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Raid on Rommel (1971)

GP | | Drama, War | 12 February 1971 (USA)
In 1942 Libya, a German-speaking British Intelligence officer uses former British POWs, some dressed in German uniforms, to fulfill a secret sabotage mission inside German-captured Tobruk.


Henry Hathaway


Richard M. Bluel (as Richard Bluel)

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Complete credited cast:
Richard Burton ... Foster
John Colicos ... MacKenzie
Clinton Greyn Clinton Greyn ... Major Tarkington
Wolfgang Preiss ... Rommel
Danielle De Metz ... Vivi (as Danielle de Metz)
Karl-Otto Alberty ... Schroeder (as Karl Otto Alberty)
Christopher Cary ... Conscientious Objector
John Orchard ... Garth
Brook Williams ... Reilly
Greg Mullavey ... Brown
Ben Wright ... Admiral
Michael Sevareid Michael Sevareid ... Wembley
Chris Anders Chris Anders ... Tank Sergeant


Captain Foster plans on raiding German-occupied Tobruk with hand-picked commandos, but a mix-up leaves him with a medical unit containing a Quaker conscientious objector. Despite all odds they succeed with their mission. On the way they pick up and drug the mistress of an Italian general, blow up the entire fuel supply for the Afrika Korps, and swap philatelic gossip with Field Marshal Erwin Rommel. Written by Col_Hessler

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


He took on Rommel... the Sahara... and a unit of untrained men to blow the Desert Fox to hell...


Drama | War


GP | See all certifications »





English | German | Italian

Release Date:

12 February 1971 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Im Morgengrauen brach die Hölle los See more »

Filming Locations:

Sonoran Desert, Arizona, USA See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Pictures See more »
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?


Robert Stack was initially cast as Capt. Foster. See more »


The Jerrycans on the German trucks just before the air attack were the American version with screw-on lids. The Germans would have used their own original versions which have clamped-on lids. See more »


Maj. Hugh Tarkington: You know Rommel?
Capt. Heinz Schroeder: Yes. He loves the Sahara. We all do. By "we", I mean the professional military.
Maj. Hugh Tarkington: I'm not a military man, captain. War holds no romance for me. The side effects are repulsive.
Capt. Heinz Schroeder: Here there are no side effects. No women, no children, no towns to get in the way, just men, my doctor.
See more »


Edited from Away All Boats (1956) See more »

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User Reviews

Average warfare movie full of battles , explosions , thrills and extraordinary feats
11 August 2014 | by ma-cortesSee all my reviews

Libya 1943 . After almost three years of bitter desert warfare , Rommel's brilliant use of his Panzer divisions has driven the British into a position of desperation . The fate of the Mediterranean hangs in balance . The British troops are in progress toward the North Africa to battle the army of the Third Reich . The key point to carry out an action of attack results to be Tubruk, a shelter for Rommel and the Nazi troops, which is protected with all kinds of artillery , including powerful guns . The only option to destroy Tubruk is infiltrating an allied command, led by a British captain posing as a Nazi officer , in this area occupied by the Germans . Captain Foster (Richard Burton , though Robert Stack was initially cast) plans on raiding German-occupied Tobruk with hand-picked commandos, but a mixup leaves him with a medical unit led by a Quaker conscientious objector . Along the way they must pass through Alix line disguised as German soldiers and they pick up and drug the lover of an Italian general called Vivi (Danielle De Metz) , blow up the entire fuel supply for the Afrika Korps, and contacts philatelic gossip with Field Marshal Erwin Rommel (Wolfgang Preiss who was famous for playing Nazis in Second World War films)and takes on headstrong officer Schroeder (Karl-Otto Alberty). Despite all odds they succeed with their assignment . There actually was a raid on Tobruk, 13-14 September 1942, including the German-Jewish SIG and fake British POWs .

This thrilling wartime picture contains high-powered action-packed, shootouts , grand-scale blow-up , thrills and lots of fun ; though turns out to be average and embarrassing . The film belongs the sub-genre of warfare commandos , being highlighted by a stirring and thrilling climax with overwhelming action scenes. This sub-genre began with "The Guns of Navarone", following : ¨Dirty dozen¨ , ¨Kelly's heroes¨,and ¨When the eagles dare¨ . "Raid on Rommel" is one of the several examples of how an exhausted formula followed throughout the decade of the 1960 and early 1970. The picture bears remarkable resemblance to ¨Tobruk¨ (Arthur Hiller) , in fact portions of the film were edited into this 1971 Richard Burton film Raid on Rommel (1971) and nearly all the action scenes was footage taken from Tobruk. The greater interest to see is Richard Burton's interpretation of on the screen, but hardly have any virtue . Burton had previously appeared in two other Second World War movies set in North Africa prior to this film , as he played Captain Leith in Bitter victory (1957), fourteen years earlier and Captain 'Tammy' MacRoberts in Desert Rats (1953), eighteen years earlier. The film has a development of a very simple and plain plot with plenty of nonsense situations , sticky events ,absurd events and many other silly things .

Colorful cinematography by Earl Rath , it was filmed on location at San Felipe, Mexico, San Felipe is in the Baja California Norte region of Mexico . Lively and jolly musical score by Hal Mooney . The motion picture was regularly by Henry Hathaway who was Hathaway's only WW II movie which wasn't made by Fox, it was made by Universal ; it was a massive flop and was quickly withdrawn from theaters . ¨Raid on Rommel" was quickly relegated to the small screen, having its television premiere on NBC . Henry had directed twenty years earlier the classic 20th Century-Fox movie about Field Marshal Erwin Rommel and also set in World War II North Africa, ¨Rommel¨, (1951). Hathaway's other movies about the Second World War were all for studio Twentieth Century-Fox and included ¨The House on 92nd Street¨ (1945); ¨Wing and a Prayer¨ (1944); ¨You're in the Navy Now¨ (1951) and ¨13 Rue Madeleine¨ (1947).

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