The Movie "Lion of the Desert"
Cast and crews
Anthony Quinn as Omar Mukhtar
Oliver Reed as Gen. Rodolfo Graziani
Rod Steiger as Benito Mussolini
Irene Papas as Mabrouka
John Gielgud as Sharif el-Gariani
Raf Vallone as Col. Diodiece
Gastone Moschin as Tomelli
Andrew Keir as Salem
Sky Dumont as Prince Amadeo
Robert Brown as Omar's Friend
Ihab Werfali as Ali
Eleonora Stathopoulou as Ali's Mother
Loris Bazzocchi (as Loris Bazoki)
Takis Emmanuel as Bu-Matari
Adolfo Lastretti as Col. Sarsani
Stefano Patrizi as Lt. Sandrini
Franco Fantasia as Gen. Graziani's aide
George Sweeney as Capt. Biagi
Rodolfo Bigotti as Ismail
Pietro Brambilla (as Pietro Brambila)
Claudio Cassinelli as Escort Guard
Mario Feliciani as Lobitto
Piero Gerlini as Barillo
Claudio Gora as President of Court
Lion of the Desert is a 1981 historical film starring Anthony Quinn as Libyan tribal leader Omar Mukhtar fighting Mussolini's army prior to World War II. It was directed by Moustapha Akkad.
This movie symbolizes heroism , revenge , history, vanity, and a lot more. It has a great cast, Anthony at his best and reed proving that he can become a great bad guy. The story is just wonderfully rich with a lot of events, it's a true story about a Muslim hero who fought against the Italian's occupation of Libya with a great bravery and intelligence. The production is amazing, it's a really big budget movie that had all the authenticity of that period, the director Mr. Akkad who did an mazing job on this movie.
Defining the Movie:
The year is 1929 and dictator Benito Mussolini (Rod Steiger) is still faced with the 20-year long war waged by patriots in Libya to combat Italian colonization and the establishment of 'The Fourth Shore' - the rebirth of a Roman Empire in Africa. Mussolini appoints General Rodolfo Graziani (Oliver Reed) as his sixth governor to Libya, confident that the eminently accredited soldier can crush the rebellion and restore the dissipated glories of Imperial Rome.
Inspirational in the resistance towards the oppressors is the leadership of one man - Omar Mukhtar (Anthony Quinn). A teacher by profession, guerilla by obligation, Mukhtar has committed himself to a war that cannot be won in his own lifetime. Arrogant imperialist and ideological visionary - the conflict is between two implacable enemies. Graziani controls North Africa with the might of the Italian Army. Tanks and airplanes are used in the desert for the first time. Despite their bravery, the Libyan Arabs and Berbers suffered heavy losses, their primitive weaponry no match for mechanised warfare; despite all this, they continued the fight, and managed to keep the Italians from achieving complete victory for about twenty years.
Although Omar Mukhtar and his fellow warriors used primitive weaponry, General Rodolfo Graziani admitted and witnessed the greatness and skill of Omar in waging guerilla warfare. Furthermore, in one of the scenes Omar showed the real man inside when he refused to kill a young officer who is weaponless and instead gave him Italy's flag to return with. Omar assured that according to Islam they do not kill captured soldiers and only fight for their homeland, to fight only out of necessity/obligation, and that they are taught to hate war itself.
Censorship in Italy and in some European Countires
Italian authorities banned the movie in 1982 because, in the words of prime minister Giulio Andreotti, as it was considered "damaging to the Army's honour". The last act of the government against the movie was on April 7, 1987, in Trento; after this event, MPs from Democrazia Proletaria asked the Parliament to show the movies at the Chamber of Deputies itself.
Later, the movie was illegally projected at a number of film festivals from 1988, without interference from the government. Minister for Culture Giuliano Urbani, on April 15, 2003, stated that any movie needs to be reviewed by government authorities before it can be publicly shown, in order to evaluate suitability for minors: according to Mr. Urbani, this evaluation has never been requested for the movie.
Still this movie is banned in some Countries and it is not shown to the public.