The Horsemen


Action / Adventure / Drama

Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Rotten 30% · 10 reviews
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Spilled 57% · 250 ratings
IMDb Rating 6.2/10 10 1302 1.3K

Top cast

Jack Palance as Tursen
Omar Sharif as Uraz
Tom Tryon as (uncredited)
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU 720p.WEB 1080p.WEB
982.71 MB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 47 min
Seeds 7
1.78 GB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 47 min
Seeds 13
1008.46 MB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 49 min
Seeds 6
1.83 GB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 49 min
Seeds 7

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by tintin-23 10 / 10

The Men of the Steppes

This movie, which I saw for the first time in 1971, changed my life forever. From the first moments of the film, I was struck by the stunning Afghan scenery. Over the next three years, I visited Afghanistan three times. It was a fantastic adventure, like a voyage in another time, on another planet. Since then, I have not stopped traveling in this part of the World.

The film is based on Joseph Kessel's novel, "Les Cavaliers," written following his travel throughout Afghanistan in the early 60's. Kessel is, in the tradition of Saint-Exupery, Malraux, Pierre Mac Orlan, and Hemingway, an adventurer, journalist, globetrotter, and great writer, a man who tried to make the novel "the privileged expression of the experienced adventure." The action takes place on the vast plains around Maimana in the northwest of the country, across the Hindu Kush, and in Kabul. The drama revolves around the "mad horse," Jahil, with its almost human presence. Uraz, son of the great "chapendaz" Tursen is to ride Jahil, Tursen's latest prized white stallion, in the great "buzkashi" of the King, in Kabul.

The Afghan national game of "buzkashi" dates back to the time of Ghengis Khan. In this fierce competition, played on the northern steppes by expert horsemen, everything goes. Hundreds of "chapendaz" horsemen independently compete to grab and carry the carcass of a goat or a small calf to the circle of justice, outlined on the field.

If Uraz wins, Jahil is his to keep. How can he not win? "If you cannot win on Jahil, you cannot win on any horse," says Tursen. Uraz, like his father before him, is now the most famous "chapendaz" in the "three (northern) provinces." Nevertheless, his quest for glory seems endless, as an inner demon keeps driving him to surpass both his father and himself. An old lady in the bazaar says of him, "If you wager him for glory, you will lose. If for money, you will win."

At the "buzkashi" in Kabul, Uraz will know defeat. He not only loses the game, but his leg is fractured. His life lesson about pain and hate begins as he returns to Maimana, vanquished, prouder, more resolute, and crazier than ever.

Uraz has the choice of two roads to return to Maimana: the relatively easy road across the terrible Hindu Kush Range, through the Salang Pass, the World's highest pass at 10,000 feet, or the dreadful "old road," running through the Unai and Hajikak passes, both also near 10,000 feet, Bamiyan, followed by more high passes, before finally arriving on the northern steppes. Of course, Uraz chooses the "old road," challenging himself to the limit, in order to redeem himself in his own eyes, and also those of his father. For all his toughness, his father had never traveled that road.

As if the "old road" was not challenge enough, Uraz, whose fractured leg is fast becoming gangrenous, tempts his "sais" (groom), Mokkhi, with a pact that involves ownership of the magnificent Jahil.

On the road, Mokkhi, meets with love in the arms of the beautiful "untouchable," Zareh, but also experiences greed, a taste for murder, and a pitiful downfall. Zareh, as beautiful as she is devious, inspires Mokkhi to murder and destruction. She is herself tormented by "the horse": "Do you know, great Prince, what brought me to you that first night? was the horse." Along this endless "old road," the trio each confronts the worst in themselves, and arrive at their destination perverted and lost. There is also the mysterious and likable character, Hayatal with whom Uraz will eventually continue wandering the steppes.

The movie, filmed for six months in Afghanistan, and then in Spain, in 1969-1970, was directed by John Frankenheimer. Screenwriter Dalton Trumbo recognized there was no need to embellish Kessel's fantastic adventure, and faithfully followed the book's story line.

The stunning cinematography is the result of the collaboration of the distinguished French cinematographer Claude Renoir (of the artistic lineage,) Andre Domage, and James Wong Howe. They give an accurate taste of the beauty of the rugged Afghan country and of its people. In particular, the remarkable sequences of the buzkashi of the King, in Kabul, and the flashback of Tursen's buzkashi, through the great open steppes of the north, are worth the admission by themselves. There are also actual scenes of organized fights between camels, rams, and partridges (the Afghans are big gamblers).

The casting of westerners as principles may seem strange at first, until one remembers that there were neither TV nor movies in Afghanistan, in 1970, and therefore no Afghan actors. Frankenheimer wanted Yves Montand or James Garner for the lead, but learning that he was an expert rider, chose Omar Sarif instead. The buzkashi scenes required 25 days of shooting. Of course, Sharif had to appear in some of these scenes, but the chapandaz, impressed by his superior riding, unobtrusively "chaperoned" him through the most dangerous moments. Omar Sharif gives one of his best, if not the best, performances ever. On the other hand, Jack Palance was not skillful enough to ride in the mayhem of the game, and required an Afghan rider stand-in for these sequences. However, with his both feet on the ground, Palance's presence on the screen is overwhelming. As I traveled through the northern provinces of the country, I must have met two or three Palances, and as many Sharifs. By some extraordinary coincidence, Leigh Taylor-Young also bears a strong resemblance to the now famous "Afghan girl," who appeared on the front cover of the National Geographic Magazine, in 1984.

