Sadat (miniseries)

Sadat is a 1983 American two-part, four-hour made-for-television biographical film based on the life and death of the late 3rd President of Egypt, Anwar Sadat starring Louis Gossett Jr. as Sadat and Madolyn Smith as Sadat's wife, Jehan. It was distributed by Columbia Pictures Television through Operation Prime Time. Gossett's performance earned him a nomination for an Emmy Award and a Golden Globe Award.

Written byLionel Chetwynd
Directed byRichard Michaels
StarringLouis Gossett Jr.
John Rhys-Davies
Madolyn Smith
Jeremy Kemp
Music byCharles Bernstein
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of episodes2
ProducersDaniel H. Blatt
Robert Singer
CinematographyJan de Bont
EditorsBud S. Isaacs
J. Terry Williams
Running time195 minutes
Production companiesDaniel H. Blatt and Robert Singer Productions
Centerpoint Productions
Columbia Pictures Television
DistributorOperation Prime Time
Original networkSyndication
Original releaseOctober 31–November 7, 1983


The film begins by depicting Sadat's involvement with violent anti-British insurgents. Eventually he becomes a follower of Gamal Abdel Nasser (John Rhys-Davies) as the latter begins his ascent to political supremacy in Egypt. As Egypt becomes more of a regional power led by Nasser, Sadat suffers the strain of being Nasser's yes man, while clashing with him. Nasser enjoys widespread popularity once he nationalizes the Suez Canal, but suffers a fatal downfall in the wake of Egypt's crushing defeat in the Six-Day War.

Eventually succeeding Nasser, Sadat finds himself beholden to the Soviets for military assistance. The Soviets know the Egyptians are determined to go to war with Israel and reclaim the Sinai, but doubt that Egypt's military can cross the Suez without their help. Determined to make the Egyptians masters of their own nation, Sadat forgoes Soviet assistance (and their influence). In October 1973, Egypt and Syria launch a two-front attack on Israel. Egypt's planning proves immensely successful at the outset, building on a well-executed amphibious crossing of the Suez. Egyptian air defense units hold off Israel's Air Force, depriving soldiers on the ground of air support. The assault founders when an Israeli tank unit led by Ariel Sharon holds its own without air support. Sadat also suffers the loss of a relative shot down during the war.

Ultimately, Sadat realizes the futility of war, and seeks a peaceful dialog with Israel, leading up to his meetings with Menachem Begin (Barry Morse). While the resulting Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty normalizes relations between Egypt and the west, in the midst of the Israeli occupation of Palestine greatly alienates Sadat from the rest of the Arab world.

On October 6, 1981, Sadat is assassinated as he and several foreign dignitaries review a military procession marking the 1973 crossing of the Suez.



The film was negatively received in Egypt and was accused there of distorting history and slandering the Egyptian people, and was also criticized for the casting of a black actor, Lou Gossett, Jr., as Sadat. The Egyptian Ministry of Culture announced a ban on all films and television programs distributed by Columbia Pictures,[1] and Egypt's artists' and film unions sued Columbia Pictures and the film's director, writer, and producers. The lawsuit was dismissed by an Egyptian court for lack of jurisdiction because the film's "distortions" and "slanders" occurred outside Egypt.[2] Director Michaels said that the Egyptian government deserved the 1984 "overreaction award" for its handling of the miniseries.[3]


  1. ^ Miller, Judith (1984-02-05). "Egypt disapproves of TV movie 'Sadat'". Gainesville Sun. New York Times News Service. pp. 5B. Retrieved 9 July 2012. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ "Suit Over Film 'Sadat' Is Dismissed in Cairo". The New York Times. Reuters. 1984-03-28. Retrieved 9 July 2012. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^

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