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O Jerusalem (2006)

R  |   |  Drama  |  18 October 2006 (France)
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Ratings: 6.2/10 from 720 users   Metascore: 39/100
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A tale of friendship between two men, one Jewish and the other Arab, as the state of Israel is being created.


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Bobby Goldman
Saïd Chahine
Maria Papas ...
David Levin
Cathy (as Mhairi Steenbock)
Sir Cunningham
Shirel ...
Abdel Khader
Major Tell
Amin Chahine


A tale of friendship between two men, one Jewish and the other Arab, as the state of Israel is being created.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The historic struggle for Jerusalem and the birth of Israel.



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some war scenes | See all certifications »


Official Sites:


| | | | |


| |

Release Date:

18 October 2006 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Beyond Friendship  »

Box Office


$24,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$31,165 (USA) (19 October 2007)


$233,520 (USA) (30 November 2007)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

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User Reviews

An English version must exist, since the French dialog sounds like it is dubbed over English
25 May 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

O Jerusalem is certainly a good step in the right direction. It does not claim to be a historically pin-point accurate epic, but it does cover most of the salient events of that period in history.

I have personally known Abdelqader Al-Husseini, and Major – later Colonel – Abdallah Al-Tal. The first was the son of one of the top aristocratic families in Jerusalem, and the second hails from a large tribe in the area of Irbid in what is known today as Jordan. As the film shows, Husseini was let down by the Arab League and was killed in action during the Qastal operation. That corresponds to the facts. When Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre wrote their book bearing the same name as the film, they interviewed Husseini's sons. One of whom was Faysal Husseini of Orient House fame, and who died of a heart attack a few years ago.

Major Tal's intervention during the fighting in Jerusalem was not sanctioned by the British Chief of Staff of the Arab Legion (i.e. the Jordanian Army), General Glubb Pasha, and only hesitantly if at all by King Abdullah. The latter was already pursuing secret negotiations with Golda Meir and Moshe Sharett about getting a piece of Palestine for himself (An act of high treason at that time, at least as far as the Palestinians were concerned). Major Tal's personal military initiative in Jerusalem secured the eastern part of the city for King Abdullah, but also for the Palestinians, until the 1967 Six Day war. But Abdullah became jealous because of Al-Tal's popularity and accused him of trying to seize power in Jordan in order to annex it to Syria (pretty disingenuous!) Al-Tal spent the next twenty years or so as a political refugee in Egypt. To check what Major Tal said during the encounter between him and the Haganah leaders (Moshe Dayan), interested individuals can read Dayan's and Al-Tal's memoirs (probably translated from Arabic by the IDF, and/or possibly by one of the Pentagon many agencies.

The film perpetuates a line that has been discredited by historians on all sides, namely purporting that the "Arab governments asked the Palestinians to abandon their homes and leave their country so that the Arab armies could fight the "Jews" with ease". Nobody did call, and nobody would have responded to such a call. But Egypt and Jordan took every possible measure to prevent the Palestinians from acquiring weapons, and non-Palestinian volunteers were not encouraged to participate in the fighting.

What is never clarified about the Palestinian-Israeli question, including by the Palestinians themselves, is that they did not rise against the Jewish Arab community that had lived among them for millenia, not even the few Europeans who had settled there during the Ottoman Empire. When, in the latter part of the 1920s and on, a new breed of mainly Eastern European Jewish immigrants escaping the horrors in Europe had started arriving into the country essentially with British help, and with the intent of creating a Jewish-only state; the only way for them to achieve that of course was by force. Nobody can fault anyone for resorting to force to oppose that predicament.

I saw the DVD only yesterday in French, though it was obvious that the actors were speaking English, and the French was dubbed over it. I am looking for an English version if such exists. As for the change of title from "Beyond Friendship", which was probably going to appear in English, it is quite possible, though I cannot swear to it, that pressure was put on the distributors to avoid marketing the film in the USA. But then many of the actors are French.

Some of the text titles translated into Arabic, and the name of a street or two in Jerusalem were not accurately translated or properly spelled in the film.

Elie Chouraqui may be related to the famous André Chouraqui, who translated the Qoran into French, i.e. they should have a good understanding of the Arabic language and culture.

All in all, the film could be a good discussion topic for both sides, to give events their proper names and historic dimensions in search for mutual accommodation. That is of course if they are willing and able to undertake this necessary exercise for the sake of their sanity, the future of their children and world peace. Otherwise they have no other choice! If you prefer, you may comment on my review in French.

22 of 34 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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