15 user 21 critic

Destiny (1997)

Al-massir (original title)
The story is set in the 12th century in Arab-ruled Spanish province Andalusia, where famed philosopher Averroes is appointed grand judge by the caliph and his liberal court judgements are ... See full summary »


Youssef Chahine, Khairiya A-Mansour (co-director)
2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Nour El-Sherif ... Averroes (as Nour El Cherif)
Layla Olwi ... The gypsy woman
Mahmoud Hemida ... Al Mansour, The Caliph (as Mahmoud Hemeida)
Safia El Emari Safia El Emari ... Averroes' Wife (as Safia El Emary)
Mohamed Mounir Mohamed Mounir ... The Bard
Khaled Nabawy ... Nasser, The Crown Prince (as Khaled El Nabaoui)
Seif Abdelrahman ... The Caliph's Brother (as Seif Abdel Rahman)
Abdalla Mahmoud ... Borhan
Ahmed Fouad Selim Ahmed Fouad Selim ... Cheikh Riad
Rogeena Rogeena ... Salma (as Regina)
Magdy Edris Magdy Edris ... Emir of the Sect (as Magdi Idris)
Ahmed Moukhtar Ahmed Moukhtar ... Bard
Sherifa Maher Sherifa Maher ... Manuella's Mother
Rayek Azzab Rayek Azzab ... El Razi
Hasan El-Adl Hasan El-Adl ... Gaafar


The story is set in the 12th century in Arab-ruled Spanish province Andalusia, where famed philosopher Averroes is appointed grand judge by the caliph and his liberal court judgements are not liked by everyone. The caliph's political rivals, centered around the leader of a fanatical Islamic sect, force the caliph to send Averroes into exile, but his ideas keep on living thanks to his students. Written by Anonymous

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Did You Know?


Official submission of Egypt for the 'Best Foreign Language Film' category of the 70th Academy Awards in 1998. See more »


Caliph's brother: Thoughts have wings. No one can prevent them from flying.
See more »


Alli sotak
and "Gamr el Hawa", words by Sameh El Kodoussi and Kawssar Mostapha, music by Kamal El Tawil
Performed by Mohamed Mounir
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User Reviews

Brave, exuberant filmmaking
17 March 1999 | by claude-18See all my reviews

Americans and Europeans should treat themselves to the courageous joy of this infectious film, if you can find it. If you're looking for Latcho Drom with a great story, this is it!

Destiny is singularly beautiful in that it celebrates humanist passions and ideas as they were once allowed to be expressed in the Islamic culture of 12th century Spain. The Egyptian director Youssef Chahine ventures this anti-fundamentalist statement in a contemporary cultural climate where fundamentalism is on the rise. It exposes the street fascism and subtle eroticism that seduces young men into such sects.

Destiny is exuberant. It has humor, music, dancing, free thinking dialogue, intriguing sets and architecture and, most of all, the ensemble portrayal of a joyful philosophic community whose members you can really grow to love. All the earthly things fundamentalists detest!

Chahine deserves a larger world audience, by virtue of his bravery and outspoken-ness. He argues at risk of his own life in this film. If Akira Kurosawa could be embraced so wholeheartedly by the international community, so should Chahine. This film is a landmark. I hope financing from our part of the world will find its way to him. He has guts and passion.

The film itself is like nothing else you will see made on these shores. It is emotionally unabashed. Our western ideals of coolness and hipness restrict many of our directors and actors. Passion is too often reserved for climactic moments, and commonly those moments are angry intimidation or vengeance scenes sparked by the Pacino clones of the world. Much of the actor's job is running and posing. In Destiny, the actors are not posing - they are joyfully uninhibited and alive!

Recommended highly!! Vigorous entertainment. Brave ideas. Exotic sets. Bold, hand-hewn directorial craftsmanship. Great true story. And your only chance to see 12th century Andalusian culture come alive!

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France | Egypt


French | Arabic

Release Date:

16 October 1998 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Destiny See more »

Filming Locations:

Saint-Gilles, Gard, France See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby | Dolby SR



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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