The Desert of the Tartars war movie
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The Desert of the Tartars war movie

The Desert of the Tartars (1976, Italy)

Original / alternative title: Il deserto dei tartari

Categories: castle movies cavalry movies desert movies fortress movies infantry movies

The Desert of the Tartars

Director: Valerio Zurlini

Czas: 140 minut

Laguages: Italian

war movies info
1970-01-01 / 1970-01-01

Young officer arrives to a secluded fortress ready to defend his homeland, but the enemy doesn’t seem to be there.

Young soldier, Lieutenant Drogo, leaves his home to take up his first military assignment - he is about to join garrison of Bastiani Fortress on the remote desert border of the kingdom. Behind the desert lies Northern Kingdom of the Tartars - the legendary desert cavalry men. Garrison within the fortress Bastiani keeps the guard of the border, soldiers regularly train, officers keep up all the standards of military outpost as well as the social etiquette. The only thing they are missing is the enemy. As Drogo soon learns there haven’t been any incidents on that border for years and some of the soldiers serving in Bastiani doubt if the Tartars still exist or if they are just a legend.

Film based on a Dino Buzzati’s novel, who used to be war correspondent to Italian Navy in Africa during World War II. It depicts the remote outpost on the border of fictious kingdom (although similar to 1920s Italy), where soldiers are kept prepared for the attack of elusive enemy. Film shows what happens to minds of people kept in alert for the danger that doesn’t seem to exist - they either try to convince themselves that what they do has a meaning and is important or they just sink into stagnation.

Perhaps not very spectacular war movie, especially for someone who is counting on fast action scenes and a lot of explosions. The Desert of the Tartars concentrates on human nature, not action, but with great cast this movie is strangely involving. Worth watching if not for the plot, then for the breathtaking landscapes.

Our rating


Film value

6 / 10

Realism factor

3 / 5

Adventure factor

2 / 5

Historical accuracy

1 / 5

The Desert of the Tartars 1976 war movie

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Creators of The Desert of the Tartars

Dino Buzzati movies

Dino Buzzati


Cast of The Desert of the Tartars

Helmut Griem movies helmut-griem

Helmut Griem

as Simeon

Max von Sydow movies

Max von Sydow

as Hortiz

Vittorio Gassman movies vittorio-gassman

Vittorio Gassman

as Filimore

Philippe Noiret movies philippe-noiret

Philippe Noiret

as General

Fernando Rey movies fernando-rey

Fernando Rey

as Nathanson

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