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The Thief of Bagdad Details


In ancient Bagdad, Abu, a good-natured young thief (Sabu), befriends the deposed king Ahmad (John Justin) as both are imprisoned in the palace dungeon, awaiting execution under orders from the evil vizier Jaffar (Conrad Veidt), who has seized the throne. But they escape and make their way to Basra, where Ahmad, now living as a beggar, meets and falls in love with the Princess (June Duprez), who has been betrothed by her father the Sultan (Miles Malleson, who also wrote the screenplay) to Jaffar. Their fight for the love of the Princess triggers a series of adventures for the young Abu that brings him halfway around the world and into mystical realms with help from a towering genie (Rex Ingram), brushing up against the gods and transforming the little thief into a hero in the process. Along the way, we encounter a wide array of characters, some of them charming, such as the gentle Old King (Morton Selten), and some sinister, such as the devious Halima (Mary Morris), plus a range of color and lushly designed sets and set pieces (and special effects) that still dazzle the eye seven decades later, even in the wake of various remakes (which include Disney Studios' Aladdin). And it all leads to an amazing and suspenseful ride on a magic carpet, and a race against time to save the king and his beloved. ~ Bruce Eder, Rovi

  • Release date:December 5, 1940


Awarded by
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Jack Whitney Best Special Effects 1940 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Miklos Rozsa Best Original Score 1940 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Vincent Korda Best Color Art Direction 1940 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Georges Périnal Best Color Cinematography 1940 Winner


Conrad Veidt
as Jaffar
as Abu
June Duprez
as Princess
John Justin
as Prince Achmad
Miles Malleson
as Old Sultan
Morton Selten
as Old King
Mary Morris
as Halima
Bruce Winston
as Merchant
Hay Petrie
as Astrologer
Adelaide Hall
as Singer
Roy Emerton
as Jailer
Allan Jeayes
as Storyteller
Michael Powell
David Sharpe
Frederick Burtwell
as Unnamed Character
Glynis Johns
as Unnamed Character
John Salew
as Unnamed Character
Glynis Johns
as Unnamed Character
Frederick Burtwell
as Unnamed Character


Ludwig Berger
Michael Powell
Zoltan Korda
Alexander Korda
Miles Malleson
Lajos Biró
Georges Périnal
Miklos Rozsa
Composer (Music Score)
Muir Mathieson
Musical Direction/Supervision
Charles Crichton
William W. Hornbeck
Vincent Korda
Production Designer
William Cameron Menzies
Associate Producer
Marcel Vertes
Costume Designer
Oliver Messel
Costume Designer
John Mills
Special Effects
Jack Clayton
First Assistant Director
William Cameron Menzies
First Assistant Director
Robert Krasker
Camera Operator