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Sandokan the Great (1963)

Sandokan, la tigre di Mompracem (original title)
Not Rated | | Action, Adventure | May 1965 (USA)
Malasyan pirate Sandokan accidentally learns that Lord Brook plots to obtain the crown of Malasya by kidnapping the legitimate rajah and his daughter and forcing them to abdicate so he gathers his best man and launches a rescue operation.


Umberto Lenzi


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Steve Reeves ... Sandokan
Geneviève Grad ... Mary Ann
Andrea Bosic Andrea Bosic ... Yanez
Rik Battaglia ... Sambigliong
Mario Valdemarin Mario Valdemarin ... Tenente Ross
Leo Anchóriz ... Lord Guillonk
Antonio Molino Rojo ... Tenente Toymby
Enzo Fiermonte ... Sergente Mitchell
Wilbert Bradley Wilbert Bradley ... Pataan
Maurice Poli ... Girobatol
Gino Marturano Gino Marturano ... Kanandurian
Nazzareno Zamperla Nazzareno Zamperla ... Hirangù
Giovanni Cianfriglia Giovanni Cianfriglia ... Kalamba
Pietro Capanna Pietro Capanna
Ananda Kumar Ananda Kumar ... Twang Long


In Victorian times, British colonial forces occupy Tapuah subduing the local population thru reprisals. Malaysian pirate Sandokan, whose family was killed by the British, gathers a small group of rebel followers and vows his revenge. Lord Hillock, commander of the British forces, is eager to capture the troublesome pirate. In order to entrap him, he arrests Sandokan's father, the Sultan of Mulaker. Hillock then sets a trap should Sandokan attempt to free his father. However, a wise Sandokan chooses to attack Lord Hillock's residence and kidnap Hillock's niece, Mary Ann, instead. Armed with a hostage, Sandokan can now negotiate with Hillock for an exchange of hostages. Lord Hillock has no intention of keeping his word, of course. Instead, he relentlessly pursues Sandokan and his small band through the jungles infested with native tribes of head-hunting Dayaks. To make matters worse, Sandokan suspects that one of his men is a traitor who somehow sends vital information about Sandokan's ... Written by nufs68

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Heroism and High Adventure in the Malay Jungle!


Action | Adventure


Not Rated | See all certifications »



Italy | France | Spain


Italian | English

Release Date:

May 1965 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Sandokan the Great See more »

Filming Locations:

Ceylon See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono | Mono (Fono-Roma)


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


This was Steve Reeves' first movie after leaving the sword and sandal genre. He would make a sequel to this and, after a 4 year hiatus, would try his hand at the next big Italian film craze, the "spaghetti western," before retiring from the screen. See more »


Followed by I pirati della Malesia (1964) See more »

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User Reviews

Italian/ Spanish co-production about the Malaysian rebel who, with a group of renegades, goes up against a British governor
5 January 2016 | by ma-cortesSee all my reviews

