Khartoum NR CC

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(139) IMDb 6.9/10
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A spectacular historical epic set in 1885. Commanded by a determined religious leader called "The Mahdi" (Laurence Olivier), 80,000 fierce Sudanese warriors massacre 8,000 untrained, British-led Egyptian troops in the desert, 100 miles beyond Khartoum. British Prime Minister Gladstone (Sir Ralph Richardson) learns of the slaughter and that The Mahdi is determined to claim the great city of Khartoum to prove his divine mission and power. General Charles "Chinese" Gordon (Charlton Heston) is persuaded to try and make peace. He must also find a way to evacuate the Egyptian army defending Khartoum and protect its inhabitants. Directed by Basil Dearde. The stunning action sequences were directed by Yakima Canutt.

Starring:
Charlton Heston, Laurence Olivier
Runtime:
2 hours, 17 minutes

Available to watch on supported devices.

Khartoum

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Product Details

Genres Military & War, Drama, Adventure, Action
Director Basil Dearden, Eliot Elisofon
Starring Charlton Heston, Laurence Olivier
Supporting actors Richard Johnson, Ralph Richardson, Alexander Knox, Johnny Sekka, Michael Hordern, Zia Mohyeddin, Marne Maitland, Nigel Green, Hugh Williams, Ralph Michael, Douglas Wilmer, Edward Underdown, Peter Arne, Alan Tilvern, Michael Anthony, Roger Delgado, Leo Genn, Lisa Guiraut
Studio MGM
MPAA rating NR (Not Rated)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Rental rights 24 hour viewing period. Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Instant Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Customer Reviews

Very well filmed and beautifully presented film.
Peter J. Evans
Look at world events in the middle east today and you will appreciate this film even more.
Stuart M. Habib
One of the best action-packed movies I've ever seen!!!
Daniel W. Block

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

156 of 161 people found the following review helpful By k2 on March 15, 2002
Format: DVD
Here is one of the great intellectual, action movies in the tradition of "Lawrence of Arabia!" The sharp screenplay by Robert Ardrey, an African historian, is crammed with ideas: colonialism, religion, fate, politics, etc. At the same time, it is an incredible recreation of the battles surrounding that period of history and the siege of Khartoum. The battle sequences were directed by none other than Yakima Canutt, the legendary director for the chariot race in "Ben-Hur." Charlton Heston's performance as General Gordon is one of his finest. Laurence Olivier's performance as the Mahdi is outstanding and will leave you a little spooked as he reveals the mind of an Islamic fanatic. This film was not a hit in the United States. I believe that is because it was released in the summer and a movie about the desert should never be released then. ("Lawrence of Arabia" was released right before Christmas.) If released in the winter, it would have done much better business and been given more respect as part of the traditonal end-of-year important films. It was also released in Cinerama, the defunct curved screen process, making the film's incredible photography and direction truly spectacular. And it explains some of the photography angles. I see the DVD is not preserving the original 2.75 Cinerama/Ultra Panavision aspect ratio ("Hello, MGM! Wake up!") but no matter. This is one of the finest historical films you will ever see. And with the recent trajedies, it is even more pertinent. History does repeat itself! One of the finest lines in the film is when General Gordon, Charlton Heston, says to the Mahdi, Laurence Olivier, "While I may die of your miracle, you will surely die of mine." It really does not get much better than this.
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62 of 64 people found the following review helpful By Alejandra Vernon HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 4, 2004
Format: VHS Tape
Though the historical events in this film took place in 1884-85, there are aspects of it that remind one of today's headlines; this is a sadly underrated film, with a fantastic cast, massive battle scenes, and a beautifully written script about an extraordinary man.
There are scenes that take "artistic license", but the film is quite accurate in its facts on General Gordon; a military genius who hated war, a deeply religious man who worked to end slavery, and who fell in love with the desolate scorching sands and the people of the Sudan.
The pairing of Charlton Heston and Laurence Olivier is fabulous, and their scenes together are riveting. Heston is gaunt in this film, to closer portray the slightly built Gordon, and speaks with a subtle but excellent English accent; Olivier is the fanatic who calls himself The Mahdi ("The Expected One"), waging a holy war with his followers to destroy anyone who opposes his beliefs, with the aim of conquering the world for his fundamentalist faith.
Other wonderful performances come from Richard Johnson as Col. Stewart, Ralph Richardson as Prime Minister Gladstone, Nigel Green as Gen Wolseley, and Johnny Sekka is a delight as Gordon's servant Khaleel.
After British-led Egyptian forces are massacred by The Mahdi's insurgents, the British government asks Egypt to give up the Sudan, and General Gordon is called to evacuate the European and Egyptian civilians from the Sudan; he stays to ward off the terrorists and the siege of Khartoum takes place.
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41 of 42 people found the following review helpful By John A Lee III on April 4, 2006
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is the story of British General Charles "Chinese" Gordon's final battle. It is a little know episode to Americans but is a compelling story made even more so by this fine production.

Gordon won fame by ridding the Sudan of the slave trade and as a successful general in the Opium Wars in China. When a religious fanatic rises in the Sudan and massacres a British led force, Gordon is sent in to bring out the Egyptians and Europeans. The prime minister, however, is not willing to commit to anything else. He doesn't even want to do that. He has no desire to run a colonial empire. The politicians in London care about little other than keeping the egg from their own faces.

Gordon makes it to Khartoum but is unable to accomplish his mission. The Mahdi is willing to let the Europeans go but he is not willing to let the Egyptians go. Gordon is unwilling to sacrifice any of his men so he stays to fight, sure that London will send an army to save him. The politicians do send an army but is has order to drag its feet. They believe that Gordon will flee on his own when things get too dire. It is a matter of politicians not understanding the motivations of a principled man and that same man not understanding the baseness of politicians. It is a gripping story.

Gordon is played by Charlton Heston who does a superb job. The Mahdi is played by Sir Lawrence Olivier who succeeds in portraying an Islamic religious fanatic in a light that is not stereotypical. It is a great job all around.
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47 of 53 people found the following review helpful By Richard Arant on October 8, 2005
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is a wonderful story and a riveting film, as the other reviewers have noted. This DVD version is crisp and clear, well done. The final narrator comment is on the mark -- A world in which there is no room for Gordons is doomed to turn to sand.

If you would like to learn in exquisite detail what the Mahdi was truly like, his background, the games he played interposing himself between God and man, his private vices versus public face of holiness, the extent of his crimes against duped humanity, how he died [the narrator fo the film says we will never know, but Rudolph Slatin reported the cause of death more than 100 years ago], then by all means read "Fire and Sword in the Sudan," written by Colonel Sir Rudolph Slatin Pasha, an Austrian officer held captive inside the inner circles of both the Mahdi and his successor the Khalifa Abdullahi for twelve agonizing years. General Gordon's severed head was brought to Slatin in prison before it was taken as prize to the Mahdi. Slatin, an expert linguist and accomplished field commander, was appointed by Gordon as governor of Darfur and led troops in the field against rebels for one year after being cut off from all contact with his government. He played convert to Islam as a strategy to inspire his troops and to stay alive as a personal slave to the Mahdi and the Khalifa, biding his time until he could make good his escape. Slatin's story is at least as inspiring as the life of the legendary General Gordon. Several anecdotes Slatin reveals about Gordon give a special insight into the kind nature of the great but human general.

My only complaint about "Khartoum" -- The movie was grossly slanderous toward General Hicks, who commanded the troops massacred in the opening scene.
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