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I’m trying to find a movie that I saw as a kid in 1964 or 1965, at the cinema.

I had always assumed it was She, the 1965 film adaptation of Rider Haggard’s 1887 novel, She: A History of Adventure, but now realise that it wasn’t.

It’s about a group of modern day explorers who find a lost underground city in the desert. At the end, the city is destroyed by an atom bomb.

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Is this Journey Beneath the Desert (1961)...?

From Wikipedia:

Journey Beneath the Desert (Italian: Antinea, l'amante della città sepolta) is a 1961 adventure film based on the novel Atlantida by Pierre Benoit.

According to this plot summary from IMDB, three mining employees discover the lost city of Atlantis beneath the Sahara Desert. It happens to be located near the site of an upcoming nuclear test detonation.

Three mining employees are marooned in the Sahara after their helicopter crashes in a storm. It had been redirected because it flew into a danger zone for an upcoming nuclear test detonation. They flee the damaged helicopter just before it tumbles off a ledge into a ravine. A shallow cave offers them shelter from the torrential rain that is starting a flash flood in the ravine. Hearing cries for help, they rescue a man from the flooded ravine. He is Tamal, an important Atlantean leader, who takes them through a secret doorway to the lost city of Atlantis. He is the chief advisor of Queen Antinea. Robert, one of the mining engineers, captures the Antinea's fancy. She wants nothing of Tamal any more, declaring her love for Robert. The pilot John meets a grim fate when he attempts to escape by sneaking out just after Antinea has sent for Robert. Zinah, a beautiful slave woman, falls for the third mining crew member, the engineer Pierre. She endeavors to help him escape, knowing a path out of the tunnels. Pierre knows, too, that the atom bomb test is about to commence and will probably destroy the underground city.

The bomb is detonated near the end of the film, destroying the underground city. You can view that scene at around the 1:29:15 mark in the video below.

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    For the record, there was a user who posted an answer to say this was the answer they were looking for, although it was unclear if it was asker or not.
    – Clockwork
    Dec 3, 2023 at 18:35

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