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Arabian Nights


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Product Details

  • Actors: Mili Avital, Alan Bates, James Frain, Tchéky Karyo, Jason Scott Lee
  • Directors: Steve Barron
  • Writers: Peter Barnes
  • Producers: Dyson Lovell, Howard Ellis, Nigel Wooll, Peter Barnes, Robert Halmi Jr.
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Hallmark
  • DVD Release Date: July 18, 2000
  • Run Time: 175 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (133 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6305898952
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #167,271 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Arabian Nights" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Making Of

Editorial Reviews

A ruthless Sultan (Dougray Scott) enacts a barbaric decree to avenge his unfaithful first wife by bedding--then beheading--the women of his empire. The wise Scheherezade (Mili Avital) devises a desparate plan to save her kingdom by seducing the Sultan's imagination with the fantastical tales of Aladdin, Ali Baba, and larger-than-life heroes, warriors and djinns. Mind-blowing adventure and extraordinary special effects set against the backdrop of mysterious Arabia make this an exhilarating trip through the greatest anthology of all time.

Customer Reviews

It's a really long movie, but it's worth every second!
Megan
The structure of the story was well done, too, and the ending, though simple, was exactly what it should be, proof that the stories never truly end.
Fiction Writer
This movie has a very well written script, excellent acting, engaging story.
Heidi

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

177 of 178 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on January 8, 2002
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
As other reviewers have pointed out, the VHS edition of this movie has been hacked to bits and re-edited. There are a few other versions floating around, one is recorded on EP (bad quality) and the other is in a set and rather expensive. I saved the time by buying the DVD instead. The DVD offers a few extras like cast bios and a making of featurette (which is basically just them patting themselves on the back for a lavish production, something we could tell by ourselves) The movie is the star in this case. If you have any sort of access to a DVD player, buy the movie in this format.
The tale of Arabian Nights is an ancient one about the beautiful Scheherezade (played by lovely Israeli actress Mili Avital, best known to Americans from Stargate) who tries to cure the mad Sultan Schahriar (Scottish actor Dougray Scott) through her considerable story telling ability. At first, Schahriar is a suspicious, childish man but then as his wife's tales grip him, he begins to see the lessons she is teaching him. So, what starts as a marriage based on convenience and murder becomes a truly deep relationship.
Scheherezade's tales are brought to life by a variety of stars in a variety of settings. Some of the "Saturday Morning Cartoon" feel of the stories is removed and many of them return to their roots. The tale of Aladdin, for example, was originally set in China with the bad guy as a sort of African Shaman and that is what is used in this version. Also, the fact that there were two genies is brought to light. (American John Leguizamo is very good in the duel roles as the genies of the lamp and ring) Historical findings are also used (the clay sldiers used in a Chinese tomb to guard the dead are incorporated) And lesser known tales such as the story of Bacbac are used.
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69 of 73 people found the following review helpful By A. Casalino VINE VOICE on November 26, 2001
Format: DVD
It's very amazing that this was originally presented as a cable mini-series - as I eventually happened to watch it in its entirety and found it to be, in fact, quite extraordinary! I never thought, in all these years of watching movies, that such a film could be made from such a classic and intricate collection of stories - Ah - and how it has come to enthrall me! I truly am undone!
Scheherazade (Mili Avital) marries the Sultan Schahriar (Dougray Scott) even though she knows that his mad mind has contrived a plan to execute his new wife the morning after their wedding. After they are married, she proceeds to spend every wakeful night with him, feeding his imagination with wondrous tales!
This is based on the classic work of writing - A THOUSAND AND ONE NIGHTS, by Sir Richard Burton. It includes ancient tales that had been passed down for hundreds and even thousands of years! Five of these stories, including the tale of Ali Baba (Rufus Sewell) and Aladdin (Jason Scott Lee) are woven and portrayed upon the screen here in brilliant fashion! The special effects are far beyond what one would ever expect - even from a big-screen movie. I am sure, in fact, that this was only made for cable because it is a captivating 4-hours long!
The performances herein are as excellent as ever one can come by - Mili Avital and Dougray Scott are both so lovely and possess a wonderful chemistry - And the settings are nothing less than exquisite! If you have four or so hours of easy leisure - I recommend this for both its insight and its beauty~~
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Bonnie Bailey on August 14, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
This is an absolutely wonderful movie! We watched it as a family and loved it! Dougray Scott is an amazing actor and very believable as the Sultan going mad. I received this video as a present and my 8 year old daughter pointed out that huge parts of it were cut out! The tale of the beggar and sultan, a huge turning point in the story was gone, among other parts! It didn't make sense! And my husband had ordered the extended play version. We finally rented it and saw it in its entirety. If you watch it make sure you get the full version...it is 175 minutes long. The cut version is 139 minutes long and really takes away from the story. The story is nothing without the crucial parts cut out. I highly recommend the extended play version and feel you are really missing out if you don't watch it at least once!
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65 of 73 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 23, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
I watched Arabian Nights on television and I loved it. I loved everything about it: the storyline, the acting, the scenery, the costumes, everything. I was so looking forward to getting this video. I was so disappointed when I realized that the editors of this movie cut out crucial scenes that were inclued in the televised movie. It's basically a choppy mess. Some of the edited out portions were subtle but I knew where the cuts were. A good movie should flow smoothly. For example, the story about Amin the beggar and Abrashield were entirely cut out. That's a crucial part of the movie. It's when the sultan realizes what his brother is doing to him. Without that part, the scene doesn't make sense. Two stars for this video, no stars for the editor.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Angela Mitchell VINE VOICE on August 24, 2000
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Just as Sheherazade would like it, "Arabian Nights" is a tale well told. It's a movie filled with color, humor, romance, and fascinating characters -- in short, it's everything those other awful recent "magical" miniseries wish they would've been (only to fail miserably). After suffering through the overcooked disappointments of "Merlin" or this year's "10th Kingdom," I wasn't looking forward to "Arabian Nights."
But I watched, and was glad I did. "Arabian Nights" is that rare TV attempt that does justice to the original book it's based on (1001 Nights). The miniseries is told in a tight two nights (175 minutes total on DVD), and is an example of a production in which everything was done right. The DVD itself not only boasts a beautifully rendered and uncut version of the film, it also offers an enjoyable look behind the scenes, plus the standard bios and production notes -- as well as some unusually beautiful interactive menus featuring a hint of magic in each one.
The special effects for "Arabian Nights" are beautifully done, and without the overkill usually associated with this kind of TV fare. There's also a poetry missing from most TV family entertainment -- a beautiful score, and a thoughtfully written script (by Peter Barnes). The actors also rise to the challenge: From the graceful Mili Avital, who makes a lovely and spirited Sheherazade, to Dougray Scott's complex, tormented, and surprisingly sympathetic Sultan, and delightful guest appearances from the likes of Jason Scott Lee, Rufus Sewell, Alan Bates, and many more -- Arabian Nights is one of those rare gems whose substance more than matches its style.
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