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Lion of the Desert [Blu-ray] (1981)

 PG |  Blu-ray
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (119 customer reviews)

List Price: $19.99
Price: $12.72 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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Blu-ray 1-Disc Version $12.72  
DVD 2-Disc Version $8.96  
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Product Details

  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: Spanish
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Starz / Anchor Bay
  • DVD Release Date: November 12, 2013
  • Run Time: 156 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (119 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00ER0QI28
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #51,207 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

The year is 1929 and dictator Benito Mussolini is still faced with the 20-year long war waged by Bedouin patriots to combat Italian colonization and the establishment of the "Fourth Shore." Mussolini appoints General Rodolfo Graziani as his sixth Governor to Libya, confident that the eminently accredited soldier can crush the rebellion and restore the dissipated glories of Imperial Rome. Omar Mukhtar - a teacher by profession, guerilla by obligation, fights against his oppressors and commits himself to a war that cannot be won in his lifetime. With Omar Mukhtar as their inspirational leader, the Bedouin troops fight on horseback against the tanks and planes of the Italian Army. As the conflict between the two implacable enemies deepen, the Bedouin suffer crippling losses, but still they fight on.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
104 of 106 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Splendid Historical Epic October 23, 2003
When one thinks of the name Moustapha Akkad, if one thinks of it at all, the thought most likely concerns the "Halloween" franchise. After all, Akkad financed the first film and eventually took over the rest of the series. Every time you witness a new entry in the "Halloween" canon, Akkad is probably the one to blame. But few people know that Moustapha Akkad also directed epic films about Arab history in the late 1970s and early 1980s, or that these films are extraordinarily laudable cinematic pieces well worth watching today. Arab history certainly wouldn't rank high on anyone's list nowadays with the explosion in Islamic fundamentalism and the terrorist attacks of September 2001 still in the forefront of our minds. That's too bad because this picture starring Anthony Quinn, Rod Steiger, and Oliver Reed is not only immensely watchable, it also presents a different viewpoint on the relationship between the West and the Arabic world. Most importantly, this movie shows that Moustapha Akkad hasn't always sat around collecting checks from his "Halloween" projects.
"Lion of the Desert" opens in the year 1922 right after Benito Mussolini took control of the Italian government. As many historians know, Il Duce quickly decided one way to bolster his fascist dictatorship was to present it as a renewed Roman Empire. One of his first priorities as a conquering Augustus was to renew efforts to pacify the Bedouin tribes in the Italian colony of Libya. After ascertaining that the leader of the Bedouin resistance is a man named Omar Mukhtar, Mussolini handpicks one of his most ruthless and capable generals, Rodolfo Graziani, as the new governor of the colony. Graziani's mission is to go to Libya and smash these pesky desert nomads in any way he sees fit.
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47 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Epic Masterpiece!! May 7, 1999
Format:VHS Tape
"Lion of the Desert" tells the story of a school-teacher turned guerrilla fighter, trying to put a stop to Italian invasion and colonization of his country, Libya. This movie is excellently filmed, and the scenery and action are spell-binding. Most critics in America disliked this movie simply because it's about Libya, and an important episode of its history. But if you view this movie with an open mind, you'll see that not only is it well made, but it's also inspirational. The characters and conflicts portrayed are real, and I find the movie a fine tribute to the courage and tenacity of the Libyan patriots who fought and died against Fascist Italy, long-before Mussolini's forays into Abyssinia, Civil War Spain, and the Second World War. These people were fighting for their freedom and independence, and their heroic example should inspire all of us.
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44 of 48 people found the following review helpful
''Destined to remain a dubious footnote in books of movie trivia'' ?? Reviewer Jeff Shannon, who I would bet would not warrant a footnote in any directory of influential film critics (thank God for that!) sounds like he would do well as a Bush policy advisor. This movie is amazing, with riveting performances from the entire caste. It is not only extremely well made with very convincing battlefield scenes and clinically dispassionate portrayals of brutality, and with a simple but telling script, it is also an all too rare look at the world from a different but necessary perspective. Omar Mukhtar was a real person, not a Hollywood hero. He was and remains an Arab nationalist hero. It is almost eerie how the film, even after more than 12 years, mirrors the logic of what is going on in Palestine and Iraq today. The more people see a film like this and are touched by it, the better they would understand the nuances of nationalism, spirituality, culture and geopolitics.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
By Joe NY
You may want to hold on to your non-anamorphic original DVD release of this film epic. While the new 2 disk set offers both the Arabic and English versions of film, along with a new commentary by director, Moustapha Akkad, it does not include the still galleries or trailers found on the original disk. Also the framining on the new disk is incorrect. The original features a correct 2:35 image, while the new is 1:77:1, thereby removing some picture information on the left and right of the frame. The image is also soft and grainey in many spots, almost like a poor VHS transfer. The new set does carry over the 38 minutes making of featurette included with the original DVD release. I would have expected this 25th anniversary DVD to be an improvement over the original, but it is not. A disappointment.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A soul-stirring film of epic grandeur-WORTH checking out! September 24, 2005
I beg to differ with reviewer Jeff Shannon. Speaking as a person who has done some serious research into this truly inspiring (but little known to most Westerners)historic event, this film never ceases to entrall and amaze me: a potent mix of historic veracity, gritty realism, sincere performances from ALL it's principal actors and (most of all)genuine faith in the power of Man's ability to rise above all manner of enslavement(both physical and spiritual). From start to finish, it is engrossing and soul-stirring.

An interesting footnote:at the time of it's initial release, Quinn was quoted as saying he thought it was his most accomplished performance to date(and I couldn't agree MORE)!

Though it may(to many Western film reviews such as Shannon)be considered a mere "footnote" in film history, this in NO WAY diminishes it's epic grandeur;retelling a story that is well worth your time to watch-no, EXPERIENCE! WELL WORTH checking out!

Shirley Pena
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