Khartoum is an action adventure movie set in 1885 Sudan. The Mahdi (Lawrence Olivier) is a Sudanese Arab who commands 80,000 fearless warriors. He lures a poorly trained Egyptian army led by British forces into the desert, where they are easily overwhelmed and slaughtered. Due to public perception, the British government led by Prime Minister William Gladstone (Ralph Richardon) and British foreign secretary Lord Granville (Michael Hodern), is unwilling to send more troops. Army war hero, Gen. Charles Gordon (Charlton Heston), is finally recruited by the government to restore order and find a peaceful resolution with the Mahdi. Once in Khartoum, he realizes that his mission will go virtually unassisted. Left to his own devices, Gordon is faced with the dire task of evacuating the Egyptian army. Viewed as a savior, he rallies the people and organizes the city against The Mahdi. He can now only wait to see if public pressure will force the government to send help.