The Thief of Bagdad - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Thief of Bagdad Reviews

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½ September 20, 2016
Never saw the 1924 original, but this is as far as I know at least as well-known and good. This is a fantastic trip as we meet up with King Ahmad as he hooks up with small time crook an thief Abu to reclaim his throne.

This (or the original) is surely a huge inspiration for the Aladdin-series. Djinnies, Abu, sultans, flying carpets, princesses - you name it. Supercool music in this very imaginative film with a dialogue that carries a lot of wisdom. It's also quite fast paced - there is a lot of happenings in this story, but nothing seem unneccessary or dragged out. Neat effects - must have had a huge budget. It also won an Oscar for it's effects, among with two others in close categories.

A superior fairytale and a true classic that has aged surprizingly well.

9 out of 10 wishes.
½ August 16, 2016
The protagonist has as much interest as a piece of unbuttered toast, but Abu the actual thief and the genie make this movie more than a dull affair. There are some interesting visual effects for the time (spider, magic carpet, genie), so its a grand fantasy with a lot of bad acting and plot convenience. I prefer the Sinbad Harryhausen movies more.
½ August 3, 2016
For those who were interested to see where Disney got much of their inspiration for "Aladdin," watch this 1940 masterpiece. Starring Sabu as young thieving kid Abu, this is one eye-popping Middle Eastern adventure tale involves sorcery, magic, and romance, all in healthy amounts. As a nod to the Arabian Nights tales, "Thief of Baghdad" has everything one would want from an adventure story, without being muddled by never-ending action scenes and confusing plot lines. (My one and only gripe with the film is the semi-cheesy looking giant spider towards the end, which brings this movie one step too close to monster movie territory popularized a decade after.) The towering genie giant, who is both menacing and powerful, is brilliantly portrayed by Rex Ingram, (who played Jim one year prior in "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" alongside Mickey Rooney.) "Thief of Baghdad" is also the first film in history, (thanks to RKO Radio Pictures,) to utilize blue screen effects; to portray flying horses, soaring genies, and larger-than-life sets, such a technical achievement was a necessity, and the movie industry owes much to this often-overlooked film. (Take that, "Wizard of Oz!" )
July 26, 2016
Amazing movie I really love this movie
December 19, 2015
Considering it was made in 1940, in colour and with all of the special effects, it's an impressive film. This doesn't really compensate for the fact that a large majority of this film is boring.
December 8, 2015
Very interesting story line and good adventure movie!
November 10, 2015
Much as loved the Douglas Fairbanks silent, this big budget update with ground breaking special effects truly defines the genre. Virtually every element has been cribbed and copied in countless other films. But it has not been topped. Essential.
August 19, 2015
The Thief of Bagdad was a large 1940 musical by Michael Powell (The Red Shoes) and Ludwig Berger. While the effects hardly hold up to today's standards this film played an enormous role in what we see today. Special effects artist Larry Butler decided that the previous technology, travelling matte, was not feasible for the directors visions so he created a new technology know as chroma key, today known as green screen.

It would be foolish to consider that this would not have happened without Larry Butler or The Thief of Bagdad this is where it started, a British musical from 1940.

