Fetih 1453 (Conquest 1453) (2012)





Director:     .

Starring:     Devrim Evin (Sultan Mehmed II), Ibrahim Celikkol (Ulubatli Hasan), Dilek Serbest (Era), Cengiz Coskun (Giovanni Giustiniani), Erden Alkan (Chandarly Halil Pasha), Recep Aktug (Constantine XI), Raif Hikmet Cam (Aksemseddin), Naci Adigüzel (Granduk Notaras), Sedat Mert (Zaganos Pasha), Mustafa Atilla Kunt (Sahabettin Pasha), Ozcan Aliser (Saruca Pasha), Yilman Babaturk (Ishak Pasha), Murat Sezal (Isa Pasha), Faik Aksoy (Karaca Pasha), Huseyin Santur (Baltaoglu Suleiman Pasha).

1453, siege of Constantinople by the Ottoman Turks ending the Byzantine Empire  





Spoiler Warning:


Medina, 627.  Four Muslims sit at one end of the room.  One of them, Eyyub, is dressed all in white.  They are speaking with Mohammed, the Prophet of Allah.  The man in white says that the Prophet has shown them the way.  And now he wants to introduce his fellow brothers to the Prophet.  Eyyub and the three men go to a meeting.  There Eyyub is asked what did the Prophet say?  He said that Constantinople would be conquered one day.   And the commander and his soldiers will all be blessed. 

Mehmet was to become that blessed commander at the age of 21.  When he was born many miracles took place.  A comet blazed over Constantinople and this meant the unbreakable walls of Constantinople would fall. 

Edirne (formerly Adrianople), March 29, 1432.  Sura of Conquest.  [A sura is any of the 114 chapters of the Koran.]  The Sultan sits almost singing from the Koran.  A messenger comes in and says that Hma Hatun has given birth to a healthy boy.  The Sultan names him Mehmet to show respect to the Prophet. 

Suruhan Post.  Two men are sword fighting.  One of them is the young Sultan and the other is his teacher Hasan.  A letter from Grand Vizier Halil Pasha in Edirne has come for the Sultan. 

Mehmet was only twelve years old when he first took the throne.  Sultan Murat II was exhausted by the conflict between his viziers and his warlords.  His favorite son, Aladdin, unexpectedly died.  Sultan Murat II stepped down from the throne in favor of his son Mehmet, but Halil Pasha made Sultan Murat come back to the throne because of the potential threat of another Crusader Army.  Mehmet was sent to Saruhan Post.  And now Mehmet's father has died. 

He visits the body of his father and tells him that he will conquer lands that his father never dreamed of owning. 

Mehmet tells his father's viziers that he has returned to the throne after five years of absence.  He asks Halil Pasha what he thinks of this.  He says when Mehmet was twelve he was too young.  The Crusaders had passed the Danube to expel them from Rumelia.  [Rumelia is an historical term describing the area now referred to as the Balkans or the Balkan Peninsula when it was administrated by the Ottoman Empire.]  "It was all for the sake of our government."  Mehmet says he will keep Halil Pasha as the Grand Vizier. 

Constantinople (Istanbul).  A messenger arrived to tell His Majesty that Murat Bey is dead and Sultan Mehmet has taken the throne for the second time.  The King is happy to hear the news.  But one of his inner circle is not happy, Grand Duke Notaras, who says  he fears that the new Sultan will besiege Constantinople like his father did.  Others point out that Sultan Murat's siege was broken easily enough.  It was enough just to declare Murat Bey's 13 year old brother Prince Mustafa as the Sultan.  (The Prince died before he could fulfill his dreams.)  And if Constantinople is put under siege again, they have another great candidate:  Prince Orhan.  The Grand Duke says that Mehmet is the anti-Christ. 

His Majesty says that they will send an envoy to Edirne emphasizing their peaceful policies.  Then they will show him their great strength. 

