The Thief of Bagdad

1940

The Thief of Bagdad

Critics Consensus

Dashing, dazzling, and altogether magical, The Thief of Bagdad is an enchanting fantasy for children of all ages.

100%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 27

81%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 3,959
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Movie Info

In ancient Bagdad, Abu, a good-natured young thief (Sabu), befriends the deposed king Ahmad (John Justin) as both are imprisoned in the palace dungeon, awaiting execution under orders from the evil vizier Jaffar (Conrad Veidt), who has seized the throne. But they escape and make their way to Basra, where Ahmad, now living as a beggar, meets and falls in love with the Princess (June Duprez), who has been betrothed by her father the Sultan (Miles Malleson, who also wrote the screenplay) to Jaffar. Their fight for the love of the Princess triggers a series of adventures for the young Abu that brings him halfway around the world and into mystical realms with help from a towering genie (Rex Ingram), brushing up against the gods and transforming the little thief into a hero in the process. Along the way, we encounter a wide array of characters, some of them charming, such as the gentle Old King (Morton Selten), and some sinister, such as the devious Halima (Mary Morris), plus a range of color and lushly designed sets and set pieces (and special effects) that still dazzle the eye seven decades later, even in the wake of various remakes (which include Disney Studios' Aladdin). And it all leads to an amazing and suspenseful ride on a magic carpet, and a race against time to save the king and his beloved. ~ Bruce Eder, Rovi

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News & Interviews for The Thief of Bagdad

Critic Reviews for The Thief of Bagdad

All Critics (27) | Top Critics (6) | Fresh (27)

  • Alexander Korda's tremendous production of The Thief of Bagdad surpasses anything that has ever splattered magnificently across a movie screen anywhere at anytime.

    October 29, 2019 | Full Review…
  • As singular in 1940 as it would be today, and that's worth putting up with some sludgy storytelling and a hugely banal lead actor.

    June 1, 2019 | Rating: 3.5/5 | Full Review…
  • In this most lavish production the carefully planned colour scheme and the skillful use of the camera make the film one of the most satisfactory colour films yet created.

    February 16, 2016 | Full Review…
  • A wonderfully atmospheric Arabian Nights adventure for children of all ages.

    November 19, 2013 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…
  • This 1940 movie is one of the great entertainments. It lifts up the heart.

    November 26, 2012 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…
  • Alexander Korda's opulent Arabian Nights fantasy suffers from pallid performances and frequently succumbs to kitsch, but it still casts its fragile spell.

    November 26, 2012 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Thief of Bagdad

  • Dec 17, 2019
    About as good as a fantasy could be, this is a colorful telling of what modern viewers will recognize as Aladdin, and maybe better than that. In fact fans of the Disney animated version will recognize exactly where the story was lifted from, so closely do the real life versions match the animated ones. The heart and soul of this 1940s romp - though it doesn't feel that old at all - is Sabu, the very spirit of rebellious youth unchecked by conventional thinking, no monkey (or dog) he. Rex Ingram as the genie makes a real impression, too, even in a diaper. And Conrad Viedt's villain is silkily repulsive.
    Kevin M. W Super Reviewer
  • Mar 12, 2010
    Colorful hooey has committed performances from the cast who remain straight faced amid preposterous situations. However you know that going in so just sit back and enjoy, with kids preferably, the beautiful technicolor, costumes and actors.
    jay n Super Reviewer
  • Dec 29, 2009
    Very cute classic with great special effects for movie made in 40`s
    Wahida K Super Reviewer
  • Dec 11, 2009
    Watching this film I realized that those kind of movies like the Thief of Bagdad" reminds us that sometimes--not often, but sometimes--our perceptions of the world are challenged by those few film artists who know how to make movies properly. A great director is one who instinctively imposes his vision on us, and as a result, our way of observing the commonplace is transformed into something singularly akin to the artist's. We can never observe certain people and places or things in quite the same way again? Now about the film. This is a pure fantasy movie from start to finish it has everything from flying horses and genies until flying carpets and wizards. The production designs are just stunning in this movie. Even though this movie is about 70 years old, the production design is far better than most of the crap that gets tacked on in today's cinema. The music and songs are also well done. Anyone who sees it will no doubt hail, "I want to be a sailor sailing on the seas" as one of the great musical moments in movies. And of course it's literally impossible to watch this movie and not notice where the makers of "Aladdin" got their inspiration?.
    Arianeta L Super Reviewer

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