Sandokan the Great (film)

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Sandokan the Great
Theatrical release poster
Directed byUmberto Lenzi
Screenplay by
  • Fulvio Gicca
  • Umberto Lenzi[1]
Based onSandokan the Great
by Emilio Salgari[1]
Produced bySolly V. Bianco[1]
  • Aurelio G. Larraya
  • Angelo Lotti
  • Giovanni Scarpellini[1]
Edited byJolanda Benvenuti[1]
Music byGiovanni Fusco[1]
  • Filmes
  • Comptoir Francais du Film
  • Ocean Films[1]
Release dates
  • December 1963 (1963-12) (Italy)
  • March 1964 (1964-03) (Madrid)
  • December 1964 (1964-12) (Paris)
Running time
114 minutes[1]
  • Italy
  • France
  • Spain[1]

Sandokan the Great (Italian: Sandokan, la tigre di Mompracem) is a 1963 Italian adventure film, directed by Umberto Lenzi and starring Steve Reeves.[2][3] It is the first entry in a film series about Sandokan, the pirate-prince from Emilio Salgari's popular swashbuckler novels.


During the reign of Queen Victoria, British forces led by Lord Hillock occupy Tapuah, subduing its population through mass murder. Among their victims are the mother and brothers of Sandokan, and he in reprisal organizes a revolutionary band. When Hillock attempts to entrap the rebel by threatening to hang his father, the Sultan of Mulaker, Sandokan penetrates Hillock's home, taking as hostage the Englishman's niece, Mary Ann. Although initially indignant, Mary Ann comes to love her captor. Following an encounter with headhunters, Sandokan and his men are surrounded by Hillock's forces, and an armistice is negotiated according to which Sandokan and his gang will be exiled in return for Mary Ann's release.

Hillock immediately violates the agreement, however, imprisoning the rebels and planning for their immediate execution. Escaping, the insurgents, joined by Mary Ann, combine with the army of the native chieftain Tuang Olong to free their homeland from British domination. Hillock is allowed to leave unharmed (the officers directly responsible for the deaths of Sandokan's family members are killed in the final battle). To the horror of her uncle, Mary Ann opts to remain with Sandokan and be his bride.



Giovanni Cianfriglia was the stunt double for Steve Reeves.[4] The film's exterior scenes were filmed in Spain.[5]


Sandokan the Great opened in Italy in December 1963 under the title of Sandokan, la tigre di Mompracem (Sandokan, the Tiger of Mompracem) at 115 minutes, in Madrid in March 1964 under the title of Sandokan, and later in Paris in December 1964 as Sandokan, le tigre de Bornéo (Sandokan, the Tiger of Borneo).[5][6] It was released in the USA in 1965 as Sandokan the Great.[5]


In a contemporary review, the Monthly Film Bulletin reviewed a dubbed 89 minute version of the film.[1] The review referred to the film as "sagily and fairly stodgily directed by Umberto Lenzi" with an "adequate but anonymous performance by Steve Reeves".[1] The review concluded that the film was "fine for anyone particularly partial to children's adventure stories. The scenes in the swamp and jungle are pleasingly photographed in authentic story-book colours."[1]



  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "Sandokan, La Tigre di mompracem (Sandokan the Great)". Monthly Film Bulletin. Vol. 32, no. 372. British Film Institute. 1965. pp. 77–78. ISSN 0027-0407.
  2. ^ Curti 2013, p. 296.
  3. ^ Curti 2013, p. 297.
  4. ^ Hughes 2011, p. 39.
  5. ^ a b c "Sandokan the Great". American Film Institute. Archived from the original on 21 December 2016. Retrieved 15 December 2016.
  6. ^ "<< I re del sole>>: storia dei Maya <<Sandokan, la tigre di Mompracem>>". La Stampa (in Italian). 20 December 1963. p. 4. Retrieved 14 November 2021.


  • Curti, Roberto (2013). Italian Crime Filmography, 1968–1980. McFarland. ISBN 978-0786469765.
  • Hughes, Howard (2011). Cinema Italiano - The Complete Guide From Classics To Cult. London - New York: I.B.Tauris. ISBN 978-1-84885-608-0.

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