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The Prisoner of Zenda (1937)

Approved | | Adventure, Drama, Romance | 3 September 1937 (USA)
An Englishman on a Ruritarian holiday must impersonate the king when the rightful monarch, a distant cousin, is drugged and kidnapped.


, (uncredited)


(celebrated novel), (screen play) | 3 more credits »

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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Complete credited cast:
Philip Sleeman ...
Albert von Lauengram
Eleanor Wesselhoeft ...
Frau Holf - Cook
Florence Roberts ...
Duenna (scenes deleted)
Torben Meyer ...
Max - Butler
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
(scenes deleted)
(scenes deleted)
Margaret Tallichet ...
(scenes deleted)


This is a classic swashbuckler. Rudolph Rassendyll, Rudolf V's identical distant cousin, is asked to risk his life and impersonate the would-be king when his relative is kidnapped before his impending coronation. If Rudolf V isn't present at the ceremony, he will forfeit the crown to his older half-brother. Complications ensue when Princess Flavia, the king's cousin and betrothed, begins to notice a "personality change" in her fiancé. Written by Albert Sanchez Moreno <a.moreno@mindspring.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The most thrilling swordfight ever filmed... See more »


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

3 September 1937 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Der Gefangene von Zenda  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


When Antoinette de Mauban leaves the dungeon after caring for the imprisoned king, Rupert bows to her and quotes a poem. It's an abbreviated version from Walter Scott: "O woman! in our hours of ease Uncertain, coy, and hard to please, And variable as the shade By the light quivering aspen made; When pain and anguish wring the brow, A ministering angel thou!" See more »


Colman's hairstyle changes during the scene on the terrace with Madeleine Carroll. In the brief dialogue with Aubrey Smith, his hair is longer and swept back. Presumably this part of the scene had to be re-shot a few weeks later. See more »


Rudolph Rassendyll: King for a day! What would it mean if I fail?
Col. Zapt: [Grimly] Your life and mine and Fritz's here!
See more »


Featured in The Making of a Legend: Gone with the Wind (1988) See more »


Hail the Conquering Hero
By George Frideric Handel
[Played at the "king's" entry into the cathedral]
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Anthony Hope
17 April 2005 | by (Connecticut) – See all my reviews

John Cromwell's direction sparks this entry into " The Prisoner of Zenda" This film redone by MGM with James Mason as Black Michael and in colour( Color)

This version has more wit and sweep even though its in black and white. For sure the screenwriters and Cromwell made Doug Fairbanks Jr into more of a rascal than a criminal and of course he escaped in the final reel. I like Coleman and Carroll in their leading roles as well as C A. Smith and Niven as the co conspirators

Raymond Massey looks like he is uncomfortable with his lines and would rather be doing Hamlet Nevertheless this is the best version and it still has legs and looks more Gothic than the MGM Vehicle which is saturated in colors and may cause headaches after the first reel

C Pope

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