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Wadjda (2012)

2:04 | Trailer
An enterprising Saudi girl signs on for her school's Koran recitation competition as a way to raise the remaining funds she needs in order to buy the green bicycle that has captured her interest.


Haifaa Al-Mansour (as Haifaa Al Mansour)


Haifaa Al-Mansour (as Haifaa Al Mansour)
Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 22 wins & 33 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Reem Abdullah Reem Abdullah ... Mother
Waad Mohammed ... Wadjda
Abdullrahman Al Gohani Abdullrahman Al Gohani ... Abdullah (as Abdullrahman Algohani)
Ahd ... Ms. Hussa
Sultan Al Assaf Sultan Al Assaf ... Father
Alanoud Sajini Alanoud Sajini ... Fatin
Rafa Al Sanea Rafa Al Sanea ... Fatima
Dana Abdullilah Dana Abdullilah ... Salma
Rehab Ahmed Rehab Ahmed ... Noura
Nouf Saad Nouf Saad ... Koran Teacher
Ibrahim Almozael Ibrahim Almozael ... Toy Shop Owner
Mohammed Zahir Mohammed Zahir ... Iqbal - the Driver
Sara Aljaber Sara Aljaber ... Leila
Noura Faisal Noura Faisal ... Abeer
Talal Loay Talal Loay ... Abeer's Young Man


WADJDA is a 10-year-old girl living in a suburb of Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia. Although she lives in a conservative world, Wadjda is fun loving, entrepreneurial and always pushing the boundaries of what she can get away with. After a fight with her friend Abdullah, a neighborhood boy she shouldn't be playing with, Wadjda sees a beautiful green bicycle for sale. She wants the bicycle desperately so that she can beat Abdullah in a race. But Wadjda's mother won't allow it, fearing repercussions from a society that sees bicycles as dangerous to a girl's virtue. So Wadjda decides to try and raise the money herself. At first, Wadjda's mother is too preoccupied with convincing her husband not to take a second wife to realize what's going on. And soon enough Wadjda's plans are thwarted when she is caught running various schemes at school. Just as she is losing hope of raising enough money, she hears of a cash prize for a Quran recitation competition at her school. She devotes herself... Written by Razor Film Produktion GmbH

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for thematic elements, brief mild language and smoking | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


The first feature length film made by a female Saudi director. See more »


When Wadjda adds her name to her father's family tree, the position and shape of the scrap of paper changes between closeup and wide shots. See more »


References Bicycle Thieves (1948) See more »


121 solo
Written by Adam Fox and Stephen Day
Published by Sonoton Music GmbH & Co. KG
With kind permission of Sonoton Music Gmbh & Co. KG
See more »

User Reviews

Brave and Brilliant Effort from Saudi's First Female Director - A Simple Yet Delightful Story About Freedom!
14 February 2014 | by akash_sebastianSee all my reviews

In a land where where cinemas are illegal, the first feature film shot entirely in Saudi Arabia by its first female director, 'Wadjda' is simple yet alluring neorealist film about a child and a bicycle. Haifaa Al-Mansour's brave effort gives us an interesting glimpse into the lives of women in a strict religious country like Saudi Arabia.

Being scolded for not wearing a head-scarf to school and for singing when her father's friends are in the other room (women unable to show themselves or their talents in presence of men), being sexually harassed by a building site worker, seeing her mother sad and angry because her dad is about to marry another woman (desperation for a male heir and the existence of polygamy), her mother almost losing her job because of her dependence on a rude driver (women are not allowed to drive any kind of transport), seeing one of her classmates getting married (rare but existent child marriages), seeing two elder schoolmates get wrongfully accused of immoral intimate conduct, and feeling disappointed after not seeing her name in the family tree (only male children are given importance); these are just few of the female struggles we see through the eyes of our young tomboy heroine, Wadjda. From the very first scene where she stands out in a group of singing school girls with her converse shoes, we see Wadjda as someone rebellious and strong. In a repressive land where women are oppressed, based on strict religious laws, not only by men but by other women as well, Wadjda dreams of having a green bicycle, so that she could overtake her annoying yet caring friend Abdullah. Though girls are not allowed to ride bikes, she starts collecting money by selling love-song mixed tapes and football club bracelets to her schoolmates. And thus begins her journey. Just like 'The Bicycle Thief', the bicycle here signifies freedom.

The young yet incredibly talented Waad Mohammed gives a charming performance, and carries the movie on her shoulders with terrific ease. Waad along with Haifaa (Director) are the two brave talents that emerge from this feature. All the supporting actors act commendably as well. International composer Max Richter's background score is subtle yet as captivating as the movie itself. Shot with such authentic beauty, there are many scenes which stay in your mind long after the movie is over, one of which is where the young friend Abdullah asks Wadjda, in an adorably sweet way, if she knows that he wants to marry her when they grow up; the scene has a lot of meaning and hope attached to it.

It's not just a critique on Saudi society, but it's a universal story which talks about a society's limitations and possibilities.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Release Date:

16 May 2013 (Netherlands) See more »

Also Known As:

Wadjda See more »

Filming Locations:

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$41,253, 15 September 2013

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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