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The Prisoner of Zenda (1952)

Approved | | Adventure | 14 November 1952 (USA)
3:49 | Trailer

On Disc

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An Englishman vacationing in a Ruritarian kingdom is recruited to impersonate his cousin, the soon-to-be-crowned king when the monarch is drugged and kidnapped.



(screenplay), (screenplay) | 4 more credits »



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Complete credited cast:
The Cardinal
Michael, Duke of Strelsau
Robert Coote ...
Francis Pierlot ...


English trout fisher Rudolf Rassendyll is about the only tourist not coming for the coronation of Central-European King Rudolf V at Strelsau, but happens to be a distant relative and is approached on account of their canning resemblance to stand in for the drunken king, in order to prevent his envious half-brother Michael, who arranged spiking his wine to seize the throne when the reputedly less then dutiful Rudolf stays away. The ceremony goes well, and he gets acquainted with the charming royal bride, related princess Flavia, but afterward the king is found to be abducted; he must continue the charade and once the hiding place, the castle of Zenda, is found is involved in the fight between political parties for control over Rudolf V, his throne and his bride, for which a formidable third candidate, Michael's disloyal co-conspirator Rupert of Hentzau, was waiting in the curtains. Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A Swashbuckling Adventure In The Grand Style!




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Release Date:

14 November 1952 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

De gevangene van Zenda  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)



Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The film takes place in June 1897. See more »


When the conductor conducts the waltz at the ball, his hand movements bear no relation to the music played. See more »


Rudolf Rassendyll: [when his life is threatened by Hentzau] Half my kingdom... for a match.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The opening credits are listed on parchment or velum-looking pages. The top, blank page has a silver sword upon it, which is piercing the page. When lifted, the credits start on the page below. The pages are ornately done with colorful ink letters and designs. See more »


Followed by Rupert of Hentzau (1964) See more »

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User Reviews

Old mythology that works, for a change
12 September 2002 | by (West Hollywood, CA) – See all my reviews

The old swashbuckling mythology in capital letters: King, Country, Duty, Courage, and Honor, featuring a handsome, fearless Hero; a beautiful and perfectly behaved Princess; a stalwart Elderly Advisor; a grasping Villain; his insinuating Right Hand; and so on. It's so stereotyped that it could take up a whole chapter of Carl Jung.

So it's amazing that this production manages to pull it off so well. Maybe it's the unusually effective screenplay, which doesn't waste a line, and somehow manages not to rehash creaky dialogue. Maybe it's the actors, who carry their roles with as much dignity as if this is the first time anyone's ever done them. Or maybe it's James Mason as the only recognizable human in the story, a charming and calculating psychopath with razor-sharp wit and stunning powers of manipulation.

However they did it, the results are a joy. Swordplay, love affairs, grand balls, royalty, and political intrigue - it all works. Put your brain in low gear, sit back, and enjoy the ride.

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