The Thief of Bagdad

Movie review by
Kathryn McGarr, Common Sense Media
The Thief of Bagdad Movie Poster Image
Slow, dated fairytale based on Aladdin story.
  • NR
  • 1940
  • 102 minutes

Parents say

age 5+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 8+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages
Violence & Scariness

Jaffar murders the sultan of Basra in a scene that isn't gory but unsettling.

Sexy Stuff
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Jaffar kills the sultan of Basra, the princess' father. The scene is not graphic, but it's disturbing; the sultan walks willingly into the arms of a magic statue that strangles him.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byxxxrodrigoxxx July 9, 2019

Arachnophobes beware!

Kids will almost certainly be more drawn to Disney's Aladdin than this tale. While it is a visual treat, and an important piece of film history (Roger Eber... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written bymoviefan115 July 26, 2012

Thief Of Bagdad

This one has some amazing effects to look at, and it may have inspired Aladdin, but it has nothing to do with it. It's just a fantastic journey with a boy... Continue reading

What's the story?

The blind beggar Ahmad (John Justin) tells the story of his former life as the King of Bagdad and his dog Abu's past life as the human boy. Through flashbacks, he reveals that when the conniving Grand Vizier Jaffar (Conrad Veidt) tricks King Ahmad into leaving the palace disguised as a subject, Jaffar arrests the rightful ruler and imprisons him. From the palace's dungeon Ahmad and young Abu (Sabu) -- the title character and a fellow captive -- escape to Basra. In Basra, Ahmad falls in love with a princess whose ridiculous father wants to marry her to Jaffar. When Jaffar recognizes Ahmad, he blinds the king and turns Abu into a dog to prevent them from spoiling his marriage plans. Then the real action begins as Ahmad and Abu try to save the princess and, after separation, reunite with each other.

Is it any good?

Kids shouldn't watch this DVD expecting the story of Aladdin. The similarities are superficial, and the focus of the overly long film -- love at first sight -- may be disappointing for seekers of fantasy and adventure. The boy and genie who are larger than life on the DVD's cover really play small parts compared to the lovesick Ahmad. Furthermore, the genie sorely lacks the charm and humor of Robin Williams' genie from the Disney film.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about role models in this story and what makes a heroic character. How does the father in this story differ from the dads in most other family films? Does the princess have any control over her future? In what ways do her father, Jaffar, and Ahmad objectify her? Who's really the star of the film, and what makes someone a leading character?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love fantasy

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