MUBI brings you a great new film every day.  Start your 7-day free trial today!
All Topics  »

Best movies filmed in the desert

Karam Khan

about 4 years ago

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…

RLS In Mubiland

about 4 years ago

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

dope fiend willy

about 4 years ago

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.

--------

about 4 years ago

2 beautiful films by Raymond Depardon come to mind —

Untouched by the West/Un homme sans l’Occident and
Captive of the Desert/La captive du désert.

Somnamb​ulist

about 4 years ago

Freedom by Šarūnas Bartas
Gerry by Gus Van Sant

Shakti

about 4 years ago

Inferno (1953, Baker)
Woman in the Dunes (1964, Teshigahara)
The House of Sand (2006, Waddington)
Tulpan (2008, Dvortsevoy)

Erik Villase​nor

about 4 years ago

2001’s opening scenes

chaos-r​ampant

about 4 years ago

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)

Howard Fritzso​n

about 4 years ago

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.

Anthony​'s brother

about 4 years ago

The Flight of the Phoenix (1965)

Ice-Cold in Alex (1954)

Walkabout (1971)

JAH

about 4 years ago

Paris, Texas

Huy Le

about 4 years ago

Hero (Zhang Yimou)
Ashes of Time (Wong Kar Wai).

Chris Doyle sure knows how to shoot deserts.

traag-1

about 4 years ago

Walkabout is by far my favorite…you can just smell the decay from the imagery that Roeg creates

raphael​a

about 4 years ago

Jesus H. Christ, i can’t believe no one said: Kandahar (2001) by Makhmalbaf

David Ehrenst​ein

about 4 years ago

La Cicatrice Interieure

Lawrence of Arabia

Zabriskie Point

The Sheltering Sky

The Shooting

Gerry

--------

about 4 years ago

La Cicatrice Interieure

Darn, I forgot about that one!

Carter Bruce

about 4 years ago

@ 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).

Kurt Walker

-moderator-
about 4 years ago

The Virgin’s Bed

christo​pher sepesy

about 4 years ago

From Dusk Till Dawn

forget the artsy-fartsy stuff and get down to blood and grit!

Truman Sparks

about 4 years ago

3 KINGS?
GREED?
2nd EL TOPO.

Francis​co J. Torres

about 4 years ago

Play Dirty – Great Spaguetti WW2 action with Michael Cain

tros

about 4 years ago

And the film that introduced the world outside of Australia to Mel Gibson: The Road Warrior…

Law

about 4 years ago

Punishment Park – The desert as a metaphor for a repressive political system.

gory™

about 4 years ago

tulpan

kolor

about 4 years ago

A Tale of the Wind

Bima Gordhi

about 4 years ago

lawrence of arabia

Andhika Eka Buana

about 4 years ago

i don’t know about the authenticity of it, But the desert scene in The Fall is surely one of the best

Jake La Motta

about 4 years ago

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”.

Karam Khan

about 4 years ago

wow, thanks guys…a number iv seen, others i havent..will def pick them up

Karam Khan

about 4 years ago

wow, thanks guys…a number iv seen, others i havent..will def pick them up