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Caravans (1978)

In 1948, at the U.S. embassy in Zadestan, a young diplomat is ordered to find the missing daughter of an influential U.S. Senator.


James Fargo


James A. Michener (novel), Nancy Voyles Crawford (screenplay) | 2 more credits »

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Anthony Quinn ... Zulffiqar
Michael Sarrazin ... Mark Miller
Christopher Lee ... Sardar Khan
Jennifer O'Neill ... Ellen Jasper
Joseph Cotten ... Crandall
Behrouz Vossoughi ... Nazrullah
Barry Sullivan ... Richardson
Jeremy Kemp ... Dr. Smythe
Duncan Quinn Duncan Quinn ... Moheb
Behrouz Gramian Behrouz Gramian ... Peasant Boy (as Behrooz Gueramian)
Mohamad Ali Keshavarz ... Shakkur
Parviz Gharib-Afshar Parviz Gharib-Afshar ... Nur Mohammad
Fahimeh Amouzandeh Fahimeh Amouzandeh ... Mira
Mohammad Taghi Kahnemoui Mohammad Taghi Kahnemoui ... Maftoon (as Mohammad Taghi Kahnemout)
Khosrow Tabatabai Khosrow Tabatabai ... Dancing Boy


The story happens in 1948, in a fictional country, called Zakharstan (in the novel "Caravans" is probably Afghanistan). Mark Miller (Michael Sarazyn) is a young U.S. Embassy employee who is responsible to follow Ellen Jasper (Jennifer O'Neill), the daughter of Senator Jasper, who later has married Colonel Nazrullah (Behrouz Vossoughi) and disappeared. During the investigation, Mark Miller (Michael Sarazyn) realizes that Ellen Jasper (Jennifer O'Neill) has escaped from her husband, Colonel Nazrullah (Behrouz Vossoughi), living among a tribe whose leader is Zulffiqar (Anthony Quinn). He will fail to convince her to be reunited with his father. But, Mark Miller (Michael Sarazyn) has realized that the leader of tribe is an outlaw who resists against the government's proposals for a permanent settlement of his tribe and also with cooperation of another rebel man, Shakkur (Mohamad Ali Keshavarz), are engaged to Russian arms trafficking ... Written by Persian Star

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The Power, the Sweep, the Spectacle of James Michener's Epic Desert Adventure!


PG | See all certifications »



Iran | USA


English | Persian

Release Date:

2 November 1978 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Caravanas See more »

Filming Locations:

Isfahan, Iran See more »


Box Office


$14,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The final movie to be shown as part of Radio City Music Hall's Christmas show. See more »

Alternate Versions

ABC edited 27 minutes from this film for its 1982 network television premiere. See more »


Referenced in Lionpower from MGM (1967) See more »

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User Reviews

Fun and fascinating adventure with big name cast about a nomad tribe travelling across the desert and being mercilessly chased
19 August 2018 | by ma-cortesSee all my reviews

An entertaining adventure with all the ingredients , set in the Middle East in 1948 , and concerning about an American emissary , Michael Sarrazin , sent by the Ambassador, Joseph Cotten , to find a senator's daughter , the gorgeous Jennifer O'Neill . After an unsuccessful marrying a native army officer , she has joined a caravan formed by the tribe Kochi led by Anthony Quinn travelling through the sunny desert .

Enjoyable and obscure film that failed at boxoffice . An unusual and colorful adventure with great cast and full of action , thrills , battles and being well treated oriental social habits from desert life . Anthony Quinn gives a nice acting , as usual ; Quinn work is well up to his ordinary high standards . Anthony played a lot of exotic roles such as : Osceola in Seminola , Crazy Horse in They died with boots on , Chief Yellow Hand in Buffalo Bill , Kublai Khan in Marco Polo , a bullfighter in Santo the magnificent , an Emir in Simbad the sailor , a Mexican rebel in Viva Zapata , Quasimodo in The hunchback of Paris , a Basque in The passage and here a sort of Zorba the Sheik . But the beauty and attractive Jennifer O'Neill is the real star of this film .And support cast is pretty good , such as Barry Sullivan , Joseph Cotten , Mohamad Ali and Jeremy Kemp .

Glowing colour and distinctive photography by Douglas Slocombe , including exhilarating and riveting exteriors from Iran , during Sha period and prior Jomeini . Rousing and catchy soundtrack by Mike Batt , including an unforgettable leitmotif .The motion picture ,produced by usual editor Elmo Williams , was professionally directed by James Fargo , though it has some flaws and gaps . As the spectacular outdoors , acceptable interpretation , and the size of the drama are not enough to make this one a memorable picture , but it remains in many ways an agreeable experience. James Fargo is a craftsman who started as an assistant director to Clint Eastwood films . He has directed Eastwood vehicles: The enforcers , Every which way but loose , and Chuck Norris : Forced vengeance . And other dramas and action movies as Second chances , Born to race , Riding the edge , Game for vultures , Voyage of rock aliens . He also made Tv episodes from Hunter , A team , Tales of gold monkey , among others .

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