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King of the Khyber Rifles (1953)

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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 366 users  
Reviews: 20 user | 1 critic

A half-caste British officer in 19th-century India battles the prejudices of both his Army colleagues and the local populace while trying to help put down a rebellion led by a greedy local ruler.



(screenplay), (screenplay), 2 more credits »
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Title: King of the Khyber Rifles (1953)

King of the Khyber Rifles (1953) on IMDb 6.5/10

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Cast overview:
Capt. Alan King
Susan Maitland
Brig. Gen. J. R. Maitland
John Justin ...
Lt. Geoffrey Heath
Karram Khan
Richard Wyler ...
Lt. Ben Baird (as Richard Stapley)
Murray Matheson ...
Maj. Ian MacAllister
Ali Nur (as Frank de Kova)
Sujata Rubener ...
Native Dancer (as Sujata)


Freshly arrived Sandhurst-trained Captain Alan King, better versed in Pashtun then any of the veterans and born locally as army brat, survives an attack on his escort to his Northwest Frontier province garrison near the Khyber pass because of Ahmed, a native Afridi deserter from the Muslim fanatic rebel Karram Khan's forces. As soon as his fellow officers learn his mother was a native Muslim which got his parents disowned even by their own families, he falls prey to stubborn prejudiced discrimination, Lieutenant Geoffrey Heath even moves out of their quarters, except from half-Irish Lt. Ben Baird. Brigadier general J. R. Maitland, whose policy is full equality among whites, learns King knew Kurrum Khan as a boy and charges him with training and commanding native cavalry, which comes along fine. The general's egalitarian daughter Susan Maitland takes a fancy to King, even falls in love but the general decides to send her safely home to England after a kidnapped attempt when King saved ... Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


GREAT ADVENTURE OF INDIA! (original print ad - all caps)


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Release Date:

22 December 1953 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

King of the Khyber Rifles  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)



Aspect Ratio:

2.55 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Average Shot Length (ASL) = 13.5 seconds See more »


Version of The Black Watch (1929) See more »

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User Reviews

Some Additional Thoughts!
12 February 2005 | by (Parma Heights,Ohio,U.S.A.) – See all my reviews

Mr. Briantaves,in his comments of 9/23/04,has commented upon the sociological,and racist subtexts that have appeared in the script of this film.In particular,he has noted the aspects of the script that have focused on Captain Alan King's mixed parentage,and also upon the parts of the script that look at the Indian national movement,and the thoughts about Indian Independence.

Heaven only knows that Kurram Khan's troops are a gang of bestial savages,lusting for rape,destruction,and pillage.This gang of bloodthirsty cutthroats looks upon the staking-out and spearing of the British soldiers as being more fun than going to a ballgame.They lack any semblance of mercy,compassion,and decent human feeling.Don't think that they happen to be any incipient Indian national movement,gang of patriots,or forerunners of Gandhi;pigs are pigs!

Islam is a noble faith,and among the pillar are :faith,mercy,compasssion,charity,tolerance for the downtrodden,and brotherhood.And this gang of looters don't hold up at all for what the wise elders have taught.

The writers have wisely managed to have avoided some of the racist messages.Captain Alan King leads the attack,thank goodness,not with a troop of Anglo/Welsh,Scottish/Irish dragoons,but with a platoon of native soldiers.And this IS the wisdom of the script.Had there been an gang of Anglo soldiers,this would have given them another racist subtext.

Captain King leads the Khyber Rifles.A valiant squadron of Muslim warriors,dedicated to serving the Raj.Virile,loyal,valorous,doughty,and hearty,they follow their commander,toss down what they perceive to be the tainted bullets,and charge into battle.These manly warriors perform their duty.They decimate their misguided co religionists,and follow the law.

Theological Note:Ali Nur states that they soldiers cannot use the tainted cartridges,as they have been contaminated by lard.If a Muslim should bite them,he will be condemned to perdition.This is NOT the case.A Muslim theologian in Cleveland Ohio,has informed me,that it isn't akin to Catholics eating meat on Friday.The Muslims don't go to hell for eating pork;it's just something that they aren't supposed to do.

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