14 user 32 critic

Desert Dancer (2014)

PG-13 | | Biography, Drama, Music | 22 April 2016 (UK)
2:20 | Trailer
Afshin Ghaffarian risks everything to start a dance company amidst his home country of Iran's politically volatile climate and the nation's ban on dancing.


Richard Raymond


Jon Croker (screenplay), Afshin Ghaffarian (based on the life story of)
2 nominations. See more awards »





Credited cast:
Nazanin Boniadi ... Parisa Ghaffarian
Freida Pinto ... Elaheh
Marama Corlett ... Mona
Simon Kassianides ... Sattar
Tom Cullen ... Ardavan
Reece Ritchie ... Afshin Ghaffarian
Akin Gazi ... Farid Ghaffarian
Tolga Safer ... Stephano
Richard David-Caine ... Teymour / Trinculo
Neet Mohan ... Javadi, Naser
Mourad Zaoui ... The student
Makram Khoury ... Mehdi
Hamza Kadri Hamza Kadri ... Smocking Guy
Davood Ghadami Davood Ghadami ... Basij Leader
Alex Klaus ... Minder 1 (as Alex Claus)


A film based on an incredible true story. Desert Dancer is a classic hero story about brave young people risking their lives to rebel against their government and fight for their dreams. Set in Iran, where it is currently forbidden to dance, the story follows Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends who despite the dangers form an underground dance company where, via hacking into YouTube, they learn from the very best - Michael Jackson, Pina Bausch, Gene Kelly and Rudolf Nureyev. Reveling in the freedom of expression that dance gives them, they set upon putting on a performance deep in the desert, away from the watchful eyes of the military police. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Based on an Inspiring True Story. See more »


Biography | Drama | Music

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for thematic elements, some drug material and violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


There is a misspelled word in the big banner the protesters carry in front of them See more »


References Dirty Dancing (1987) See more »


My Tears Are Becoming a Sea
(Anthony Gonzalez (as Gonzalez), Justin Meldal-Johnsen (as Meldal-Johnsen))
Performed by M83
See more »

User Reviews

Total Bull
29 March 2020 | by negarrezayiSee all my reviews

Omg. I'm Iranian and the horrible inaccuracies were so insulting and ridiculous I couldn't decide if I should laugh or get angry. First the setting, that place is so obviously not Iran. It looks more like an Arab country with all the palm trees, which only exist in the southern and northern regions of Iran since it's a 4 season country with all kinds of temperature. There are no palm trees in Tehran! Also Tehran is the Capital and quite a modern city with skyscapers and apartment buildings, a pretty advanced subway system and is famous for the luxurious cafes and restraunts and malls. So that decrepit ancient vibe they gave to the city is fankly laughable even for 2009. I mean, there are pictures in the internet right??? And if not there are plenty of Iranians to talk to before starting a project like this that would give the wrong impressions about the country to the whole world. I'm not even going to talk how they butched the image of University of Tehran. Nope. Second, dancing is not illegal in Iran. Not for boys atleast. There are plenty of male traditional dancing groups performing all over country and even modern break dance or hip hop dance groups performing in private weddings. Sure women aren't allowed to dance or perform in public, part of the bullshit sexist government hiding their dictatorship behind religion but these kinds of exaggeration doesn't help the situation of people of Iran. Also the underground club thing. Yeah, not happening. They would be caught before they could enter the place. Don't get me wrong there are plenty of parties in Iran witg drinking and dancing amd the whole thing but they would be in private property preferably out of town with the neighbors on board so the cops wouldn't be called. And how those supposed Basiji guys behaved is was so blown out of proportion that it was downright comic. And come on not everything is called Basij there are plenty of different organizations for this bullshit. I'm done with this review not because there isn't anything to add but because I'm done with typing.

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Official Sites:

Official site



Release Date:

22 April 2016 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Until I Rise See more »

Filming Locations:

London, England, UK See more »


Box Office


$4,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$40,763, 12 April 2015

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs



Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

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