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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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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 2,162 users  
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 <>

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?


The title "West Beyrouth" has the first word "West" in English, and the spelling of the second word "Beyrouth" in French. The director said that it's an allegory to the trilingual cultrue existing in Lebanon: Arabic being the native language, and French and English being the 2 other quintessential languages spoken there. See more »


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 »


References Bullitt (1968) See more »


Ya doray Shami
Performed by les Musiciens du Nil
See more »

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User Reviews

13 May 2006 | by (Lebanon) – See all my reviews

i have seen this movie, and i am a Lebanese. this movie is an alienation of history and is in no way related to the historical course that the Lebanese war took. it is not recommended to build a view of the Lebanese war, based on this movie. it describes the beginning of the war in a unilateral point of view and is one-sided. too bad the director couldn't make a better movie with the good plot he had. more historical reviews and interviewing many still-alive witnesses would have helped. the Lebanese haven't yet produced a movie about the war that meets their expectations, and the mere fact that the issue of the war is not yet solved amongst different communities make sit difficult to produce a movie about it now.

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