This adaptation of the famous short story by Rudyard Kipling tells the story of Daniel Dravot and Peachy Carnahan, two ex-soldiers in India when it was under British rule. They decide that the country is too small for them, so they head off to Kafiristan in order to become Kings in their own right. Kipling is seen as a character that was there at the beginning, and at the end of this glorious tale.
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Set at the height of the British Empire in India, this is a story for the ages. It is the story of two soldiers who helped build the Empire, only to be declared "embarrassements" to that Empire by the ruling bureaucracy. A timeless tale no matter what "Empire" you are talking about.Yet these friends, and "sons of a widow", do not accept this ruling. They resolve to leave India because it has become too small for them and they are not "little men." Moreover, they go forth into unexplored territory not only to make their fortunes- but to become kings....Michael Caine has stated that this film was the best thing that he ever did. I would fully agree- it is probably the best thing that I've ever seen Sean Connery do, too.
Hugely enjoyable epic based on Kipling's cautionary adventure tale inthe only film to co-star probably Britain's two biggest stars of the60's and 70's. Adapted and stirringly directed by the then veteranmaverick director John Huston, this rags to riches to rags saga seemsto anachronistically belong to a different era of film-making some tenor twenty years earlier.Not that you'd confuse it with a David Lean marathon, there's plenty ofaction within the detail and even if the unsavoury whiff of colonialistsuperiority taints somewhat the initial perception of our two heroes ashapless adventurers, by the end we're won over by their honourable andregret-free acceptance of their fate even if it means the fatal demiseof Connery's Danny Dravot character and the reduction to penury ofCaine's Peachy Carnehan character. A cautionary tale it may be aboutpride coming before a fall and the risk men take in setting themselvesup as gods, but the film is more about the friendship which enduresbetween Connery and Caine, not forgetting their devoted "batman" BillyFish, enjoyably brought to life by Saeeed Jaffrey.In the days before CGI & SFX, Huston does a fine job with thecinematography, particularly on location, as well as marshaling hislarge cast around the convincing sets. I'm fine too with theutilisation of writer Kipling as a character, introduced no doubt toframe the story as well as pointing up veracity and reminding us of itsorigins, with Christopher Plummer a convincing look-a-like. Caine andConnery reflect their own real-life friendship with mutuallydeferential performances, neither hogging the lime-light and stayingtrue to character throughout, although as ever Sean's "English" accentnever moves south of Edinburgh! I've read somewhere that some criticsbelieve the movie could have worked even better if they'd switchedroles but I don't see this at all, Connery's character has a naturallylofty demeanour, leading to his god-like aspirations, while Caine's isthat of the down-to-earth conscience and confidant, both just as theyshould be. I also liked the minor irony in Caine's new wife at the time(they're still together, even now) spurning Connery's advances andthus, in fact precipitating the Englishmen's fall from grace.This then was a film I've long anticipated watching and was delightedthat it didn't let me down. No sex, little violence, a fineold-fashioned story well told, just the way they used to make them...
This review is from: The Man Who Would Be King [Blu-ray Book] (Blu-ray) Good movie. Blu Ray transfer could have been better. Xtras were very limited. "Making Of" was not new. Same as the one on the original Stnd Def version. Book was good.Purchased from Amazon
"The Man Who Would Be King" was a bit of an anachronism when it wasreleased in 1975. The swashbuckling adventure stories of Errol Flynnand Tyrone Power were considered outdated by that point and rather oldhat. They'd been replaced by more realistic epics (such as "Lawrence ofArabia") and straight-up action flicks with more brutal violence ondisplay ("The French Connection" and "Dirty Harry"). That may be why itisn't as fondly remembered as either its contemporaries or itsinfluences. No matter however. Everything that made the adventure filmsof the 30s and 40s so enjoyable to watch is on full display here. Twoirascible yet likable characters, a sense of humor, and a general senseof excitement permeate this film like none other at the time.In addition to an exciting story and screenplay, the technical aspectsof this production are superb as well. The direction by John Huston is,as always, simply superb. He keeps everything engrossing and moving ata lightning quick pace. After seeing this and his earlier masterpieces,he's becoming one of my favorite directors. Plus, the casting of SeanConnery and Michael Caine in the lead roles couldn't have been any moreperfect. Both men have loads of screen appeal and were movie stars fora reason, but they were fantastic actors as well. "The Man Who Would BeKing" remains one of the most purely entertaining bits of cinematicescapism ever made. (9/10)
Classic video and a classic epic. I recorded this 20+ years ago on VHS from the Hallmark Classic Channel. This is an educational story fit for every age group (especially in today's time).Huston at his best.
