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The Desert of the Tartars (Il deserto dei Tartari)

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The Desert of the Tartars
(Il deserto dei Tartari)
Il deserto dei Tartari Poster.jpg
Original Italian Poster
Country ITA.jpg Italy
FRA.jpg France
GER.jpg West Germany
Directed by Valerio Zurlini
Release Date 1976
Language Italian
Studio Cinema Due
Les Films de l'Astrophore
Main Cast
Character Actor
Lt./Capt. Giovanni Drogo Jacques Perrin
Col. Filimore Vittorio Gassman
Maj. Matis Giuliano Gemma
Capt./Maj./Col. Ortiz Max von Sydow
Lt./Capt./Maj. Simeon Helmut Griem
Lt. Von Hamerling Laurent Terzieff
Dr. Rovine Jean-Louis Trintignant
Sgt. Tronk Francisco Rabal
Lt. Col. Nathanson Fernando Rey
The General Philippe Noiret

The Desert of the Tartars (Il deserto dei Tartari) is a 1976 Italian-French-German drama movie directed by Valerio Zurlini and based on the novel "The Tartar Steppe" by Dino Buzzati. The movie stars numerous notable European actors, including Jacques Perrin, Vittorio Gassman, Giuliano Gemma, Max von Sydow and Jean-Louis Trintignant. A young officer of Austro-Hungarian Army Lt. Drogo (Perrin) starts his service in ancient Bastiani Fortress on the border of unexplored desert. For countless years the fortress stands against the fabulous Tartar nomads. Nobody trusts that they could really appear in vicinity but the garrison still performs the service in this Godforsaken place. The movie was filmed in Bam Citadel in Iran.

The following weapons were used in the film The Desert of the Tartars (Il deserto dei Tartari):


Smith & Wesson Military & Police

While all officers carry holsters, their sidearms aren't seen. The only handgun is a Smith & Wesson Military & Police revolver, carried by Col. Ortiz (Max von Sydow) after his retirement from service.

Smith & Wesson Model M&P Revolver with 4" barrel - .38 Special
Ortiz draws his revolver.

Holstered sidearms

Lt. Drogo (Jacques Perrin) (at the left) and Capt. Ortiz (Max von Sydow) carry holstered sidearms.


Karabiner 98k

Most soldiers are armed with Karabiner 98k rifles. Some of them are late "Kriegsmodell" version.

Karabiner 98k - German manufacture 1937 date - 7.92x57mm Mauser
Soldiers with Mauser rifles in formation. The rifles have "Kriegsmodell" barrel bands.
Another view of the same scene.
A closeup of the rifle in hands of a centry.
Soldiers perform rifle drilling.
Soldiers during the ceremony of military burial.
A small unit crosses the snow-covered mountains. Note the lack of bolt disassembly disc in the buttstock, a sign of "Kriegsmodell".

M98/29 Persian Mauser

Some M98/29 Persian Mauser rifles are also seen.

M98/29 Persian Mauser with bayonet - 7.92x57mm Mauser
Lt. Giovanni Drogo (Jacques Perrin) trains in firing from horseback.

Percussion Musket

A pair of percussion muskets most likely of European origin and closely resembling the Springfield Model 1842 is used as a decoration in Major Matis' office.

Springfield Model 1842 - .69 Smoothbore
Barrels of the muskets and buttstocks of the shotguns are seen.
Stocks of the muskets and shotguns are seen.

Percussion Shotgun

A pair of percussion shotguns of unknown model is also used as a decoration in Major Matis' office.

Double Barreled Percussion Shotgun - 10 Gauge
Barrels of the muskets and buttstocks of the shotguns are seen.
Stocks of the muskets and shotguns are seen.

Machine Guns

Schwarzlose Machine Gun

The garrison of Bastiani Fortress disposes several Schwarzlose Machine Guns.

Schwarzlose MG M. 7/12 - 8x50mmR Mannlicher.
Soldiers mount the machine gun on position.
The machine gun is seen in the night scene.
Schwarzlose machine gun on the wall.
A closer view.


The artillery of Bastiani Fortress consists of several 77mm FK96 field guns.

7.7 cm Feldkanone 96 n.A..
The artillerymen move the field gun.
The cannon on the fortress wall.

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