"Sandokan, La Tigre Di Mompracen¨ or "Sandokan the Great" results to be an Oriental adventure with Heroism and High Adventure in the Malay Jungle , it stars Steve Reeves/Sandokan , Lord of Malaysia , accompanied by his European friend Yañez , battling the evil imperialists commanded by a nasty governor who is trying to detain him . Based on the novel "Le tigri Di Mompracem¨ by Emilio Salgari , this "Sandokan¨ (1963) was decently directed by Umberto Lenzi with an European cast and it contains rousing action , romantic adventure , mayhem and a fine cast doing a fine job . Our hero pirate saves the damsel in distress and fights an evil Brit imperialist . Filmed in Ceylon ; it tells the tale of Sandokan who is a Malaysian rebel who, with a bunch of freedom fighters , goes up against a British governor called Lord Guillon (Leo Anchóriz) and his officers , lieutenant Ross (Mario Valdemarin) , Toymby (Antonio Molino Rojo) and sergeant Mitchell (Enzo Fiermonte) . As Sandokan teams up with a squad of pirates to even the score with a nasty governor during the 1800 . Exciting story of love and adventure , the complete romance and the exotic events about the famous hero Sandokan (Steve Reeves) against the British empire . The Prince Sarawah's kingdom is invaded by troops commanded by Lord Brook from Bombay . As Sandokan along with his followers : Sambigliong (Rik Battaglia) , Girobatol (Maurice Poli) , Hirangù (Nazzareno Zamperla) and his faithful Yañez (Andrea Bosic) attempt to free his father who has been taken prisoner by the English army in Labuan . Then Sandokan infiltrates into a luxurious mansion and attacks the governor's (Leo Anchoriz) palace . Sandokan takes his niece Mary Ann (Genevieve Grad) and she is held captive . Sandokan , lord of Malaysia , sets out throughout the dangerous jungle . Meantime , Mary Ann learns the actual intention Sandokan is to free his father , Malaysia's Sultan , and deliver justice , then she feels sympathy for his cause . Along the way Sandokan takes on several dangers as quicksands , wildlife , native attacks by a violent tribe of headhunters called Dagakos and many other things . However , the brave pirate Sandokan and his underlings are betrayed and captured by the English soldiers . Finally , at the enemy fort takes place a spectacular battle against Lord Guillonk and his hoodlums .

This is an entertaining oriental movie , full of action , thrills , double-crosses and of course , a lot of duels and fights . Being a so-so European co-production among several countries such as Italy, France , Spain . It is a grade-B flick with noisy adventure , emotion , slavery , tortures , savage raids and machine gun provoking a lot of deaths . Decent production by Solly V. Bianco and Jaime Comas Gil with adequate Steve Reeves as Sandokan , and gorgeous Geneviève Grad as Mary Ann , both of whom fall in love , taking place a wonderful love story . The flick packs enjoyable as well as exotic atmosphere , luxurious gowns , evocative sets , alright cinematography and powerful score . Lots of intrigue , treason , glamorous scenarios , twists and turns . Sympathetic performances by main star cast such as Steve Reeves in one his last films of his fruitful career and agreeable secondary cast ; as the marvelous main actors are completed by a secondary cast full of ordinary Italian players as Andrea Bosic , Rick Battaglia , Maurice Poli , Enzo Fiermonte , Nazzareno Zamperla , Mario Valdemarin and Spanish players as Antonio Molino Rojo and special mention for Leo Anchóriz as Lord Guillonk and who in the sequel would play Lord Brook . Splendid color from 16 mm , including appropriate cinematography by Aurelio G. Larraya and Angelo Lotti ; though , a perfect remastering is necessary . Being shot on location in Ceylon . Imaginative as well as thrilling soundtrack by Giovanni Fusco in oriental style . This was the first part in Steve Reeves/Lenzi Sandokan saga ; the second with similar artistic and technician team was ¨I Pirati Della Malesia" (original title) or "Sandokan: Pirate of Malaysia¨ (1964) with Steve Reeves , Jacqueline Sassard , Pierre Cressoy , Nando Gazzolo , Franco Balducci , Mimmo Palmara and again Andrea Bosic as Yanez . The motion picture was professionally directed by Umberto Lenzi . This one was a popular film by that time , getting big success at European Box office .

Other pictures about this fictitious personage are the followings : ¨Sandokan against Leopard of Sarawak" (1964) by Luigi Capuano with Ray Danton , Franca Bettoia , Mario Petri , Guy Madison , Alberto Farnese ; its sequel ¨Sandokan Fights Back¨(1964) with same players ; "Le Tigri Di Mompracem" (1970) by Mario Sequi with Ivan Rassimov as Sandokan , Claudia Gravy , Andrea Bosic , Luis Dávila , José Torres . And TV ¨Sandokan¨ (vey popular series of the 70s) with Kabir Bedi , Philippe Leroy and Adolfo Celi . And finally "The return of Sandokán" (1996) , ¨Il Figlio Di Sandokan" (1998) , TV series played by Kabir Bedi and directed by Enzo G Castellari .

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