This review is from: The Man Who Would Be King (DVD) This was a gift for my sister. She liked it. it was great when it came out, and it continues to entertain. Kipling, Caine, and Connery. How could it NOT be great?
You won't find a better or more entertaining movie than this one...that is, if you like Sean Connery (much as he was in the Great Train Robbery) and Rudyard Kipling's special prose and prowess as a teller of tales. The DVD is disappointing only in the scene that was omitted...the one, near the end. Alas for such an omission.Still...an excellent addition to the collection. Good viewing on a rainy Saturday afternoon or a snowy winter weekend!
This review is from: The Man Who Would Be King (DVD) the man who would be king, poor sean connery an hour into this great movie it switches off.I had bought 2 copies and both of them finished in the middle of the movie, needless to say I sent them back and my friend never got a copy of the movie, I think it should be taken off the list till they fix this problem
This is, of course, a great film, with every aspect of what makes a great film fully exploited. But I did discover something strange on the DVD - there is an entire scene missing. After Sean Connery falls from the bridge, instead of the process shot that shows him falling in slow-motion and the crown falling from his head (which is in every version of the film I've ever seen) the scene dissolves to Christopher Plummer listening to the final words of Michael Caine's narration. What happened to the scene?? Why would it have been removed?? My only other quibble about the DVD is that the sound is not very full. It is an early release DVD so in subsequent releases they might address that issue, but PUT BACK THE MISSING SCENE!
This movie seems to have been made by a young man.It took the adventuregenre to its peak ( it was to be cheapened by Spielberg in the eighties withI.Jones and co).The screenplay is marvelous,now funny ,now dramatic,nowparodic ,now epic.John Huston runs the whole gamut of emotion,suspense andhumor.Abetted by two peerless actors,he tells us a tale so weird that only afirst-rate director could have pulled it off.A metaphor on the power,on man's conceit (wasn't it the case for such earlygems as "Sierra Madre" or late masterpieces like "the dead"?),a conceit thatknows no bounds.Actually,Connery's character doesn't want to be a king,hewants to be adored and worshipped as a God.(In a famous scene,he asks Caineto bow low before him;it's comic admittedly,but it's a dark spooky humor:ina nutshell,the "Divinity" is losing His mind)Comedy and tragedy walk hand in hand is this subtile work.See how Connery'simposture is being found.Then we have the sublime final confrontationConnery/Caine ,when the former is to be executed.It's difficult to hold backyour tears!And as for the very end of the movie,when Caine returns,it's more terrifyingthan the whole of "the exorcist"."Vanity of vanities,all is vanity" Hustonseems to whisper in the gloom.
My experience deals with the quality of this DVD.I love the movie. Not too politically correct, but enjoyable, nevertheless.But, the widescreen movie has to be flipped over half way through to see the last part of the movie. I just sold my laser disk player, and have NEVER had to flip a DVD.The least enjoyable feature of this film is a grainy, almost pixelated appearance. The colors are not rich and looks like the movie was filmed on grainy film. I assume the transfer to a digital format was done with poor compression, or else the producers transferred from a very old copy of the film. Unless you really want this DVD, wait and hope for a new version.
