• Publication date: February 15, 2011

A giant fights against a general seeking glory Lion Of The Desert: Arch Enemies In Battle

This epic historical film tells the story of Libyan guerrilla leader Omar Mukhtar, who struggled to stop Benito Mussolini's invading army from seizing control of his country.

This epic historical film tells the story of Libyan guerrilla leader Omar Mukhtar, who struggled to stop Benito Mussolini's invading army from seizing control of his country.

In 1929, Italian dictator Mussolini 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 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 leads the resistance to the fascists. A teacher by profession, guerilla by obligation, Mukhtar has committed himself to a war that cannot be won in his own lifetime.

Graziani controls Libya with the might of the Italian Army. Tanks and aircraft are used in the desert for the first time. The Italians also committed atrocities: killing of prisoners of war, destruction of crops, and hamletting populations behind barbed wire.

Despite their bravery, the Libyan Arabs and Berbers suffered heavy losses, their relatively primitive weaponry was no match for mechanised warfare; despite all this, they continued to fight, and managed to keep the Italians from achieving complete victory for 20 years.

Graziani was only able to achieve victory through deceit, deception, violation of the laws of war and human rights, and by the use of tanks and aircraft.

Despite their lack of modern weaponry, Graziani recognised the skill of his adversary in waging guerrilla warfare. In one scene, Mukhtar refuses to kill a defenseless young officer, instead giving him the Italian flag to return with.

Mukhtar says that Islam forbids him to kill captured soldiers and demands that he only fight for his homeland, and that Muslims are taught to hate war itself.

In the end, Mukhtar is captured and tried as a rebel. His lawyer states that since Mukhtar had never accepted Italian rule, he cannot be tried as a rebel, and instead must be treated as a prisoner of war, which would save him from being hanged.

The judge rejects this, and the film ends with Mukthar being executed by hanging.

Mussolini ordered General Rodolfo Graziani and his troops to destroy the Bedouin's rebellion but the Fascists weren't counting on the determination and skill of the Arab fighters.

The Libyans engaged in a long and deadly war, which lasted from 1911 to 1931.

Year: 1981

Runtime: 173 mins

Genre: Biogrpahy/ Drama/ War

Starring:

Anthony Quinn

Oliver Reed

Rod Steiger

John Gielgud

Irene Papas

Directed by: Moustapha Akkad