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Exodus (1960)

aka Exodus

Directed By: 
Details: 208 mins · English


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Small Ari Ben Canaan
Small Kitty Fremont
Small Barak Ben Canaan
Small Bruce Sutherland
Small Maj. Caldwell
No_movie_poster Akiva
Small Mandria
No_movie_poster Dr. Lieberman
No_movie_poster Lakavitch
No_movie_poster Karen Hansen Clement
Small Jordana Ben Canaan
Small Taha
Small Dov Landau
No_movie_poster David Ben Ami


Small Otto Preminger Director
No_movie_poster Sam Leavitt Director of Photography
No_movie_poster Louis R. Loeffler Editor
No_movie_poster Richard Day Art Direction
Small Dalton Trumbo Screenplay
No_movie_poster Ernest Gold Original Music Composer
No_movie_poster Leon Uris Novel
Small Otto Preminger Production
No_movie_poster Leon Uris Story Contributor
No_movie_poster Louis R. Loeffler Editing


The film is based on the events that happened on the ship Exodus in 1947 as well as events dealing with the founding of the state of Israel in 1948.

Nurse Katherine "Kitty" Fremont (Eva Marie Saint) is an American volunteer at the Karaolos internment camp on Cyprus, where thousands of Jews - Holocaust survivors - are being held by the British, who won't let them go to Palestine. They anxiously wait for the day they will be liberated. Ari Ben Canaan (Paul Newman), a Hagannah rebel who previously was a captain in the Jewish Brigade of the British Army in the Second World War, obtains a cargo ship and smuggles 611 Jewish inmates out of the camp for an illegal voyage to Mandate Palestine before being discovered by military authorities. When the British find out that the refugees are in a ship in the harbor of Famagusta, they blockade it. The refugees stage a hunger strike, during which the camp's doctor dies, and Ari threatens to blow up the ship and the refugees. The British relent and allow the Exodus safe passage.

Meanwhile, Kitty has grown very fond of Karen Hansen (Jill Haworth), a young Danish-Jewish girl searching for her father, from whom she was separated during the war. She has taken up the Zionist cause, much to the chagrin of Kitty, who had hoped to take young Karen to America so that she can begin a new life there.

During this time, opposition to the partition of Palestine into Arab and Jewish states is heating up, and Karen's young beau Dov Landau (Sal Mineo) proclaims his desire to join the Irgun, a radical Zionist underground network. Dov goes to an Irgun address, only to get caught in a police trap. After he is freed, he is contacted by members of the Irgun and is interviewed by Ari Ben Canaan's uncle Akiva (David Opatoshu). Before swearing Dov in, Akiva forces the boy to confess that he was a Sonderkommando in Auschwitz and that he was raped by Nazis. Due to his activities, Akiva has been disowned by Ari's father, Barak (Lee J. Cobb), who heads the mainstream Jewish Agency trying to create a Jewish state through political and diplomatic means. He fears that the Irgun will damage his efforts, especially since the British have put a price on Akiva's head. When Dov successfully bombs the King David Hotel in an act of terrorism, leading to dozens of fatalities, Akiva is arrested and sentenced to hang. Meanwhile, Karen's father has been found, but he is ill in hospital in Jerusalem and does not recognize her. Karen has gone to live at Gan Dafna, a fictional Jewish kibbutz near Mount Tabor at which Ari was raised.

Kitty and Ari have fallen in love, but uncle Akiva's imprisonment is an obstacle, and Ari must devise a plan to free the prisoners.

Dov Landau, who had managed to elude the arresting soldiers, turns himself in so that he can use his knowledge of explosives to rig the Acre prison and plan an escape route. All goes according to plan; hundreds of prisoners, including Akiva, manage to escape. Akiva is fatally shot by British soldiers while evading a roadblock set up to catch the escaped prisoners. Ari is also badly wounded. He makes his way to Abu Yesha, an Arab village near Gan Dafna, where his lifelong friend, Taha, (John Derek) is the mukhtar. Kitty is brought there and treats his wound.

An independent Israel is now in plain view, but Arab nationals commanded by Mohammad Amin al-Husayni, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, plot to attack Gan Dafna and kill its villagers. Ari receives prior warning of this attack from Taha, and he manages to get the younger children of the town out in a mass overnight escape. Karen, ecstatic over the prospect of a new nation, finds Dov (who was out on patrol outside the town) and proclaims her love for him; Dov assures her that they will marry someday. As Karen returns to Gan Dafna, she is ambushed and killed by a gang of Arab militiamen. Dov discovers her lifeless body the following morning. That same day, the body of Taha is found hanging in his village, killed by Arab extremists with a Star of David symbol carved on his body. Karen and Taha are buried together in one grave. At the Jewish burial ceremony, Ari swears on their bodies that someday, Jews and Arabs will live together and share the land in peace, not only in death but also in life. The movie then ends with Ari, Kitty, and a Palmach contingent entering trucks and heading toward battle.

Release Dates:

Theatrical : 1960-12-15 : New York City

Theatrical : 1961-01-02 : Brazil

Theatrical : 1961-04-29 : Italy

Theatrical : 1961-05-03 : France

Theatrical : 1961-05-25 : Netherlands

Theatrical : 1961-07-22 : Japan

Theatrical : 1961-09-15 : Finland

Theatrical : 1961-09-18 : Sweden

Theatrical : 1961-10-05 : West Germany

Theatrical : 1961-11-03 : Denmark

Theatrical : 1962-01-25 : Hong Kong

Theatrical : 1962-07-12 : Sydney

Theatrical : 1962-09-03 : Madrid

Theatrical : Turkey

Theatrical : 1960-12-21 : Los Angeles

2012-05-08 : Switzerland