I was wondering if there is a list out there (havent foud one)or any opinions of people here on movies that visually have a connection to the desert? like lawrence of arabia etc…
Best (next to Lawrence) – Bab’Aziz: The Prince Who Contemplated His Soul. Note: From the director of Wanderers of the Desert which is really just an early exercise.
Worst – Zabriskie Point
In between – Sheltering Sky and The Passenger
You know the obvious one.
“Dreams of Dust”, which is an african film.
“Waiting for Happiness” is really good.
“Sahara” is a fun, if dumb movie. Penelope Cruz looks amazing in it!
“The English Patient” is a great love story.
2 beautiful films by Raymond Depardon come to mind —
Untouched by the West/Un homme sans l’Occident andCaptive of the Desert/La captive du désert.
Freedom by Šarūnas BartasGerry by Gus Van Sant
Inferno (1953, Baker)
Woman in the Dunes (1964, Teshigahara)
The House of Sand (2006, Waddington)
Tulpan (2008, Dvortsevoy)
2001’s opening scenes
I’m going to assume we’re not talking desert in climate terms but the aesthetic qualities of vast expanses of arid landscape, which is actually one of my favourite settings for a movie of any kind, it just seems to add a little extra something magical, possibly something with an existential quality because deserts are places that have exhausted their future so that we begin to see things happen there stripped of their worldly context.
I like the stark black and white contrasts between clear skies and dark walls of rock in ‘outdoors’ film noir.
- Border Incident (1949, Anthony Mann) with DP Alton’s help, Mann captures images of sizzling latenight desert ambiance, when the rocks crack back the heat of the day and the atmosphere is mysterious and suggestive
- Yellow Sky (1948, William Wellman) a subpar movie mostly because one-note Gregory Peck is cast in a role that screams for Bob Mitchum, but the outlaws’ trek through the salty flats in the first half is amazing.
- Blood on the Moon (1948, Robert Wise)
- High Sierra (1941, Raoul Walsh)
and then you have the desert of the western movie, spaghetti or otherwise, with cactii or without them, usually a character all by itself. Most memorable desert westerns for me include:
- El Topo (1970, Alejandro Jodorowsky)
- Once Upon a Time in the West (1968, Sergio Leone)
- Sentenza di Morte (1968, Mario Lanfranchi)
- Vera Cruz (1954, Robert Aldrich)
- Comanche Station (1960, Budd Boetticher)
- The Hellbenders (1967, Sergio Corbucci)
- The Hired Hand (1971, Peter Fonda)
Finally, my favourite of them all, the scorched dusty arid lands that stretch in the closed space between the western and gritnik crime cinema, a little above or below or across the Mexico border, faces are sweaty, you can taste the dust in your mouth, and the conclusions are usually bleak.
- Bring me the Head of Alfredo Garcia (1974, Sam Peckinpah)
- The Shooting (1967, Monte Hellman)
- The Hit (1984, Stephen Frears)
- No Country for Old Men (2007, Coen Brothers)
- The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada (2004, Tommy Lee Jones)
- Deadlock (1970, Roland Klick)
- Badlands (1973, Terrence Malick)
If there is room for golden kitsch on this list, how about “The Garden Of Allah” with Dietrich and Boyer.
I think it was actually filmed in the deserts of Arizona rather than the Sahara, where it is supposed to take place.
The Flight of the Phoenix (1965)
Ice-Cold in Alex (1954)
Hero (Zhang Yimou)
Ashes of Time (Wong Kar Wai).
Chris Doyle sure knows how to shoot deserts.
Walkabout is by far my favorite…you can just smell the decay from the imagery that Roeg creates
Jesus H. Christ, i can’t believe no one said: Kandahar (2001) by Makhmalbaf
La Cicatrice Interieure
Lawrence of Arabia
The Sheltering Sky
Darn, I forgot about that one!
@ Huy Le,
Yes! I was just going to say Ashes of Time. You’re so right about Chris Doyle. Might we add Rabbit Proof Fence (2002) to this list? (Dir. Phillip Noyce, also with Christopher Doyle as the DP).
The Virgin’s Bed
From Dusk Till Dawn
forget the artsy-fartsy stuff and get down to blood and grit!
2nd EL TOPO.
Play Dirty – Great Spaguetti WW2 action with Michael Cain
And the film that introduced the world outside of Australia to Mel Gibson: The Road Warrior…
Punishment Park – The desert as a metaphor for a repressive political system.
A Tale of the Wind
lawrence of arabia
i don’t know about the authenticity of it, But the desert scene in The Fall is surely one of the best
No one have mentioned “The Good,the Bad and the Ugly”.Great desert scenes.“Lawrence of Arabia” is in my opinion the best film shot in a desert.A great one is also “Ashes of Time”.
wow, thanks guys…a number iv seen, others i havent..will def pick them up