What most viewers do not realize about The Man Who Would Be King (1975) isthat it is not about a legendary place, although Rudyard Kipling may havethought so when he wrote the story, because no white man had ever been thereand returned to tell about it.The place was then known as Kafiristan and is now known as Nuristan. It isin Eastern Afghanistan next to Chitral, which is in NorthwestPakistan.Place names in the movie, such as Kamdesh and Bashgal, are real places inNuristan. The explorer Robertson, whom Billy Fish reports has having died,did not die in real life but was rescued by a British military force in1895, after Kipling wrote his story.The people of Nuristan are believed to be descendants of Alexander theGreat, who came there in 328 BC, just as the movie states. They had a paganreligion as the movie describes until they were forcibly converted to Islamin 1892. There are still some believers of the old religion in the KalashValleys of Pakistan.For more about these people see http://www.samsloan.com/damik.htmI know about all this because I have been there and I married a woman namedHonzagool there. She did not bite me as did the wife of Sean Connery in themovie, however.Sam Sloan
I'm a little surprised that this movie did not garner any more Oscarnominations than it did. This was a wonderful story that was brought tothescreen. The culture that it showed was very interesting. It is somethingthat we are not used to seeing in this part of the world. The movie wasalsovery funny, at least through the first three-quarters. It takes a moreserious turn at the end that is almost disturbing. The climax and musicbuild at the same time to bring a frightful conclusion to this film. Bothactors work well together and the cinematography was wonderful. A greatfilmthat plays itself out well on the screen. 7/10.
Why is this film not given more recognition? It was one of those films thatI had always heard about but had never seen. Well, I saw it the other dayand I am shocked that I wasn't forced to watch this years ago. It is anamazing film. I have a hard time coming up with something that was wrongwith it. The highlights, of course, were the performances of Caine andConnery. Nearly every user comment for this film has said how good theirchemistry was, well I read all these comments before seeing the film and wasstill blown away by how good the chemistry was. Connery in particular was asurprise to me, even though Caine probably gave the better performance ofthe two.As a Brit living in the US, it is hard to get Americans to really understandsubtle aspects of British life (the optimism, the humour, the strength ofcharacter)... so I now have three movies that I tell people to watch inorder to get a better idea of what it means to be British: The Bridge on theRiver Kwai, Zulu, and The Man Who Would Be King.
This is an exceptional treat with two great actors in Connery and Caine and a great director in Huston, who seems to have been born to make just such a film. Based on a short story by Rudyard Kipling (who is played exceptionally by Christopher Plummer in the film), The Man Who Would Be King tells the story of two former British soldiers in India who devise a scheme to go to neighboring Kafiristan, set themselves up as royalty and then loot the country for all they can carry back home. After running into bandits on the way, enduring freezing temperatures and with a little unintended help from an avalanche, the two meet Billy Fish who gets them set up where they would like to be in Kafiristan. Eventually, and you can see how and why for yourself, Connery comes to be regarded by the locals as a god. This will have its advantages for Connery and Caine, but in the end will be their downfall (no pun intended for those who have already seen the film). ... I saw nothing of poor quality myself. The picture seemed crisp and sound quality was acceptable as well. Here's the negative: unless anything has changed with the manufacturing of the disc itself, one has to flip the disc over about halfway through the film. That's right. A *and* B sides. While I would prefer that the film be continuous all the way through, the fact that it isn't is not enough to give the DVD a negative review.Also, there are some good extras here. There's a lot of "on location" and extra info about things that went on during the making of the film as well as a "making of" featurette (only about ten or fifteen minutes long). The featurette is nothing exceptional but it does show you what Connery landed on and how the entire cast and crew agonized over the bridge scene at the end of the film. It's also fun to see Connery sitting around in a camouflage hat on the set with the blood on his face that was so important to the story at the end of the film. You also get theatrical trailers for eight of Huston's films. Overall, if you want to see a sweeping film that has Connery and Caine playing roles they were born to play, pick this one up.
This review is from: The Man Who Would Be King (DVD) I love the movie and it was great to find it...This would have been a 5 had I not needed to flip the DVD to finish the movie from the reverse side.
