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Popeye the Sailor Meets Ali Baba's Forty Thieves (1937)

Popeye the Sailor, accompanied by Olive Oyl and Wimpy, is dispatched to stop the dreaded bandit Abu Hassan and his force of forty thieves.


Dave Fleischer, Willard Bowsky (uncredited)

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Uncredited cast:
Lou Fleischer Lou Fleischer ... Wimpy (voice) (uncredited)
Jack Mercer ... Popeye (voice) (uncredited)
Mae Questel ... Olive Oyl (voice) (uncredited)
Gus Wickie Gus Wickie ... Abu Hassan (voice) (uncredited)


Upon hearing of the evil deeds of the bandit Abu Hassan, Popeye, accompanied by Olive Oyl and J. Wellington Wimpy, flies to Arabia. Olive is kidnapped by Abu Hassan, who forces her to do the laundry for his Forty Thieves. Popeye sneaks into their hideout to rescue her, but finds himself outnumbered forty-one to one. Written by Paul Penna <tterrace@wco.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Approved | See all certifications »






Release Date:

26 November 1937 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Kippari-Kalle tapaa Ali Baban See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Fleischer Studios See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording)


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


In Abu Hassan's cave, Popeye jokingly asks Wimpy "How did you get in here, young fella?" while the joke refers to Wimpy having been taken away by the bandits, it also refers to Popeye the Sailor Meets Sindbad the Sailor (1936), the previous big-budget Popeye two-reeler. Wimpy had wandered into Sindbad's home during a standoff, and a surprised Popeye asked him the same thing. See more »


During the battle scene with Abu Hassan and the forty thieves, the dialogue, the sound effects, and partially the music are out of sync with the animation. This was rectified on the DVD release of "Popeye the Sailor: 1933-1938, Volume 1." See more »


[first lines]
[Abu Hassan and his forty thieves ride across the desert]
Abu Hassan: [singing] You better lock up your doors today / 'cause Abu Hassan is on his way / Go in hiding, when I go riding / Just me and the 40 thieves! / Your wives and children, and money too / I'll steal them from you before I'm through / I'm out gunning, so start running / From me and the forty thieves! Abu Hassan!
Thieves: Abu Hassan!
Abu Hassan: My game's the toughest / But I'm the roughest / and that's how I'm / Abu Hassan!
Thieves: Abu Hassan!
Abu Hassan: You've got to ...
See more »

Alternate Versions

The Kids Klassics VHS release (1987) omits the scenes where Popeye & co first hear word of Abu's crimes and then journey in a seaplane and trudge over the desert to find the city. See more »


Featured in Muppet Babies: Six to Eight Weeks (1989) See more »


Abu Hassan
Music by Vee Lawnhurst
Lyrics by Tot Seymour
Performed by Gus Wickie
See more »

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User Reviews

Arabian Nights Popeye
3 August 2019 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

When it comes to Fleischer Studios, the best cartoons in the Popeye series sees some of their best work. They saw Fleischer at their funniest and most energetic and can't get enough of the characters and chemistry between Popeye and Bluto. They thankfully are not among the studio's most saccharine efforts even if other Fleischer cartoons are more innovative visually. Did find Olive Oyl's underuse and generally lesser material compared to Popeye and Bluto a frequent problem though.

Popeye's Arabian Nights cartoons, 'Popeye the Sailor Meets Sindbad the Sailor', 'Popeye the Sailor Meets Ali Baba's Forty Thieves' and 'Aladdin and His Wonderful Lamp' (released in that order), are all among the best of Popeye. Although they are the longest of the series, they are also among the funniest and most colourful and love all three of them equally. If having to choose between the three, 'Aladdin and His Wonderful Lamp' gets the marginal edge.

Again it would have been nice to have Olive having something more to do than mostly being a plot device. People may not take kindly to the stereotypes either. But what people see the Popeye cartoons for are done splendidly, but wasn't really expecting anything less.

One of 'Popeye the Sailor Meets Ali Baba's Forty Thieves' best assets, perhaps even the best asset, is the animation, which is nothing short of wonderful. Meticulously detailed, vibrant and sees a lot of smoothness in design and with some imaginative visual flourishes. The music has a lot of merry character and sumptuous orchestration (that song too), and while the story is a bit typical when it comes to the Popeye and Bluto (as Hassan) conflict it was hard to not love its take on the Ali Baba story.

The dialogue is fresh and one can tell that the writers were having a great time writing the dialogue here, mumbles and asides have seldom been more hilarious relished as ever by Jack Mercer, who was the most prolific voice actor for Popeye for good reason. "Ah, nature beat me to it" is very quotable, one of the most quotable in a Popeye cartoon in my view. The gags are plentiful and always very funny and more as well as lively in timing.

Wimpy is used better than he is in 'Popeye the Sailor Meets Sindbad the Sailor' and the horses funny. It is more with Popeye and Bluto where the cartoon especially entertains. The two are spot on and their chemistry drives 'Popeye the Sailor Meets Ali Baba's Forty Thieves' and has so much energy. Popeye is always amusing and likeable enough but for me Bluto is here the funnier and more interesting character. The voice acting is fine, with Mercer being the standout.

In conclusion, excellent Popeye cartoon. 9/10

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