Billed as the first movie to be made about the Six-Day War [The Third Arab-Israeli War], and filmed shortly following the war itself, Robert Fuller plays a former Israeli paratrooper in this adrenaline-charged story of a potentially doomed mission in the rugged deserts of Sharm El Sheikh in the Sinai Peninsula. The film boasts some spectacular backdrops for its realistic combat scenes and was shot on location in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Negev, Eilat, Sinai Desert, Tiran and Sharm El Sheikh.  

June 4, 1967.

Tensions escalate as Israel’s access to the Red Sea via the Straits of Tiran is blocked and Egyptian forces mobilize along shared borders. In Tel Aviv, General Golan summons reserve officer Captain Uri Littman to lead a top-secret military ground operation disguised as a routine patrol – to destroy a critical Egyptian radar station.

Uri chooses seven of his own men for the mission including his second in command, Moshe, a lawyer who aspires to become Prime Minister. Among the commandos are explosives and demolitions experts, a medic, a scout and most crucial to the job, a radio expert.  

In order to maintain the element of surprise, the team must reach their landing point on the Sinai Peninsula by boat rather than by plane. The driver of the boat is a young woman named Nira who takes them across in darkness. When the commandos disembark, Nira fears capture by a looming Egyptian patrol, so sinks her boat and dives into the water.

Unable to leave a civilian behind, Uri has no choice but to take Nira with them. A skirmish with a group of armed Bedouin smugglers in the desert ends in a moral confrontation between Uri and Moshe, leaving the team vulnerable to further detection and attack. They tie up the three surviving Bedouins and set off on camels into the desert. As they get closer to their target, Uri reveals to his men the true nature of their mission.

An Israeli reconnaissance plane takes off from Tel Aviv on orders of General Golan. The pilot’s mission is to find Uri’s team and tell them they are running out of time.

In a deadly battle with an Egyptian patrol, Uri loses his radio expert Eli, and Moshe is badly injured. But, with timely help from the recon pilot, and coerced assistance from their captured Egyptian officer, Uri presses on with an inspired plan to divert the attention of the armed soldiers patrolling the radar station and “drive right though their front door.”

With Moshe as diversion left behind with prisoner-of-war Captain Hallil, Uri and his remaining team commandeer their enemy’s vehicle, charge into the radar station and launch an audacious attack.

Bulgaro the scout is lost amid the chaos, and even Nira picks up a gun to join the fight in the trenches. Explosives experts Nathan and Zvi light up the radar station in a fiery explosion. But only one of the men returns to the rendezvous point with the survivors of their brigade. Wounded Uri gets on the radio and shouts out the word ‘Tiran’, desperately hoping for a response from Moshe, who has died, alongside Hallil, in the desert.

Of the seven commandos who started out on the suicide mission, four returned. As Israeli fighter jets fly overhead, a newscaster announces the successful destruction of the radar station at Sharm El Sheikh.  

Release Date: November 24, 1968

Director: Raphael Nussbaum

Screenplay: Raphael Nussbaum and Jack Jacobs

Director of Photography:  Benno Bellenbaum

Film Editors: Ursula Möhrle and Erika Stegman

Musical Score by Horst Haas and S. Wegner

Run time: 99 minutes


Robert Fuller (Captain Uri Littman)

John Hudson (General Golan)

Abraham Mor (Lt. Moshe Kramer)

Eli Sinai (Sgt. Zwi Neumann)

Abraham Hefner (Elihu Goldfarb)

Reuven Bar Yotam (Bulgaro)

Rafi Nathan (Yigal)

Boris Rosenberg (Nathan)

Gaby Amrani (Nissim)

Joseph Shiloach (Captain Hallil)

Esther Ullman (Nira)

About Sinai Commandos…

The original title of the movie was Shadows Of Tiran, although it had changed to Sinai Commandos prior to Robert being offered the starring role.

While he was looking for an American actor to play the part of Uri Littman, director Raphael Nussbaum was nervous he would be sent an actor who looked nothing like an Israeli. He contacted Robert's German agent around the time Robert was in Germany promoting Mittsommernacht. Robert subsequently requested a script and liked the role, as well as the incentive of an 8-week trip to Israel. The director was relieved when they met, and commented Robert looked “Sabra” (referring to a Jewish person born in Israeli territory).

Every scene was shot twice so as to be able to use a full English language version plus an Israeli version. All of the players in the movie spoke English so weren’t dubbed. In the Israeli version, Robert’s voice was dubbed.

All the main actors in the film, including Esthee Ullman, had military training and/or were reservists. Raphael Nussbaum himself was a veteran of the 1956 Sinai campaign. The lone American in the cast, Robert Fuller, is a US Army veteran and served in Korea in 1954/55 in the 19th Infantry Regiment.

The insignia on Uri Littman’s beret is that of the much-decorated Golani Brigade of the IDF (Israel Defense Forces), also known as the First Brigades, formed on February 22, 1948.

In 2017, fifty years after the Six Day War, German film company Polarfilm released a special digitally restored edition of Kommando Sinai as part of their Historical War Films series. Unlike the original film and subsequent video release, the edition does not contain either the opening/closing song “Sharm El Sheikh” or the ending voice-over narration with documentary/newsreel footage of the war.

The song was replaced by an instrumental piece called Shalom which was played by the trumpeter Roy Etzel, who is very well known in Germany.

Shalom is considered in Germany as the soundtrack for the German edition of Kommando Sinai, namely from the publication in 1967. The soundtrack was released on record in 1968. Why the Hebrew soundtrack "Sharm El Sheikh" sung by Ron Eliran was replaced in Germany  can only be speculated.

Review By Belinda New.

Great is the night and it smiles at you

We returned in the morning to Sharam A Sheikh

We passed in the night, the sea and the mountain

Arriving in the morning at the straits


You're Sharam A Sheikh,

we've returned to you once again

You are in our hearts,

always in our hearts

The sea and the salt will view the song

We’ve returned to you Tiran and Snapir

The same skies above your heart

Strait, sea and water- you are Sharam A Sheikh

The morning rises in the coral beach

Fishing boats pass through the water again

The evening sets, bringing another dream

Brings on the water a hope for peace


You're Sharam A Sheikh,

we've returned to you once again

You are in our hearts,

always in our hearts

Hoy, Sharam A Sheikh

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 "Sharm El Sheikh" sung by Ron Eliran

The movie was banned in the UK due to the perception of “strong political bias” and never received cinema release. It was finally released on video in the UK in the 80s.

Filming Sinai Commandos was not without danger for the crew and actors. At one point the actors actually walked into a mine field that still had unexploded land mines. They halted shooting until the area was cleared

Sleeve of the record Shalom by Roy Etzel

Sinai Commandos was released in Super 8 format. Robert Fuller’s impact in Laramie in Germany is demonstrated by the fact the film cover references Laramie - at least 5 years after the series ended.