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Sailor of the King (1953)
"Single-Handed" (original title)

 -  Action | Drama | War  -  11 June 1953 (UK)
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 377 users  
Reviews: 15 user | 2 critic

A British naval officer has a brief affair with a woman in England and never knows that she bears him a son. 20 years later the boy is on a ship under his command when he is tracking a ... See full summary »



(novel), (screenplay)
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Title: Sailor of the King (1953)

Sailor of the King (1953) on IMDb 6.9/10

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Complete credited cast:
Signalman Andrew 'Canada' Brown
Lt. Richard Saville
Lucinda Bentley
Petty Officer 'Stokes' Wheatley
Kapitan von Falk (as Peter Van Eyck)
Victor Maddern ...
Signalman Willy 'Misery' Earnshaw
John Horsley ...
Cmdr. John Willis
Patrick Barr ...
Capt. Tom Ashley, HMS 'Amesbury'
Robin Bailey ...
Cdr. John Stafford - HMS 'Stratford'
Officers and Men of H.M.S. Manxman
Officers and Men of H.M.S. Cleopatra
Officers and Men of H.M.S. Glasgow


A British naval officer has a brief affair with a woman in England and never knows that she bears him a son. 20 years later the boy is on a ship under his command when he is tracking a German Raider. When the boy is captured after his ship is sunk, he finds a way to slow the German's progress while a lethal hunt for him goes on. Written by John Vogel <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Action | Drama | War


Approved | See all certifications »






Release Date:

11 June 1953 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

C.S. Forester's Sailor of the King  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The plot of the film is taken from C. S. Foresters 1929 book "Brown on Resolution". See more »


While Brown is firing on the ship, his rifle keeps changing from a German Mauser 98 to a British Enfield. This becomes apparent in the close up views where the rear bridge peep sight is visible. The Mauser rear sight is on the barrel. See more »


Version of Born for Glory (1935) See more »


True Love
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User Reviews

They Don't Make Adventure Stories Like This Anymore
19 June 2003 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Whichever of its titles you choose to like (I first saw this film as 'Sailor Of The King'), this is a fine adventure story.

The theme is inborn filial devotion to king, country (or Commonwealth), democracy, duty, and decency: inborn since the main character (played stirringly by Jeffrey Hunter as the ordinary bloke, Brown, who rises to the challenge of extraordinary circumstances) doesn't know who his father is, and the plot development tantalizes us with the nearness of the dispelling of Brown's ignorance.

I have heard that C.S. Forester wrote the novel as an adventure story for boys. No matter, the film builds slowly to a taut, exciting climax that viewers of all ages can thrill to.

Jeffrey Hunter was wonderfully handsome, and he could act; it would be lovely if such talent could also be found in today's (2003's) non-nutritional, unsatisfying crop of young male leads. Wendy Hiller's acting is always superb, and though she has a small part in 'Sailor of the King' she plays it with all her crackling, yet understated verve; Hiller's expressive, soulful eyes should have inspired the composition of a long, gorgeous symphony. Michael Rennie, another handsome and talented - and underappreciated - actor, gives a good effort too.

Though the plot is fictional, it doesn't matter a whit. 'Sailor Of The King' is a splendid adventure film, the likes of which "they just don't make anymore." This is the sort of film you can watch every six months, just for the pure joy of its congealing plot and the anxiety in its inspiring denouement. Pity 'Sailor Of The King' has not made it onto DVD.

23 of 25 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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