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Theatrical poster
Directed by Sergei Bodrov
Produced by Sergei Selyanov
Sergei Bodrov
Anton Melnik
Written by Arif Aliyev
Sergei Bodrov
Starring Tadanobu Asano
Sun Honglei
Khulan Chuluun
Odnyam Odsuren
Music by Tuomas Kantelinen
Cinematography Sergey Trofimov
Rogier Stoffers
Editing by Valdís Óskarsdóttir
Zach Staenberg
Distributed by Picturehouse
Sony Pictures Releasing International (Malaysia)
Release date(s) September 20, 2007 (Russia)
June 6, 2008 (USA)
June 13, 2008 (UK)
May 7, 2009 (Malaysia)
Running time 125 min
Country Germany
Language Mongolian
Budget $20,000,000 (estimated)
Gross revenue $26,047,862[1]
Followed by The Great Khan

Mongol (Russian: Монгол) is a 2007 semi-historical film directed by Sergei Bodrov about Temüjin, the young Genghis Khan. It is planned to be the first in a trilogy about Genghis Khan.[2] The world premiere took place on July 31, 2007.[3]

The film was an international co-production between companies in Germany, Kazakhstan, Mongolia and Russia. Shooting took place, for the most part, in the People's Republic of China, principally Inner Mongolia (the Mongol autonomous region), and in Kazakhstan. Shooting began in September 2005 and finished in November 2006. The film was nominated for the 2007 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film as a submission from Kazakhstan.[4]

The second installment of the trilogy, provisionally entitled The Great Khan, entered pre-production in 2008 and is planned for release in 2010.[5][6]



The movie is an epic story of the young Temüjin (Genghis Khan) and how events in his early life lead him to become a legendary conqueror.

The film opens with Temüjin as a prisoner in the Tangut kingdom, and tells his earlier life through flashbacks, beginning with the nine-year-old boy being taken on a trip by his father, Esugei, to select a girl as his future wife. He meets Börte, who says she would like to be chosen and asserts she would make an excellent wife. His father, however, wishes him to choose a wife from the Merkit tribe. Temüjin convinces his father to allow him to choose Börte. He promises to return after five years to marry her.

On their way home, Temüjin's father is poisoned by an enemy tribe. As he lies dying, he tells Temüjin he is now khan. However one of his father's warriors, Targutai, orders the other tribesmen to loot the dead khan's camp, taking the horses and livestock. Targutai spares Temüjin's life, declaring a Mongol does not kill children.

After falling through the ice on a frozen lake, Temüjin is found lying down in the snow by a young boy called Jamukha. The two quickly become friends and perform a traditional ceremony declaring themselves blood brothers. Targutai, however, catches up with Temüjin and he is captured and locked in a cangue. Temüjin escapes late one night and continues to roam the countryside.

We do not see Temüjin again until 1186 where he is a young man. He once again is caught by Targutai, who wishes to kill him now that he is grown. Temüjin escapes again, this time taking one of the tribe's horses. He goes to find Börte and brings her back to his family. Later that night they are attacked by the Merkit tribe led by Chiledu, because Temüjin's father had years before stolen his wife from one of their tribesmen. While being chased on horseback, Temüjin is shot with an arrow. Börte whips the horse which Temüjin is on, telling it to go home. Börte is captured and told by the Merkit leader that she is now his. Temüjin returns to his family weakened but determined to get his wife back.

Temüjin goes to his childhood friend, Jamukha. Jamukha, now a khan himself, agrees to help him get his wife back and attack the Merkit tribe, though only after a year passes. The attack on the Merkit tribe is a success, and Temüjin finds Börte alive and Chiledu dead with his throat slit; however, just as he feared, Bortë has already been raped and left pregnant with Chiledu's son, who Temüjin takes as his own. Temüjin and his men leave early the next morning with two of Jamukha's soldiers. Jamukha chases down Temüjin, warning him that his actions will lead to war.

Taichar, Jamukha's brother, is later killed while attempting to steal Temüjin's horses; Jamukha and Temüjin go to war. When their armies face off, Temüjin sends some of his men to protect the families, while those remaining continue to fight. Being outnumbered, the army is quickly over-run. Jamukha decides to make Temüjin a slave rather than kill him.

Temüjin is sold to a rich man from the Tangut kingdom despite the dire warning given to the man by a Buddhist monk acting as his advisor. While imprisoned the monk pleads Temüjin to save his monastery when he is free, and in exchange for delivering a bone to Borte indicating he is still alive, Temujin agrees. To get to Tangut, Börte becomes a merchant's concubine, bearing a daughter along the way. Once Börte arrives in Tangut, she abandons the merchant and pays the guard for the key to Temüjin's cage. Once freed, he gathers an army to unite all Mongols and follow some basic rules to live by.

Temüjin takes on Jamukha to unite the tribes. After his victory, Temüjin is named the khan of all Mongols: Genghis Khan.


In an interview with Zoom In Online in June 2008, co-writer/director Sergei Bodrov admits that it was difficult making the film because of the lack of recorded Mongol history. Mongolians recorded and retold history orally. His inspiration for the film came from The Secret History of the Mongols, which tells of Temüjin's childhood and marriage to his wife. He admits there were some artistic liberties taken with filling in holes of the story, but he claims that as a writer, he knew the character of Genghis Khan so well that it was easy to imagine what he would have done.

