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The Horsemen (1971)

Drama depicting rural life in contemporary Afghanistan and the Afghani people's love for an ancient traditional sport similar to horseback polo.

Director:

John Frankenheimer

Writers:

Dalton Trumbo (screenplay), Joseph Kessel (based upon the novel 'The Horsemen' by)
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Cast

Cast overview:
Omar Sharif ... Uraz
Leigh Taylor-Young ... Zareh
Jack Palance ... Tursen
Peter Jeffrey ... Hayatal
Srinanda De Srinanda De ... Mukhi
George Murcell ... Mizrar
Eric Pohlmann ... Merchant in Kandahar
Vernon Dobtcheff ... Zam Hajji
Saeed Jaffrey ... District Chief
John Ruddock John Ruddock ... Scribe
Mark Colleano Mark Colleano ... Rahim
Salmaan Peerzada ... Salih (as Salmaan Peer)
Aziz Resham Aziz Resham ... Bacha to Ghulam (as Aziz Resh)
Leon Lissek ... Chikana Proprietor
Vida St. Romaine Vida St. Romaine ... Gypsy Woman (as Vida St Romaine)
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Storyline

In the poor, desolate northern provinces of the mountainous feudal Sunni kingdom of Afghanistan (before the Soviet-engineered republican revolutions), the status of the proud men and their clans is determined less by wealth or even military power (both rare) then by victories in the ancient, though game of buskashi, a vicious form of polo dating back to Genghis Khan, in which the chapendaz (participating horsemen) use their horse-whips on both mounts and rivals in a ruthless fight for a heavy 'ball', a dead calf, which must be carried a long way, almost impossible with all the others mercilessly assailing. Tursen, a former champion, now holds the status of village notable thanks to his position as stable-keeper of the regional lord Osman Bey, and has finally bred a horse without equal, the white stallion Jahil, in time for the royal tournament on the plain of Bagrami, just outside the capital Kabul. As Tursen is too old and has a crooked leg, his son Uraz, even prouder and with a ... Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Father and son battle for glory. See more »


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

23 July 1971 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Orgullo de estirpe See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$6,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor) (uncredited)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Two to three weeks into shooting, cinematographer James Wong Howe left the project due to a disagreement with director John Frankenheimer over use of lenses. See more »

Goofs

When Tursen (Jack Palance) has a flashback to one of his past victories, one can tell that he is swinging a phony, lightweight, stuffed goat carcass around when his horse jumps up on the mud hut. See more »

Quotes

District Chief: What demon has possessed you to mock these good people with that piece of dog-bait?
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User Reviews

 
'What a one-horned ram can do, a one-legged chapandaz can do better!'
23 April 2004 | by Nazi_Fighter_DavidSee all my reviews

Set in Afghanistan, John Frankenheimer's 'The Horsemen' is the story of a tribesman determined to rival his father at horsemanship… Uraz is sent by his father Tursen to win the traditional Royal Buzkashi on the field of Bagrami in the capital city of Kabul…

Uraz on Jahil has to battle for control of a headless calf, carry it around a blue flag, and deposit it back in the 'Circle of Justice'… thus signifying that he wins the king's pennant… and remains as the master chapandaz of all Afghanistan… During the tournament, opposing horsemen use their whips to urge on their horses and to hit the rider for the chance to snatch the heavy carcass…

The motion picture turns around five well drawn characters: an angered son eaten up with vanity; a brave father who knew something worse than danger; a nomad woman whose touch defiles; a once loyal servant lusted for an 'unclean woman;' and a wager from the high passes of the East where 'men know how to forge fine weapons and use them well'…

Uraz (Omar Sharif) deliberately chose to bribe his devoted servant with the magnificent white stallion in order to increase the already terrible dangers which he hopes to conquer…

Zareh (Leigh-Taylor Young) urges her man to kill his high blood master to secure for herself his horse and his money…

Tursen (Jack Palance) know nothing but evil legends about an impossible road taken by his embittered son… His pain, remorse, and blood wept for a son lost through his fault…

Mukhi (David de Keyser) forgets his humble and faithful world in the arms of the 'untouchable' woman who pushes him to murder the great prince…

Hayatal (Peter Jeffrey) takes the challenge against 'the Prince Ram of the Valley' declaring openly to Uraz: 'What a one-horned ram can do, a one-legged chapandaz can do better!'

To understand 'The Horsemen' you must understand the rage, the beauty, and the tradition of a mountainous and landlocked country, isolated and left outside the mainstream of civilization…

Written by Academy Award winner Dalton Trumbo (The Brave One, Best Original Screenplay, 1956) 'The Horsemen' is a passionate film for men only… The film is a search that marks out the true concepts of honesty, integrity, loyalty, and trust


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