13 user 7 critic

Desert Patrol (1958)

Sea of Sand (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama, War | 8 December 1961 (USA)
Sent to destroy a Nazi petrol dump in the North African desert, a British commando team unexpectedly discovers a large Nazi tank unit, and must inform headquarters in time.


Guy Green


Robert Westerby (screenplay), Sean Fielding (original story)
Nominated for 3 BAFTA Film Awards. See more awards »




Complete credited cast:
Richard Attenborough ... Brody
John Gregson ... Capt. Williams
Michael Craig ... Capt. Cotton
Vincent Ball Vincent Ball ... Sgt. Nesbitt
Percy Herbert ... White
Barry Foster ... Cpl. Matheson
George Murcell ... Cpl. Simms
Andrew Faulds ... Sgt. Parker
Ray McAnally ... Sgt. Hardy
Harold Goodwin ... Road Watch
Tony Thawnton Tony Thawnton ... Capt. Tom
Wolf Frees ... German Sergeant
George Mikell George Mikell ... German Officer


A small British Army team is sent to destroy a German petrol dump as part of the preparation for a major attack in the North African campaign. While they are there, they spot a large number of tanks and realize that Army intelligence must be informed or some Tommies are going to be in for a nasty surprise. The Germans are equally determined that they should not reach their base, and a tense chase across the desert is the result. Written by Mark Thompson <mrt@oasis.icl.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The Most Amazing Story Ever To Come Out Of The Sahara! See more »


Drama | War


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


The four-gallon cans used for fuel and water storage referred to in this movie, were universally known as "flimsies" because the metal they were made of was so thin. During transportation, they needed to be boxed in pairs to protect them from damage, and the wooden boxes were then used to build fires. See more »


There are a number of Sten sub machine guns in the film and at one point Captain Cotton shouts 'everyone grab your Stens'. Although the Sten gun was available at the time it was never used by the LRDG. They preferred the American pre-war Thompson sub machine gun which they carried throughout the war. See more »


Brody: You'd all be standing there with guns in your hands if I hadn't shot him.
See more »


Featured in Remembering John Gregson (2019) See more »


What a Day We Will Have
Music by Joe Henderson
Lyrics by Jack Fishman
Performed by Vera Lynn
Heard on radio
See more »

User Reviews

The big push is on
15 February 2015 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

Although he has a supporting role Richard Attenborough is top billed in Desert Patrol, a story of a group of men who operated behind Rommel's lines disrupting his supplies and communications. Watching this I learned where the American television series Rat Patrol originated from though this film is a lot better than that series.

The big push is on. Field Marshal Montgomery armed with the plan that his predecessor Field Marshal Auchinleck drew up is finally on the offensive against Rommel at El Alamein. This group has drawn a mission to destroy as many known German ammunition and fuel dumps as possible and make it back to report. That part is essential too, they have to know in Cairo just how much damage has been inflicted.

Heading one such patrol are Captains John Gregson and Michael Craig with Attenborough along. He's hardly a king and country volunteer, but he shows he has the right stuff.

They blow up their assigned fuel dump, but at a price. They've got a 100 miles to get back to their camp. El Alamein because of the wide Sahara desert terrains may have been the largest battle ever fought with rivalries being on the Russian front in the same war. In the end some don't make it.

Percy Herbert as one of the men is most outstanding as a wounded man who stands to make his own fight so his mates may live.

Very good World War II flick from the United Kingdom with minimal flag waving and lots of real heroics.

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English | German

Release Date:

8 December 1961 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Desert Patrol See more »

Filming Locations:

Tripolitania, Libya

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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