El Naser Salah el Dine (Saladin)
Mark Merlino - Home page

This 175 minute long Egyptian made epic film, produced in 1963 entirely in
Arabic, tells the stories of Saladin's reconquest of Jerusalem and of his conflict
with the armies of the Third Crusade. This film dramatizes the narrative of this
history by showing details of the Arab leaders' strategic planning and the
intrigues in both courts.

Throughout this film, Saladin us shown as being benevolent and gentle. He is
portrayed as being the leader of all Arabs, both Muslim and Christian. The film
shows the crusaders, particularly some of their leaders, as failing to lead good
Christian lives by being overly aggressive and proud. Saladin even personally
pleads with King Richard to halt his invasion and lead a humbler Christian life
so that Europeans and Arabs can live in peace.

What is most fascinating about this film is that it is critical of the crusaders
without being anti-Christian. In a sense, these wars are portrayed as resulting
from personal ambition and national aims. Well worth seeing.