7.8/10
2,361
50 user 10 critic

West Beirut (1998)

West Beyrouth (À l'abri les enfants) (original title)
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 »

Director:

Writer:

Reviews
8 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

In the wake of Israel's 2006 bombardment of Lebanon, a determined woman finds her way into the country convincing a taxi cab driver to take a risky journey around the scarred region in search of her sister and her son.

Director: Philippe Aractingi
Stars: Nada Abou Farhat, Georges Khabbaz, Rawia Elchab
Bosta (2005)
Musical | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Fifteen years after a traumatic explosion in his native Beirut, Kamal Maf'ouss returns from France, where he was nationalized and become a composer-choreographer. He reassembles youth ... See full summary »

Director: Philippe Aractingi
Stars: Rodney El Haddad, Nadine Labaki, Nada Abou Farhat
Rsasa taycheh (2010)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Noha is about to get married. Her family is relieved to see her take advantage of this last chance before officially becoming a spinster just like her sister. Everything seems to be going ... See full summary »

Director: Georges Hachem
Stars: Badih Bouchakra, Takla Chamoun, Nadine Labaki
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A group of Lebanese women try to ease religious tensions between Christians and Muslims in their village.

Director: Nadine Labaki
Stars: Claude Baz Moussawbaa, Nadine Labaki, Yvonne Maalouf
Caramel (2007)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A romantic comedy centered on the daily lives of five Lebanese women living in Beirut.

Director: Nadine Labaki
Stars: Nadine Labaki, Joanna Moukarzel, Gisèle Aouad
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

Intending to smuggle drugs across the borders, a small-time Lebanese drug-dealer slyly manipulates public opinion with the help of an underrated filmmaker.

Director: Mir-Jean Bou Chaaya
Stars: Alain Saadeh, Fouad Yammine, Wissam Fares
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A romantic drama about a working-class woman and her experiences traveling back home.

Director: Annemarie Jacir
Stars: Suheir Hammad, Saleh Bakri, Riyad Ideis
The Attack (2012)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

An Arab surgeon living in Tel Aviv discovers a dark secret about his wife in the aftermath of a suicide bombing.

Director: Ziad Doueiri
Stars: Ali Suliman, Reymonde Amsallem, Evgenia Dodina
Beyrouth hôtel (TV Movie 2011)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

One evening, a married young singer Zoha meets the French lawyer Mathieu in a night club in Beirut. Mathieu will become suspected of spying, while Zoha is trying to flee from her husband. ... See full summary »

Director: Danielle Arbid
Stars: Charles Berling, Darine Hamze, Fadi Abi Samra
Zozo (2005)
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A Lebanese boy gets separated from his family during the civil war and ends up in Sweden.

Director: Josef Fares
Stars: Imad Creidi, Antoinette Turk, Elias Gergi
Drama | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

About a Palestinian girl of 17 who wants to get married to the man of her own choosing. Rana wakes up one morning to an ultimatum delivered by her father: she must either choose a husband ... See full summary »

Director: Hany Abu-Assad
Stars: Clara Khoury, Khalifa Natour, Ismael Dabbag
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

As she grows up, Alia (the daughter of housemaid Khedija) learns the secrets of the peaceful palace where she and her mother live.

Director: Moufida Tlatli
Stars: Amel Hedhili, Najia Ouerghi, Hend Sabry
Edit

Cast

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
Edit

Storyline

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

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance | War

Certificate:

PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

| | |

Language:

|

Release Date:

30 October 1998 (Norway)  »

Also Known As:

West Beirut  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Budget:

$800,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

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

Gross:

$343,229 (USA) (22 September 2000)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (Buenos Aires Festival Internacional de Cine Independiente)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Goofs

In one scene when Tarek and Omar can't find May and sit down to talk, a Peugeot 505 appears in the background. Peugeot hadn't released their 505 model in 1975-76, the year at which the scene is supposed to happen. See more »

Connections

References Mushukunin-betsuchô (1963) See more »

Soundtracks

Bambi Saïdi
Performed by les Musiciens du Nil
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
What is your activation energy?
24 September 1999 | by (San Diego, California) – See all my reviews

I have seen this movie several times, the first time at a private screening in Los Angeles. It was a powerful experience shared by the many attendees that connected and understood this movie in a very special way. The roller coaster of emotions (sadness, laughter, anger, hope, despair, etc.) left me so exhausted I literally needed an energy bar afterwards.

There are a few things I MUST say about this movie. First, it is an excellent work overall, light with its humor, touching with its sincerity, striking with its honesty, and plain good looking and sounding (hats off to the awesome tracks by Stewart Copeland, the man is a genius). Second, this movie is not only a Herculean first effort for Director/Writer Ziad Doueiri (who had to seek funding and support from around the globe), but also the first respectable and universal Lebanese film to invade the world cinematic circuit. Third, the movie's inaccuracies are irrelevant especially to a worldwide audience that seeks entertainment and dramatic content; and this movie achieves both with adeptness. If you are a history buff and/or have zero tolerance for fiction and poetry (in pictures, words, and music) then this movie is not for you.

I wondered after the screening what it was that moved me to tears in West Beirut, and I could not remember one single moment. I later realized that this movie did for me (a Lebanese that grew up in the west part of Beirut during the war) what no other movie has done before it: tell OUR story. I felt like a released prisoner, like a person who regained the ability to speak after years of silence, like....you get the idea. The sad thing is that very few in the Western hemisphere either really cared or understood the Lebanese people or their war experience, but this movie opens a big door and sheds a great light into one of the many dark corners of this Middle Eastern region.

For the "universal" emigrant (whether Lebanese or Bosnian or Kosovar)this movie is a must see; it offer a lifeline to those with a past that is both lamented and cherished. As to the rest of you out there, this movie is not only highly entertaining, but also a refreshing and necessary look at a people and area of the world that have been unfortunately misunderstood and maligned for years. So kill your TV for one night and activate your energy to go see this movie, you will not regret it.

Ziad and West Beirut deserve big applause and respect for what they have achieved. They have broken barriers (how many Lebanese movies have you seen lately?), taboos ("In the West we are called camel jockeys"), and Western perceptions of the Lebanese in general. I frankly can't wait to see the fruits of Ziad's next film. Hurry man, We need the fix!


6 of 9 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Ending lou131
Guitar piece in movie? transl-me
Question about Movie Similar to This CutUrHairHippie
Idiot kids tosha-2
escape from hell laimisas
Favorite Character wsemaan07
Discuss West Beirut (1998) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?