47 user 38 critic

The Lost Patrol (1934)

Passed | | Adventure, War | 16 February 1934 (USA)
A dozen British soldiers, lost in a Mesopotamian desert during World War I, are menaced by unseen Arab enemies.


John Ford


Dudley Nichols (screen play), Garrett Fort (adaptation) | 1 more credit »
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win. See more awards »




Complete credited cast:
Victor McLaglen ... The Sergeant
Boris Karloff ... Sanders
Wallace Ford ... Morelli
Reginald Denny ... Brown
J.M. Kerrigan ... Quincannon
Billy Bevan ... Hale
Alan Hale ... Cook
Brandon Hurst ... Bell
Douglas Walton ... Pearson
Sammy Stein ... Abelson
Howard Wilson Howard Wilson ... Aviator
Paul Hanson Paul Hanson ... MacKay


A World War I British Army patrol is crossing the Mesopotomian desert when their commanding officer, the only one who knows their destination is killed by the bullet of unseen bandits. The patrol's sergeant keeps them heading north on the assumption that they will hit their brigade. They stop for the night at an oasis and awake the next morning to find their horses stolen, their sentry dead, the oasis surrounded and survival difficult. Written by Erik Gregersen <erik@astro.as.utexas.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


TWELVE MEN, lost to the world, lost to themselves and to the women they loved. They dared to laugh as death stalked just ahead! (Print Ad- Bend Bulletin, ((Bend, Ore.)) 5 April 1934) See more »


Adventure | War


Passed | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Victor McLaglen, who plays The Sergeant, is the brother of Cyril McLaglen, who played The Sergeant in the earlier (Lost Patrol (1929)_) version of this film. See more »


Abelson says he is sweating more at night than during the day, but it is still sunny with vivid shadows. See more »


Sanders: Brown, you're a gentleman! You've got breeding! You must have faith!
Brown: Why?
Sanders: Why? Why in Heaven's name, man, what do you believe in?
Brown: Would it really interest you? Oh, a lot of things. A good horse, steak and kidney pudding, a fellow named George Brown, the asinine futility of this war, being frightened, being drunk enough to be brave and brave enough to be drunk, the feel of the sea when you swim, the taste and strength of wine, the loveliness of women, the splendid, unspeakable joy of killing Arabs,...
See more »

Alternate Versions

There is a short version of the film, with a running time of 66 minutes, prepared for a 1949 reissue. See more »


Remade as Bataan (1943) See more »


Pack Up Your Troubles in Your Old Kit Bag and Smile, Smile, Smile
(1915) (uncredited)
Music by Felix Powell
Played on harmonica by Wallace Ford
Played also in the score
See more »

User Reviews

The Lost Patrol (1934) ***1/2
14 April 2005 | by Bunuel1976See all my reviews

The second film version of an archetypal adventure story is arguably the best despite some dated elements; John Ford deftly handles the proceedings and Max Steiner's stirring score - which at times foreshadows his later one for CASABLANCA (1942) - is a major asset. The solid cast of character actors is highlighted by Boris Karloff's remarkable turn as a religious fanatic who is slowly driven crazy by the amorality of his comrades and the futility of their struggle against unseen Arab attackers. The film can not only be seen to form part of the "British Empire" sub-genre of adventure films - with THE LIVES OF A BENGAL LANCER (1935), THE CHARGE OF THE LIGHT BRIGADE (1936), THE FOUR FEATHERS (1939) and GUNGA DIN (1939) being its most notable contemporary examples - but, if one were to stretch it a bit, also paves the way for more modern stuff like John Carpenter's ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13 (1976). It's unfortunate that nowadays, only the 66-minute reissue version seems to be available rather than the original, full-length 74 minute version. Over 20 years ago, I missed my one opportunity to watch this one on Italian TV and have been on the lookout for it ever since; however, I did manage to catch two similarly-themed wartime actioners, BATAAN (1943; with Robert Taylor) and SAHARA (1943; with Humphrey Bogart) over the years which were quite good in their own right. Curiously enough, Cyril McLaglen had played the same part played here by his brother Victor in the earlier 1929 British film version.

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Release Date:

16 February 1934 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Lost Patrol See more »


Box Office


$254,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


(original) | (1954 reissue length)

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Victor System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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