Master explorer Dirk Pitt goes on the adventure of a lifetime of seeking out a lost Civil War battleship known as the "Ship of Death" in the deserts of West Africa while helping a WHO doctor being hounded by a ruthless dictator.


Breck Eisner


Clive Cussler (novel), Thomas Dean Donnelly (screenplay) | 3 more credits »
2,288 ( 1,202)
2 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Jude Akuwudike ... Imam
Mark Aspinall Mark Aspinall ... Lawyer
Rakie Ayola ... Mrs. Nwokolo
Christopher Bello Christopher Bello ... Train Driver
Nicholas Beveney Nicholas Beveney ... Gunboat 1 Officer
Empotoe Bosage Empotoe Bosage ... Pick Up Truck Guard
Robert Cavanah ... Captain Tombs
Penélope Cruz ... Eva Rojas (as Penelope Cruz)
Clint Dyer ... Oshodi
Matthew Flynn ... 1st Lieutenant, Ironclad
Paulin Fodouop Paulin Fodouop ... Modibo (as Paulin F. Fodouop)
Ouahbou Houcine Ouahbou Houcine ... Tuareg Village Boy #1
Emmanuel Ighodaro ... Kazim's Officer Asselar
Lennie James ... General Zateb Kazim
Maurice Lee Maurice Lee ... Zakara


Retired US admiral Sandecker's foundation finances various projects worldwide, including high tech marine salvage by brilliant Dirk Pitt's US Navy Seal veterans team including buddy Al Giordino, which dreams of finding the mysteriously missing Confederal gold aboard the ironclad battleship 'of Death'. Pitts bumps into evidence for his theory it crossed the Atlantic up the river Niger, where the admiral has an environmental project. Alas, it's a West African dictatorship where the ruthless president suppresses the desert people, in league with billionaire French energy industrialist Yves Massarde. Saving reckless WHO epidemics researcher Dr. Eva Rojas, he learns the secret abducted tribal slaves-run waste plant's toxic output threatens, through an underground fluvial system, to pollute the ocean and hence cause a global killer epidemic. Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Dirk Pitt. Adventure has a new name. See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for action violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


A full-scale model of the Texas was built for the film. After the 1865 sequence was filmed, it was dismantled and reassembled in Morocco. See more »


51st minute: if Eva believed there may be pathogens in the drinking water well, she would not have waited until reaching bottom to put on her mask and latex gloves, nor would she then remove them while still at the bottom, as shooting is heard outside. See more »


[first lines]
Sailor Who Drops Gold: Sorry, captain.
Pilot, Ironclad: It's all right son, just keep moving. That's the future in your hands.
See more »

Crazy Credits

A Clive Cussler Dirk Pitt Adventure See more »


Featured in Making 'Sahara' (2005) See more »


Written by Oumou Sangare
Performed by Oumou Sangare
Courtesy of Nonesuch Records / World Circuit
By Arrangement with Warner Strategic Marketing and World Circuit Ltd.
See more »

User Reviews

Silly adventure movie fun... with a heart
14 April 2008 | by vip_ebriegaSee all my reviews

My Take: James Bond meets Indiana Jones with silly yet exciting action, crackling wit.

Although it was credited as a "Dirk Pitt Adventure", SAHARA seems more in kin with James Bond and Indiana Jones than Clive Cussler. I haven't read any of Clive Cussler's books, but I'm absolutely certain that this would be Cussler's visualization. It is, indeed, a B-level adventure film, complete with heroes in top gear (complete with winning grin, no less), the sexy heroine, the sidekick, and the bad guys who want to rule the world (or simply get whatever it is they want). Not to mention the series of stunt play and gunfights done the old-fashioned way. This is the look (and feel) of an action picture they no longer make, which provides most of its appeal. I enjoyed SAHARA on the level many think it doesn't work, and that's being a traditional old-fashioned brainless adventure. It's not great at the field, but at least it has its heart on it.

Its tag line states "Adventure has a new name", it's without question or doubt that Dirk Pitt, Cussler's brainchild hero played here by Matthew McConaughey, will be a new James Bond or Indiana Jones. The charisma given to him is good but obvious. He's calm over tension, and never loses his cool even at extreme measures. The other supporting characters have nothing in them, their there, but practically, their hardly anybody but characters in a movie. If characters in adventure movies could be quite as interesting as those featured in the INDIANA JONES series, couldn't we deserve to get the same on other entries in the genre, including knock-offs.

Still, what you've come to expect from SAHARA are here anyway. The implausible plot involves the quest for a lost Ironclad in the middle of the Sahara desert (!) by the dashing Dirk Pitt (McConaughey), his sidekick Al (Steve Zahn) and a daring Dr. Eva Rojas (Penelope Cruz), who trek through the blazing desert landscape with camels, vans, boats, you name it. Along the way, they are trailed by the bad guys and get into situations that could only mean more action movie fun. What's in store? Helicopter chases (my favorite!), gunfights, boat chases and even a train chase with camels (who even knew that you can still come up with a fun action movie sequence with camels!). If you don't think this stuff is any fun, you may wanna have to check with your doctor in case your sugar's a little low.

Is SAHARA any great? No it isn't. But did I get exactly what I wanted from it? It surely does. Even if this genre, which includes films like NATIONAL TREASURE, will never live up to its superior INDIANA JONES ancestors, they will still nonetheless offer the action and adventure it promises. And in that level, SAHARA delivers.

Rating: *** out of 5.

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Official Sites:

Official site [Russia]


UK | Spain | Germany | USA | France


English | French | Arabic

Release Date:

8 April 2005 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Sahara See more »

Filming Locations:

UK See more »


Box Office


$130,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$18,068,372, 10 April 2005

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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