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The Vagabond King (1930)

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The story takes place in medieval France. Poet-rogue Francois Villon, sentenced to hang by King Louis XI for writing derogatory verses about him, is offered a temporary reprieve. His ... See full summary »


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(operetta), (screenplay), 4 more credits »
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Title: The Vagabond King (1930)

The Vagabond King (1930) on IMDb 6.3/10

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Dennis King ...
O.P. Heggie ...
Arthur Stone ...
Tom Ricketts ...
The Astrologer (as Thomas Ricketts)
Lawford Davidson ...
Christian J. Frank ...
Elda Voelkel ...
Dorothy Davis ...
Thora Waverly ...
Cecile Cameron ...
Jean Douglas ...
Eugenia Woodbury ...


The story takes place in medieval France. Poet-rogue Francois Villon, sentenced to hang by King Louis XI for writing derogatory verses about him, is offered a temporary reprieve. His hanging will be postponed for 24 hours, and in that time he must defeat the invading Burgundians and win the love of the beautiful Katherine. Written by Albert Sanchez Moreno <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Paramount Pictures presents the 100% Technicolor All-Talking, All-Singing Musical Romance! See more »


Musical | Romance





Release Date:

17 February 1930 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Der König der Vagabunden  »

Box Office


$1,200,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)


(2-strip Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Composer Rudolf Friml had a stipulation in his contract that forbade the use of outside songs in this production. When Paramount was going to change the film's title to IF I WERE KING, they insisted on a title song. When Friml was made aware of the new songs, he sued the studio. As a result Paramount changed the title back to THE VAGABOND KING & paid Friml $50,000 to allow for the use of non-original songs. See more »


Version of The Beloved Rogue (1927) See more »


Mary, Queen of Heaven
Written by Sam Coslow, Newell Chase and Leo Robin
Performed by Chorus
See more »

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User Reviews

Essential early sound film from Broadway
5 June 2004 | by (Jersey City, New Jersey) – See all my reviews

Considering the major names involved (in addition to the performers, it was an early screen adaptation from Herman J.

Mankiewicz!) in this fine reflection of the popular 1925 operetta, it's high time we had a good Technicolor restoration done and issued on DVD.

Jeanette MacDonald as the female lead is, perforce, secondary to the slightly "over the top" Dennis King recreating his starring Broadway role (511 performances at the Casino Theatre), but she gives a pure portrait of the King's niece much more honest and appealing than her later over blown "acting" in the Nelson Eddy screen operettas of the late 30's and 40's.

Lillian Roth's Huguette is more throaty than many familiar with the character's beautiful Rudolf Friml music may be used to, but her acting is impeccable and quite moving. Additionally, the chance to see 20th Century Fox's first major "Charlie Chan," Swedish actor Werner Oland, in another perspective entirely as Thibault, is not to be missed for any fan of Earl Derr Biggers' famous sleuth.

While, after the painful Hollywood custom, much of the rousing score has been sacrificed in the film's fast moving 104 minutes (only 100 surviving in the TV print I've seen), most of the best, "Some Day," "Only A Rose," "Huguette Waltz" and of course, "Song of the Vagabond" are here in fine form. Certainly preferable in this relatively faithful form than the bland 1956 remake. It's an exciting alternative to the fine (if music-less) 1938 Ronald Colman film drawn from The Vagabond King's source material: "If I Were King."

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