Lion of the Desert
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Lion of the Desert

173 min | UK:156 min (DVD)
Biography | Drama | History | War
IMDB rate:
Moustapha Akkad
Country: Libya
Release Date: 1981-05-16
Filming Locations: Italy
Oliver Reed
Oliver Reed
Lion of the Desert
Anthony Quinn
Omar Mukhtar
Irene Papas
Rod Steiger
Benito Mussolini
John Gielgud
Sharif El Gariani
Andrew Keir
Gastone Moschin
Major Tomelli
Stefano Patrizi
Lt. Sandrini
Adolfo Lastretti
Colonel Sarsani
Sky du Mont
Prince Amadeo (as Sky Dumont)
Takis Emmanuel
Rodolfo Bigotti
Robert Brown
Al Fadeel
Eleonora Stathopoulou
Ali's Mother
Luciano Bartoli
Captain Lontano
Claudio Gora
President of Court
Giordano Falzoni
Judge at Camp
Franco Fantasia
Graziani's Aide
Ihab Werfali
Ewen Solon
Loris Bazzocchi
(as Loris Bazoki)
Alec Mango
Filippo De Gara
(as Filippo Degara)
George Sweeney
Captain Biagi
Luciano Catenacci
Italian Soldier
Victor Baring
Pietro Brambilla
Young Soldier
Pietro Tordi
Field Marshal
Massimiliano Baratta
Capture Captain
Mario Feliciani
Gianfranco Barra
Piero Gerlini
Barillo (as Pietro Gerlini)
Lino Capolicchio
Captain Bedendo
Benito Mussolini
Himself (archive footage)
Mario Adorf
Claudio Cassinelli
Prisoner Escort Guard (uncredited)
Mark Colleano
Infantry Corporal (uncredited)
Tom Felleghy
Italian General (uncredited)
Scott Richard Fensome
Machine Gun Sergeant (uncredited)
Alfonso Giganti
Military Judge (uncredited)
Angelo Ragusa
Italian Soldier (uncredited)
Amedeo Salamon
Man watching the trail (uncredited)
Did you know?
Second of two films where actor Rod Steiger played Italian fascist leader Benito Mussolini. The first time had been about seven years earlier in The Last 4 Days (1974)
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The movie was banned in Italy in 1982. Then Italian Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti said of this that the film was "damaging to the honor of the [Italian] army". It has also been alleged that it was banned in Italy because the Italian Government maintained that the film was defamatory. The film was first broadcast on Italian television by Sky Italy on 11th June 2009 during the official state visit of former Libyan leader Muammar Gadaffi who had financed the picture.
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The number of Bedouins that were killed in the Libyan holocaust numbered around 200,000 people.
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When Diodiece meets with Graziani and Prince Amadeo about starting peace talks, a map behind him, depicting the Horn of Africa, is inaccurate. The map clearly shows no borders between Ethiopia and the adjoining Italian colonies of Eritrea and Italian Somaliland, a situation that existed only after Ethiopia had been conquered by Italy and was united with the other two territories as the colony of Italian East Africa. However, this did not occur until 1936, and since the film takes place from 1929-1931, such a map could not possibly have existed at the time of the three men's meeting.
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Mussolini is talking to Graziani in the opening when he looks the map of Libya, and says that all the green land is for Italy, but this is a topographical map that shows land greener as it becomes lower by sea level. 90% of the area of Libya is desert.
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During the narrated introduction immediately following the opening credits, the Earth is depicted revolving backwards - west-to-east instead of east-to-west.
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Omar Mukhtar: We do not kill *prisoners*!
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Gen. Rodolfo Graziani: These chains are uncomfortable ?
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Omar Mukhtar: We will never surrender. We win or we die. And don't think it stops there. You will have the next generation to fight; and after the next, the next. As for me, I will live longer than my hangman.
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Photos from cast
Oliver Reed Raf Vallone