8.4/10
11,339
56 user 24 critic

Lion of the Desert (1980)

In the Fascist Italy Pre-World War II of Benito Mussolini, the cruel General Rodolfo Graziani is directly assigned by Il Duce to fight in the colonial war in Libya to vanquish the Arab ... See full summary »

Director:

Writers:

(additional material), | 1 more credit »
Reviews

Watch Now

From $3.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

ON DISC
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

The Message (1976)
Adventure | Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

This epic historical drama chronicles the life and times of Muhammad and serves as an introduction to early Islamic history.

Director: Moustapha Akkad
Stars: Anthony Quinn, Irene Papas, Michael Ansara
Al-risâlah (1976)
Adventure | Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.8/10 X  

The story of prophet "Muhammad" and the delivery of the message of God "Allah."

Director: Moustapha Akkad
Stars: Abdallah Gheith, Mouna Wasef, Hamdy Gheith
Farouk Omar (TV Series 2012)
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 9/10 X  

The life of Umar Ibn Al-Khattab, the second Caliph of Islamic State, before and after he embraces in Islam.

Stars: Samer Ismail, Hazem Zedan, Ghassan Massoud
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Saladin, ruler of the kingdoms surrounding the Latin state of Jerusalem, is brought to attack the Christians in the Holy Land by the sacking of a convoy of Muslim pilgrims, a group which ... See full summary »

Director: Youssef Chahine
Stars: Ahmed Mazhar, Mohamed Abdel Gawad, Tawfik El Deken
Animation | Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

An account of the birth of Islam.

Director: Richard Rich
Stars: Nicholas Kadi, Richard Epcar, Eli Allem
Al-Zeer Salem (TV Series 2000)
Action | Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 9.1/10 X  

Its events on Zeer Salem, which sparked the 40 years war about the killing of his brother

Stars: Zuhair Abdlulkarim, Rafik Ali Ahmad, Abed Fahed
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
Colonel Sarsani
...
Prince Amadeo (as Sky Dumont)
...
Rodolfo Bigotti ...
Ismail
...
Eleonora Stathopoulou ...
Edit

Storyline

In the Fascist Italy Pre-World War II of Benito Mussolini, the cruel General Rodolfo Graziani is directly assigned by Il Duce to fight in the colonial war in Libya to vanquish the Arab nation. However, his troops are frequently defeated by the national leader Omar Mukhtar and his army of Bedouins. But the Butcher of Ethiopia and Libya uses a dirty war against the natives, slaughtering children, women and aged people, to subdue Mukhtar. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

libya | arab | mussolini | general | muslim | See All (48) »

Taglines:

A giant of a man against a general seeking glory...a spectacular adventure of arch enemies in battle.


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

16 May 1981 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Omar Mukhtar: Lion of the Desert  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$35,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (DVD)

Sound Mix:

Color:

| (archive footage)| (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Sir John Gielgud said in interviews when he arrived in the country that he received a hostile reception at the airport people heckling and splitting at him. See more »

Goofs

When Diodiece meets with Graziani and Prince Amadeo about starting peace talks, a map behind him, depicting the Horn of Africa, is inaccurate. The map clearly shows no borders between Ethiopia and the adjoining Italian colonies of Eritrea and Italian Somaliland, a situation that existed only after Ethiopia had been conquered by Italy and was united with the other two territories as the colony of Italian East Africa. However, this did not occur until 1936, and since the film takes place from 1929-1931, such a map could not possibly have existed at the time of the three men's meeting. See more »

Quotes

Omar Mukhtar: You can only do to me what God decides for me.
See more »

Connections

Featured in The Making of Lion of the Desert (1981) See more »

Soundtracks

Marcia Reale
(uncredited)
Music by Giuseppe Gabetti
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
The late, great Anthonny Quinn
19 July 2006 | by See all my reviews

Prelude to WWII. Omar Mukhtar, a brilliant Bedouin leader, wages war against oppressive Italian Fascist forces (led by the bloodthirsty General Graziani) in his native Lybia.

Director Moustapha Akkad (The Message) clearly learnt a few lessons from "Lawrence of Arabia", mainly how best to use the charismatic Anthony Quinn. As Mukhtar, Quinn gives a nuanced portrayal of compassion and wisdom. Whenever he features in a scene, it becomes impossible to tear one's eyes off the screen. Thankfully, Oliver Reed proves a magnificently cruel and seething counterpoint as General Graziani. Irene Papas provides strong supporting work and Rod Steiger turns in a delightful cameo as Benito Musslini.

Moustapha Akkad uses a solid structure and keeps it riveting throughout, extracting fine performances from all his actors and technical collaborators. Where "The Message" was impressive but cold (due to its invisible hero and reverence), "Lion in the Desert" has an emotional core and throws up scene after impressive scene. The desert battle scenes are incredibly messy and savage and have a sense of multiple individual action amid chaos, rather than elaborate choreography. This perfectly suits the theme of Bedouin guerrilla. Production values are considerable and Maurice Jarre provides one of his most underrated scores.

Some viewers will find qualms with the fact that, despite the coda that proclaims that Lybia managed to liberate itself, the country was then for long under the oppressive rule of Kadaffi. In truth, this little addition might have something to do with the fact that Kadaffi assisted in funding the film. If you can overlook this (not to difficult), you can appreciate the true focus: Mukhtar. This remains a beautiful film about a people's resistance.

"Lion in the Desert" is an important film, if only because it offers a very accessible (to Western audiences) Arab perspective. It is also impressively well made: an accomplished chapter in the era of great epics that flourished with David Lean's masterpieces and ended with Richard Attenbourgh's Gandhi.

See this!


23 of 26 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 56 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page