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Genghis Khan
Theatrical poster by Frank McCarthy.
Directed byHenry Levin
Screenplay byBeverley Cross
Clarke Reynolds
Story byBerkely Mather
Produced byIrving Allen
StarringOmar Sharif
James Mason
Stephen Boyd
Eli Wallach
Françoise Dorléac
Telly Savalas
CinematographyGeoffrey Unsworth
Edited byGeoffrey Foot
Music byDušan Radić
Irving Allen Productions
Central Cinema Company Film (CCC)
Avala Film
Distributed byColumbia Pictures
Release dates
  • April 15, 1965 (1965-04-15) (Germany)
  • June 23, 1965 (1965-06-23) (United States)
  • August 30, 1965 (1965-08-30) (United Kingdom)
Running time
120 minutes
CountriesUnited Kingdom
West Germany
United States
Budget$4.5 million[1]
Box office$2.25 million
(US & Canada rentals)
2.6 million tickets
(France & West Germany)

Genghis Khan is a 1965 biographical adventure film directed by Henry Levin and starring Omar Sharif, depicting a fictionalized account of the life and conquests of the Mongol emperor Genghis Khan. Distributed in the United Kingdom and the United States in 1965 by Columbia Pictures, the film also features James Mason, Stephen Boyd, Eli Wallach, Françoise Dorléac and Telly Savalas.

A 70 mm version was released by CCC Film in West Germany. It was filmed in Yugoslavia with Technicolor and Panavision.


The young Temujin sees his father tortured and killed by a rival tribe led by Jamuga. Held prisoner, he is yoked into a large wooden wheel around his neck and tormented by the tribal children. He meets the young Bortai after an act of kindness to her, but is punished by Jamuga. Temujin then escapes and hides in the hills, followed by holy man Geen and mute warrior Sengal, who pledge their allegiance to the man vowing to unite all the Mongol tribes.

Raids along caravan routes gradually increase the size of his army, and then Temujin decides to capture and take as his wife the young Bortai. He does so, but then she is recaptured by Jamuga, who rapes her before Temujin can steal her back. Temujin raises the resulting child as his own.

A stranded Chinese ambassador is helped out by Temujin, who accompanies the diplomat into Song China, where he is proclaimed "Genghis Khan, the Prince of Conquerors". His Mongol army stays in Peking for a long period, training, learning, and growing complacent. The imprisoned Jamuga escapes at one point. Finally, feeling trapped, the Mongols break out of their "captivity", killing the Emperor of China in the process, and begin their conquest of Asia.

After laying waste to everything from Manchuria to Moscow, the Mongol army finally battles the Shah of Khwarezm, defeating him and capturing Jamuga one last time. Temujin and Jamuga fight one last battle, and, although victorious, Temujin succumbs to his wounds soon after, following a loving good-bye to Bortai. A voiceover speaks of Genghis Khan's reputation and successors in expanding his empire.



The film was shot over 125 days.[1]

Allen and Euan Lloyd (who worked in publicity) wanted to make a follow-up called Clive of India based on a script by Terence Young but it was never made.[1]

Box office

In the United States and Canada, the film earned $2.25 million in distributor rentals.[2]

In Europe, the film sold 1.724 million tickets in West Germany[3] and 879,532 tickets in France,[4] for a combined 2,603,532 tickets sold in West Germany and France.

See also


  1. ^ a b c Scheuer, P. K. (1965, Jan 05). "Pat O'Brien takes new lease on life" Los Angeles Times
  2. ^ Anticipated rentals accruing distributors in North America. See "Top Grossers of 1965", Variety, 5 January 1966 p 36
  3. ^ "Die erfolgreichsten Filme in Deutschland 1965" [The Most Successful Films in Germany in 1965]. Inside Kino (in German). 1965. Retrieved 4 February 2019.
  4. ^ "Gengis Khan (1965)". JP's Box-Office (in French). Retrieved 11 November 2021.