Al Qadisiyya (1981)

Run Time - 185 min.  |   Countries - Iraq  |  
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This epic sings the praises of the battle at Qadisiyya in 636 A.D., or the 14th year of the Hegira, a battle between Arab and Persian forces, and a crucial part of the struggle for Arab independence from Sassanian (Persian) rule. Caliph Omar ibn Alkhattab gathered 4,000 men and put a commander named Saad at their head, charging him with defeating a Persian army of many times that number. When another Arab army had confronted the Persians in battle a little while before Qadisiyya, the Arabs were soundly defeated. This historical drama details all the preparations for battle, indicating along the way that the Persians were over-confident and therefore lax, whereas the outnumbered Arabs could not reasonably be faulted for overconfidence, given their situation. The Persian commander, Roustom, is somewhat hamstrung by the machinations of the Sassanian court and may not have been at his best before and during the battle. As though to balance that debit, commander Saad suffered a rheumatic attack just before the battle and had to assume the command from the top of a fortress at Qadisiyya. Another detriment to the Persians, according to the Arab historians, is that their king Yazsigird III was more interested in women and a luxurious life than in macho battles. Once geared up for the sweeping battle scene, the epic dimensions of the film come into full force and the three-day slaughter is told in considerable -- and accurate -- detail. Over 5,000 people worked as extras on the film, and special technical equipment was brought in from Europe to achieve the highest possible visual and audio quality. Outside historians were also called in to check period data and costumes, and the site of the actual battle itself was used in the filming. It is estimated that the total cost of this spectacular was well over $30,000,000. And just like the Arabs who had to unite to fight effectively against the Persians, the director of this film, Salah Abu Saif, an Egyptian, brought in actors from other Arab countries to make the epic.

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Keywords

battle [war], independence, revolution, war