Mahdi

Richard Johnson ... Col. J.D.H. Stewart

Ralph Richardson ... William Gladstone

Alexander Knox ... Sir Evelyn Baring
Johnny Sekka ... Khaleel

Michael Hordern ... Lord Granville
Zia Mohyeddin ... Zobeir Pasha
Marne Maitland ... Sheikh Osman

Nigel Green ... Gen. Wolseley
Hugh Williams ... Lord Hartington
Ralph Michael ... Sir Charles Dilke
Douglas Wilmer ... Khalifa Abdullah
Edward Underdown ... Col. William Hicks
Peter Arne ... Maj. Kitchener
Alan Tilvern ... Awaan
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Michael Anthony ... Herbin (uncredited)
Roger Delgado ... (uncredited)

Leo Genn ... Narrator (uncredited)
Lisa Guiraut ... The Dancer (uncredited)
David Lawton ... Man (uncredited)
Ronald Leigh-Hunt ... Lord Northbrook (uncredited)
Alec Mango ... Bordeini Bey (uncredited)
George Pastell ... Giriagis Bey (uncredited)
Robert Rietty ... Various Roles (voice) (uncredited)
Jerome Willis ... Frank Power (uncredited)

Directed by
Basil Dearden 
Eliot Elisofon (introductory scenes)
Writing credits
Robert Ardrey (written by)

Produced by
Julian Blaustein .... producer
Original Music by
Frank Cordell 
Cinematography by
Edward Scaife (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Fergus McDonell 
Casting by
Weston Drury Jr. (uncredited)
Art Direction by
John Howell 
Set Decoration by
John Bodimeade (uncredited)
Makeup Department
Hilda Fox .... hair stylist
Bill Lodge .... makeup artist
Tom Smith .... makeup artist
Production Management
Basil Appleby .... unit manager
Frank Ernst .... unit manager
Charles Orme .... production supervisor
Nigel Wooll .... assistant unit manager (uncredited)
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Yakima Canutt .... second unit director
Bluey Hill .... assistant director
John Peverall .... assistant director
Terence A. Clegg .... second assistant director (uncredited)
Terry Marcel .... third assistant director (uncredited)
Bernard Williams .... second assistant director: second unit (uncredited)
Art Department
Pamela Cornell .... set dresser
Scott MacGregor .... associate art director
Ted Tester .... associate art director
Martin Atkinson .... draughtsman (uncredited)
Peggy Gick .... assistant art director (uncredited)
Brian Herbert .... assistant art director (uncredited)
Peter Wood .... scenic artist (uncredited)
Sound Department
Laurie Clarkson .... sound recordist
John Dennis .... sound recordist (as John S. Dennis)
Dino Di Campo .... sound editor
Gordon K. McCallum .... sound recordist
Bert Ross .... sound recordist
Tom Buchanan .... boom operator: second unit (uncredited)
Michael Hickey .... sound (uncredited)
Archie Ludski .... sound editor (uncredited)
Don Sharpe .... sound editor (uncredited)
Otto Snel .... sound re-recording mixer (uncredited)
Vivian Temple-Smith .... sound camera operator (uncredited)
Special Effects by
Richard Parker .... special effects
Visual Effects by
Cliff Culley .... special photographic effects
Ken Buckle .... stunts (uncredited)
Joe Canutt .... stunts (uncredited)
Tap Canutt .... stunts (uncredited)
Jack Cooper .... stunts (uncredited)
Joe Powell .... stunts (uncredited)
Nosher Powell .... stunts (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
Jack Atcheler .... camera operator
Ray Parslow .... camera operator
Gilberto Petrucci .... still photographer
Kelvin Pike .... camera operator
Jeff Seaholme .... camera operator
H.A.R. Thomson .... camera operator
Harry Waxman .... photographer: second unit
Ronald Anscombe .... assistant camera (uncredited)
Steve Claydon .... assistant camera (uncredited)
Harry Gillard .... still photographer (uncredited)
Norman Gryspeerdt .... photographer: second unit (uncredited)
Tony Spratling .... camera assistant (uncredited)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
John McCorry .... wardrobe supervisor
Music Department
Frank Cordell .... conductor
Other crew
Julian Blaustein .... presenter
Mary Bruce .... researcher
Eileen Head .... continuity
Kay Rawlings .... continuity
Robert Easton .... accent coach (uncredited)
Ala Gabry .... location wrangler (uncredited)
S.E. Sabbour .... special location consultant (uncredited)
Jilda Smith .... production secretary (uncredited)
Crew verified as complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
134 min | USA:128 min
Color (Technicolor)
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
70 mm 6-Track (Westrex Recording System)
Australia:G | Finland:K-12 | Netherlands:6 (DVD rating) | Singapore:PG | Sweden:11 | UK:U (original rating) | UK:PG (video rating: 122m) (1986) (cut) | USA:Approved (PCA #21216) | West Germany:12
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

