Sandokan the Great (1963) Poster

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6/10
Italian/ Spanish co-production about the Malaysian rebel who, with a group of renegades, goes up against a British governor
ma-cortes5 January 2016
"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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7/10
Obscure Reeves film is literate, colorful and entertaining.
Dhawley-26 January 2006
I just finished watching a Steve Reeves double feature of this film and the sequel, 'Pirates of the Seven Seas', and was quite entertained the whole time. Reeves' character, Sandokan, is a departure from his well known sword-and-sandal flicks. In these films, while he's a formidable presence who can handle himself, he's not portrayed as a muscle-bound Hercules or Goliath. He's a refined but tough son of royalty, leading a group of rebels fighting British colonial rule of their Malaysian island. With literate scripts, scenic locales and numerous hair-raising adventures, 'Sandokan the Great', as well as the equally colorful and well-constructed sequel, are both highly enjoyable. A couple of interesting items include the fact that the same actor (Leo Anchoriz), played the main bad guy in both films. In both films, he was the head of the British military administration, yet he was cast as completely different people! It's also somewhat disconcerting to hear (in the version of the movie I have) a much different voice dubbed in for Reeves than was used in most of his peplum flicks. For Steve Reeves fans, these are essential additions to your collection. Good luck finding them.
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Very stiff movie, but impressive action at the end!
alphaboy12 March 2001
This film even seemed stiffer than other Italian adventure-films of that time, and Steve Reeves, believe me!, doesn't help a bit. The storyline is tedious and unattractive. There is a lot of archive footage for the jungle-fauna built in (that even looks livelier than the film itself). Only fun scene: Reeves' fight against a tiger.

But in the last ten minutes the situation explodes, and there is this gigantic battle at the fort, well staged and fun. Reeves gets to fire a machine gun (a little like Django) and matches the strength of an army. If only Lenzi had divided the action and strewn it all over the film's time, it would have been more watchable (if you don't skip the beginning, that is). My rating: 5/10.
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One of Steve Reeves' best films!
B. Simmons17 December 2000
This high-spirited adventure yarn features Steve Reeves in the role of Sandokan, a Malaysian rebel who kidnaps the niece of a British general who is planning to execute Sandokan's father, the sultan of Moulker. He and his men traverse sweaty jungles, poisonous swamps, and strange lands filled with fierce native headhunters! An unforgettable experience.
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5/10
Sandokan against British imperial oppression
unclehugo13 August 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Sandokan and his group of followers on the mission to fight merciless English colonial army and to free Sandokan's father. Thanks to one Portugese gentleman who puts on a stolen British uniform and tricks the enemy into thinking Sandokan was eliminated, rebels succeed in penetrating a British fortress and capturing the highest ranking officer's niece. Unfortunately, there is a traitor among Sandokan's men. This rat keeps divulging classified information to the other side and counteracts each Sandokan's future move. The Tiger of Mompracem has to reveal the identity of the traitor, protect the British girl from the dangers of jungle, avoid bullets during several clashes, break out of jail and outwit those treacherous Englishmen... Apart from several action sequences and one bullet removal, the movie contains a bit of romance when British officer's niece succumbs to the power of Sandokan's personality, and large number of exotic animals: poisonous snakes, elephants, a tiger (who gets his buttocks kicked by Sandokan) and a smart chimpanzee lady who helps rebels escape from prison cell... Dakkar, the guy who later appeared in Fulci's Zombie and Girolami's Zombie Holocaust, plays one of Sandokan's men in this nice old-fashioned adventure.
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3/10
Nothing too exceptional here
Wizard-824 June 2018
While Steve Reeves certainly made a lot of musclemen movies for European filmmakers in the 50s and 60s, he would occasionally branch out into other genres, from spaghetti westerns to movies like this one. However, in this particular case, Reeves was used poorly in his new environment. He doesn't have his usual magnetic charm to keep the audience looking at him, one reason that he is not as up front and centre as he was in other movies, the other reason being that he hides his muscles for most of the movie. But even if Reeves had been better used, the movie would still have suffered from extreme dullness. Though filmed on location in Asia with a considerable budget, the pretty backdrop does not hide that the story is both slow-moving and has plenty of plot devices used in many other movies before and since. There's also a very limited amount of action, and except for the okay climatic battle, none of the action is particularly compelling. If you have a hankering for Reeves, pick one of his musclemen movies instead; they may be cheaper and cruder, but they are more lively than this movie.
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8/10
Good Italian Trash Movie
DaviK2414 June 2017
Warning: Spoilers
First of all: The Sandokan movies from 1963 and 1964 are trash- cinema of the 60s, which nowadays appears once again cultic. You notice the low budget, but you will be abducted to beautiful original locations in India and Sri Lanka. Also the look of the costumes is very worth seeing.

To the content (WARNING: SPOILERS from now on!):

Sandokan, the pirate but also native prince, whose family was deposed and killed by the British, leads his people (a bunch of faithful, pirates, and adventurers) in the fight against the British colonial masters, who are as evil as the Nazis are in some US productions. It is very refreshingly one-sided and wonderfully politically incorrect, that the British here are only bad guys. The first part is, as far as the action is concerned, a little lame, up to the last 15 minutes, but then it's really right. The Malayan natives, supported by Sandokan's men, storm the mighty British fort. The portrayal of the violence in this battle is already quite violent. The British soldiers are really massacred here, which I have not yet seen in this mass of kills. Particularly noteworthy is the scene in which Sandokan fires with a conquered machine gun in a bunch of soldiers in the yard of the fort also backwards and mercilessly mowed them down, which is all shown by the camera. Here is no shading of the camera, you see them going down and in other scenes their dead bodies lying around overall in the background around the whole fort. The Stuntfights are partly quite amateur, but this does not stop the spectacle of this mass struggle.

