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Not Without My Daughter (1991)

PG-13 | | Drama, Thriller | 11 January 1991 (USA)
An American woman, trapped in Islamic Iran by her brutish husband, must find a way to escape with her daughter as well.



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2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Sheila Rosenthal ...
Sarah Badel ...
Mony Rey ...
Mary Nell Santacroce ...
Marc Gowan ...
Bruce Evers ...
Jonathan Cherchi ...
Soudabeh Farrokhnia ...
Michael Morim ...


"Moody" is an Iranian doctor living in America with his American wife Betty and their child Mahtob. Wanting to see his homeland again, he convinces his wife to take a short holiday there with him and Mahtob. Betty is reluctant, as Iran is not a pleasant place, especially if you are American and female. Upon arrival in Iran, it appears that her worst fears are realized: Moody declares that they will be living there from now on. Betty is determined to escape from Iran, but taking her daughter with her presents a larger problem. Written by Murray Chapman <muzzle@cs.uq.oz.au>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


In 1984, Betty Mahmoody's husband took his wife and daughter to meet his family in Iran. He swore they would be safe. They would be happy. They would be free to leave. He lied.


Drama | Thriller


PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:




Release Date:

11 January 1991 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Jamais sans ma fille  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$14,789,113 (USA)

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The real Mahtob appeared as an extra in a school scene. See more »


The way which Muslims pray in all of the praying scenes are wrong, and the opposite of Islamic rules. See more »


Betty Mahmoody: Have you become Muslim?
Ellen: Mm-hmm.
Betty Mahmoody: Did you convert?
Ellen: Well, I wanted to, I guess. My husband was happy I did. It made things a lot better.
[Ellen sees her husband waiting for her]
Ellen: Uh, I... I got to go.
Betty Mahmoody: Ellen, it's been so...
Ellen: No, really.
[Ellen runs to her husband]
See more »


Written by Mildred J. Hill & Patty S. Hill
Published by Warner/Chappell Music
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Good movie. Some quick comments about Farsi vs. Arabic.
24 October 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Many people on here have said that they were not speaking Farsi in this movie. Actually they were. Most of the actors were Israelis of Persian origin. Most of the dialogue in this movie was in Farsi, not in Arabic contrary to the claims made by many who have posted here. Even the non native speakers like Alfred Molina, etc muttered lines in Farsi, not in Arabic. In fact all throughout the movie you could see banners of Farsi hanging over the streets of Tehran, and graffiti saying "Marg Bar Amreekaa." This means "Death to America" in Farsi. None of this was Arabic.

How do you say "Death to America" in Arabic? "Al Mout Li Amreeka"....this line was not once uttered throughout the entire movie. And it never appeared on a single banner or graffiti message.

There was Farsi throughout the entire movie. Just for starters basic words or phrases like "Khoda Hafez" "Salaam", "Ashpazkhaneh" etc. etc.

Farsi is a very distinct language from Arabic. Very recognizable. Even if you didn't speak farsi you could easily distinguish it by ear from Arabic. Arabic is extremely loud and guttural. In contrast Farsi is much softer. The accents of these two separate languages are entirely different.

So to the many people who said they didn't speak Farsi in this movie, you are wrong. Its been a while since I have seen it, but as far as I can remember, the only Arabic used was in prayers over the loud speakers. And when the family was performing morning prayers, they did speak Arabic, but it was ironically even in Persian accent. But this is normal. Iranians always pray in Arabic, the language of the Holy Quran. The movie was absolutely right about this.

This movie was filled with Persian culture. Even the names of the foods were Persian, not Arabic.

And remember some of the names of the characters? Ameh Bozorg, Baba Hajji, Miss Alavi, Khanum Shaheen, Aga Hakim...etc. etc.

These are literally Persian names and titles. Very authentic.

So I am really clueless as to what people are talking about when they said they only spoke Arabic in this film. Clearly not true.

A note on Persian culture and language. There is no denying that Farsi is extremely arabized Persian. Farsi belongs to the Indo European language family but has thousands of Arabic loan words. Even the name "Farsi" itself is arabized. Its actually "Parsi" but the Arabs have no "P" sound, so its always been known as "Farsi".

So although Iranian culture and the Farsi language is quite distinct from Arab culture and is Persian in origin, there is no doubt that it is at least somewhat influenced by Arabic ways. Why do you think Farsi is written with the Arabic alphabet? Why is the main religion of Iran Islam? Obviously because of the impact Arabic expansion and culture had on Persia so many centuries ago.

Throughout the movie you also saw posters of Khamenei and Khomenei. Two Iranian totalitarian clerics. These men are not Arabs they are Persian.

There were so many references to Persian in this movie. Moody even said to Mahtob (another Persian name)...."You know, I was born in Persia."

So when people accuse the producers of this film of being ignorant about Iranian culture and Farsi language, you are quite mistaken. They did a very good job, especially with filming this in Israel. They could have easily botched this movie, but for the most part they didn't.

Also, some on here have said this movie is "racist." I beg to differ. This movie is based on a true story. The book is even more graphic. This movie actually sugar coated a lot of things.

And how could one be "racist" against Iranians? Since when has there been an "Iranian race" or a "middle eastern race"? Thats like saying there is an "American race" or "North American race" or something. It doesn't make sense.

But anyway, this is a great movie. Very informative about the current oppressive regime in Iran. The Shah was bad, and unfortunately America supported him. But the current Islamic theocracy is far worse. They hang little girls from cranes in public.

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