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The Sheltering Sky (1990)

R  |   |  Adventure, Drama, Romance  |  12 December 1990 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 8,181 users  
Reviews: 69 user | 31 critic

The American artist couple Port and Kit Moresby travel aimlessly through Africa, searching for new experiences that could give sense to their relationship. But the flight to distant regions only leads both deeper into despair.


(book), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Won 1 Golden Globe. Another 8 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Kit Moresby
Port Moresby
George Tunner
Jill Bennett ...
Mrs. Lyle
Eric Lyle
Eric Vu-An ...
Amina Annabi ...
Philippe Morier-Genoud ...
Captain Broussard
Sotigui Kouyaté ...
Abdelkader (as Sotigui Kouyate)
Tom Novembre ...
French Immigration Officer
Ben Smaïl ...
Smail (as Ben Smail)
Kamel Cherif ...
Ticket Seller
Mohammed Afifi ...
Mohamed (as Afifi Mohamed)
Brahim Oubana ...
Young Arab
Carolyn De Fonseca ...
Miss Ferry (as Carolyn de Fonseca)


The American artist couple Port and Kit Moresby travels aimless through Africa, searching for new experiences that could give new sense to their relationship. But the flight to distant regions leads both only deeper into despair. Written by Thomas Manhardt <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A woman's dangerous and erotic journey...


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






| |

Release Date:

12 December 1990 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Refugio para el amor  »

Box Office


$25,000,000 (estimated)


$2,075,084 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(35 mm prints)| (70 mm prints)


(archive footage)| (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Writer Jane Bowles (nee Jane Sydney Auer), wife of source novelist Paul Bowles, inspired the character of Kit Moresby portrayed by Debra Winger. See more »


During the final sequence, when Kit is back to the Grand Hotel and she is waiting in the car, she is wearing white shoes. But just after, when she escapes and is walking in the streets, she is using brown sandals. See more »


[first lines]
Port Moresby: Well, terra firma.
Tunner: We're probably the first tourists they've had since the war.
Kit Moresby: Tunner, we're not tourists. We're travelers.
Tunner: Oh. What's the difference?
Port Moresby: A tourist is someone who thinks about going home the moment they arrive, Tunner.
Kit Moresby: Whereas a traveler might not come back at all.
Tunner: You mean *I'm* a tourist.
Kit Moresby: Yes, Tunner. And I'm half and half.
See more »


Referenced in Jeopardy!: Episode #22.61 (2005) See more »


Sharan Liwahdi
Written by Ahmed Rami and Riad Al Sunbati (as Riad el Soumbati)
Performed by Om Koultoum as (Om Kalsoum)
See more »

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User Reviews

Read the book
27 April 2004 | by (Rotterdam, The Netherlands) – See all my reviews

This is one of my all time favorite movies. But... and this is a major but... at least part of my appreciation stems from the fact that I watched it several times and that I've also read the book (by Paul Bowles) two or three times. So both works of art (since the book is most definitely a work of great art) tend to blend together in my mind.

I started by watching the movie though, without any previous knowledge on the novel, nor on Paul Bowles. I was impressed by the powerful imagery (theater! not dvd) and chilled by psychological the harshness of the plot. I was charmed the first time I saw the film but I fell in love when I saw it a second time, which was after I'd read the novel. Maybe this means that the film doesn't 'make it on its own', but to me that's not a problem. And if you are, like me, gripped by the movie I can really recommend the novel for more 'in depth' .

Some people here seem to think that there's no plot or just a very thin one. I disagree. It's not directly on the surface though. You'll have to concentrate and pay attention to dig it up. If you don't like that or feel that a movie should just willingly present itself to you, than this is not your movie.

45 of 61 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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