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FAQ for
Mongol: The Rise of Genghis Khan (2007) More at IMDbPro »Mongol (original title)

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The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags have been used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.

For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs, and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for Mongol can be found here.

No. Mongol was written for the screen by Russian writers Arif Aliev and Sergey Bodrov. In 1992, Bodrov came across The Legend of the Black Arrow, a book about Genghis Khan and the Mongols, written by famed Russian historian Lev Gumilev. It was this book which inspired Bodrov to make the film, and to begin further research into the subject matter. Bodrov's research soon led him to The Secret History of the Mongols, which was anonymously written in the thirteenth century shortly after Temudgin (Genghis Khan's birth name) died in 1227. Secret History is an epic poem which deals with Temudgin's formative years and is the only surviving historical document from the period of his life. As sketchy as the document is (eg there are huge gaps in the timeline), Bodrov used it as both a literary work and a historical reference piece.

Yes, albeit heavily accented with other language sounds. The only actor speaking true Mongolian is Khulan Chuluun, who plays the part of Brte. The actor playing the grown-up Temudgin (Tadanobu Asano) is Japanese. The other actors are of various nationalities, with many, such as Honglei Sun (Jamukha), being Chinese.

After Temudgin's father, Esugei (Ba Sen Zha Bu), dies, Temudgin (played at this stage by Odnyam Odsuren) is next in line to be Khan (Ruler) of his tribe. Before Temudgin can assume his position however, a high-ranking lieutenant called Targutai (Amadu Mamadakov) wishes to be Khan himself and so usurps Temudgin's position and vows to kill the young boy. However, he is unable to so immediately, because ancient Mongol custom states that a person must be of a certain height before he can be executed (so as to ensure that nobody too young was killed). Targutai decides to wait until Temudgin is tall enough, and as such, he ties him up and ensures he is fed. However, whilst Targutai is waiting, Temudgin is able to escape. He is recaptured some time later by Targutai, but much to Targutai's annoyance, Temudgin is still not tall enough. Temudgin then escapes a second time, and this time, Targutai is unable to apprehend him.

This is never explained in the film, but it is implied that it is with the aid of the Turkic god Tengri. Temudgin is seen praying at a place of worship, still in the shackles. A wolf appears above him, and it is intimated that the wolf is Tengri in physical form. When the film cuts back to Temudgin, the shackles have somehow been removed, and the implication is that Tengri was responsible for it. This kind of divine intervention in Temudgin's life is in keeping with Mongol mythology, which represents Temudgin as someone preordained to be a great leader, and from the moment of his birth, having the favor of the gods. For example, according to Secret History, Temudgin was born with a blood clot in his fist, a sign that he was destined to be a great leader of his people.

There is some debate about this issue. The film provides no conclusive answers one way or the other. His son, Juchi (Ba Ti), is born some time after Temudgin has rescued Brte from the Merkits. When Temudgin finds Brte in the Merkit camp, he sees that she is pregnant, and he lays his hand on her stomach, telling Jamukha, "This is my son," to which Jamukha knowingly responds "I see". The implication here is that although Temudgin is not the biological father of the child, he will raise it as his own. Interestingly, in real life, there were also questions regarding Juchi's parentage. Juchi was born approximately nine months after Brte was freed from the Merkits, making it highly possible that Juchi was not Temudgin's blood-child. Indeed, in later years, this became a problem for Juchi's descendents, who were never considered true successors of Temudgin's heritage.

As regards Temudgin's daughter, Mungun (Li Jia Qi), the film is even more ambivalent than it is with Juchi. There is a slight indication that Mungun may be the daughter of the caravan leader, as Brte tells him that in return for passage in his caravan, she will pay him with sexual favors. Then, later, when Brte has freed Temudgin from Tangut Prison, and he meets Mungun for the first time, he asks Brte her name. Having said that of course, not knowing Mungun's name is not clear evidence one way or the other as to her parentage. Whether or not he is her father would have nothing to do with knowing or not knowing her name, and as such, Mungun's true parentage remains wholly ambiguous.

The morning after Temudgin and Jamukha have rescued Brte from the Merkits, Temudgin wakes up beside Jamukha. He looks around, and then walks over to Brte, slipping in under the covers with her. Without turning to him, Brte then says, "You can't cook two rams' heads in one pot."

There are a number of theories as to the meaning of this phrase. Some fans argue that Brte is telling Temudgin that soon, he is going to have to choose between herself and Jamukha. She and Jamukha are the two heads, Temudgin is the pot, and she is telling him that he can't spend all his time with his brother, as she is also demanding of his attention, therefore Temudgin can't juggle both her and Jamukha at the same time.

A second theory is simply that Brte is telling Temudgin they cannot have sex, as she is already pregnant.

