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In the Ottoman province of Hijaz during World War I, a young Bedouin boy experiences a greatly hastened coming-of-age as he embarks on a perilous desert journey to guide a British officer to his secret destination.


Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 10 wins & 14 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
... Theeb (as Jacir Eid)
... The Stranger (as Hassan Mutlag)
... Hussein (as Hussein Salameh)
... Edward
Marji Audeh ... Marji
Hmood Ali ... Sheikh
Abdul Aziz Mousa ... Suleiman
Baha Othman ... Mulazim
Baha Othman ... Mulazim
Ali Omayan ... Revolt Commander
Aswad Gasem ... Revolt Officer
Ali Saleh ... Revolter
Abdullah Atawi ... Revolter
Suleiman Fraj ... Revolter
Hisham Ahmand ... Revolter


In the Ottoman province of Hijaz during World War I, a young Bedouin boy experiences a greatly hastened coming-of-age as he embarks on a perilous desert journey to guide a British officer to his secret destination.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A classic adventure film of the best kind


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:

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Release Date:

19 March 2015 (United Arab Emirates)  »

Also Known As:

A sivatagon át  »

Filming Locations:



Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$9,181, 8 November 2015, Limited Release

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Writer Bassel Ghandour and director Naji Abu Nowar both spent a year living in the desert with the Bedouins to familiarize themselves with their customs and lifestyle. See more »


Hussein: The strong eat the weak
See more »


Featured in The EE British Academy Film Awards (2016) See more »


A Time for Darkness
by Jerry Lane
© 2015 Jerry Lane / Al Dakheel, Inc.
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User Reviews

Felt Like A One Shot... credits POV Film-making
10 March 2015 | by See all my reviews

Set in the Ottoman province of Hijaz, in 1916, around the time of WWI. Really?? The only suggestion to a world war is when the foreigner says "we are in a war". Hussein (Hussein Salameh) and Theeb (Jacir Eid) are from a family of pilgrim guides. The arrival of the train now helps pilgrims reach Mecca ruining their chief source of income. When a Englishman comes to their clan's camp with a desert guide, rules of Bedouin hospitality force the family to send someone(Hussein) with two men to their destination, Theeb joins. It is a engrossing adventure tale of a young boy forced to grow up and survive in a desert full of bandits, untrustworthy adults. You immerse into the story and it feels like you are watching the adventure live in the desert from start to end thanks to the direction that shows the entire journey from Theeb's point-of-view, our curiosity matches that of Theeb, who heads out to follow his brother and the mysterious British officer. Events are surprising and gripping and take you in the opposite direction of what you are expecting. The stunning scenery and cinematography that helps suggests emotional state, struggles and coming-of-age of Theeb supported by a heart stopping score make this film a benchmark. This is a Must-watch one of a kind road journey where you root for Theeb as he looks for his road in the unending desert.

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