My friend threw this DVD at my head one night while we were arguingabout film. I said all adventure movies left me feeling a little hollow- adventure movies tended to abandon story, really, in favor of plot(important distinction: stories are interesting, plots boring;consequently a film with a story to tell is better than a movie with aplot to move forward). I think he hurled the disc at me out of purefrustration with my point of view. In doing so, he also won theargument.The Man Who Would Be King is the single greatest adventure film I'veever seen. It's a story - It's a tale - It's not a series of plotdevelopments (to me, to go further with this plot/story dichotomy, aplot is mechanical (and sometimes that machine is well-oiled) while astory is organic and feels less contrived (though the story, as organicmatter sometimes is, can be rotten)). It's a very good story at that.The Man Who Would Be King (I believe as a result of its derivation fromKipling) has a depth and development of character that is foreign tomost adventure tales. Few films are as rousing as this and few filmsthat are this rousing have nearly as much to say about mankind.John Huston, of course, is a master of instilling greatness intotraditionally tedious genres. He transformed the mystery, the western,the swashbuckler. Why not the adventure story too? As evidenced in TheMaltese Falcon and Treasure of the Sierra Madre, Huston can take whatmight wind up a plot and transform it into a story. He understands thatcharacters - human, conflicted, devious characters - are essential tocreating genre pictures that transcend their genre. Without Huston,this film would have undoubtedly faltered; his steady and determinedhand guides this film from the hazards of superficiality withoutsacrificing entertainment and adventure.He does not create a great film single-handedly though, as Connery andCaine, who both give tremendous performances, bestow upon Peachy andDaniel immense likability despite their scoundrel airs. Caine provesagain why he may be the greatest living British actor and Conneryreminds us that there's more to him than 007.As I said, this is one of the greatest adventure tales brought to thescreen. Though some may disagree, in particular my friend who threw theDVD at my head, it's better than any of the late 30s swashbucklers andbetter than most shoot-em-ups made since.
With the exception of a silly moment from Connery impersonating astreet busker near the beginning, and the reaction of a man beingtossed from a train by Caine, this film dances with the word flawless,and some would say, takes the word home.Christopher Plummer, albeit in a small role, is amazing. Caine andConnery are fantastic. Everyone in this film just seems perfect. Itflows seamlessly along every time I watch it.Power corrupts, but adventure inspires, and few, if any, have done itthis well since. Raiders might be the only one.George Holmes Ottawa, Ontario
This movie is an unsurpassed, old-fashioned adventure tale about friendship, and tragic, over-reaching ambition. As an adventure, it far exceeds the wildly more popular but childish Indiana Jones series.This movie follows the adventure of Daniel Dravot and Peachy Carnahan, two rakish ne'er-do-wells in the British Army in India. They leave the service, and, alone, they pack guns and supplies and head north to Kafiristan, a distant and mysterious land they've only heard tales about, to become Kings, and plunder the kingdom. When they arrive, they pit warring communities against each other. During battle, Connery's character is mistaken for a god when he is shot (in his leather bandolier), and doesn't bleed. As a result, he is made King. He is brought to the Holy City, where the holy men mistake him for "Son of Sekander," that is, the Son of Alexander The Great. They prostrate themselves before him, and give him access to Alexander's treasure, which they have guarded for centuries. Instead of taking the money and running, however, Connery gets big-headed, gets to liking the role of King, and wants to stay and administer his kingdom, which he does, and does well, it seems.As you would expect, that's not the end of the story...but I don't want to give any more away.This movie is also humorous. It certainly isn't a comedy, but the heroes joke with one another, and the humor arises from their relationship, their fondness for one another, not from improbably comic situations. This is a grand movie that treats grand themes, and it is worth seeing over and over again. I can't recommend it enough.
For the Freemason, "The Man Who Would Be King" is a wonderful story ofMasonic brotherhood, filled with many Masonic references, symbols,tokens, and even a few "secrets" openly used as mantras and metaphors.All of the principal characters, the director, and the author himselfwere/are Freemasons: John Huston Sean Connery Michael Caine Christopher PlummerFor more information about Freemasonry, check outwww.geocities.com/amretif All the best, Steve Kujawa, Past Master Arthur M. Retif Lodge # 473 Jefferson, LA