Major Hans von Falken is the principal German antagonist in the original 1943 film Sahara.


Hans von Falken was the leader of a detachment of Afrika Korps troops during World War II who were searching for water. He was a hard and ruthless man unafraid to do anything it took to win. He and his men came upon the well at Hassan Barani as well as the grave of Fred Clarkson. They found the well empty. Von Falken instructed an Arab scout to guide a group of his men to the next well at Bir Acroma, hoping to find water there.

Only one man, Sergeant Krause, returned, the scouting party having been killed by Allied troops at Bir Acroma. Another soldier survived but betrayed the strengh of von Falken's forces to senior Allied NCO Sergeant Joe Gunn and was killed by Krauser. Upon learning from the remaining survivor that their was water at Bir Acroma, von Falken took his men in force and attacked the mission. Despite outnumering the Allied defenders, the Germans found that taking the well was harder than it seemed. When von Falken attempted to parley with Gunn, he rejected the American's offer of water for guns. The fighting continued. When Frenchman Jean Leroux, who was eager to vengeance against the Nazis, instigated a second parley without Gunn or Captain Halliday's permission, von Falken went to meet him. Leroux repeated Gunn's terms, which von Falken again rejected.

As Leroux returned to the mission, von Falken ordered his men to open fire, shooting Leroux in the back and killing him. Von Falken was slain by the barrage of return fire from Gunn, leaving his troops effectively leaderless. They surrendered to the surviving Allies they outnumered not long after his death.