The Best of Enemies

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Not to be confused with the 2015 documentary of a similar name
The Best of Enemies
(I due nemici)
Original film poster
Directed by Guy Hamilton
Produced by Dino De Laurentiis
Written by Suso Cecchi d'Amico
Age & Scarpelli
Jack Pulman
Story by Luciano Vincenzoni
Starring David Niven
Alberto Sordi
Music by Nino Rota
Cinematography Giuseppe Rotunno
Edited by Bert Bates
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release date
August 6, 1962
Running time
104 min.
Country Italy
Language English

The Best of Enemies (I due nemici) is a 1961 film directed by Guy Hamilton that was an Italian and British co-production set during the World War II East African Campaign but filmed in Israel. It stars David Niven, Alberto Sordi and Michael Wilding. It was nominated for three Golden Globe awards in 1963.[1]


Set in Italian East Africa (Ethiopia) during WW2, the wartime comedy plays on the clash between Richardson (Niven), a typical product of the British officer corps (quiet, methodic, but often stubborn and unprepared to deal with the unexpected) and the flamboyant Blasi, who tries desperately to appear ruthless and efficient.

Initially taking Richardson and another British serviceman as POWs Blasi decides to let the two escape to tell the British high command how destitute and hopeless his forces actually are in the hope that the Allied forces will "leave them be" and not harass their hasty retreat northward. The British brass however is unflexible and, put in command of a motorized detachment, Richardson is given the mission of pursuing and rounding up Blasi's unit. Enraged at this "lack of chivalry" Blasi becomes passive-aggressive and tries in all manners to sabotage the custody of his men by the British force, then African tribal warriors (which earlier in the film declared themselves first for the Italians and then for the British) ambush the convoy and ransack it of anything of value, taking even shoes and boots off the Europeans' feet. Isolated, unarmed and surrounded for hundreds of kilometers by hostile African wilderness the "enemies" must make the best out of their situation and find a way to cooperate to survive. The film concludes with the Ethiopians allowing both parties safe passage, provided that the Europeans take their war away with them.



  1. ^ "The Best of Enemies". Retrieved 19 July 2017. 

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