However, the second part is still a little more violent when Sandokan breaks out with his men from a prison camp with a mine and a quarry. There he used also a conquered British machine gun, which he mounted on a truck and then firing around on a ride through the mine, killing British soldiers in rows with it. This goes even further when he slaughters nearly the entire British garrison alone in the yard of the camp with the MG, so that the court is covered with the bodies in red British uniforms. The fight is quite one-sided but this machine gun raid is really suspicious. There are three of these battles in the second part, one on a ship, in the prison camp and in the final battle. In all three battles the British soldiers are completely slaughtered by the pirates and the natives, something which would been no longer shown in this intensity and political incorrect size of the massacres. Infortunately we have only one battle in part 1. A few more battles would be better but the Fort battle here is probably the best.

Overall my conclusion is: Good entertaining films, in which the natives are the really one-sided good ones, which I find very refreshing.
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5/10
The story, taking place in the reign of Queen Victoria, concerns the attempt by Lord Guillon to capture Sandokan, the son of the Sultan of Mulader
JohnHowardReid4 June 2017
Warning: Spoilers
I couldn't resist using the delightful synopsis in MGM's press handout for my story summary. I mean it really leaves you full of knowledge, enabling you to instantly make up your mind whether you want to watch "Sandokan" or give it a miss! My verdict, before even before looking at the movie, is to give it a miss!

Umberto Lenzi is one of the dullest directors of the Italian sword-and-torso epics. Despite rich production values and lots of explosive action with heaps of dress extras running amok, the dull yet preposterous plot, combined with Lenzi's inefficient yet heavy- handed direction, results in an entertainment mix that even the most indulgent fans will sum up as very ordinary. In Lenzi's perfunctory hands, a normally sure-fire gimmick such as "Who-is-the-mysterious- traitor-in-our-midst?" comes across with virtually no impact whatsoever. And as for the clichéd and unintentionally ludicrous dialogue...

Anti-British audiences may partly enjoy the movie. But the rest of us will rate it as a bore. In all departments.
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4/10
Brittish accent, scary elephants
andras-ocskay4 August 2018
Warning: Spoilers
Quit boring for me, too long talks, slow actions. They walk walk walk, nothing happening than they stop and talk few sentences, than walk again for few minutes, than talk again.

Shooting scene is clamsy, no targeting just shoot. Main caracters nearly bullet proof.

One guy always stick his dagger next to his belly. Seems that dagger not real, otherwise he would cut his belly badly when he jump, sit or just move.

Sleeping scene is lame.

Let the main enemy guy go in the end is clamsy also.

Funny all of them has brittish accent and perfect english

Actions are bad, they taking risk without real reason

Bad acting, unnecesery dialogs

Kissing scenes are good, and funny

Why they scared about elephamts? I did not get that.

This movie could be 15 minutes only.

Get there, grab the girl, walk a lot, find out his father dead, set the wildlings free, than meet again in the fort with a big fight scene.

I know its 1963 but ppl had to have brain. It seem they did not have.
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6/10
Exciting jungle romp from Umberto Lenzi
Leofwine_draca8 December 2016
Warning: Spoilers
An effective jungle adventure yarn from one of Italy's greatest cult directors - Umberto Lenzi, who would later go on to greater fame with his polizia and horror movies in the '70s and '80s. Here, his pacy direction keeps SANDOKAN THE GREAT interesting when it could be regarded as overlong, and a wealth of action and plot elements make the running time fly by. On top of this, the band of assorted leading characters are a well-developed bunch too, not just cardboard cut-outs as in many similar movies from the period, each with their own personality and character. The dashing hero is played this time around by genre titan Steve Reeves, effortlessly charismatic and athletic when the script calls for it, as Reeves displays once again the skills that made him a true legend in Italy.

The majority of the film's running time is taken up by a huge jungle trek in which our heroes must fight many perils. The journey is interspersed with plenty of fights, shoot-outs, jailbreaks, and other action staples which are well-staged and always a pleasure to watch. Reeves' party is fleshed out by a pretty blonde girl (played well by Genevieve Grad, although she doesn't have a lot to work with), and minor parts for Wilbert Bradley and Dakkar Genre fans may spot seasoned performers Rik Battalgia and Superargo himself, Giovanni Cianfriglia, appearing in other minor roles. Leo Anchoriz ironically has the role of the stuffy British villain, Lord Hillock, but unfortunately is rather unmemorable.

Along the way, Reeves and his men must traverse treacherous bogs and poisoned swamp water, a surprise attack by a lethal tiger, an elephant stampede (done with stock footage, but still realistic), a tribe of head hunters who shoot and kill with their poisoned darts, and a traitor in their midst as well as avoiding all the British soldiers out to get them. The ending could have been a classic but is let down by some poor day-for-night filming which obscures some of the action, so it just remains great fun. Sandokan and his men perform a jailbreak and then proceed to massacre the British army in a large battle scene, the highlight of which sees a bloodied Reeves jumping on to a huge machine gun and cutting down dozens of the enemy. A good way to end what is a perfectly enjoyable little adventure romp, recommended to all fans of the genre.
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