The Devil Came on Horseback (2007) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Devil Came on Horseback (2007)



Critic Consensus: The Devil Came on Horseback is both a strong primer on the complexities of the situation in Darfur and a harrowing first-person doc.

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Movie Info

The violence and tragedy of the genocide taking place in Darfur as seen through the eyes of an American witness. Using more than a thousand uncompromising and exclusive photographs taken by former US Marine Captain Brian Steidle during his role as a military observer with the African Union, the tragic impact of an Arab government bent on destroying its black African citizens is exposed. As an official military observer, Steidle had access to parts of the country that no journalist could penetrate. He was unprepared for what he would witness and experience, including being fired upon, taken hostage, and being unable to intervene to save the lives of young children. Ultimately frustrated by the inaction of the international community, Steidle resigned and returned to the US to expose the images and stories of lives systematically destroyed. Haunted by what he has seen and the backlash against his advocacy efforts, Brian traveled to the refugee camps of Chad to reconnect with survivors of the violence he witnessed.

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Critic Reviews for The Devil Came on Horseback

All Critics (51) | Top Critics (18)

Filmmakers Ricki Stern and Anne Sundberg chronicle his burgeoning activism in the face of the U.S. government's indifference as the government of Sudan works systematically to eradicate black Africans from the region.

January 4, 2008 | Full Review…

The Devil Came on Horseback is a documentary account of Steidle's ongoing efforts to educate the world about the violence he witnessed as an unarmed military observer for the African Union in 2004.

October 12, 2007 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

On all counts, the co-directors of this persuasive documentary set the right tone.

September 21, 2007 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

A dynamic, shockingly graphic story of the horrors of Darfur.

September 21, 2007 | Rating: 3.5/4

With an estimated 400,000 dead since 2003, and 2.5 million Sudanese left homeless in the wake of the genocide, ignoring the story doesn't seem like a humane option.

September 20, 2007 | Rating: 3.5/4

The Devil Came on Horseback is a documentary about the genocide in that part of Africa, and the film's strength is that it shows us the horror, rather than tells us about it. It's painful to watch.

September 14, 2007 | Rating: 5/5

Audience Reviews for The Devil Came on Horseback

If you already felt the devastation in Darfur was too complex to easily change, this documentary won't help. We follow a former Marine who, by a damning stroke of fate, found himself with the duty to document each case of genocide. Captain Steidle, raised in a strong military family, came in as a former Marine who had seen his share of combat. He's the only American who witnessed, for 6 months, the merciless violence. It has broken him, and in one scene we see him grieving, overwhelmed by his powerlessness to stop, even just once, what he had seen. After we see him testify to us through the media and meet with our leaders, it seems by the film's end that everyone is powerless, and we all just have to watch it.

Matthew Slaven
Matthew Slaven

Super Reviewer


An excellent, well-shot, and cautious documentary which has some truly shocking, and heart-wrenching, moments. It speaks powerfully not only about its own subject, but the conspicuous and utterly horrifying lack of attention it was given, all seen through intensely personal moments. Easy to comprehend, but daunting to fully understand, this documentary has no answers, only emotions and images... and that is what makes it powerful. Like him, we are forced to sit and watch helplessly by the sidelines, and we can easily understand his frustration and pain.

Daniel Hetteix
Daniel Hetteix

Super Reviewer

if you want to know more about the situation in darfur this is a great place to start. told by a former marine who volunteered as an unarmed observer in sudan and witnessed all out genocide by the government backed janjaweed militia. it's as if we had the chance to redeem ourselves for rwanda and failed yet again. total respect to brian steidle who fought to get this story out and wake up the world to another ethnic cleansing. this is a horrific and very important film. if you want to see the face of evil, welcome to hell

Stella Dallas
Stella Dallas

Super Reviewer

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