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Sahara (2005)

PG-13  |   |  Action, Adventure, Comedy  |  8 April 2005 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.0/10 from 73,817 users   Metascore: 41/100
Reviews: 460 user | 161 critic | 33 from

Master explorer Dirk Pitt goes on the adventure of a lifetime of seeking out a lost Civil War battleship known as the "Ship of Death" in the deserts of West Africa while helping a WHO doctor being hounded by a ruthless dictator.



(novel), (screenplay), 3 more credits »
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Master explorer and former US Navy Seal Dirk Pitt and his wisecracking buddy Al Giordino goes on the adventure of a lifetime of seeking out a lost Civil War ironclad battleship known as the "Ship of Death" that protects a secret cargo is lost somewhere in the deserts of West Africa. But while the two cross paths with a beautiful and brilliant U.N. scientist Dr. Eva Rojas who is being hounded by a ruthless dictator. She believes that the hidden treasure may be connected to a larger problem that threatens the world around them. Hunting for a ship that no one else thinks exists, Dirk, Al, and Eva must rely on their wits and their daring heroics to outsmart dangerous warlords, survive the threatening terrain, and get to the bottom of both mysteries. Written by Anthony Pereyra {}

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Adventure has a new destination. See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for action violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:




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Release Date:

8 April 2005 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Сахара  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$130,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£1,370,577 (UK) (8 April 2005)


$68,642,452 (USA) (29 July 2005)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Breck Eisner:  [Falling, swooping objects]  This occurs several times throughout the film - during the well scene with Eva Rojas's chemical flare and her associate's hat, as well as the helicopter landing pad light during the fistfight atop Massarde's solar energy plant. See more »


When the M3 emerges to fire on the advancing German troops there are only 2 crew members on board. One is driving the tank while the other acts as gunner. First the 75mm gun in the sponson fires, followed a short time later by the 37mm gun in the turret. This firing sequence would be impossible with only 2 men on board as the gunners stations for the 2 guns are, if not widely separated, difficult to traverse between them. Also, the 37mm gun would not be used against personnel as the 37mm M3/M5 gun was a dedicated anti-tank gun which had no HE [high explosive] capability thus rendering it virtually useless against personnel. See more »


[first lines]
Sailor Who Drops Gold: Sorry, captain.
Pilot, Ironclad: It's all right son, just keep moving. That's the future in your hands.
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Crazy Credits

A Clive Cussler Dirk Pitt Adventure See more »


Featured in Best! Movies! Ever!: Chases (2007) See more »


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User Reviews

Highly Enjoyable
1 March 2005 | by (Philadelphia) – See all my reviews

I just saw this movie at the Philadelphia screening, and I'm going to agree with the 8 star rating it has garnered so far. We all know the formula for this sort of movie, and yes, Sahara does follow the formula pretty closely, but it's enjoyable nonetheless.

It's an action movie, if that wasn't entirely clear. Simply put, if you like action movies, see this movie. If you don't, don't. The film follows our hero – ex-marine treasure hunter Dirk Pitt – and his friends through Africa as they uncover evil plots, fight bad guys, and search for treasure. While there aren't any surprising twists in the plot, I do admit that it was not completely predictable. The plot has enough originality in it to keep you watching. True to it's genre, the plot delivers plenty of action. It's not to stylized (Matrix) or epic (Lord of the Rings) but it won't let you down. The ending is just about as slam-bang as you'd expect, I'm sure you'll enjoy it.

Dirk Pitt is played by Matthew McConaughey, who happened to speak before the movie was shown. Apparently he'd been involved in the movie as more than just an actor – he is one of the executive producers, a role he takes seriously (he said he'd had the opportunity to produce other films but turned them down, not wanting to get involved in something unless he was really going to commit to actually working on it). McConaughey said that he'd been trying to get the role for seven years, and is quite pleased with the result. When asked if he planned to produce future movies, he gave a definitive "yes". He also hinted at the possibility of a sequel, if this movie does well, noting that there are sixteen more books by the author this script was based on.

McConaughey plays Pitt well. It's a pretty standard action-hero role. McConaughey's performance isn't particularly ground-breaking, but he throws the punches and delivers the lines with appropriate demeanor. My only complaint would be that he is a little too cool at times, given the stressful situations... but then again this movie wasn't made for realism. Al Giordino is Dirk's more technically minded buddy and co-adventurer. They've been friends since kindergarten, how sweet. Oh and you guessed it. Al is our comic-relief guy. Al is played by Steve Zahn, who delivers the comic relief character in a manner slightly less cliché than I was expecting. It just works a little better because he really does come off naturally as Dirk's long time friend, as opposed to some wise-ass who's just here for the ride. The chemistry between McConaughey and Zahn is very effective, as the previous reviewer pointed out. They really do appear more as two guys trying to get something done as opposed a hero and a side-kick. Also worth mentioning is Rainn Wilson who plays Rudi. Rudi is basically another comic-relief guy who has much less screen time then Zahn, but Wilson did a nice job. William H. Macy plays the commander type character, Dirks boss. Not Macy's best job in my opinion, it was a bit stilted – but with some funny moments. Lambert Wilson, of Matrix fame (The Merovingian) stars as well. I was a little disappointed to see him early on in the film, cause it was one of those moments where I just knew that he was going to turn out to be a bad guy. He does pretty well, although he seems to be doing just a slightly toned-down version of the Merovingian here. Ah, and let's not forget Penélope Cruz. Our heroine, the W.H.O. doctor, does just fine in her role. One thing I have to say is that the inevitable hero / heroine romance is very effectively down-played. In fact, there really isn't too much romance in this film at all.

On the technical end of things, Sahara does fine. There aren't too many overwhelming special effects, but the effects there are come off completely realistically. The movie is shot beautifully, although it seemed like the entire thing was shot with extremely long lenses. I was glad to have my depth perception back at the end of the movie. The vistas of Morocco are quite nice, and there are some nice scenes in modern day African cities and towns that pick up quite nicely on camera. I got excited when I saw Clint Mansell's name in the opening credits as the music composer (he brought us the fabulous Requiem for a Dream piece, probably my favorite soundtrack song). In the end, the music wasn't much to talk about. The orchestral pieces were pretty bland (sorry Clint), and there were occasional bits of popular music that I found to be out of place (the inclusion of "Sweet Home Alabama" is particularly offensive in this regard, it's been in so many soundtracks, it even has it's own movie). There is some quite decent African music which is enjoyable.

The rating of PG-13 is appropriate. There is no nudity or anything, no serious profanities that I can remember, and the action is not gory or too bloody.

All in all, it's a fun movie. If you need heart-rending drama and a complex psychological plot, than you will probably not agree with my 8 star rating. This movie isn't going to win any awards, and will not become a favorite of serious film aficionados, but if you want to go out to the theater on a Saturday night with a bunch of friends, this will be one movie you can all agree on.

179 of 270 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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What makes this movie bad? catbuddy91
A competent sidekick Ostrich25
Seriously? insaneguitar
I liked Sahara and it has made me want to read the books... thadcastle
I like it. huwdj
ZULU! M_Valdemar
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