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The White Warrior (1959)

Agi Murad il diavolo bianco (original title)
The story of Hadji Murad, a 19th-century Chechen chieftain who led his warriors in a fight against the invading forces of the Russian Czar.

Director:

Riccardo Freda (as Richard Freda)

Writers:

Leo Tolstoy (novel), Gino De Santis (as Gino DeSanctis) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Steve Reeves ... Agi / Hadji Murad, the White Warrior
Giorgia Moll ... Sultanet, Aslan Bey's Daughter
Scilla Gabel ... Princess Maria Vorontsova
Renato Baldini ... Ahmed Khan
Gérard Herter ... Prince Sergei Vorontzov
Milivoje Zivanovic Milivoje Zivanovic ... Tsar Nicholas I
Nikola Popovic ... King Shamil
Jovan Gec Jovan Gec ... Aslan Bey
Niksa Stefanini Niksa Stefanini ... Goanzalo
Milivoje Popovic-Mavid Milivoje Popovic-Mavid ... Doctor Eldar
Marija Tocinoski Marija Tocinoski ... (as MarijaTocinowki)
Pasquale Basile Pasquale Basile
Goffredo Unger ... (as Goffredo Ungaro)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Antun Nalis Antun Nalis ... Melders, Murad's Lieutenant
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Storyline

The story of Hadji Murad, a 19th-century Chechen chieftain who led his warriors in a fight against the invading forces of the Russian Czar.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Might is Right! See more »


Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Italy | Yugoslavia

Language:

Italian

Release Date:

10 February 1961 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El diablo blanco See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film was based on a book by Leo Tolstoy, who in turn based the book on his experiences in the Russian army in Chechnya when his unit was sent to help subdue Chechen guerrillas. See more »

Quotes

Prince Sergei: [referring to Hadji Murad] There are many ways of making him give in. For example, crushing his fingers one by one, slowly, while he screams and screams, maddened with pain.
See more »

Crazy Credits

For the U.S. English dubbed version, released through Warner Brothers, the name of director Riccardo Freda was listed in the credits as "Richard Freda." See more »

Connections

Referenced in Las gemelas (1963) See more »

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User Reviews

An inadvertently unique historical film
30 May 2001 | by Gluck-3See all my reviews

Not the greatest film, but not as "tiresome" as Leonard Maltin claims in his review. (Leonard has seen so many films, he apparently gets tired easily -- See IMDB's sidebar link.) The wonderful thing about this film is its decision to cover a subject area that is largely unknown to Western audiences. Indeed, we Westerners didn't have any idea about this area of the world until the fall of the Soviet Union, where a lot of these mysterious countries emerged with an "an" at the end: Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and the like... largely Turkic regions and nations. Of course, Turks are almost always treated as villains in Western films (Another group that's usually villainous in cinema are the Arabs; however in a rare film where the Arabs were the heroes, "Lawrence of Arabia," the Turks were still the villains).

Now the Turks are not the heroes in this film, per se (not the Turks of today's Turkey, or the then-Ottoman Empire) but various Turkic tribes in the Caucasus (in the film, they're referred to as "tribesmen," "Caucasian," once as "Muslims," or -- derogatorily by the Russians --as "Savages." Probably using the word "Turk" would have been risky, as the Western audience might then lose its sympathy for the film's heroes). In the declining years of the Ottoman Empire, mighty Czarist Russia instigated many wars against the Ottomans, taking good advantage of their weakened state.

The thing I found interesting is that Czarist Russia is often depicted in American and other Western films as noble and heroic... I guess it's the Christian connection. In this film, based on a novel by Tolstoy, the Russians are hinted at as the bloodthirsty oppressors they were. I'm influenced by a rare book, "The Ethnic Cleansing of Ottoman Muslims" by Prof. Justin McCarthy, which showed the unbelievable magnitude of the evil and inhumanity displayed by the Russians, and others, including Bulgars and Armenians. Turkish or Muslim lives are not as important, and this part of history is very unknown to us Westerners. I doubt this subject matter would be chosen in an American film, and if it wasn't for Tolstoy's book, probably the Italians would have been unaware of the subject matter themselves, when they tried to choose an adventurous vehicle for Steve Reeves.

At the beginning of the film when Hadji Murad attacks Russian troops down a lonely road, Robin Hood-style, he meets with the "Maid Marian," Russian princess Maria. When she makes a statement regarding the superiority of Russian soldiers, Murad replies that his tribe kills only soldiers, whereas the Russians slaughter women and children. I'm reminded of the fighters in Chechnya following the same procedure (generally)... they wouldn't target innocent Russian civilians (other than terrorist attacks) during the first phase of their recent struggle, a few years ago. During the second phase, when the Russians invaded again, the Russians murder, rob and rape as indiscriminately as they have done in centuries past. Now that the Chechnyans (is it Chechens?) are no longer winning, there has been a general news black-out in the American media... but their struggle is still a continuation of freeing themselves from Russian domination in the Caucasus that "The White Warrior" is about.

I thought Steve Reeves had a surprising charisma... obviously, he was hired for these kinds of films for his spectacular build and not for his great acting ability, but he came across as a likable and believable hero in this one.


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