Dunyayi Kurtaran Adam (The Man Who Saved the World) is a 1982 Turkish adventure film also known as Turkish Star Wars because of its notorious use of unauthorized footage from Star Wars worked into the film.
The film follows the adventures of Murat (Ark?n) and Ali (Akkaya), whose spaceships crash on a desert planet following a battle, shown by using footage from Star Wars as well as Soviet and American space program newsreel clips. While hiking across the desert, they speculate that the planet is inhabited only by women. Murat does his "wolf whistle", which he uses on attractive women. However, he blows the wrong whistle and they are attacked by skeletons on horseback, which they defeat in hand-to-hand combat. The main villain soon shows up and captures the heroes, bringing them to his gladiatorial arena so they can fight. The villain tells them he is actually from Earth and is a 1,000 year old wizard. He tried to defeat Earth, but was always repelled by a shield of concentrated human brain molecules, which looks like the Death Star from Star Wars. The only way he can bypass this impenetrable defense is to use a human brain against it.
Directed by Cetin Inanc and written by Cuneyt Arkin, a well-known Turkish actor whose works span the last five decades, the film also starred Arkin in the leading role. Other actors include Aytekin Akkaya who later starred in the Italian film Sopravvissuti della citta morta, as well as Huseyin Peyda and Fusun Ucar both of whom remained in Turkey.
The film follows the adventures of Murat (Arkin) and Ali (Akkaya), whose spaceships crash on a desert planet following a battle, shown by using footage from Star Wars as well as Soviet and American space program newsreel clips. While hiking across the desert, they speculate that the planet is inhabited only by women. Ali does his wolf whistle, which he uses on attractive women. However, he blows the wrong whistle and they are attacked by skeletons on horseback, which they defeat in hand-to-hand combat. The main villain soon shows up and captures the heroes, bringing them to his gladiatorial arena so they can fight. The villain tells them he is actually from Earth and is a 1,000 year old wizard. He tried to defeat Earth, but was always repelled by a shield of concentrated human brain molecules, which looks like the Death Star from Star Wars. The only way he can bypass this impenetrable defense is to use a human brain against it. The heroes escape and hide in a cave full of refugees who already fled the villains tyrannical rule. Murat develops a romantic connection with the only woman there (Ucar), who looks after the children. (The romance is shown through many long eye-contacts and smiles from the girl, but nothing more.) Zombies of the dark lord attack the cave and turn several of the children into zombies, their blood used to renew the evil wizards immortality. The three then flee the cave and find a local bar, lifted directly from Star Wars (the Mos Eisley Cantina). The two men quickly get into a bar brawl, but the villain suddenly appears and captures them again.
The wizard separates the men and tries to convince them to join him. He sends his queen to seduce Ali, while he orders Murat to be brought before him. He offers Murat the chance to rule over the earth and stars if he joins him. He possesses the power of Earths ancestry in the form of a golden brain, and all he needs to conquer Earth is a real human brain. After Murat declines, the wizard shows that he has the woman and child in captivity. Enraged, Murat fights the wizards monsters and skeleton guardians. Meanwhile, monsters attack Ali when he is about to kiss the queen. He defeats the monsters and joins Murats fight. They are both disabled by laser-armed guards and then unsuccessfully tortured by the wizard. Finally, the wizard pits Murat against a giant monster in the arena. Murat defeats the monster and flees, taking the woman and the child with him. Ali is left in captivity.
Murat finds out about a sword made by "the 13th clan," who melted a mountain thousands of "space years" ago. Murat later finds this sword, shaped like a lightning bolt, in a cave defended by two golden ninjas. He takes the sword after dispatching the guards in an uncharacteristically short fight. Renewed by the swords power, Murat goes to free his friend from the sorcerers dungeon. However, Ali becomes envious of the sword, knocks out Murat and takes both the sword and the golden brain. The wizard then uses trickery and deceit to make Ali hand over the artifacts. Having touched these items, the wizard now has increased powers and traps Murat, Ali, the woman and the child. Ali is killed in a foolish attempt to escape.
Grief-stricken, Murat decides to melt down the golden sword and the golden human brain and forge them into a pair of gauntlets and boots. Equipped with magical gloves and super-jumping boots, he searches for the sorcerer to avenge his friends death. After fighting monsters and skeletons, he comes face-to-face with his nemesis and karate chops him in half. He then leaves the planet for Earth in a ship that very much resembles the Millennium Falcon.
The musical soundtrack is entirely lifted from popular hit movies. The main theme used is "The Raiders March", composed by John Williams, from the 1981 film Raiders of the Lost Ark. Other scenes incorporated the music of Moonraker, Ben-Hur, Flash Gordon, Giorgio Moroders version of Battlestar Galactica, Planet of the Apes, Silent Running, Moses and Disneys Black Hole. In the scene where Cuneyt Arkin and Aytekin Akkaya find the graves of old civilizations, the director selected Johann Sebastian Bachs Toccata to play.
Upon its initial release, the film was panned by critics for its incoherent storyline, poor performances, and use of stock footage and music from other films.
Despite this, the film has gained a significant cult following over the years. Louis Proyect of Rec Arts Movie Reviews called the film "classic midnight movie fun." Phil Hall of Film Threat gave the film a perfect 5 stars, calling it "jaw-droppingly insane ... a film that makes criticism moot."
After many attempts to gather the original actors in the film to create a sequel to The Man Who Saved the World, a sequel, The Son of the Man Who Saved the World (Dunyayi Kurtaran Adamin Oglu), commonly known as Turks in Space, was shot in 2006.
The sequel was released on 15 December 2006. Some fans expressed their disapproval that the special effects were not similar to the original film, where all the space scenes were ripped directly from science fiction titles of the time such as Star Wars, the Star Trek series and Battlestar Galactica. Famous actors from Turkey, such as Mehmet Ali Erbil took part; Kartal Tibet directed.
Dunyayi Kurtaran Adam and Turks in Space are part of the same movie series. Cetin Inanc directed Dunyayi Kurtaran Adam and Rampage. Aytekin Akkaya appears in Dunyayi Kurtaran Adam and 3 Dev Adam. Omer the Tourist in Star Trek (1973). Starcrash (1978).
Foleyvision, an Austin, Texas-based comedy troupe who showed films with the original soundtrack off while providing dialogue, music, and sound-effects live in the theatre, used Dunyayi Kurtaran Adam as one of their performances in 2004, providing what troupe leader Buzz Moran said was "the first English translation of this film ever in the world." During the introduction to the show, Moran stated that the translator had told them that "It doesnt make any more sense in Turkish."
Filmusik, a Portland, Oregon-based collaborative performance group, similarly screened Turkish Star Wars with live voiceovers, music, and sound effects in late 2012.