6.7/10
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37 user 11 critic

The Desert Rats (1953)

Approved | | Action, Adventure, Drama | 20 May 1953 (USA)
Richard Burton plays a Scottish Army officer put in charge of a disparate band of ANZAC troops on the perimeter of Tobruk with the German Army doing their best to dislodge them.

Director:

Robert Wise

Writer:

Richard Murphy
Reviews
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Richard Burton ... Capt. 'Tammy' MacRoberts
James Mason ... Field Marshal Erwin Rommel
Robert Newton ... Tom Bartlett
Robert Douglas ... General
Torin Thatcher ... Col. Barney White
Chips Rafferty ... Sgt. 'Blue' Smith
Charles 'Bud' Tingwell ... Lt. Harry Carstairs (as Charles Tingwell)
Charles Davis Charles Davis ... Pete
Ben Wright ... Mick
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Storyline

Rommel has the British in retreat on his way to the Suez Canal. All that stands in his way is Tobruk, held by a vastly out numbered force of Australian troops. Richard Burton leads these troops on daring raids against Rommel, keeping him off balance as they earn the nickname 'The Desert Rats'. Written by Derek Picken <dpicken@email.msn.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Desert Demons Who Stopped Rommel, The Desert Fox! See more »

Genres:

Action | Adventure | Drama | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

How Rommel is portrayed is compared among several films, and much is made as to whether Rommel actually was involved in a plot to kill Hitler which is why many saw him in possibly a better light and he was portrayed as such. In 2018 documents were found related to Rudolf Hartmann lending evidence that Rommel was indeed involved in attempting to remove Hitler, but because he believed it was the only way out for Germany and not because of any particular ideological differences with Hitler. See more »

Goofs

In the scene where "Tammy" and the others are being taken to a German pow camp in a truck convoy and strafed by allied aircraft, besides the inaccurate invasion stripes of the American P-51, other shots show stock footage of a Grumman Avenger diving in as well. The Avenger was primarily used in the Pacific theater and did not enter service until June of '42. See more »

Quotes

Tom Bartlett: But all wars come to an end sometime. This one will too.
Capt. 'Tammy' MacRoberts: If I have anything to do with it, it will.
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Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: 1941 LIBYAN DESERT NORTH AFRICA See more »

Connections

Referenced in Innocence: Interview with Charles 'Bud' Tingwell (2001) See more »

Soundtracks

Greensleeves
(uncredited)
Traditional
Played on the harmonica
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User Reviews

 
One of my favorites!
29 January 2005 | by eskeeneSee all my reviews

This was the first movies I was ever allowed to stay up and watch on the old Saturday Night At The Movies show on NBC so it has always had a fond place in my heart. Although some might dismiss it as clichéd, it is a tight, well told story that some of today's films might do well to emulate. The realism, ambivalence, and irony of today's war films is definitely missing but one should remember that this was the "good" war. While the other reviewers may criticize its historical accuracy, as someone who grew up hearing war stories from American and Canadian WWI and WWII veterans, it does capture the feeling of a period without going overboard on heroics or far-fetched plot twists.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | German

Release Date:

20 May 1953 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Desert Rats See more »

Filming Locations:

Yuma, Arizona, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,320,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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