West Beirut (1998)
"West Beyrouth (À l'abri les enfants)" (original title)

PG-13  |   |  Comedy, Drama, Romance  |  30 October 1998 (Norway)
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Reviews: 49 user | 10 critic

In April, 1975, civil war breaks out; Beirut is partitioned along a Moslem-Christian line. Tarek is in high school, making Super 8 movies with his friend, Omar. At first the war is a lark: ... See full summary »



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Credited cast:
Rami Doueiri ...
Tarek Noueri
Naamar Sahli
Mohamad Chamas ...
Omar (as Mouhidine Guerra)
Rola Al Amin ...
May (as Rolande Amin)
Carmen Lebbos ...
Hala Noueri - Tarek's mother (as Carmen Loubbos)
Joseph Bou Nassar ...
Riad Noueri - Tarek' father (as Joseph Nassar)
Liliane Nemri ...
Neighbor (as Liliane Nemry)
Leïla Karam ...
Oum Walid - the madame (as Leila Karam)
Mahmoud Mabsout ...
Hassan - the baker
Hassan Farhat ...
Roadblock Militiaman
Fadi Abou Khalil ...
Bakery Militiaman (as Fadi Abi Samra)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Abla Khoury


In April, 1975, civil war breaks out; Beirut is partitioned along a Moslem-Christian line. Tarek is in high school, making Super 8 movies with his friend, Omar. At first the war is a lark: school has closed, the violence is fascinating, getting from West to East is a game. His mother wants to leave; his father refuses. Tarek spends time with May, a Christian, orphaned and living in his building. By accident, Tarek goes to an infamous brothel in the war-torn Olive Quarter, meeting its legendary madam, Oum Walid. He then takes Omar and May there using her underwear as a white flag for safe passage. Family tensions rise. As he comes of age, the war moves inexorably from adventure to tragedy. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Drama | Romance | War


PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:




| | |



Release Date:

30 October 1998 (Norway)  »

Also Known As:

West Beirut  »

Filming Locations:

Box Office


$800,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$27,157 (USA) (3 September 1999)


$343,229 (USA) (22 September 2000)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (Buenos Aires Festival Internacional de Cine Independiente)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Composer Stewart Copeland spent many of his formative years growing up in the titular city when his father - who worked for the CIA - was stationed there. See more »


On 13 April 1975, while class is in session, Tarek watches the ambush of the bus from the balcony of his school in Christian-dominated East Beirut. 13 April 1975 was a Sunday. Schools in East Beirut are closed on Sundays. See more »


References Escape from Hell (1963) See more »


Rock Your Baby
Written by Harry Wayne Casey, Richard Finch
Performed by George MacCrae
See more »

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User Reviews

A slice of Beirut life with no clear purpose or direction.
27 May 2001 | by (Orange County, CA USA) – See all my reviews

"West Beirut" is a plotless, non-story, non-documentary, meandering slice-of-life flick about a teenage boy's life in the early days of the Lebanese civil war when Beirut became divided into East and West. Although the film examines Beirut civilian life under the pall of war, it doesn't deal with any specific issue sufficiently to give it purpose. It's not particularly entertaining, evocative, or compelling; does not chronicle events well; is a poor study in history; and is void of romance, mayhem, comedy, suspense, or any of the things which people go to movies to see. "West Beirut" has the "feel" of a make-it-up-as-you-go low budget journeyman drama. Recommended only for those with special interest in Lebanon.

10 of 16 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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