An old man welcomes Hasan.  He asks him to sit down and have something to drink with him.  He says Mehmet is not like his father Murat.  The old man says he and his group fought together with Murat back in 1441 at the Battle of Varna and the Battle of Kosovo in 1448.  He thinks that Mehmet is weak because he was on the throne and then he got kicked off the throne.  Hasan says that master underestimates Mehmet and he will one day regret his words of this day.

Vatican.  The Vatican is worried that Mehmet might take Constantinople and then come next after Rome.  Some of the inner circle says they should try to smash the Ottoman Empire.  Constantinople will either be a Moslem capital or a Catholic capital.  The Pope agrees that they can't leave Constantinople to the infidels.  "God is on our side."

Karamanoglu Principality, Konya.  There are others who think Mehmet is weak.  They interpret his keeping on Grand Vizier Halil Pasha as indicating a man so weak that he can't even get rid himself of someone who took the throne away from him. They think that maybe now is a good time for the principalities to get rid of the Ottoman Empire.

Mehmet gives an order to contact the Latin, Hungarian, Polish and the Serbian king, as well as the Pope, to say that the Ottoman Empire wants to live in peace with them.  On the other hand, Mehmet wants to conquer Konstantiniyyah. 

Here comes the pretty woman Gulbahar Hatun to see Mehmet.  She has her boy with her, Prince Bayezid, and he has missed his father a lot. Mehmet tells them to go have a rest after their long journey. 

Cenova Limani.  Hasan goes down to the docks.  He talks with a woman passenger named Era asking her not to get on the ship, but marry him.  They can bring her father here too once he convinces the Duke.  Era says that Hasan will always be a very valuable friend to her, but she's leaving.  She climbs up the gangway. 

Gulbahar comes to see Mehmet, who just awakened from a bad nightmare.  She runs over to the bed to ask him if he is okay? 

Mehmet orders the dock in Gallipoli to make 100 ships in one year.  He is determined to unite Rumelia and Anatolia together to make one big empire. 

Era makes it back home to her father.  Dad asks her almost immediately if the Duke liked their crane designs?  Era has to tell him no. Nevertheless, the Duke does want father to make cannons for the army.  Dad stands firms on that he won't make cannons for anyone anymore. 

A woman gives a message to Hasan saying that Constantine invited Orhan to dinner tonight.  Constantine tells Orhan and the others at dinner that Karamanoglu Ibrahim is preparing for a campaign against Mehmet.  One of the men urges Constantine to help Karamanoglu Ibrahim Bey.  A blonde servant girl is a spy for the Turks and she informs Hasan that two different messengers by two different routes will bring a message of assistance to Karamanoglu. 

Hasan and another man kill one of the messengers and his escorts.  He then brings the note to Mehmet. 

Constantine is in a humongous bathtub with one of his ladies.  He is confident that even if Karamanoglu does not defeat Mehmet, the Muslim army will suffer heavy losses making it impossible for the Turks to mess with Constantinople for long.  Constantine adds that they should double the subsidy for Orhan to 600,000 coins. 

Karamanoglou Principality, Aksehir, 1451.  Karamanoglu was hoping for support from Halil of Candar Pasha, but no help came.  The conclusion was that the letter from Constantine was nothing but a big lie.  So Karamanoglu Ibrahim asks Mehmet for peace. 

Mehmet takes the offer of peace so his army will have an easier time capturing Constantinople.  There was one adviser who urged Mehmet to destroy Karamanoglu because even if they don't rise up now, they will at the first good opportunity. 

A messenger arrives to say that Constantine wants to double the subsidy they pay for Orhan.  And now Mehmet decides to confront Halil Pasha.  He says that Halil told him that Constantine did not have the will or the strength to confront the Ottoman Empire.  So why is Constantine doubling the subsidy for Orhan?  And why did he find in the letter from Orhan to Karamanoglu the statement by Orhan that the Grand Vizier Halil Pasha supports him? 

