The Desert Fox (1951) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Desert Fox (1951)

The Desert Fox




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

This movie is a superb filmed biography of German general Erwin Rommel, concentrating on the period between his retreat from North Africa and his government-decreed death. A brilliant tactician, Rommel earns the respect not only of his own men but of the enemy.more
Rating: Unrated
Genre: Drama, Action & Adventure, Classics
Directed By:
Written By: Nunnally Johnson
In Theaters:
On DVD: May 20, 2003
20th Century Fox Film Corporation

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James Mason
as Erwin Rommel
Cedric Hardwicke
as Dr. Karl Strolin
Jessica Tandy
as Frau Rommel
Luther Adler
as Adolf Hitler
Everett Sloane
as Gen. Burgdorf
Leo G Carroll
as Field Marshal Von Ru...
George Macready
as Gen. Fritz Bayerlein
Richard Boone
as Aldinger
Eduard Franz
as Col. Von Stauffenber...
William Reynolds
as Manfred Rommel
Charles Evans
as Gen. Schultz
Walter Kingsford
as Admiral Ruge
John Hoyt
as Keitel
Don de Leo
as Gen. Maisel
Richard Elmore
as Rommel's Driver in A...
John Vosper
as Maj. Walker
Dan O'Herlihy
as Commando Captain
Scott Forbes
as Commando Colonel
Victor Wood
as British medic
Lester Matthews
as British officer
Paul Cavanagh
as Col. Von Hofaker
Carleton Young
as German Major
Freeman Lusk
as German surgeon
Robert Coote
as British Medical Offi...
Michael Rennie
as Desmond Young
Ivan Triesault
as German Major
Trevor Ward
as Field Marshal Bernar...
Philip Van Zandt
as German S.S. Man at H...
Peter van Eyck
as German officer
John W. Goldsworthy
as Gen. Heinrich von St...
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News & Interviews for The Desert Fox

Critic Reviews for The Desert Fox

All Critics (11) | Top Critics (3)

Full Review… | March 26, 2009
Top Critic

Full Review… | March 25, 2006
New York Times
Top Critic

Full Review… | January 26, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

The purpose of the book and movie is not to tell the complete story of Rommel's life, but to set the historical record straight about his death.

Full Review… | June 6, 2011
Sarasota Herald-Tribune

It's sympathetic of the legendary Nazi general to the point it makes him an heroic figure.

Full Review… | May 24, 2010
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Mason is great as the Nazi tank commander.

January 3, 2005
Kansas City Kansan

Audience Reviews for The Desert Fox

The first of two appearances by James Mason in one of his defining roles as Erwin Rommel, telling the story of his life from hero of the third reich through to his eventual disillusionment with Hitler and involvement in the plot on his life. No doubt inspired by Churchill's wartime tribute to the man, The Desert Fox is an acknowledgement of the skill and integrity of one of the world's greatest military tacticians which takes great pains to distance him from Hitler and the Nazi party. It is a typically romantic British attempt to be graceful in victory and is clearly meant as an attempt at reconciliation with Germany and its people; the story vehemently shows that Rommel and many of his colleagues were merely professional soldiers doing their duty to their country, unwillingly following the orders of a maniacal tyrant whom they had to obey under pain of death. It is basically de-dehumanizing an enemy that wartime propaganda had spent the previous years rallying the British public against. Mason is superb in the leading role, and every scene that features the exchanges between he and an excellent supporting cast paint a believable and respectful portrait of the man. Unfortunately the pacing stutters as it constantly feels the need to show the gallant allied forces through actual documentary footage and Michael Rennie's voice over makes this biopic feel like a dry inventory of the events of his life, but it's a fascinating story and worth it for Mason's performance alone.

xGary Xx

Super Reviewer


James Mason is fine as always and Jessica Tandy is stalwart as his wife but the picture itself is rather uninvolving.

jay nixon

Super Reviewer


Action Commando Raid opening sequence is top notch (Notable for having a clean shaven Richard "Paladin" Boone as a Nazi Afrika Korpsman with an arrogant attitude) but the film devolves into a biopic from the British point of view, basically giving respect to the guy that gave them several good kicks in the slats and was never a hardcore Nazi. Rommel was more the pure warrior, and his WW1 history is not covered here, which skews the story somewhat. Rommel had a series of books about his exploits in WW1 as a (true and actual) "Stormtrooper" Commando and was famous long before the "Ratzis" took over, which is why A.H. sought to exploit his reputation for their own twisted purposes (and also explains why they had to ice him later). Still, a wwell made movie worth some 2AM popcorn time...

Black Snake

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