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Ashanti (1979 film)

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Ashanti (1979 film)

Ashanti theatrical 1979 movie poster
Directed by Richard Fleischer
Produced by Georges-Alain Vuille
John C. Vuille
Written by Stephen Geller
George MacDonald Fraser (uncredited)
Starring Michael Caine
Peter Ustinov
Kabir Bedi
Beverly Johnson
Omar Sharif
Rex Harrison
William Holden
Music by Michael Melvoin
Cinematography Aldo Tonti
Edited by Ernest Walter
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Columbia Pictures
Release dates
  • April 12, 1979 (1979-04-12)
Running time
118 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $7.5 million[1]
Camel riders near Eilat, extras on the set of "Ashanti".

Ashanti (also called Ashanti, Land of No Mercy) is a 1979 Richard Fleischer. Despite its impressive cast and setting (on location in the Sahara, and in Kenya, Israel, and Sicily), it was widely panned by critics upon release. Michael Caine was reportedly very disappointed with the project and claims it was the third worst film along with his previous films The Magus and The Swarm (despite appearing in other failures in the 1980s), after director Fleischer and co-star Beverly Johnson, were both removed from filming two-thirds of the way through the shoot.[2] Fleischer departed after being hospitalised with sunstroke. However, an interview with Ms. Johnson included on the 2013 Severin Films Blu-ray edition of Ashanti makes no reference to these "removals," suggesting that they may belong to myth.

This is one of William Holden's final films. Both Fleischer and cinematographer Tonti had previously worked together on Barabbas (1961).


Ashanti is an action adventure film, set against the background of modern day Peter Ustinov), who mistake her for an Ashanti tribeswoman. The police can do nothing to find her and David has almost given up hope when he hears rumours that Anansa has been kidnapped by Sulieman to be sold to Arab Prince Hassan (Omar Sharif). The African authorities deny that the slave trade even exists. So David must find help in a shadowy world where the rescuers of slaves are just as ruthless as the traders themselves. As David tracks her across Africa and the Sahara desert, he is helped by a member of the Anti-Slavery League (Rex Harrison), a mercenary helicopter pilot (William Holden), and Malik (Kabir Bedi) a tribesman who is seeking revenge on Suleiman.[3]


  • Michael Caine – Dr. David Linderby
  • Peter Ustinov – Suleiman
  • Kabir Bedi – Malik
  • Beverly Johnson – Dr. Anansa Linderby
  • Omar Sharif – Prince Hassan
  • Rex Harrison – Brian Walker
  • William Holden – Jim Sandell
  • Zia Mohyeddin – Djamil
  • Winston Ntshona – Ansok
  • Tariq Yunus – Faid
  • Tyrone Jackson – Dongaro
  • Akosua Busia – Senoufo girl
  • Jean-Luc Bideau – Marcel
  • Olu Jacobs – Commissioner Batak
  • Johnny Sekka – Captain Bradford
  • Marne Maitland – Touareg chief
  • Eric Pohlmann – Zeda El-Kabir
  • Harry Araten – Slave dealer
  • Jack Cohen – German at slave market
  • Jay Koller – Buyer at slave market
  • Enzo Patti – Pearl dealer
  • Ori Levy – Hotel attendant


During filming [4]

Two weeks into filming, director Richard Sarafarin was sacked and replaced by Richard Flesicher. The female lead and cinematographer were fired. Telly Savalas who was in the cast had to drop out.[1]


The novelisation Ebano was written by Alberto Vázquez-Figueroa.

See also


  1. ^ a b Beautiful Kenya has a new national goal: To turn itself into the Hollywood of Africa Storey, David. Chicago Tribune (1963-Current file) [Chicago, Ill] 10 July 1978: a9.
  2. ^ film reviewCitizen Caine
  3. ^
  4. ^ George MacDonald Fraser, The Light's On at Signpost, HarperCollins 2002 p205-206

External links

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