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3.8 18
Director: Breck Eisner

Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Steve Zahn, Penélope Cruz


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Matthew McConaughey stars as explorer and adventurer Dirk Pitt in this adaptation of the best-selling novel by Clive Cussler. Pitt thinks he may have found both a fortune and the answer to a long-standing mystery when he discovers a rare coin in the waters of a river in West Africa. During the Civil War, an ironclad battleship with a valuable cargo went missing, and


Matthew McConaughey stars as explorer and adventurer Dirk Pitt in this adaptation of the best-selling novel by Clive Cussler. Pitt thinks he may have found both a fortune and the answer to a long-standing mystery when he discovers a rare coin in the waters of a river in West Africa. During the Civil War, an ironclad battleship with a valuable cargo went missing, and Pitt's theory is that the coin places the ship somewhere in the Sahara Desert. Pitt and his goofy sidekick, Al Giordino (Steve Zahn), set out to find it, but along the way they make the acquaintance of Dr. Eva Rojas (Penélope Cruz), a scientist and physician who is trying to determine the source of a strange and deadly disease sweeping the nation. As Eva joins Dirk and Al, they begin to wonder if the mysteries they're trying to uncover might be somehow linked. Sahara was only the second of Cussler's Dirk Pitt adventures to be adapted for the screen; the first, 1980's Raise the Titanic, was publicly dismissed by the author.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
Every bit as rousing and rambunctious as you expect high-adventure yarns to be, this generously appointed adaptation of Clive Cussler's bestseller boasts elaborate action set pieces and exotic locations. It takes place largely in West Africa, where treasure hunter Dirk Pitt (Matthew McConaughey) and his pal Al Giordino (Steve Zahn) search for a Civil War battleship rumored to have been stranded somewhere along the River Niger with a fortune in gold intended for use by the Confederacy. While there, they rescue humanitarian relief doctor Eva Rojas (Penelope Cruz), who’s been targeted for elimination by a ruthless warlord (Lennie James) and a French industrialist (Lambert Wilson) after threatening to expose their cover-up of a plague spread by contaminated water. First-time director Breck Eisner handles the disparate elements of this yarn with surprising sure-footedness; the story unfolds smoothly and in a relatively convincing fashion. Big action sequences are extravagantly staged on land, on water, and in the air, with McConaughey registering strongly as an athletic, self-assured hero. He doesn’t seem to have great onscreen chemistry with Cruz -- notwithstanding the fact that they became an offscreen couple after the film’s making. Not that it matters much; Sahara isn’t a movie you want to see for romance. This is full-bore, high-octane adventure that barrels along like a freight train, and however improbable the film might occasionally seem, it’s guaranteed to entertain.
All Movie Guide - Jeremy Wheeler
Much of Sahara plays out in such a breezy, entertaining manner that you feel guilty for ragging on it, even if it misses its marks repeatedly through the film. Heavily mining the Indiana Jones School of Adventure Filmmaking, first-time director Breck Eisner (yes, the son of the Mouse House power player Michael Eisner) paints a pretty picture of exotic locales and thrilling sequences but never quite gets the magic to work with his cast. The banter between Matthew McConaughey and Steve Zahn doesn't click in a satisfying way, while Penélope Cruz fails to light the romantic spark of the flick no matter how hard she tries. McConaughey has the stuff to make a fine hero, but his Dirk Pitt needs more definition in both his charm and heroics. With four writers attached to the screenplay, it's obvious that the adaptation of Clive Cussler's novel went through more than its share of Hollywood potholes throughout the production. Still, with little digital trickery to sour its traditional aesthetics, Sahara does prove to be a competent cut of entertainment that's safe for the masses to buy into.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Paramount Catalog
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Special Features

Closed Caption; Commentaries by director Breck Eisner and actor/executive producer Matthew McConaughey; Deleted scenes with optional commentary by Breck Eisner and Matthew McConaughey; Cast and crew wrap film; Visualizing Sahara; Across the sands of Sahara

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Matthew McConaughey Dirk Pitt
Steve Zahn Al Giordino
Penélope Cruz Eva Rojas
Lambert Wilson Yves Massarde
Glynn Turman Dr. Frank Hopper
Delroy Lindo Carl
William H. Macy Admiral Sandecker
Lennie James Gen. Kazim
Rainn Wilson Rudi Gunn
Dayna Cussler Kitty Mannock

