Ali Baba  

From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search

Related e



Ali Baba riddim, Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves (1944 film)

Ali Baba is a fictional character based in Ancient Arabia. He is described in the adventure tale of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, part of The Book of One Thousand and One Nights. Some critics believe that this story was added to The Book of One Thousand and One Nights by one of its European transcribers, Antoine Galland, an 18th-century French orientalist who may have heard it in oral form from an Arab story-teller from Aleppo. However, Richard F. Burton claimed it to be part of the original Book of One Thousand and One Nights. This story has also been used as a popular pantomime plot—perhaps most famously in the pantomime/musical Chu Chin Chow (1916).

In the story, Ali Baba is a poor woodcutter who discovers the secret of a thieves' den, entered with the phrase "Open Sesame". The thieves learn this, and try to kill Ali Baba. But Ali Baba's faithful slave-girl foils their plots; Ali Baba gives his son to her in marriage and keeps the secret of the treasure.


The story has been classified in the Aarne–Thompson classification system as AT 676.


  • A French telefilm starring Gérard Jugnot and Michèle Bernier (2007).
  • Bollywood film Ali Baba aur 40 Chor, starring Dharmendra, Hema Malini and Zeenat Aman, was largely based on this adventure tale.
  • The story was made into a Tamil movie in 1955 as "Alibabhavum Narpathu Thirudargalum" (Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves) with M.G.Ramachandran playing the lead as Ali Baba and Bhanumathi Ramakrishna as Morgiana.
  • A Malaysian comedy film, Ali Baba Bujang Lapok (1960) was loosely based on the story, which a number of anachronisms used for humor, for example the usage of a truck by Kassim Baba to steal the robbers' loots.
  • The story was adapted in the 1971 anime Template:Nihongo, storyboarded by Hayao Miyazaki.
  • The concept of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves was used for the last installment of Disney's Aladdin series, Aladdin and the King of Thieves, released in 1996, introducing Casim the King of Thieves as Aladdin's father.
  • In the television mini-series Arabian Nights, the story is told faithfully with two major changes. The first is that when Morgiana discovers the thieves in the oil jars, she alerts Ali Baba and together with a friend, they release the jars on a street with a steep incline and allow them roll down to break open. Furthermore, the city guard is alerted and arrest the disoriented thieves as they emerge from their containers. Later when Morgiana defeats the thief leader, Ali Baba, who is young and has no children, marries the heroine himself.
  • A film adaption Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves was made in 1944. The film was remade in 1965 as The Sword of Ali Baba. Frank Puglia portrayed the character named Cassim in both versions.
  • A popular ride that goes up in the air and is commonly found in amusement parks etc. is also called Ali Baba.
  • At the United States Air Force Academy, Cadet Squadron 40 was originally nicknamed "Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves" before eventually changing its name to the "P-40 Warhawks"
  • A mythopoeic novel by Tom Holt, 'Open Sesame', is based on characters from the story of "Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves"

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Ali Baba" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

Personal tools