6.8/10
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The Desert Rats (1953)

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
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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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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | German

Release Date:

20 May 1953 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Les rats du désert 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 »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This was among the last films produced by 20th Century Fox in the standard academy format. Only four months later they would begin releasing films in their CinemaScope format, starting with "The Robe" (1953) which also starred Richard Burton. See more »

Goofs

When the British planes are firing at the trucks carrying the prisoners, the Germans fire back but appear to be using American Thompson M1A1s as opposed to MP40s. See more »

Quotes

Tom Bartlett: He's just a boy, he...
Capt. 'Tammy' MacRoberts: We've got no use for boys here - particularly not as officers.
Tom Bartlett: You can't be much older than he is.
Capt. 'Tammy' MacRoberts: I don't know whether I am or not. I do know that I've been here for a year and one of the first things I learned was that this isn't a game for children. Men get killed and stay killed.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Referenced in The Dick Van Dyke Show: Remember the Alimony (1966) See more »

Soundtracks

Greensleeves
(uncredited)
Traditional
Played on the harmonica
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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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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