Technical Credits
Breck Eisner Director
Mark Albela Co-producer
Stephanie Austin Producer
Howard Baldwin Producer
Karen Baldwin Producer
David Barron Co-producer
Bill Brown Co-producer
Allan Cameron Production Designer
Thomas Dean Donnelly Screenwriter
Nina Gold Casting
Gus Gustawes Executive Producer
Jim V. Hart Screenwriter
William J. Immerman Executive Producer
Lis Kern Associate Producer
Lindsay Fellows Musical Direction/Supervision
Andrew MacRitchie Editor
Clint Mansell Score Composer
Giles Masters Art Director
Anne McCarthy Casting
Matthew McConaughey Executive Producer
Seamus Mcgarvey Cinematographer
Henning Molfenter Co-producer
Nick Morton Co-producer
Chris Munro Sound/Sound Designer
Mace Neufeld Producer
Chris Newman Asst. Director
Denise O'dell Co-producer
Joshua Oppenheimer Screenwriter
Mike Phillips Co-producer
Thierry Potok Co-producer
Tony Reading Art Director
Andrew Reif Associate Producer
John C. Richards Screenwriter
Vicki Dee Rock Executive Producer
Aileen Seaton Makeup
Leslie Shatz Sound/Sound Designer
Anna Sheppard Costumes/Costume Designer
Dominic Tuohy Special Effects Supervisor

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Sahara
1. The Last Ironclad
2. Outbreak
3. Underworld Contact
4. Boat Trip
5. Ship of Death
6. Panama
7. The Well
8. General Kazim Questions Frank
9. Tuareg Country
10. It's Not a Plague
11. Decision-Making Paradigm
12. Source
13. We're Home Free Now
14. Another Idea
15. Cover
16. Cut the Head Off the Snake
17. The Fearless Crew


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Sahara 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 18 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
.....but this one was disappointing. Despite the performances from Matthew and Penelope, this movie is like opening a bottle of flat soda. The actual plot could not be more uninteresting, I didn't care for it at all. To give this movie credit, it does provide some good action and some laugh-out-loud moments, but sometimes even those things fall flat.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you are a fan of Clive Cussler don't watch this movie. Just read the book, it's much better and there's more action. This movie is a travesty. They completely changed the plot and made it boring.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Sahara was the first Clive Cussler book I read. While it was highly formulaic not not particularly well written, I have since read other Dirk Pitt novels. I was amazed at how well McConaughey and Zahn brought to life Pitt and Giordino. Yes, the plot was pedestrian, but the dialog much more engaging than Cussler could ever do. You will appreciate the movie more if you have read any Cussler, painful as though that may be.
beleiverCA More than 1 year ago
history buff or adventurer will love this movie,loved the comedy and the actors.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I've read every Clive Cussler novel written, and I've thoroughly enjoyed them all. Yes, they're all pretty much the same, with the same "Plug-N-Play" bad guy, but they're fun reading. Sahara was a fun movie. It diverged from the novel quite a bit, but it still held true to the spitit of the book, which is fun. So nuke up a bag of popcorn, turn off your brain, and have a good night!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Good adventure with a good PAIR of Heroes and fun adjectives between all the characters. Though this may not be the award winner, its just spicy and visually good enough to be a movie worth watching over again. Action scenes, characters and setting were all enjoyable. I especially liked the side kick characters who were just, if not more important to the film as the main....
Guest More than 1 year ago
The very first time I saw a comercial for this movie, I knew I had to buy it. I did, and I wasn't disapointed, in fact, this movie is easily in my top 10 favorite movies of all time. The banter between Dirk, Al, and Eva was just perfect. There were some wonderfully funny moments, but at the same time, the plot was very serious, and you also had this confidence in Dirk that nothing really bad would happen. I believe that Matthew McConaughey, considering the fact that I wasn't a fan of his before this movie, did awesome playing the part of Dirk Pitt, I thought Steve Zahn, who I've like in everthing else I've seen him in, did a very good job playing Al Giordino, and last, but most asuredly not least, I thought Penelope Cruz, whom I already liked, did perfectly awesome playing the part of Dr. Eva Rojas. I also finally found a movie besides Jurassic Park 3 that I liked William H. Macy in (He plays Admiral James Sandecker). So, I say, if you have a sense of humor, and need a great movie to unwind during, watch Sahara!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love this movie!!! Matthew Mcconaughey is awesome. I love the adventure and excitement. Clive Cussler did a good job writing this book.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Maybe this is a bad reason for not liking a movie, but I was hoping to see more of Matthew McConauhey (if you know what I mean). I thought there would be a lot more shirtless McConaughey action, but in the entire 2 hours of film he only has his shirt off twice- once toward the beginning and the last just before the end credits. The first time is, of course, really hot because he comes out of the water with his golden muscular body glistening in the sun and the camera does a very quick close up of his fabulous chest and abs. The rest of the movie is awful so this is probably just a movie to rent (or maybe not), and NOT one to buy.