Another particular challenge on the film was shooting such a low-budget epic (estimated at only around $20 million, as compared to other historical epics such as Braveheart, the budget of which was $53 million in 1995 dollars) in such desolate areas with a crew that comprised people from over 40 nationalities.[7]


Actor Role
Tadanobu Asano Temüjin
Sun Honglei Jamukha
Khulan Chuluun Borte, Temüjin's wife
Sun Ben Hou Monk
Ba Sen Esugei, Temüjin's father
Aliya Oelun, Temüjin's mother
Sai Xing Ga Chiledu, Oelun's first husband
Amadu Mamadakov Targutai
Ba Ren Taichar, Jamukha's brother
He Qi Dai-Sechen
Bao Di Todoen
Odnyam Odsuren Young Temüjin
Bayertsetseg Erdenebat Young Borte
Amarbold Tuvshinbayar Young Jamukha
You Er Sorgan-Shira
Zhang Jiong Tangut Garrison Chief


Mongol was released in the West in June 2008, and received very positive reviews from most film critics. The film review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes gave Mongol an 87% "Certified Fresh" approval rating.[8] At Metacritic, the film received a 74 out of 100 rating.[9] Roger Ebert gave the film a rating of three and a half out of four possible stars, observing in his review that Mongol "is all but overwhelming, putting to shame some of the recent historical epics from Hollywood".[10] His dictum was echoed by A.O. Scott of The New York Times who hailed Mongol as "a big, ponderous epic, its beautifully composed landscape shots punctuated by thundering hooves and bloody, slow-motion battle sequences".[11]

On the other hand, The Guardian's film critic, Peter Bradshaw, was disappointed by this "huge epic, weighed down with its own ostentatious importance" and its "digitalized Mongol hordes sweeping across plains on horseback".[12] USA Today said "While the historical accuracy may be dodgy, Mongol is a sweeping and quasi-mythical epic..."[13]

Chinese actor Sun Honglei's performance has been especially singled out for praise by many reviewers, such as the New York Daily News which describes: "Honglei Sun, who, as Jamukha, gives so many neck-cracks, guttural howls and conspiratorial smiles he's like a Chinese Marlon Brando."[14] The Globe and Mail states: "As an epic action movie, Mongol is satisfying enough. Think Braveheart. Think 300. Just don't think too much."[15]

The film appeared on several critics' top ten lists of the best films of 2008. Mike Russell of The Oregonian named it the 5th best film of 2008,[16] Lawrence Toppman of The Charlotte Observer named it the 8th best film of 2008,[16] and V.A. Musetto of the New York Post also named it the 8th best film of 2008.[16]




  • Golden Eagle Award for Best Costume Design: Karin Lohr, SFK
  • Golden Eagle Award for Best Sound Design: Stephan Konken
  • Nika Award for Best Film
  • Nika Award for Best Director: Sergei Bodrov
  • Nika Award for Best Cinematographer: Sergey Trofimov, R.G.C., Rogier Stoffers, NSC
  • Nika Award for Best Production Designer: Dashi Namdakov
  • Nika Award for Best Costume Designer - Karin Lohr, SFK
  • Nika Award for Best Sound - Stephan Konken
  • Asian Film Awards for Best Supporting Actor: Sun Hong-Lei


See also


  1. ^
  2. ^ Mongols protest Khan project
  3. ^ (Russian)""Монгол"". Retrieved 2007-09-21. 
  4. ^ Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (2008-01-22). "80th Academy Awards Nominations Announced". Press release. Retrieved 2008-01-22. 
  5. ^ Birchenough, Tom (14 May 2008). "Bodrov kicks off production unit". Variety Asia (Reed Business Information). Archived from the original on May 15, 2008. Retrieved 25 January 2010. 
  6. ^ Huggins, Caitlin (October 5, 2009). "Foreign cinema comes stateside". The Daily Gamecock. Retrieved 25 January 2010. 
  7. ^ On the Circuit: Mongol | Zoom In - News, Events, Training and Community for Creatives
  8. ^ Mongol Movie Reviews. Rottentomatoes
  9. ^ "Mongol (2008): Reviews.". Metacritic. Retrieved 2008-07-22. 
  10. ^ "Mongol (R)". Roger Ebert. Retrieved 2008-07-22. 
  11. ^ Scott, A.O. (June 6, 2008). "Forge a Unity of Purpose, Then Conquer the World". Retrieved 2008-07-22. 
  12. ^ Bradshaw, Peter (June 6, 2008). "Mongol (2008)". The Guardian.,,2283952,00.html. Retrieved 2008-07-22. 
  13. ^ Claudia Puig (2008-06-12). "'Mongol': A sweeping historical tale". USA Today. Retrieved 2008-07-21. 
  14. ^ "Short takes: More movies out this week.". New York Daily News. Retrieved 2008-07-22. 
  15. ^ "Genghis Khan as a cuddly family man?" The Globe and Mail
  16. ^ a b c "Metacritic: 2008 Film Critic Top Ten Lists". Metacritic. Retrieved January 11, 2009. 

External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Mongol (Russian: Монгол) is a 2007 semi-historical film, directed by Sergei Bodrov, about the young Genghis Khan. It is planned to be the first in a trilogy about Temüjin's (Genghis Khan's) life. The world premiere took place on July 31, 2007 and the film was released in the United States in June 2008.


Do not scorn a weak cub; he may become a brutal tiger.

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