"Sultan Mehmet wanted to break Halil Pasha's influence on the soldiers who were now in a very bad position because of the letter."  So Mehmet has punished Janissary Master Kurtcu Dogan and his fellow janissaries.  [A janissary is a member of the Turkish infantry forming the Sultan's guard between the 14th and 19th centuries.]  Mehmet then has these soldiers sent into exile.  Halil Pasha says to his friend:  "Each of the blow these guys have received is actually addressed to me, Isa."

Constatine complains that Karamanoglu gave up without even fighting.  Grand Duke Notaras warns Constantine that Mehmet II has grown up and is a formidable opponent now.  And he has his first victory under his belt with Karamanoglu.

Halil Pasha complains to his wife Emine about how could Orhan write that he was expecting support from him?  Emine says that the Sultan knows that this whole thing is a trick introduced by Constantine.  And besides, Mehmet doesn't want to cause internal conflicts.  Halil Pasha says she is wrong because Mehmet is taking control of the government step by step.  They are interrupted by a messenger with a message that the Sultan wants to see Halil Pasha.

Halil Pasha is expecting trouble, but Mehmet says he never doubted his adviser's loyalty.  Otherwise the adviser would have already been beheaded.  He wants Halil to write to Constantine that they won't pay the subsidy any more for Orhan.  In addition, they are going to build a new fort near Constantinople where the old one is.  Halil says their enemies will unite together and attack us.  Mehmet is not concerned. 

Bogazkesen, April 1452.  The new fort is being built.  From it the Turks will be able to control all the ships coming from the Black Sea. 

Constantine is really angry about the new fort.  He says Mehmet will intercept the cargo ships coming from the Black Sea.  He will starve them out.  The Grand Duke says they must immediately prepare for war.  Constantine orders that his brothers be informed about the situation and that they bring their armies with them here.  And tell Guistiniani that Constantine will give him Limnos Island if he commands his armies.  And convince Urban to make stronger cannons than the cannons they have now.

The advice to the Pope is to gather a strong Crusader army.  The Pope reminds his advisers that the French and English are exhausted from their ongoing war.  They might get some support from Venice and Genoa. 

The builder tells Mehmet that they expect to be finished with the fort in 11 months.  Mehmet says it will be done in five months.  They have to stop any aide heading to Konstantiniyyah.  A message comes that Constantine has asked Mora for help. 

Constantine writes a letter to Mehmet saying that if Mehmet does not stop building the fort, he will send Orhan to Edirne to take over Mehmet's throne.  Furthermore, the Pope will organize a giant Crusader army.

Mora.  The Turks win a victory here. Mehmet burns Mora down.  And the Turks kill all of the soldiers of the armies of Constantine's brothers.

The Grand Duke goes to see Engineer Urban.  Since Urban refuses, the Grand Duke says that something bad may happen to his daughter Era.  He has until tomorrow to change his mind.

Urban decides to take his daughter and leave.  Before they can get away, Urban is going to be arrested by three men.  But Hasan and his assistant start fighting with the three men to stop them from arresting Urban.  They kill all three men.  Hasan then says that Sultan Mehmet wishes to see Urban in his court. 

Constantine learns about the "kidnapping" of Urban and orders that Urban be killed.   

Hasan talks with Era.  She says Constantine organized a Crusader army and burned down all the Moslem villages on their way through the Balkans.  Her village was one of those that was destroyed.  They slaughtered her family and she was placed in the slave market of Constantinople.   It was Urban who bought her. 

Constantine is worried so he presents the Pope with a gift.  He will host a united ceremony in Constantinople with people of both Catholic and Orthodox religions. The Grand Duke says if they invite the Latins in, they will never be able to get them out of their city again.  It would mean the end of the Orthodox faith. 

A religious leader stirs up a little revolt of Orthodox followers who will not give up the faith.  Say no to the Catholics! 

Era wraps her breasts and cuts her hair so she can pass as a male.  She knows about as much as her father knows about making cannon. 

