Lion of the Desert
- 3 hr 26 min
The movie Lion of the Desert is a historical action film that takes place in 1929 Libya as the country struggles for freedom from Italian rule. The film was directed by Moustapha Akkad, and primary funding came from the Libyan government under the rule of Muammar Gaddfi. The Lion of the Desert shows the Italian dictator Benito Mussolini, played by Rod Steiger, waging a 20-year war against Libyan patriots who are fighting Italian colonization. Mussolini names General Rodolfo Graziani, played by Oliver Reed, as governor of Libya. The General is a war-tested soldier and is to end the rebellion and cement Libya as a part of the new Imperial Rome. Omar Mukhtar, played by Anthony Quinn, is the leader of the Libyans as they resist the rule of the fascist regime. Starting as an ordinary schoolteacher, then becoming a soldier, Mukhtar devotes his life to a fight that cannot be won during his life. Graziani, in the name of controlling Libya, murders prisoners, razes crops and turns entire villages into detention camps. He is the first to bring tanks and aircraft to the desert, showing the might of the Italian army. The Libyans, led by Mukhtar continue to fight for their home. The Libyan Arabs and Berbers continue to fight for their freedom, against incredible odds, with outdated weapons against the war machine of Italy over the course of 20 years. Graziani and the Italians finally win through a combination of superior war machines, the violation of a number of laws of war and basic human rights violations. Mukhtar is eventually captured and put on trial by Graziani and the Italians. The lawyer for Mukhtar attempts to convince the court that since he never accepted the rule of the Italian government, he could not have been a rebel or in any way treasonous to it. If it succeeds, this defense would spare Mukhtar's life.