Genghis Khan (1965 film)

Genghis Khan is a 1965 adventure film directed by Henry Levin and starring Omar Sharif, depicting 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.

Genghis Khan
Theatrical poster by Frank McCarthy.
Directed byHenry Levin
Produced byIrving Allen
Screenplay byBeverley Cross
Clarke Reynolds
Story byBerkely Mather
StarringOmar Sharif
James Mason
Stephen Boyd
Eli Wallach
Françoise Dorléac
Telly Savalas
Music byDušan Radić
CinematographyGeoffrey Unsworth
Edited byGeoffrey Foot
Distributed byColumbia Pictures
Release date
  • 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
CountryUnited Kingdom
West Germany
United States
Budget$4.5 million[1]
Box office$2.25 million[2]

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


The young Temujin (Omar Sharif) sees his father tortured and killed by a rival tribe led by Jamuga (Stephen Boyd). 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 Geen and 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 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.

A stranded Chinese ambassador is helped out by Temujin, who accompanies the diplomat into 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" 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, mano-a-mano, and although victorious, Temujin succumbs to his wounds soon after.



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]


  1. Scheuer, P. K. (1965, Jan 05). Pat O'brien takes new lease on life. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
  2. Anticipated rentals accruing distributors in North America. See "Top Grossers of 1965", Variety, 5 January 1966 p 36
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