Mehmet comes to see Uban.  He tells him:  "I want you to make a cannon big enough to break the walls of Konstantiniyyah."  They can make the cannon as big as Urban desires. 

Hasan calls Era "Engineer Elias" when she is working in the foundry. 

Bogazkesen, September 1452.  A ship sailing past the new fort decides not to stop when the Turks signal them to stop.  So the Turks with one cannon shot blow the boat to smithereens.  The ship came from Genoa so their ruler says he will now offer his support to Constantine.  He will send Giovanni Longo Di Giustiniani to help Constantine.   

The Pope sends an army of archers with his representative Isidor to work on bringing together Catholics and Orthodox believers. 

Urban is proud of his new cannons. 

Isidor speaks with Constantine and explains that the change means that the former Orthodox believers must answer to the Vatican from now on.  He also says that it shouldn't be too hard for Constantine to silence the rebel Gennadius on this matter.  Gennadius, however, condemns Constantine for trying to ruin the Orthodox faith.  He wants to make Orthodox people the slave  of the Catholic church.  Soldiers burst into the church to silence Gennadius, but his followers block the soldiers, giving Gennadius time to escape. 

Halil Pasha tries to get Mehmet to reconsider his decision about Constantinople because the Pope has sent a legion of archers and the Venetians and Genoese are providing troops and galleys to Constantine.  Mehmet is not going to reconsider.  In fact, he sends a representative to Gennadius to assure him that Mehmet will allow Orthodox worshippers freedom of worship under the Turks.  The military campaign will start in two months.

Hasan takes Era out by the river for a bit of a picnic.  She is much nicer to Hasan now.  They kiss. 

Giustiniani arrives and is warmly welcomed by Constantine. 

Hasan has noticed that one man in the foundry keeps watching Engineer Elias.  The man thinks that the Engineer is a female.  That is not allowed in the Muslim faith.  One night the man goes to stab Era with his knife, but Hasan is there right away and slits the man's throat.  Father and daughter are very grateful to Hasan and father says he will work even harder on the massive cannon project.  Era hugs Hasan. 

Now the molten hot material for the cannon flows from the furnaces. 

Mehmet has signed pacts with the Hungarian, Serbian, Polish and Georgian kings. The cavalry of Karesi, Hamit and Mentes will be in Edirne very soon.

In the morning, Era gets dresses to go to the foundry.  She gives Hasan an amulet that her father wore when he was killed.  She now gives this to the man she loves.  Era is determined that she will be involved in the siege, but this upsets Hasan who doesn't want her to get hurt.

The new cannon is finished and rolled out for inspection.  Mehmet is very pleased.  The huge cannon is moved toward Constantinople along with other new cannons produced by Urban.  

Giovanni Longo Di Giustiniani gets a look at the new cannon as it is moved along toward Constantinople.  At night he and two of his men sneak up close to the Turk encampment to get a close look at the cannons. 

Gallipoli.  Preparations for the siege are being readied.  The Sultan calls his boy over to him and gives the boy a good hug.  He gives his wife a copy of the poem he wrote her. 

The army is immense and so is the navy. 

Constantine speaks to his people in a stadium.  The people shout repeatedly:  "Damn the Turks!"  He says the Turks are on their way, but they will drown the Turks in their own blood.  "God is with us."

A great chain is raised up out of the water designed to stop ships from passing by at a certain point.  Constantine hands out duty assignments.  Nikola Mozenig will take the Pigi Gate; Contarini will take the Cresca Gate; John of Germania gets the Kaligaria Gate; Knight Guistiniani takes Romanos Gate; and Orhan will guard the Langa Port.

Easter, April 1, 1453.  Mehmet hands out his assignments:  Karaca Pasha will guard from the Gate of Charisius to Ayvansaray; Sahabettin Pasha will take position from Tekfur Palace to Egrikapi;  Suleyman Pasha will make sure the navy enters the Golden Horn, the weakest point of the walls; Zaganos will hold the Galata ridge; and Hasan will command the veteran soldiers and he will make sure his men do not attack until there is a hole to run through in the wall.

