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Rock the Kasbah (2015)

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A down-on-his-luck music manager discovers a teenage girl with an extraordinary voice while on a music tour in Afghanistan and takes her to Kabul to compete on the popular television show, Afghan Star.


Barry Levinson


Mitch Glazer (screenplay)





Cast overview, first billed only:
Bill Murray ... Richie Lanz
Bruce Willis ... Bombay Brian
Kate Hudson ... Merci
Zooey Deschanel ... Ronnie
Leem Lubany ... Salima
Arian Moayed ... Riza
Scott Caan ... Jake
Danny McBride ... Nick
Fahim Fazli ... Tariq
Beejan Land ... Daoud (as Beehan Land)
Sameer Ali Khan ... Azam Ghol
Jonas Khan ... Nizar
Husam Chadat ... Nasim
Taylor Kinney ... Private Barnes
Megan Raich ... Brittany


Richie Lanz (Bill Murray), a has-been rock manager takes his last remaining client on a USO tour of Afghanistan. When Richie finds himself in Kabul, abandoned, penniless and without his U.S. passport, he discovers a young Afghan girl named Salima with an extraordinary voice and manages her through Afghanistan's version of American Idol..

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Opportunity rocks when you least expect it.


Comedy | Music | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language including sexual references, some drug use and brief violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »






Release Date:

23 October 2015 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Afganistani superstaar See more »

Filming Locations:

Morocco See more »


Box Office


$15,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$1,470,592, 23 October 2015, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$2,982,281, 22 November 2015
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The title of the movie is a reference to the song of the same name by the punk band The Clash. The song tells a fable-like story of a King, who bans rock music and is met with defiance by the population. The song's story was influenced by Iran's ban on Western music in 1979. In 1991, Joe Strummer wept when he received news that "Rock the Casbah" was written on the side of an American bomb that detonated in Iraq. The song does not appear in the movie, because the filmmakers were denied the rights to use it. See more »


When Richie (Bill Murray) and Bombay Brian (Bruce Willis) go to the desert to do deliver the weapons/ammo and collect the money, one of the tribal elders tells them that they are being forced to grow poppy. However, Paktya province is virtually poppy-free, as the altitude is too high for that crop. On the other hand, it is common to find huge fields of marijuana plants. See more »


[first lines]
Maureen: [having just finished singing her audition] Mr. Lanz? I'm done.
Richie Lanz: [long pause] No.
Richie Lanz: Forgive me. No. You're just beginning.
Maureen: You liked it?
Richie Lanz: Liked it? You made me want to swallow poison. And forget pitch, rhythm and tone... and emotional attachment to the lyric or the melody.
Maureen: I'm sorry. I don't think I...
Richie Lanz: A grain of sand slips into an oyster... and irritates the bivalve. What happens?
Maureen: A pearl.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Just after the closing credits begin, there is an inset scene running alongside. In it, Bill Murray haggles with a vendor who offers him colored string. The vendor speaks no English, while Murray carries on his side of the negotiation in English only. Murray rejects the string, saying "Do I look like a guy who uses string?", but he wants to buy a stuffed elephant with mirrors on it because early in the movie he promised to buy his daughter that exact item. In the end he also buys the colored string. See more »


Written by Geoffrey Graham, Jana Hunter, Walker Teret and Nathaniel Nelson
Performed by Lower Dens
Courtesy of Ribbon Music
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Another Great Performance and film with Bill Murray
23 October 2015 | by roguecritic42See all my reviews

I think this is a film that true Bill Murray fans will love and get. Bill Murray is one of the greatest actors and comedians of the past 20 years. If you are not the type of person to understand Bill Murray's subtle comedy and charm, then you probably won't get this film.

If you see "Comedy with Bill Murray" and you expect to see The Hangover or Bridesmaids type humor, then of coarse you will be disappointed. I had about 10 big laugh out loud moments during this film.

But this movie is more than that, it had a good message behind it and for most people who do not live in third world countries this movie also provided a very interesting view of the culture in another country.

Also, there are a lot of cameos by very famous and fantastic actors that I had no idea were involved in this movie, until I watched it. I don't even want to mention those actors names because the surprise of seeing them in this movie added to the charm.

Not only that, but the cultural message behind this movie was so important, touching, and moving, and demonstrates that love and beauty will triumph over old archaic beliefs that restrict societies that have trouble letting go of the past.

As with most Bill Murray movies, it won't be an all around crowd pleaser. But there is an audience who will truly appreciate this movie as I did. I give it a 9 out of 10. I reserve 10 for movies I love so much that I want to scream it from the roof tops. This movie truly deserves a 9 out of 10 though. I think the low ratings for this movie by critics reflects an ignorance of Bill Murray's comedic style, but also a politically correct culture that is too afraid to rock the boat on issues that really matter for all of mankind. I think this movie plays out beautifully. I didn't know what to expect. I went with the only expectation being "I want to see this new Bill Murray comedy". And I think if you were to compare this to Life Aquatic or Lost in Translation, then you would be either more impressed or at least equally impressed.

I couldn't have had a better Friday night out to the movies. Thanks again to Bill for accepting a quality role in a film that he thought would be worthy of starring in.

Had some great laughs, the movie offered a positive uplifting message, and I was grateful to have seen it.

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