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Taxi for Tobruk (1961)

Un taxi pour Tobrouk (original title)
During World War II, French Commandos join forces with a German officer in order to survive the African desert.


Denys de La Patellière (as Denys de la Patellière)


Michel Audiard (dialogue), René Havard (screenplay) | 2 more credits »




Complete credited cast:
Hardy Krüger ... Le capitaine Ludwig von Stegel
Lino Ventura ... le brigadier Theo Dumas
Maurice Biraud ... François Gensac
Charles Aznavour ... Samuel Goldmann
Germán Cobos ... Jean Ramirez


During World War II, French Commandos join forces with a German officer in order to survive the African desert.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The most exciting, explosive journey the screen has ever taken through a minefield of human emotions. See more »


Drama | War


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Did You Know?


Visa de Contrôle Cinématographique N° 23.761. See more »


Le capitaine Ludwig von Stegel: If you don't like war, why sign treaties with countries that always fight wars?
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Referenced in Les échos du cinéma: Episode #1.5 (1961) See more »

User Reviews

Good warlike movie of a French unit stranded in Libya desert in the path of Nazi infantry
1 December 2008 | by ma-cortesSee all my reviews

At the beginning there are some brief biographic remarks about the main characters . As a sergeant , Theo Dumas or Dudu , who is presented at the start of the film as a former boxing champion of Europe (Lino Ventura , he was actually champion of Europe of Greco-Roman wrestling in 1950) commands a group of French soldiers (Charles Aznavour , Maurice Biraud, and the Spanish German Cobos) escaped after destructing their unit . They then penetrate German lines going to El Alamein . The expedition must contend with warming desert , minefield , German patrols and a Nazi officer (Hardy Kruger) in the midst . The misfit group with a prisoner crosses the Libyan desert to rejoin his command after falling their regiment . Their objective is to avoid the Germans and somehow encounter Allied lines . As they travel through the desert , they find an oasis where is a German army and get oil , thanks they impersonate Nazis .

This is an enjoyable movie about friendship , warlike feats , courage and good feeling . Interesting screenplay by Michel Audiard and Denys de La Patellière based on a story by René Havard . The movie broke box office records after bringing in a lot of money at the box office during its opening weekend and was one of the top 5 grossing movie of its year (1961) in France . Extraordinary acting for all casting , as Lino Ventura plays a sergeant and boxer in civil life , he's an experienced Brigadier who fought in Norway (Narvik) and other European scenarios ; German Cobos as a tough soldier who wishes hard methods over the German prisoner ; Maurice Biraud as a doctor of the group ; the singer Charles Aznavour is a Jew-French and Hardy Kruger as an intelligent Nazi captain who lived longtime in Paris . The exciting story displays a quietly observant character studio and light critical remarks about the French people . It packs a great number of haunting black and white images by cameraman Marcel Grignon and appropriate musical score by George Garvarentz . This French/Spanish/West Germany co-production picture was well realized by Denys De La Patelliere (Rififi in Paris , Marco Polo) and helped by assistant director Pierre Granier-Deferre (Le Train) .

The story is proceeded during the African war , the events were the followings : Mussolini occupied Tobruk as part of his campaign to invade the Suez canal, but the British easily took it from him on January 21, 1941. Hitler sent Rommel and the Africa Korps to retake the city and after a siege of 242 days they entered the city in December 1941. In 1942, the British surrender the city because they needed troops to fight the Japanese and Rommel retook Tobruk in June 21, 1942. Montgomery launched a successful contra-offensive against the Germans that were defeated by Eight Army in the battle of El Alamein which occurred in July, 1942. It was not until November 13, 1942 that Montgomery and his Eight army were able to secure Tobruk once and for Allies . Other films dealing with the African campaign include : ¨Desert rats (Robert Wise)¨ , ¨Tobruk ( Arthur Hiller)¨, ¨Raid on Rommel (Henry Hathaway)¨, ¨Rats of Tobruk (Terence Young)¨, and ¨Battle El Alamein (Giorgo Ferroni)¨.

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France | Spain | West Germany


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Release Date:

10 May 1961 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Taxi for Tobruk See more »

Filming Locations:

Almería, Andalucía, Spain

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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