The Thief of Bagdad

Slow, dated fairytale based on Aladdin story.
  • Review Date: April 1, 2008
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Classic
  • Release Year: 1940
  • Running Time: 102 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages
Not applicable
Violence & scariness

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

Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

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.

Parents say

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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.

Families can talk 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

Theatrical release date:December 25, 1940
DVD release date:December 3, 2002
Cast:Conrad Veidt, June Duprez, Sabu
Directors:Ludwig Berger, Michael Powell, Tim Whelan
Run time:102 minutes
MPAA rating:NR

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  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 15 years old Written bymoviefan115 July 26, 2012
age 8+

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 thief who is independent though rascally and a couple who will do anything to get back together. Plus, it has some great magic involved. Sure, it is has some probelms. It is dated,some of the characters aren't really good role models, and some kids will be freaked out by the story in here. But it's just an awesome film with more strengths than flaws.
What other families should know
Great role models
Too much violence


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