IMDb > The Prisoner of Zenda (1937)
The Prisoner of Zenda
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The Prisoner of Zenda (1937) More at IMDbPro »

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Up 52% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Anthony Hope (celebrated novel)
John L. Balderston (screen play)
View company contact information for The Prisoner of Zenda on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
3 September 1937 (USA) See more »
The most thrilling swordfight ever filmed... See more »
An Englishman on a Ruritarian holiday must impersonate the king when the rightful monarch, a distant cousin, is drugged and kidnapped. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 1 win & 1 nomination See more »
User Reviews:
Colman & Fairbanks Jr. Shine in Classic Adventure Film See more (41 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Ronald Colman ... Major Rudolf Rassendyll / The Prisoner of Zenda

Madeleine Carroll ... Princess Flavia

C. Aubrey Smith ... Colonel Zapt

Raymond Massey ... Black Michael

Mary Astor ... Antoinette de Mauban

David Niven ... Fritz von Tarlenheim

Douglas Fairbanks Jr. ... Rupert of Hentzau
Montagu Love ... Detchard
Philip Sleeman ... Albert von Lauengram
Eleanor Wesselhoeft ... Frau Holf - Cook
Florence Roberts ... Duenna (scenes deleted)
Torben Meyer ... Max - Butler
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Arthur Byron ... (scenes deleted)
Francis Ford ... (scenes deleted)
Margaret Tallichet ... (scenes deleted)
Wilhelm von Brincken ... Krafstein
Evelyn Beresford ... Lady Topham (uncredited)
Ricardo Lord Cezon ... Little Boy (uncredited)
Spencer Charters ... Railroad Porter (uncredited)
Sally Conlin ... (uncredited)
D'Arcy Corrigan ... Traveler (uncredited)
Bonnie Gaye Cowen ... (uncredited)
Alexander D'Arcy ... De Gautet (uncredited)
Billy Diamond ... (uncredited)
Ralph Faulkner ... Bersonin (uncredited)
Billy Finnegan ... (uncredited)
Byron Foulger ... Johann (uncredited)
Charles K. French ... Bishop (uncredited)
Otto Fries ... Luggage Officer (uncredited)

Lawrence Grant ... Marshal Strakencz (uncredited)

Charles Halton ... Passport Officer (uncredited)
Lillian Harmer ... Traveler (uncredited)

Darryl Hickman ... (uncredited)
Boyd Irwin ... Master of Ceremonies (uncredited)
Emmett King ... Lord High Chamberlain (uncredited)
Howard Lang ... Josef (uncredited)
Ian Maclaren ... Cardinal (uncredited)
Marilyn Marlin ... (uncredited)
Dickie Meyers ... (uncredited)
June Parkes ... (uncredited)
Alexander Pollard ... Court Officer (uncredited)
Russ Powell ... Traveler (uncredited)
Henry Roquemore ... Man with Female Traveler (uncredited)
Al Shean ... Orchestra Leader (uncredited)
Leslie Sketchley ... Guard at Lodge (uncredited)
Pat Somerset ... Guard at Lodge (uncredited)
Ben Webster ... Lord Topham (uncredited)

Directed by
John Cromwell 
W.S. Van Dyke (reshoots) (uncredited)
Writing credits
Anthony Hope (celebrated novel)

John L. Balderston (screen play)

Edward E. Rose (dramatization) (as Edward Rose)

Wells Root (adaptation)

Donald Ogden Stewart (additional dialogue)

Ben Hecht  uncredited
Sidney Howard  uncredited

Produced by
David O. Selznick .... producer
Original Music by
Alfred Newman 
Cinematography by
James Wong Howe (photography)
Bert Glennon (uncredited)
Film Editing by
James E. Newcom (film editor)
Art Direction by
Lyle R. Wheeler  (as Lyle Wheeler)
Costume Design by
Ernest Dryden (costumes) (as Ernst Dryden)
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Fred Spencer .... assistant director (as Frederick A. Spencer)
George Cukor .... director: reshoots (uncredited)
W.S. Van Dyke .... director, fencing sequences (uncredited)
Art Department
Casey Roberts .... interior decoration
Sound Department
Oscar Lagerstrom .... recorder
Special Effects by
Jack Cosgrove .... special effects
John M. Nickolaus .... special effects (uncredited)
Harry Redmond Jr. .... special effects (uncredited)
Fred Cavens .... fencing stunts
Ralph Faulkner .... fencing double (uncredited)
Jean Heremans .... fencing master (uncredited)
Dick Simmons .... stunt double: Ronald Colman (uncredited)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Eugene Joseff .... costume jeweller (uncredited)
Editorial Department
Hal C. Kern .... supervising film editor
Music Department
Hugo Friedhofer .... composer: additional music (uncredited)
Hugo Friedhofer .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Alfred Newman .... musical director (uncredited)
Edward B. Powell .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Other crew
Ivar Enhörning .... technical advisor (as Colonel Ivar Enhorning)
Prince Sigvard Bernadotte .... technical advisor
William H. Wright .... assistant to producer
Russell Birdwell .... publicity chief (uncredited)
Crew verified as complete

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
101 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording)
Argentina:13 | Finland:K-16 | Netherlands:18 (original rating) (1938) | USA:Approved (PCA #3356) | West Germany:12
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

In 'Salad Days', his first autobiography, 'Douglas Fairbanks Jr' said that when Raymond Massey told Sir C. Aubrey Smith, who played Col. Zapt, that he didn't understand his own part of Black Michael, Smith said 'Ray, in my time I've played every part in Zenda except Princess Flavia, and I've never understood Black Michael either'.See more »
Continuity: The sword fight in the castle of Zenda between Coleman and one of the king's guards appears to be with rapiers, however when the fight is picked up again in the outside room the rapiers have become sabers - necessary in order to cut the rope of the drawbridge.See more »
King:Well, what are you doing here, cousin?
Rudolph Rassendyll:I must admit, Sire, that I may have been guilty of somewhat the same offense as our mutual ancestor.
King:Such as what?
Rudolph Rassendyll:Fishing in forbidden waters.
See more »
Movie Connections:
On the Beautiful Blue Danube, Op.314See more »


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16 out of 16 people found the following review useful.
Colman & Fairbanks Jr. Shine in Classic Adventure Film, 10 April 2000
Author: Ron Oliver ( from Forest Ranch, CA

Traveling in a Middle European kingdom, an Englishman on a fishing vacation discovers to his astonishment that he is an identical look-alike for the country's king. When the dissipated monarch is unable to attend his own coronation, the Englishman is pressured to impersonate him temporarily. But when he falls in love with the new queen and the real king is kidnapped by an evil half-brother, the Englishman is swept into a world of intrigue & danger he scarcely knew existed. Can he rescue THE PRISONER OF ZENDA without losing his own life?

This is one of the great adventure films of the 1930's. Given lavish treatment by Selznick Studios, it is escapist cinema at its most enjoyable.

Silky-voiced Ronald Colman is perfectly cast as both the Englishman & the King. He was one of those rare, fortunate actors with great screen charisma - his every moment, every word, is interesting to the viewer. He almost meets his match, though, in Douglas Fairbanks Jr., here playing a charming & completely ruthless young villain. Their rapier fight stands out in a decade full of terrific swordplay.

The rest of the cast is equally impressive: lovely Madeleine Carroll, wicked Raymond Massey, frantic Mary Astor, stalwart David Niven and especially wonderful old Sir C. Aubrey Smith, a model of elderly devotion & courage.

Was the above review useful to you?
See more (41 total) »

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