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Series: House Of Saddam

House of Saddam is a 2008 miniseries joint-produced by BBC Television and HBO Films. Described by as "The Sopranos with Scud Missiles," the series chronicles the rise and fall of Saddam Hussein (Igal Naor), but also the lives of his family, which consists of his long-suffering wife Sajidah (Shohreh Aghdashloo), his sons Uday and Quasy (Phillip Arditti and Mounir Margoum) his daughters Raghad, Hana and Halah (Agni Scott, Shivani Ghai and Amber Rose Revah) and his mistress Samira (Christine Stephen-Daly), who later becomes his second wife, as well as those in his inner circle.


Provides examples of:

  • Anyone Can Die: Under Saddam's rule, they most certainly do.
  • Arranged Marriage: Saddam's first marriage to Sajida is as such. Later, he arranged marriages to Raghad and Rana to Hussein and Saddam Kamel respectively.
  • Berserk Button: Saddam does not like traitors.
  • Big Screwed-Up Family: Good to know that a murdering tyrant like Saddam has family issues like everyone else.
  • Boom, Headshot: The execution of several Baath loyalists. Even more worse was that those that were spared were ordered to do the killing.
  • California Doubling: Due to the ongoing war in Iraq at the time, the series was shot in Tunisia.
  • The Casanova: Saddam was a ladies' man.
  • Couldn't Find a Pen: In Part 3, Uday mentions to his mother and brother that their father is having a copy of the Quran inked in his own blood. Next scene shows just that.
  • Daddy's Girl: Raghad and Rana to their father.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Try to assassinate the President of Iraq? He will raze your village in retaliation. Accuse a neighboring country of driving down the price of oil? You invade their country. Try to attempt to overthrow the President of Iraq after defecting to Jordan and taking his daughters with them? He will set you up to take the fall to make himself look good to the U.N. Weapons Inspectors, force you to divorce his daughters upon your return to Iraq, and set you up to be killed.
  • The Dragon: In Part 1, it's Adnan Khairallah. Later, Hussein Kamel takes over until he is killed.
  • Extreme Melee Revenge: Uday, Uday, Uday. Beating your dad's most trusted valet to death while in a rage will not go well with your dad.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Saddam with his own mother at first, before telling her that she “gave him nothing” on her deathbed. Played straight with Qusay and Uday concerning their relationship with Sajida.
  • Every Car Is a Pinto: The exploding car kicks off the failed ambush once Saddam leaves Dujail.
  • The Exile: Saddam orders Barzan to leave Iraq once Raghad's wedding to Hussein Kamel is over. Barzan is not very happy.
  • Family Honor: Since Saddam promised not to execute Hussein and Saddam Kamel for their betrayal, he plays the family honor card to his half-brother Ali, who proceeds to have the both of them executed.
  • Famous Ancestor: Saddam claims that the Prophet Muhammad is his ancestor. He even shows his youngest son Qusay a chart detailing the family tree in Part 3. This, of course, is false.
  • Foregone Conclusion: The audience knows that Saddam will eventually be captured and executed.
  • Freudian Excuse: Saddam had a rough infancy, which he recalls from time time. His stepfather was very abusive and his mother was at least an enabler. He never knew his natural father, but Saddam's mother, the widow of the man, describes him as very bad blood.
  • Gratuitous Foreign Language: Since the series takes place in and around Iraq, you will hear a bit of Arabic now and then.
  • Gulf War: Takes place in Part 2.
  • Heel-Face Turn: Hussein and Saddam Kamel attempt this in Part 3.
  • Heir Apparent: Qusay Hussein is this after his elder brother brains Kamel Hanna to death.
  • Historical Villain Downgrade: Uday Hussein's sadistic nature is toned down quite a bit in the series for much the same reason as Amon Goeth in Schindler's List: the producers thought the audience would just have trouble accepting that a human being could be as wantonly cruel as he was in real life.
  • Hookers and Blow: Uday's favorite past times, aside from rape and torture.
  • I Gave My Word: Saddam promises his first wife that Raghad and Rana would be spared his wrath upon their return to Iraq. Their husbands, Hussein and Saddam Kamel, are not as lucky. Technically, Saddam did promise not to harm them, but didn't say anything about their Uncle Ali exercising tribal law at Saddam's behest.
  • I Regret Nothing: When Sajida confronts Saddam after he shot his best friend (of which his now-widow was a friend of hers), Saddam replies that if he is able to kill even his best friend without hesitation, then he is a man to be feared.
  • Iran–Iraq War: Takes place in Part 1, ends in Part 2.
  • The Jeeves: Saddam's personal valet, Kamel Hanna, who arranges his meetings with Samira. This does not go well with Sajida and especially Uday.
  • Killed Mid-Sentence: Saddam's best friend, Hamdani. It was Saddam himself who did the deed in full view of Barzan.
    Hamdani: I have nothing to forgive you for - (BANG)
  • Last Stand: The Kamel brothers versus Ali and a squad of Iraqi troops. Uday and Qusay versus the Coalition troops. CurbStompBattles.
  • Make It Look Like an Accident: General Adnan Khairallah and one exploding helicopter. Sajida knows that the death of her brother was no accident. Saddam merely shrugs it off as a helicopter accident.
  • Meaningful Name: Saddam is Arabic for 'One Who Confronts.'
  • The Mistress: Samira Shahbandar, at first. Saddam even goes as far as to flirt with her in front of her husband in Part 1. By Part 2, she is his second wife.
  • Nepotism: Saddam places members of his family in high-positions of power once he becomes President. In an ironic twist, Saddam's predecessor was his own cousin, who had made Saddam his deputy before being overthrown.
  • Obligatory War Crime Scene: The destruction of Dujail following the attempted assassination attempt.
  • Oh, Crap:
    • Saddam, as his convoy is ambushed by assassins while he is leaving Dujail.
    • Qusay when he finds out that Uday had brained his father's favorite valet.
    • The biggest one takes place in Part 4, during the firefight with the Coalition, Uday sees that the Coalition forces is about to fire a rocket at him and Uday.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: After Uday kills one of his father's confidants (he insulted Uday's mother by introducing Saddam to a new mistress), the enraged Saddam unleashes a beating on his son. While chewing Uday out, Saddam claims that he's upset not by Uday's violent behavior, but that there's no point to it.
    Saddam: You think violence is a pastime!? It is a tool! What are we? Barbarians?!
  • Propaganda Machine: Saddam was a master at it.
  • The Purge: Saddam performs this upon high-ranking members within the Iraqi Baath Party once he becomes President.
  • Rape as Drama: Uday Hussein. He rapes a waitress in the bathroom, serving as a good Kick the Dog moment.
  • Regime Change: The US/Coalition invading Iraq.
  • Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: Delivered almost word for word by Ali as he guns down Hussein Kamel.
    Hussein: You call this fair, Ali?!
    Ali: (shoots Hussein dead) As fair as a traitor deserves.
  • The Starscream: Hussein Kamel. It backfires on him.
  • Tyrant Takes the Helm: According to Al-Bakr, thanks to his rule - with Saddam as deputy - Iraq has schools and food for all of the people, for the first time in history. He is depossed and Saddam's regime is quickly driven by megalomania and tyranny.
  • Villain Protagonist: Saddam, full stop.
  • The War on Terror: Which ultimately leads to Saddam's removal from power.
  • You Are in Command Now: Hussein takes over as head of the Republican Guard after Saddam gives Barzan and boot and exiles him from Iraq.


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alternative title(s): House Of Saddam
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