The film is good and quite interesting, not the best Powell picture and would lead into his forming The Archers with Emeric Pressburger to produce some of the greatest British cinema in my opinion.
July 26, 2015
Although the age shows quite glaringly, this film consistently provides a real sense of adventure. In fact, this was perhaps the one of the first real adventure films, and in this case, I say real for a reason. The story is fairly simple and, by today's standards, somewhat clichéd, but it's a very entertaining fantasy tale, and it flows in such a way that you can enjoy the ride. The performances are also very lively for the most part, and they definitely get better as the film progresses. The special effects, of course, are now visibly outdated after seventy-five years. However, the visuals and special effects have aged very well (at least in colour), and they are ultimately part of the reason why the film still has the amount of appeal that ensured its status as a "classic film". For me, it's no classic, but it's very entertaining nonetheless, so much so that I find it hard to fully say why, probably because I prefer to take this film at face value, and that's probably for the best.
½ June 8, 2015
The people behind Disney's Aladdin were clearly influenced by this film. With 'Thief' we get a big, eye-popping Technicolor fantasy film, complete with flying carpets, caverns full of gold treasures, & a ginormous genie who will grant you three wishes.
January 20, 2015
A fantastic piece of cinema but clearly dominated by the prejudices of the day. They couldn't stand to have the lead character not be white so they split him into two, the thief and the prince. The characters were a little shallow but this is also the function of the storytelling of the time this film was made. It's still quite a wonderful achievement.
December 20, 2014
Now I know where the inspiration For Disney Aladdin came from:The Thief of Baghdad.Despite its old age and specials effects,some sluggish scenes and weird editing at time,The Thief of Baghdad manages to please us through an enjoyable story telling and three unforgettable great characters - Jaffar ,the genie and most importantly Abu- who set the tone for our satisfied pleasure.
The thief of Baghdad is definitely a worthwhile fantasy film and despite its old age a good treat for the all family and children of all age.
August 28, 2014
Producer Alexander Korda's Ultimate Arabian Knights Fantasy, Is Lavishly Filmed In Technicolor With Beautiful Cinematography, Oscar-Winning Special Effects, A Great Pace, And Sense Of Adventure. Of Course Music And Script Play An Important Part And Both Are Excellent. The Film Still Casts A Fragile Spell And Takes It's Viewer To A Fantasy Land Of Giant Spiders, Genies & Evil Wizards. Although Sometimes The Film Succumbs To It's Pallid Performances, It's Still An Excellently Made Film And Is One Of The Greatest Fantasy Films Of All Time.
½ July 1, 2014
There's a possibly good story within this movie, but it's just all too garbled. The hero is boring as hell, as is the love story.
June 9, 2014
this was one of my favorite movies as a kid and it still holds upwell
November 7, 2013
I love Technicolor. There is something magical about those painted frames that makes me smile. And The Thief of Bagdad is on of the great technicolor masterpieces.

Obviously, by 2013 standards, the special effects are a bit laughable. But consider how it looked to a pre-World War II audience. Yowza! Frying horses, flying carpets, giant genies, beautiful women, beautiful men. So much fun!
August 27, 2013
One of the most beautiful fantasy pictures ever made.
August 5, 2013
The story of the boy thief of Bagdad (as it was once spelled) has attracted filmmakers from Raoul Walsh in 1924, who starred Douglas Fairbanks in the first, silent, rendering of "Thief of Bagdad," to less imposing, more recent attempts. The best, however, remains 1940's version which for its time was a startling, magical panoply of top quality special effects. Those effects still work their charm.

No less than six directors are listed for the technicolor movie which starred Sabu as the boy thief, Abu, John Justin as the dreamily in love deposed monarch, Ahmad and June Duprez as the lovely princess sought by Ahmad and pursued by the evil vizier, Jaffar, played by a sinister Conrad Veidt. The giant genie is ably acted by Rex Ingram.

Ahmad is treacherously deposed by Jaffar and when later arrested by that traitorous serpent, he and the boy, Abu, suffer what are clearly incapacitating fates. Ahmad is rendered blind and Abu becomes a lovable mutt. Their adventures through the gaily decorated Hollywood backlots are fun but the special effects make this film work.

Two men were responsible for everything from a magic flying carpet to the gargantuan genie who pops out of a bottle with a tornado-like black swirl: Lawrence W. Butler and Tom Howard. (Howard, incidentally, did the special effects for the 1961 version of this film. Both men had long and distinguished careers in technical wizardry.)

Duprez is outstandingly lovely while little called on for serious acting. Justin's Ahmad projects a driven but dreamy romanticism untouched by erotic impulses. Sabu is really the central actor in many scenes and he's very good. For a movie meant for kids as well as adults there's a fair amount of violence but of the bloodless kind. Still, I don't think anyone under eight ought to see "Thief of Bagdad."

This film makes periodic appearances on TV but today my teenage son and I saw it in a theater with quite a few youngsters present. It was great to see computer-besotted kids in an affluent community respond with cheers and applause to special effects that must seem primitive to them.

"Thief of Bagdad" is a pre-war Hollywood classic from a time when strong production values often resulted in enduringly attractive and important releases. This is one of the best of its kind.
½ August 5, 2013
This is a great classic, following the original in 1924, The cast and acting are super, the sets are lavish, I love the wind up goddess, as always the villain (Conrad Veidt) is fantastic, and has wonderful evil eyes, lovely film.
July 26, 2013
Even though the film's now over seventy years old, it remains hard to fault. The screenplay and dialogue (by Miles Malleson, who also appears as a delightfully childish sultan) are old-fashioned in the best sense and designed to appeal to the child in all of us. The heroes are decent (John Justin), the villains are wicked (Conrad Veidt is particularly dastardly) and the princesses are beautiful (June Duprez). Best of all is Sabu (THE JUNGLE BOOK), the Indian boy star who just happened to be one of the most charismatic actors of his era. No wonder he made it so big. As a film, THE THIEF OF BAGDAD is hard to beat.
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