Caravans (1978 film)

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Caravans (1978).jpg
Directed by James Fargo
Produced by Elmo Williams
Written by Nancy Voyles Crawford, Thomas A. McMahon and Lorraine Williams (screenplay)
Starring Anthony Quinn
Behrouz Vossoughi
Michael Sarrazin
Christopher Lee
Music by Mike Batt
Cinematography Douglas Slocombe
Edited by Richard Marden
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release date
November 2, 1978
Running time
127 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Caravans is a 1978 Iranian-American film directed by James Fargo based on the novel by James A. Michener. Nancy Voyles Crawford wrote the screenplay. The movie was shot in Iran and starred Anthony Quinn, Jennifer O'Neill, and Michael Sarrazin.


The story is set in the fictional Middle Eastern country of Zadestan in 1948. Mark Miller is stationed at the U.S. Embassy in the fictional city of Kashkhan and is assigned to investigate the disappearance of and locate a young woman, Ellen Jasper, the daughter of a United States Senator, who vanished after her marriage to Colonel Nazrullah several months previously. Nazrullah is desperate to find her and becomes defensive when Miller asks about her. By law, Ellen has given up her rights as an American by becoming his wife. Miller traces her to a band of nomads who are running illegal guns. She doesn't want to leave, being estranged from both her parents and her husband. Miller doesn't want to return without proof she's alive and OK, which she refuses to give. Nazrullah lures the gun-runners into a trap. He separates Miller from the nomads and asks his wife to return to him but she refuses. Ellen at last gives Miller a note for her family. As the nomads leave, Nazrullah orders his troops to fire on them and Ellen is killed trying to rescue a child. A heart-broken Nazrullah carries away the body of his dead wife.

Changes from the source novel[edit]

The film was not well received by James Michener as it strayed wildly from the plot of his book, even eradicating its main character, a Nazi war criminal on the run who falls in love with the female lead character. This omission and other story changes caused Michener to take legal action.


Mike Batt wrote the score, which has been the most successful element of the film, remaining a bestseller for many years after the film's release. The song "Caravan Song" was written by Mike Batt and sung by the Scottish singer Barbara Dickson. It peaked at No. 41 in UK charts and featured on the album All for a Song.


External links[edit]