The renowned French composer Georges Delerue wrote the music, remarkable in its lyricism and romanticism, which integrates itself perfectly in the film.

"The Horsemen" is a stunning film, inspired by epic adventure and timeless conflicts which, given the present condition in Afghanistan, I am afraid can only now be experienced in an armchair.

Reviewed by Nazi_Fighter_David 8 / 10

'What a one-horned ram can do, a one-legged chapandaz can do better!'

Set in Afghanistan, John Frankenheimer's 'The Horsemen' is the story of a tribesman determined to rival his father at horsemanship… Uraz is sent by his father Tursen to win the traditional Royal Buzkashi on the field of Bagrami in the capital city of Kabul…

Uraz on Jahil has to battle for control of a headless calf, carry it around a blue flag, and deposit it back in the 'Circle of Justice'… thus signifying that he wins the king's pennant… and remains as the master chapandaz of all Afghanistan… During the tournament, opposing horsemen use their whips to urge on their horses and to hit the rider for the chance to snatch the heavy carcass…

The motion picture turns around five well drawn characters: an angered son eaten up with vanity; a brave father who knew something worse than danger; a nomad woman whose touch defiles; a once loyal servant lusted for an 'unclean woman;' and a wager from the high passes of the East where 'men know how to forge fine weapons and use them well'…

Uraz (Omar Sharif) deliberately chose to bribe his devoted servant with the magnificent white stallion in order to increase the already terrible dangers which he hopes to conquer…

Zareh (Leigh-Taylor Young) urges her man to kill his high blood master to secure for herself his horse and his money…

Tursen (Jack Palance) know nothing but evil legends about an impossible road taken by his embittered son… His pain, remorse, and blood wept for a son lost through his fault…

Mukhi (David de Keyser) forgets his humble and faithful world in the arms of the 'untouchable' woman who pushes him to murder the great prince…

Hayatal (Peter Jeffrey) takes the challenge against 'the Prince Ram of the Valley' declaring openly to Uraz: 'What a one-horned ram can do, a one-legged chapandaz can do better!'

To understand 'The Horsemen' you must understand the rage, the beauty, and the tradition of a mountainous and landlocked country, isolated and left outside the mainstream of civilization…

Written by Academy Award winner Dalton Trumbo (The Brave One, Best Original Screenplay, 1956) 'The Horsemen' is a passionate film for men only… The film is a search that marks out the true concepts of honesty, integrity, loyalty, and trust

Reviewed by ma-cortes 6 / 10

Adventures , thrills , horse riding and wonderful outdoors from Afghanistan and Spain

Spectacular movie with exciting adventures , horse-riding and marvelous Oriental landscapes in the desolate , poor northern provinces of the mountainous feudal Sunni kingdom of Afghanistan . The story is suitably emblematic and talks upon a champion Afghan horseman named Uraz (Omar Sharif) who participates with his horse in an extraordinary national game of "buzkashi" dating back to the time of Genghis Khan . It is a fierce competition, played on the steppes of the northern Afghanistan , before the Soviet-engineered republican revolutions . His father named Tursen (Jack Palance) is too old and has got a crooked leg , while Uraz is even prouder and with a morbidly self-destructive , he needs to prove himself against deadly dangers . Later on , he undertakes a risked journey to regain the honor he has lost after his defeat in the ceremonial game . On the journeys he loses a leg , is confronted by his servant (David Keyser) and an untouchable girl (Leigh Taylor Young) who want murder him , besides a nomad (Peter Jeffrey) who struggles his scraggy one-horned sheep . Each meeting has within the seeds of his own meaning and predicament . The final spectacle , including Omar Sharif's double , of the horseman along with his stallion is breathtaking and overwhelming.

This stirring motion picture blends adventures , thrills , spectacular horse-game , emotions and is pretty entertaining . From the beginning to the end , the adventure and drama is continuous ; for that reason packs a lot of entertainment , though it balances ups and downs . With a cast of thousands and genuine Afghan extras , being shot on actual locations . Sets and production design are spellbound and the Oriental landscapes are mesmerizing . It is based on Joseph Kessel's 1967 novel, "Les Cavaliers" ("The Horsemen"), Kessel spent almost fifty years of his life roaming the world and being adapted by the black-listed Dalton Trumbo . The film began shooting using 65mm negative (Super Panavision), but during production, Columbia went through a change in management. The budgets for this and another 65mm production, "MacKenna's Gold," were cut, and both films were forced to switch over to 35mm anamorphic Panavisión ; however, both were released in 70mm, with the later-shot sections blown up. Colorful cinematography by Claude Renoir filmed on location in Afghanistan and Almeria , Spain , where in the 60s and early 70s were filmed a lot of Westerns .Two/three weeks into shooting, cinematographer James Wong Howe left the Project , due to disagreement with director John Frankenheimer over use of lens. Sensitive and fascinating musical score by George Delerue .

The motion picture is compellingly directed by John Frankenheimer . At the beginning he worked for TV and turned to the cinema industry with The Young Stranger (1957) . Disappointed his with first feature film experience he came back to his successful television career directing a total of 152 live television shows in the 50s. He took another opportunity to change to the big screen , collaborating with Burt Lancaster in The Young Savages (1961) and Birdman of Alcatraz(62) ending up becoming a successful director well-known by his skills with actors and expressing on movies his views on important social deeds and philosophical events and film-making some classics as ¨The Manchurian candidate¨, ¨Seven days of May¨ and ¨The Train¨ . The flick will appeal to Oriental adventure enthusiasts and Omar Sharif fans . Rating: Good , well worth watching

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