88 user 22 critic

Arabesque (1966)

Story of international intrigue involving a university professor, an Arab prime minister, a ruthless businessman, a beautiful spy, and hieroglyphics.


Stanley Donen


Julian Mitchell (screenplay), Stanley Price (screenplay) | 2 more credits »

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Won 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 win & 4 nominations. See more awards »


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Complete credited cast:
Gregory Peck ... Prof. David Pollock
Sophia Loren ... Yasmin Azir
Alan Badel ... Beshraavi
Kieron Moore ... Yussef Kasim
Carl Duering ... Hassan Jena
John Merivale John Merivale ... Maj. Sylvester Pennington Sloane
Duncan Lamont ... Webster
George Coulouris ... Ragheeb
Ernest Clark ... Beauchamp
Harold Kasket Harold Kasket ... Mohammed Lufti


Professor David Pollock is an expert in ancient Arabic hieroglyphics. A Middle Eastern Prime Minister convinces Pollock to infiltrate the organization of a man named Beshraavi, who is involved in a plot against the Prime Minister. The nature of the plot is believed to be found in a hieroglyphic code. Beshraavi's mistress, Yasmin Azir is a mystery intertwined in the plot. Pollock needs her help, but when she repeatedly seems to double cross him in one escapade after another, he can't decide on whose side she is working. Ultimately working together, Pollock and Yasmin decipher the plot and set out to stop an assassination of the Prime Minister. Written by E.W. DesMarais <jlongst@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


From the Man Who Made "Charade" See more »


Unrated | See all certifications »






Release Date:

18 August 1966 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Stanley Donen's Arabesque See more »

Filming Locations:

Hurley, Berkshire, England, UK See more »


Box Office


$4,800,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Carl Duering is dubbed. See more »


After Mustafa's body has been all thrown to the fish tank, in next scene his legs are still outside of the tank, and false police inspector pushes them into the tank. See more »


David Pollock: [Giving instructions to the driver of a large truck which is blocking the road] All right, mate. Lots of room, lots of room. That's it. Keep on going. Lots of leeway back there.
David Pollock: Bring her on back, mate. Okay, fine. Plenty of leeway. Plenty of leeway. Lots of room. Right on back. Good.
[Rear end of truck smashes through a brick wall]
See more »

Alternate Versions

In the original UK release Gregory Peck sings "Candy! I Call My Sugar Candy!" while in the US version he sings "Candy! I Keep My Candy Handy!". The US version is obviously dubbed while the UK retains the original line. See more »


We've Loved Before (Yasmin's Theme)
Written by Henry Mancini, Jay Livingston and Ray Evans
Conducted by Henry Mancini
See more »

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User Reviews

Stylish and fast paced picture in which an university professor becomes involved into a twisted and nightmarish intrigue
4 May 2015 | by ma-cortesSee all my reviews

Modern espionage escapism story of international intrigue involving a college professor , an Arab prime minister , a ruthless businessman , an ambiguous spy and hieroglyphics . Ingenuous Gregory Peck and enigmatic Sophia Loren involved in sinister goings-on around . Both of them adrift in a tourist-eye as well as beautifully photographed London and on the run from sinister crooks and death-dealing , double secret agents who want to take a hieroglyph .

This is a sparklingly sophisticated comedy/thriller/romance with Donen's stylish direction and full of plot twists , suspense , fast moving , red herrings and adding enough effects gimmicks . Exciting and clever ¨pursuit film¨ about a naive professor and his unsettling involvement with all kind of baddies along with a beautiful as well a suspicious woman . From the opening credits by Maurice Binder to the ending entertainment and amusement are well provided . It is thrilling and intelligent at times , but results to be pretty amusing , being very sub-Hitchcock and in James Bond style . Interesting screenplay by Peter Stone , alias Pierre Marton , being much flashier than Donen's earlier ¨Charade¨ also written by Stone . Although the part of David Pollock was originally scripted for Cary Grant . Stanley Donen is prepared to resort to all the tricks in the cinematic trade to make this a fascinating thriller and he carries out a conscious effort to capture the peculiar look of the sixties . It packs fun scenes with Gregory Peck in the shower , along with moving action sequences . Peck is perfect as a botcher professor who is drawn into espionage . However , Gregory found the stunts particularly difficult because of an old leg injury due to horseback riding . This was last picture Peck made for three years while he concentrated on his humanitarian efforts that included the American Cancer Society . Gorgeous Sophia Loren is amusingly enigmatic and provides the glamorous mystery element in the plot , she manages to change her Christian Dor's dresses at various scenes . Support cast is frankly good , such as Alan Badel , George Coulouris , Carl Duering , Duncan Lamont and last feature of John Merivale . Colorful and glimmering cinematography in Panavision by Christopher Challis . Enjoyable score by Henry Mancini , including catching musical leitmotif .

This espionage adventure picture was stunningly directed by Stanley Donen who made in similar style ¨Charade¨ with Gary Grant and Audrey Hepburn who was never more beautiful . Donen directed some of the best musicals of history such as ¨On the town¨, ¨Singing in the rain¨, ¨Royal Wedding¨ , ¨It's always fair weather¨, ¨Seven brides for seven brothers ¨, ¨Funny face¨ , among others . The posterior Donen films were heavy-handed , exception of ¨Two for the road¨ again with Hepburn , and too few to show if the magic had really gone . ¨Arabesque¨ rating : 6,5/10 . Agreeable film , enough to entertain young and eldest people . It is essentially a hollow and calculated attempt to cash on the Continental spy trend -the Eurospy Subgenre- of the time .

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