April 6, 1453.  Friday.  The Turks have reached the walls of Constantinople.  Constantine and Mehmet meet in the middle of no man's land.  They exchange threats and then go back to their respective armies. 

The cannon start firing at the walls.  The archers fire their arrows into the walled city.  Then the monster cannon, the Basilica cannon, fires and makes a hole in the walls of the city.  The cavalry and the infantry charge the walls.  The ladders are thrown up against the mighty walls.

The defenders catapult fire balls into the midst of the Turkish soldiers.   Hot tar is poured onto the troops below.  And the defenders are able to repair the break in the wall quickly. 

The action has stopped and the Turks are allowed to pick up their dead and wounded men.  Mehmet is told that his armies couldn't succeed anywhere along the walls.  While they talk, the Turks are digging tunnels under the walls of the city. 

Era tells Hasan that they can't fire the Basilica Cannon as much as they wished.  She is trying to develop a foam that will cool the cannon down faster.  That would allow them to take ten shots a day at the walls. 

The tunnelers are making good progress, but now they start having cave-ins in the tunnel.  The shaking of the earth alerts the defenders to the presence of tunnel diggers.  The defenders start digging toward the enemy.  The main sapper hears them and tells his men to dig faster because they have been discovered.  Part of the Turkish crew has been cut off from the main crew behind them.  The trapped crew tells the main crew to get out of the tunnels because the enemy is very close to breaking through to them.  The main crew reluctantly retreats.  The trapped crew now ignites the gunpowder kegs killing both crews of the Turks and the Byzantines.  There is a big hole blown open in the ground outside of the city walls.  Mehmet is disgusted and Constantine is delighted.

Hasan is given his orders from Mehmet.  He tells Era that tonight there will be a tower siege.  She tells him to be careful. 

The ramming log is set afire and a fire tower is set afire.  Hasan gets his fire tower up close to the wall, but then a cannon is used to blow the top of the fire tower off.  Hasan has to jump from the back of the fire tower to the ground to get away from the explosion.  Mehmet is once again disappointed.  The people of Constantinople hold a celebration.  Meanwhile, Era bandages up Hasan's wounds. 

Isidor tells Constantine that the Turks are shattered everywhere.  Constantine says they need to catch the enemy army between the walls of the city and the Crusader army. 

The Turks have lost a lot of men. 

Ladislaus, King of Hungary, writes a letter to Mehmet.  He informs the Sultan that the truce the Sultan signed with the Hungarian representative is invalid and he hopes that the Turks will stop the siege as soon as possible.  Mehmet tells the messenger to tell his King that Mehmet and his army will clash any time the King of Hungary wishes.  Halil Pasha says I told you so to Mehmet and now their army is worn out after being here for an entire month. 

Urban goes to light the Basilica Cannon and there is a big explosion.  Urban is badly hurt and has to be taken to the army hospital.  Mehmet comes to check on Urban and is assured that Urban will be okay in two days.  Mehmet says they must fix the Basilica cannon. Era tells Hasan not to worry for she will fix the cannon. 

An officer now hangs three Turkish prisoners of war by throwing their bodies to hang by their necks over the walls of the castle.  A javelin thrower grabs a spear and launches it at the officer.  It hits the officer who immediately goes down.  But Constantine devastates the Turkish navy.  Again there is a celebration in Constantine's banquet hall, complete with dancing women. 

Mehmet is furious with his navy.  He says the Turks have not passed over the giant chain for some 40 days now.  A sailor speaks up to say that the range of the enemy cannon prevents them from . . . The man can't finish his statement because Mehmet slaps him to the floor.  He shouts to take the man out and send him into exile. 

The Turkish army is quiet today.  The troops seem a bit down-hearted and wonder why they aren't fighting.  Mehmet is down-hearted too. 

