Grass – A Nation’s Battle for Life
Grass Movie

Grass : A Nation’s Battle for Life  (1925)




In the rugged expanse of  Iran’s Zagros Mountains, a nomadic tribe known as the Bakhtiari embarked on a remarkable journey each year. Led by their elders and guided by ancestral wisdom, they traversed treacherous terrain in search of greener pastures for their herds. Their trek “KOOCH” was not without challenges—raging rivers, towering cliffs, and lurking predators tested their courage at every turn. Yet, driven by the promise of renewal, they pressed on, weaving their way through the grasslands with determination and resilience.

Grass: A Nation’s Battle for Life is a 1925 documentary film that follows a branch of the Bakhtiari tribe of Lurs in Persia as they and their herds make their seasonal journey to better pastures. It is considered one of the earliest ethnographic documentary films. In 1997, Grass was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”


Amidst the breathtaking landscapes, filmmakers Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack captured the essence of the Bakhtiari’s epic journey in “Grass: A Nation’s Battle for Life.” Through stunning visuals and immersive storytelling, they brought the nomadic trek to life on the silver screen, inviting viewers to join the adventure. As audiences watched, they were transported into a world where nature’s majesty unfolded before their eyes, where the rhythm of life played out against the backdrop of vast grasslands.

At its core, “Grass” was more than just a documentary—it was a tale of resilience and renewal. Through the eyes of the Bakhtiari, viewers witnessed the indomitable spirit of a people deeply connected to the land and determined to preserve their way of life. As the credits rolled, the legacy of “Grass” lingered, inspiring audiences to reflect on their own relationship with nature and the importance of protecting our planet’s precious ecosystems.


In the end, “Grass: A Nation’s Battle for Life” was a journey of discovery—a cinematic odyssey that left an indelible mark on all who watched. As viewers bid farewell to the Bakhtiari and their nomadic journey, they carried with them a newfound appreciation for the majesty of nature and the enduring resilience of the human spirit.

This moving documentary by Merian C. Cooper follows the journey of the Bakhtiari, an impoverished nomadic tribe in Iran, in their never-ending search for fresh grass for their herds. The tribe must traverse snow-capped mountain passes and hazardous terrain. All the while the question looms over them: Will they get their herds to the grazing fields before the animals die of starvation? This film is considered one of the earliest ethnographic documentaries.


Photography of Bakhtiari Nomads in Iran


Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari Tourist Highlights


A Guide to Bakhtiari Nomadic Tribes


Brief info on traveling to Bakhtiari Nomadic Land


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