IMDb > Khartoum (1966)
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Khartoum (1966) More at IMDbPro »

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 »
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. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Nominated for Oscar. Another 2 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
Breathtaking movie with two exceptional actors : Charlton Heston and Laurence Olivier See more (54 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
Nick Allder .... special effects: second unit (uncredited)
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)
Argentina:13 | 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?

Burt Lancaster turned down the role of Major General Gordon.See more »
Factual errors: Although Gordon and The Mahdi communicated by courier throughout the siege, they never actually met face-to-face.See more »
Gen. Charles 'Chinese' Gordon:[patting his camel in goodbye] So we ride beneath no more desert stars, then. Ah, all things must end.See more »
Movie Connections:


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16 out of 18 people found the following review useful.
Breathtaking movie with two exceptional actors : Charlton Heston and Laurence Olivier, 11 May 2005
Author: ma-cortes from Santander Spain

The film is rightly based on historic deeds though was criticized for neglecting to mention the many very good reasons why Prime Minister Gladstone was reluctant to send an army into the Sudan . The Major General Gordon (Charlton Heston , but Burt Lancaster turned down the role) who participated in Crimea war (1854-56) and vanquished the Taeping's riots in China is assigned by Gladstone (Prime Minister and leader of Liberal party who along with Disraeli -Tory leader- forged the colonial empire) stifle Sudan's rebellious tribes ruled by the Mahdi (Laurence Olivier), nicknamed the ¨expected one¨ . Gordon had been governor of Khartoum for five years and he will have to dominate them but is besieged by the Arabs tribes in 1884 . Major Gordon (the real General was only 5 feet 5 inches tall) made a heroic defense during ten months . The expedition of help commanded by Lord Wolsey and the famous Kitchener (who soon after he'd finish Anglo-Boer war and created the first concentration camp) would arrive late .

The picture has extraordinary interpretations from main actors . Charlton Heston as the thoughtful and impulsive general is top-notch and Laurence Olivier as the fanatic Muslim is awesome . The support cast is equally outstanding , thus : Ralph Richardson (as Gladstone), Nigel Green (Wolsey) , Peter Arne (Kitchener) , among others . Colorful and shimmer cinematography by Edward Scaife is magnificent like is well reflected in desert landscapes ; it was shot in Ultra Panavision , though was later reduced for exhibition in 70mm and 35mm release prints and it was originally exhibited in Cinerama venues . Production design is overwhelming , it's the best part of the film . Battles staged by Yakima Canutt are spellbound and spectacular . Frank Cordell's musical score is rousing and impressively adjusted to historical film . The motion picture was perfectly directed by Basil Dearden , though Lewis Gilbert was attached as director at one point . The yarn will appeal to historic epic buffs and Charlton Heston fans . Rating : Very Good . Above average, well worth watching .

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Message Boards

Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for Khartoum (1966)
Recent Posts (updated daily)User
Any extras die during filming? RABerg66
Beautiful Score by Frank Cordell Gordon_123
Did anyone else laugh at Laurence Olivier's accent? de_niro_2001
Trivia item NOT CORRECT xzcgb
Glorification for someone who does not deserve it. Lacoby
AMAZING battle sequences!!! teejay6682
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