Peter Arne is dubbed.See more »
Factual errors: Although Gordon and The Mahdi communicated by courier throughout the siege, they never actually met face-to-face.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 »
Movie Connections:


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50 out of 56 people found the following review useful.
An epic entertainment!, 23 July 2000

Heston essays one of his best roles as Charles "Chinese" Gordon, the patriot who thrives on challenge... Gordon becomes a national hero for his exploits in China and his ill-fated defense of Khartoum...

Gordon is a Christian with the Bible constantly under his arm... A national hero who abolished slavery in China... An honest man revered by the British, as well as by the foreigners... A martyr-warrior who ever truly loves the Sudan and cannot, under 'his' God, leave it to the misery and the sickness of which he once cured it...

Gladstone ((Ralph Richardson) decides not to send troops to the trouble area... Instead he will send General Gordon... Gladstone realizes if Gordon is sent to Khartoum and fails to prevent a massacre, it is he who will be blamed; not the Briish government... For heroes are supposed to perform miracles...

En route to Khartoum, Gordon discovers that most of Britain's allies and friends of his former exploits now support the mystic Mahdi... But when Gordon with Col. Stewart (Richard Johnson) finally reach Khartoum, the people give him a warm welcome... They feel their problems must soon be over now that Gordon Pasha has arrived...

Things, however, do not go as planned... Khartoum runs out of food... The Mahdi's men infiltrate the city... And Gordon seek a plan...

Lawrence Olivier is superb as the fanatical Arab leader, Muhammed Ahmed Al Mahdi, the Expected-One... His softly glowing black eyes never blink... His measured voice spreads holy terrors: "I have been instructed by the Lord Mohammed, Peace be upon Him, to worship in the Khartoum mosque. Therefore I must take Khartoum by the sword."

With outstanding color photography, exquisite sets and costumes, "Khartoum" has great moments:

- The bloody and brutal massacre of an entire army in a burning desert...

- The Gordon/Mahdi meeting... The only non-historic element of the film which, in fact, never took place - contributes enormously to the dramatic effect of the motion picture.

- The raid on the Mahdi's own supplies...

- The exodus of all foreigners and Europeans out of the city...

With an Oscar-Nominated script mounted on a grand scale, "Khartoum" is an epic entertainment, a fine and powerful motion picture...

The exploits, the single-handed capacity Gordon Pasha displayed again and again to control large groups of people quite unarmed and alone, is almost magical; quite scary, in fact...

Was the above review useful to you?
See more (53 total) »

Message Boards

Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for Khartoum (1966)
Recent Posts (updated daily)User
Glorification for someone who does not deserve it. Lacoby
AMAZING battle sequences!!! teejay6682
Any extras die during filming? RABerg66
Did anyone else laugh at Laurence Olivier's accent? de_niro_2001
Tries too hard to be the next Lawrence of Arabia scheelj1
Frank Power powersroc
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