40 user 21 critic

Cast a Giant Shadow (1966)

Approved | | Adventure, Drama, History | 30 March 1966 (USA)
In 1947, following the U.N. decision to split British Palestine into separate Jewish and Palestinian states, a former U.S. Army officer is recruited by the Jews to reorganize the Haganah.


Melville Shavelson


Ted Berkman (book), Melville Shavelson (written for the screen by)


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Kirk Douglas ... Col. David 'Mickey' Marcus
Senta Berger ... Magda Simon
Angie Dickinson ... Emma Marcus
James Donald ... Maj. Safir
Stathis Giallelis ... Ram Oren
Luther Adler ... Jacob Zion
Topol ... Abou Ibn Kader
Ruth White ... Mrs. Chaison
Gordon Jackson ... James MacAfee
Michael Hordern ... British Ambassador
Allan Cuthbertson ... Immigration Officer
Jeremy Kemp ... Senior British Officer
Sean Barrett Sean Barrett ... Junior British Officer
Michael Shillo Michael Shillo ... Andre Simon
Rina Ganor ... Rona


An American Army officer is recruited by Jews in Palestine to help them form an army. The surrounding Arab countries are opposed to the creation of the state of Israel. He is made commander of the Israeli forces just before the war begins. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Outnumbered - unarmed - unprepared - they hurled back their answer in flesh and flame! See more »


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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English | Hebrew

Release Date:

30 March 1966 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Der Schatten des Giganten See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


| (DVD)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)


Black and White (archive footage)| Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Kirk Douglas and James Donald appeared in The Vikings (1958). See more »


During a flashback, General Randolph has mixed insignia for the 101st Airborne Division on his shoulder. The lower portion with the eagle correctly has a black background. However, the upper portion with the word AIRBORNE incorrectly has a blue background which is supposed to be black as well. Blue would be appropriate for either the 11th or 82nd Airborne Divisions. See more »


Abou Ibn Kader: Not familiar with these hills? I was having women in these hills when your father was still sucking milk.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The major events in this film actually happened. Some of them are still happening. The major characters actually lived. Many of them are still living. Although it was not easy. See more »


Featured in Hollywoodism: Jews, Movies and the American Dream (1998) See more »


Next Year in Jerusalem
Music by Dov Seltzer
See more »

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User Reviews

A Rather Bloated Tale On The Founding Of Israel
23 August 2013 | by Theo RobertsonSee all my reviews

This was made in an era when just about every household had a television and Hollywood doesn't tolerate competition and needed to bring out its big guns . Those howitzers would be big name stars and epic storytelling . Unfortunately by this time this type of film would be dying out and a year later BONNIE AND CLYDE arrived on the scene which changed Hollywood film making with relatively unknown actors starring in smaller scale films that had a dubious morality to them so a film like CAST A GIANT SHADOW would have become relatively dated very quickly by the end of the decade

On its own merits it isn't a bad film though it's certainly not a very good one either . The problem is that " Epic " is often a euphemism for " bloated " , therefore we get to see the main protagonists war experience and family life . Why do we have to see all this ? one can speculate that the war sequences is an excuse to shoehorn John Wayne in to the film that'll appeal to all the manly men in the audience and the family life of the protagonist will get women flocking in to the cinema . It also has the unnecessary addition of Frank Sinatra which like Wayne seems to be included to give box office appeal

It's not just the lack of brevity that's the flaw but the sometimes embellishment to the story that doesn't do it any favours . Some other commentators have gone in to detail so I won't dwell to much upon it but one noticeable aspect is that the Israelis in 1948 are portrayed to being total strangers to war which isn't in any way true . The British Army had a Jewish brigade which served in Italy during the war and were engaged in some very tough fighting in 1944 . Likewise Palmach and Haganah members would have had military experience fighting against Arabs in the Special Night Squads during the Arab revolts of 1938-39 and wouldn't be the inexperienced military virgins as seen here . Sadly the film doesn't make the point that the Irgun and Stern Gang were the purveyors of modern day terrorism that EOKA , the Provisional IRA and many other terrorist organisations modelled themselves upon until Al Quada took terrorism to new depths , but if you've got a Hollywood movie and it contains Brits as an occupying power then it's easy to turn a blind eye , but to be fair it points out it's better to be occupied by the British than the French

That said the Brits aren't full blown villains and the American view of Israelis is I imagine not as black and white as it would be today regardless of your politics . In 1948 the American State Department was very suspicious about Israel since many of its inhabitants were from Eastern European countries and Eastern European equalled communist in American eyes with Zionist support for the country confined to a small American Jewish lobby . The film does touch upon the fact that the fledgling Jewish state obtained its weapons from the international black market rather than being supplied by America with America realising that the Arab lands contain an awful lot of oil so best not to annoy them . It should be remembered that the first arms supply from America to Israel didn't happen till 1965 and the often overstated influence America has over the Israeli state wouldn't have existed when this film was released

In summary CAST A GIANT SHADOW is a relatively entertaining yarn but it's a melodramatic Hollywood movie using big names to make money for the studio . If you're interested in finding out the proper history of the creation of Israel it's a much better idea to read a book on the subject with the only problem trying to find a totally unbiased book on the subject

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