Humphrey Bogart considered this World War II action epic from director Zoltan Korda one of his finest films. Sergeant Joe Gunn (Bogart) is the commander of an American M-3 tank crew allied to the British Eighth Army, which is defeated by the Germans at Tobruk. Joining the scattered retreat across the Libyan desert, Gunn and his two remaining men, Jimmy Doyle (Dan Duryea) and Waco Hoyt (Bruce Bennett) search for water. Instead the tank crew finds an international mix of stragglers, including an officer doctor (Richard Nugent) with several soldiers and a British Sudanese sergeant, Tambul (Rex Ingram), with his Italian prisoner of war (J. Carrol Naish). The rag-tag column shoots down an attacking plane and takes its German pilot (Kurt Kreuger) as a second captive, although a soldier, Fred Clarkson (Lloyd Bridges) is killed in the fighting. After one well turns out to be dry, the troupe finally reaches an abandoned mosque with a well that provides a trickle of water. Two more prisoners are taken while scouting the area and reveal that an entire German battalion is en route to the same well. Gunn misleads them into believing that there is plenty of water to go around, sets them free to report back to their superiors, and then persuades his fellow Allies to help him fight the enemy force that's en route, even though they are staggeringly outnumbered. A betrayal, an escaped prisoner, and bloody skirmishes follow in short order as Hoyt goes in search of help while Gunn and his compatriots attempt to crush the German battalion. Sahara (1943) inspired several subsequent action films, most notably Last of the Comanches (1952), and was remade as a 1995 cable television movie.
by Karl Williams synopsis