The Devil Came on Horseback

Critics 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.



Total Count: 51


Audience Score

User Ratings: 4,378
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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 (19)

  • The Devil Came On Horseback sets out to shock. The images caught by Steidle's camera will stay with you long after his personal story - given too much time in relation to events - has faded from memory.

    Apr 11, 2008 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

    Matt McNally
    Top Critic
  • 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.

    Jan 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.

    Oct 12, 2007 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • On all counts, the co-directors of this persuasive documentary set the right tone.

    Sep 21, 2007 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • A dynamic, shockingly graphic story of the horrors of Darfur.

    Sep 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.

    Sep 20, 2007 | Rating: 3.5/4

Audience Reviews for The Devil Came on Horseback

  • Dec 29, 2012
    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 S Super Reviewer
  • Jan 06, 2012
    A better film to make the case for intervention in Sudan than the Hollywood star laden Darfur Now. With the notion that photos often provoke emotionnal responses and positive reactions, Brian Steidle spreads the word about atrocities throughout the world..with some encouraging results.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • Apr 06, 2008
    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 H Super Reviewer
  • Jan 03, 2008
    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 D Super Reviewer

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