1940s films1943 filmsBogartGuest ReviewsWar

Damian Lahey on ‘Sahara’ (1943)

review by Damian Lahey

It’s day four of our Damian K. Lahey extravaganza.  Here’s another review, this time for a little-seen Bogart movie from 1943. 

Check it out!

This is one of my favorite war pictures. And one that shows you don’t need to have a bazillion dollars and a bazillion extras to make a great one.

As the allies retreat in Africa during WWII, a tank commandeered by Humphrey Bogart gets lost and picks up a rag tag group of stragglers also on the run from the Nazis. Despite their efforts, they are relentlessly pursued by an armored tank division of the Third Reich. With both sides desperate for water and provisions, Bogie and co. come up on a trickling well where they decide to make their final stand against the approaching Germans. Outnumbered, Bogie and his men must rely on their wits and theatrical deception to hold them off.

‘Sahara’ is a film ahead of its time with its push for internationalism and clever plotting, which not only gave the film a more dramatic punch when it was released, but has also prevented the film from aging too much. This film pushes American exceptionalism in a rugged yet complicated way that makes it more palatable than other war films made during that time, but you still have to endure some self righteous speechifying. Could be grating to some, but doesn’t distract from what, in my opinion, is a self aware and superb war picture. Those that prefer their war films with brawn, brains and Bogie should check this one out!


Directed by Zoltan Korda
Screenplay by John Howard Lawson & Zoltan Korda, James O’Hanlon (adaptation), Philip MacDonald (short story), Sidney Buchman (uncredited)
Starring Humphrey Bogart, Bruce Bennett, J. Carrol Naish, and Lloyd Bridges
Produced by Harry Joe Brown
Music by Miklós Rózsa
Cinematography by Rudolph Maté
Edited by Charles Nelson