Halil Pasha is now really talking against the war and the Sultan.  A rival tells Halil Pasha that he hopes the old man is beheaded. 

Now the spirit of rebellion is openly entertained among the troops.  Hasan rushes over to yell at the men saying they are a bunch of whining cowards.  He throws a knife into the mutiny spokesman.  He tells the troops to scatter. 

The White Sheik asks Mehmet what's wrong with him?  Why aren't his men fighting?  Mehmet says they have already been fighting for 40 days.  The White Sheik takes Mehmet for a walk in the woods.  He tells him about Hazreti Eyyup who joined the siege of Konstaniyyah.  He didn't leave the city walls until he died.  He says that Mehmet can't give up. 

The fight is back on.  The Turks pull the ships over the ground.  They haul the ships to the Golden Horn.  Knight Guistiniani tells Constantine that they are trying to capture the Golden Horn where the city walls are the weakest.  Constantine orders more troops to be send to the Golden Horn. 

Mehmet gives his men a rousing speech saying they will be going over the walls.  Hasan tells Era that tomorrow they will take Constantinople and Era will have her revenge for her family. 

May 29, 1453. Tuesday.  A tunnel has been built to the walls of the city.  The explosion knocks down a tower and parts of the walls off.  The Basilica cannon smashes another hole through the wall.    The order of attack is given!  Inside the city the screams that the Turks have broken into the city are heard all over. 

The Turks break down the Romanos wall.  Knight Guistiniani tells Constantine that he has to get out of here. 

Soon it's a fight between Hasan and Guistiniani to the death.  They both loose their swords in the battle and soon they are fighting with their fists alone for awhile.  They each grab their own swords and go to it again.  Hasan wins the match. 

In further fighting Hansan gets hit with five arrows, but he is able to put the Turkish flag up for his country on the tower.  There he dies.  And now we learn that Era is pregnant with Hasan's baby. 

Constantine is killed in the battle. 

Mehmet speaks to the captured civilians.  They back away from him. He tells them not to worry.  They will live according to their own faiths and their property and destinies will be their own.  The people are very much relieved that they are not going to be slaughtered. 


I'm always grateful to get the views of another group, in this case the Muslims.  Otherwise we just have only the views of the Western culture.  The Turkish view is to stress that the Turks were not cold-blood killers.  They feel they were guided by their religious principles just as the Christians were guided by their own religious principles.  And it's good to learn about two of the Sultans of the Ottoman Empire.  Mehmet showed considerable tolerance to the Christian faith and spared killing the civilians of Constantinople following the defeat of Constantine.  The Turkish view is that the Christians were the one closer to barbarians than they were.  And for the west, this helps fight religious prejudice against any and all Moslims. 

The battle situation is dealt with considerable detail, letting the viewer under the bigger picture of the battle with other countries involved in the battle. 

All in all, it's a good movie with good acting. 


Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D.



Historical Background:


1389-1402  --   rule of Bayezid I of the Ottoman Empie. 

1421 to 1451  -- reign of Sultan Murad II, who started his rule at 18 years of age. 

One of his main competitors was the Byzantine Emperor, Manuel II, who released the 'pretender' Mustafa Çelebi (known as Düzmece Mustafa) from confinement and acknowledged him as the legitimate heir to the throne of Bayezid I.

Mustafa defeated and killed the veteran general Beyazid Pasha whom Murad had sent to fight him and declared himself Sultan of Adrianople (modern Edirne).  Mustafa was taken and put to death by the sultan in Gallipoli and then turned his arms against Constantinople.

1421 --  Murtad II with a new army marched through the Byzantine Empire and laid siege to its capital Constantinople.

1441  --  Battle of Varna where Murad II defeated the Hungarian and Polish armies. 

1444 to 1446  --  short reign of new Sultan Mehmet.  He was only 12 years old. 

1448  --  Second Battle of Kosovo where Murad II defeated the combined forces of Hungary and Wallachia. 

1446-1451  --  second part of the reign of Sultan Murad II. 



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