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King Rat (1965)

Approved | | Drama, War | 27 October 1965 (USA)
Fast-taking wheeler-dealer Corporal King (George Segal), in a Malaysian P.O.W. camp during World War II, uses bribery and larceny to take de facto control of the camp from his senior officers.

Director:

Bryan Forbes

Writers:

James Clavell (based on a novel by), Bryan Forbes (written for the screen by)
Reviews

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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
George Segal ... Corporal King
Tom Courtenay ... Grey
James Fox ... Marlowe
Patrick O'Neal ... Max
Denholm Elliott ... Lt. Col. G.D. Larkin
James Donald ... Dr. Kennedy
Todd Armstrong ... Tex
John Mills ... Smedley-Taylor
Gerald Sim ... Jones
Leonard Rossiter ... McCoy
John Standing ... Daven
Alan Webb Alan Webb ... Brant
John Ronane John Ronane ... Hawkins
Sam Reese Sam Reese ... Kurt (as Sammy Reese)
Michael Lees ... Stevens
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Storyline

When Singapore surrendered to the Japanese in 1942, the Allied P.O.W.s, mostly British, but including a few Americans, were incarcerated in Changi prison. This was a P.O.W. camp like no other. There were no walls or barbed-wire fences, for the simple reason that there was no place for the prisoners to which to escape. Included among the prisoners is the American Corporal King (George Segal), a wheeler-dealer who has managed to established a pretty good life for himself in the camp. While most of the prisoners are near starvation and have uniforms that are in tatters, King eats well and and has crisp clean clothes to wear every day. His nemesis is Lieutenant Robin Grey (Sir Tom Courtenay), the camp Provost who attempts to keep good order and discipline. He knows that King is breaking camp rules by bartering with the Japanese, but can't quite get the evidence he needs to stop him. King soon forms a friendship with Lieutenant Peter Marlowe (James Fox), an upper class British officer who ... Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

He entered WWII a soldier... and left a King. See more »

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Malay | Japanese

Release Date:

27 October 1965 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El caudillo de los desalmados See more »

Filming Locations:

Thousand Oaks, California, USA See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Coleytown See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Paul Newman and Steve McQueen were offered the chance to star in this movie. They turned it down. See more »

Goofs

After Maj. McCoy and the others have been arrested for possessing a radio, and Col. Smedley-Taylor is waiting outside for news, the shadow of the boom mic being lowered is cast over the actors in the background. See more »

Quotes

Cpl. King: [Having served Marlowe a fried egg] How 'bout that?
Peter Marlowe: Not bad. Not bad at all.
Cpl. King: [Looking slightly offended] What the hell are you talking about? The egg ain't been laid that tastes better than that.
Peter Marlowe: Don't get excited, Fortnum. When we say "not bad", we don't mean "not bad". We mean it's bloody marvelous.
Cpl. King: Yeah? What do you mean when you say "it's bloody marvelous"?
Peter Marlowe: Bit dicey.
Cpl. King: Forget it.
See more »

Crazy Credits

[Prologue] This is not a story of escape. It is a story of survival.

It is set in Changi Jail Singapore, in 1945

The Japanese did not have to guard Changi as a normal prison of war camp. The inmates of Changi had no friendly Swiss border or any other neutral country within reach. They were held captive not so much by high walls, or barbed wire, or machine-gun posts, but by the land and sea around them - and the jungle was not neutral, nor was the ocean.

They did not live in Changi. They existed. This is the story of that existence. See more »

Connections

Spoofed in King Rat (2017) See more »

Soundtracks

Adeste Fideles
(uncredited)
Written by Frederick Oakeley (1841)
Variation sung in distant background by POWs
See more »

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User Reviews

A gritty prison camp film, well directed and with great photography
19 December 2004 | by paulmoran99See all my reviews

There are many WWII prison camp films, but King Rat stands out for its gritty treatment of how prisoners survive in there bleak and painful worlds, where the meaning of hope has long been forgotten. George Segal as Cpl King knows all the angles, and has funds to buy what he wants. He lives the easy life while others suffer around him.Soon he meets up with James Fox, an RAF Officer and buys him as well.A man with little redemption potential you might say; but then the unexpected happens. King Rat effectively explores the roles of the prisoners in relation to their survival.It shows that staying alive is not necessarily to do with determination, or courage, but often due to darker actions, where hate is a cohesive force to survival. Segal is excellent as the well-heeled Cpl, if a trifle too bright-eyed. Fox starts off in third but hits top gear later as the troubled Flight Lt.However,his curious ballet-like gait does seem out of sorts for a Jap prison camp. Courtney makes a fine Provost Marshall, but somehow lacks the steel for the job, and finally fails to convince. King Rat tops the prison camp movies, including The Great Escape, for it's honest and gritty, realistic exploration of hate and redemption. Brian Forbes can be proud of this film, not the least for the outstanding photography,( Oscar-nominated), and excellent acting. See it.


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