A third theory is that the two rams' heads are Temudgin and Jamukha. Both men are born leaders, with strong forceful personalities intent on their own individual ideology, and as such, Brte is warning Temudgin that his profitable relationship with Jamukha won't last, as no clan can have two leaders in perfect harmony. Sooner or later, they will clash. In this sense, the metaphor of the rams' heads is especially apt, as the implication is that Temudgin and Jamukha will continually butt heads over the issues of leadership. In support of this theory, the previous night, Jamukha invited Temudgin to stay with him permanently, to which Temudgin pointed out that he was used to being his own master. Jamukha invites Temudgin to be his second-in-command, an offer which clearly doesn't appeal to Temudgin. At this point, Temudgin and Brte then exchange a silent acknowledgement, suggesting that her comment regarding rams' heads is her putting into words what they both understood the previous night. It is also worth noting that there are several phrases in Turkish with similar meanings, such as "There won't be two melons with one han." and "Two acrobats cannot perform in one rope". These phrases support the theory that there will be problems in a clan with two leaders.

Many fans have found it strange that in the film, Temudgin goes from having only a small band of men to having a massive force of tens of thousands, without any indication of how he accrued such an army. After Temudgin escapes from Tangut Prison, he spends some time with his family, before heading to the shrine to pray to Tengri. At this point, the film cuts to 1196, just prior to the final battle between Temudgin and Jamukha, and Temudgin is shown as leading a huge and highly skilled army. The film, however, offers little in the way of explanation for how he managed to do obtain such support. In voice over, Temudgin says simply "Many warriors came under my banner. They knew I wanted to unite all Mongols, to make us strong." Earlier in the film, it is pointed out by one of Temudgin's men that because he fought so bravely in the first battle with Jamukha, and because he managed to save the families of the soldiers, his name will spread and become synonymous with honor and courage. Prior to this, after defeating the Merkits, two of Jamuhka's men join Temudgin's forces due to what they feel is a better deal from the leader. Presumably then, Temudgin uses his fame, charisma and reputation for fairness to his soldiers to gather a large force of men who support his ideals.

In reality, Temudgin created such a large force by initially uniting some of the smaller Mongolian tribes, whilst also refusing to harm civilians or children. He also gained a reputation for being extremely generous in how he distributed captured wealth after a successful conquest of a tribe. Upon defeating a particular tribe, Temudgin wouldn't drive the soldiers away so as to claim the land, he would allow the tribe to remain on the land and offer them his support if they agreed to join his cause. Over time, as more and more tribes came under his influence (some willingly, some not so), he amassed the vast army that is seen in the film.

What happens is simply that just prior to the battle beginning, a thunderstorm breaks out. All of the warriors on both sides of the conflict drop to their knees in fear. All except Temudgin and Jamukha. However, whilst Jamukha tries to rouse his men by shouting at them and threatening them, Temudgin simply allows his men to be inspired by his lack of fear, and as such, when they attack, they achieve an easy victory. It is pointed out early in the film by Esugei that all Mongols fear thunder; "Thunder means our God Tengri is angry. All Mongols are afraid of it." Later, after Jamukha has been defeated, he says the same thing, inquiring how Temudgin cannot be afraid of it when every single other Mongol is. At the start of the battle, Temudgin uses his lack of fear to his advantage, and when his men see him raise his sword into the sky without harm coming to him, they are inspired, obviously believing that Tengri is on their side, and so they attack. Of course, this plays into the divine aspect of Temudgin's life as seen earlier in relation to how he escaped the shackles, and the film does seem to imply that the thunderstorm is specifically sent by Tengri so as to facilitate Temudgin's victory.

No. In the film, Temudgin allows Jamukha to go free after capturing him in battle, which shocks both Temudgin's own men and Jamukha himself. In reality however, after he captured Jamukha, Temudgin asked him to join his cause. When Jamukha refused, Temudgin told him he would have to have him executed. Jamukha accepted this and asked only for a bloodless death. Temudgin agreed, and had his men break Jamuhka's back. It is said that as Jamukha was executed, Temudgin openly wept.

This is because the film depicts only his younger years. Temudgin only becomes Genghis Kahn at the very end of the movie, and as the closing legend makes clear, he didn't begin to conquer other lands until after he had united the Mongolian tribes.

The song is 'Khukh Tolboton' and is by Altan Urag, a Mongolian folk-rock band. The song is taken from their 2006 album Made in Altan Urag. The version played over the end credits of the film is slightly faster than the original version.

Originally that was the plan, but it now seems highly unlikely that there will be even one, let alone two sequels. Mongol was initially conceived as the first part of a trilogy which would cover Temudgin's entire life. However, after the difficulties experienced during the making of Mongol, writer/director Sergei Bodrov decided to abandon the trilogy and leave Mongol as a stand alone film. However, whilst doing promotional work for the film, Bodrov began to contemplate the possibility of doing not two sequels, but just one, combining his ideas for parts 2 and 3 into one film. As of April 2010, Bodrov was working on part 2, tentatively titled The Great Khan, which was expected to start filming later in 2010 with a budget of around $45 million. As of 26 December 2010, however, all production on The Great Khan had ceased, and as of July 2012, there are no plans to resurrect the project.

The R1 US DVD, released by New Line Home Video in 2008 contains only a downloadable digital copy of the film.

The R2 UK DVD, released by Universal Home Entertainment (UK) in 2008 contains the following special features

"The Making of Mongol" (a 26 minute making-of featurette)

UK theatrical trailer

Trailers for Black Water and Voces inocentes

Yes it is. Both the US edition and the UK edition, both released in 2010, are identical to their counterparts on DVD (ie the US edition contains only a downloadable digital copy, the UK edition contains a featurette and some trailers).


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