Arabian Nights

Network Premier: May 1, 2000
DVD Release: July 18, 2000
Arabian Nights


First airing on ABC, 4/30 and 5/1/00 (9:00-11:00 p.m., ET, both nights), “Arabian Nights” is an epic retelling of the timeless fantasy, wherein Scheherazade (Mili Avital) tells tales of wonder each night to her new husband, the sultan of Baghdad (Dougray Scott). The sultan, betrayed by his former queen, has pledged that he will trust no woman. Forced to marry again, he has vowed to have the new sultana, Scheherazade, murdered before dawn.
But the beautiful and clever Scheherazade has a plan. She seeks to stave off her execution – and win the sultan’s love – by telling fables inspired by a master storyteller. The stories unfold at night, including the adventures of Ali Baba, a peasant who loots a treasure cave belonging to the vengeful master thief Black Coda; the story of Aladdin the Prince of Thieves and a pair of powerful genies; a king who trades places with a beggar; and the parable of an amazing quest for the world’s greatest wonder.

Dove Review

Filmed in Turkey, “Arabian Nights” is a wonderful story, with exotic locations and impressive production values. Some parents may be leery of a film featuring magic and an evil-looking genie, but these are well-constructed parables, each containing a moral. The good vs. evil yarns contain lessons concerning the potency of love, the destructiveness of greed, facing responsibility, and finding happiness being more important than gaining power. Again, what’s so wonderful about this presentation is the storytelling. It may well instill a desire in youngsters to read books rather than just be transfixed by video games.

Content Description

Sex: None
Language: A few mild expletives, and one “may he rot in hell”
Violence: There is some violence, including a woman being killed by a spear; thieves attacking and leaving dead bodies; a greedy man killed by a sword while trying to rob another thief, his body left hanging in a tree; several dead men are left hanging, but this is seen from a distance; a man is killed by a thrown knife; during a battle sequence, a man catches on fire and there are many sword fights, but none of the visuals are overly graphic.
Drugs: Sultan smokes a water pipe.
Nudity: None
Other: One genie is evil looking, with ram’s horns and demonic eyes, but evil is overpowered by good.


Company: Hallmark Home Entertainment
Writer: Peter Barnes
Director: Steve Barron
Genre: Adventure
Runtime: 280 min.
Industry Rating: Not Rated
Starring: Mili Avital, John Leguizamo, Alan Bates, Dougray Scott, Rufus Sewell, Jason Scott Lee and Tcheky Karyo.
Reviewer: Phil Boatwright