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Destination Gobi (1953)

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In 1944, US Navy specialists run a weather station in the Gobi desert where they are harassed by Japanese warplanes but aided by local Mongol nomads.


Robert Wise


Everett Freeman (screenplay), Edmund G. Love (story) | 1 more credit »



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Cast overview:
Richard Widmark ... CPO Samuel T. McHale
Don Taylor ... Jenkins
Max Showalter ... Walter Landers (as Casey Adams)
Murvyn Vye ... Kengtu
Darryl Hickman ... Wilbur 'Coney' Cohen
Martin Milner ... Elwood Halsey
Ross Bagdasarian ... Paul Sabatello
Judy Dan Judy Dan ... Nura-Salu (as Judy Dann)
Rodolfo Acosta ... Tomec
Russell Collins ... Lt. Cmdr. Hobart Wyatt
Leonard Strong ... Wali-Akhun


A group of US Navy weathermen taking measurements in the Gobi desert in World War II are forced to seek the help of Mongol nomads to regain their ship while under attack from the Japanese air force. The Mongols are rewarded by an airlift of the finest saddles. Written by Peter Fawcett <pdfawcet@brad.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




Adventure | Drama | War


Approved | See all certifications »






Release Date:

11 May 1953 (Sweden) See more »

Also Known As:

Gobi Outpost See more »

Filming Locations:

Yuma, Arizona, USA See more »


Box Office


$1,340,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


It is alleged that the TV series McHale's Navy is based on this movie. See more »


In the very beginning of the film, Richard Widmark enters a Navy office to learn a new assignment. He enters the room and closed the door, latching it. Then one of the other two officers in the room walks over to the door and closed the door again, latching it. See more »


Paul Sabatello: I don't get it. What I don't get, I don't like.
Jenkins: Looks like you ain't been getting much lately.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: In the Navy records in Washington, there is an obscure entry reading "Saddles for Gobi."

This film is based on the story behind that entry--one of the strangest stories of World War II. See more »


Edited into All This and World War II (1976) See more »

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User Reviews

The amazing and true story of some brave sailors who fought their way out of the sands of Mongolia
29 June 2018 | by ma-cortesSee all my reviews

Likeable American war movie about a group of valiant sailors who escape through the Gobi desert .The surprising tale of Uncle Sam's "sailors on camels" , a little US naval detachment who battled throughout the Mongolian desert. Along the way the sailors attempt to engage local the Mongol tribesman to attack Japanese ; but things go wrong when those respond by bombing the station .Set in 1944 inner Mongolia , where a team of US Navy specialists run a weather station , they are forced to a marathon trek across the sunny desert where are harassed and attacked by Japanese warplanes , taken prisoners , but helped by local Mongol nomads whom deliver 60 horse saddles and become them into an expert Mongolian cavalry .

This a sympathetic movie in which interest and entertainment never fall . The screenplay contains implausible adventures , goodhumoured scenes , tongue-in-cheek excitement , agreeable situations with the laughs in the right places .Widmark plays an US Navy officer assigned to take charge a bunch of meteorologistics at a remote weather station , when a Japanese attack leaving to him and his company alone in the wilderness to fend for themselves , Richard gives the film enough security and authority . And he is backed by a magnificent cast that includes Don Taylor , Russell Collins , Murvyn Vye , Casey Adams , Willis Bouchey , Darryl Hickman , Rodolfo Acosta , Richard Loo and Earl Holliman , Martin Milner film debut . And Paiute Indians living in reservation where was shot the movie played Mongol extras .

Musical score from Alfred Newman and Sol Kaplan is highly commendable. Colorful cinematography in Technicolor by Charles Clarke , being Wise's first color movie . Being filmed on location in Nixon and Fallon and other Indians reservation . Produced and released by 2oth century Fox and well directed by Robert Wise who never lets the action sag .Wise was a good director who made films in all kinds of genres , nowadays , some of them considered classic movies , such as : Musical : West side story , The sound of music ; SciFi: The day the Earth stood , Andromeda strain , Star Trek the motion picture ; Terror : The haunting , The body snatchers, , Audrey Rose , Curse of cat people ; Wartime : Run silent Run deep , The Desert Rats ; Historical : Helen of Troy ; Western : Tribute to a bad man ; Drama : I want to live , The Set-up , among others

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