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Sailor of the King (1953)

Single-Handed (original title)
Approved | | Action, Drama, Romance | 11 June 1953 (UK)
In 1940, Canadian sailor Andrew Brown is prisoner on a battle damaged German raider and he plans to delay the raider's at-sea repairs until a British naval task-force can destroy it.



(novel), (screenplay)

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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
Cmdr. John Willis
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


The HMS Aylesbury is sunk by the the German raider Essen. Only two men survive and are rescued by the damaged German ship. When the Germans make for an isolated harbour to repair the damage the suffered during the fight one of the men decides he must do all he can to delay the repairs and give the Royal Navy time to locate and destroy the ship. Written by Jason

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The greatest story of the sea by today's greatest storyteller !


Action | Drama | Romance | War


Approved | See all certifications »






Release Date:

11 June 1953 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

C.S. Forester's Sailor of the King  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$1,220,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Although the movie is set in World War Two, the basic situation on which the story is loosely based is that of the World War One naval battles of Coronel in the South Pacific and the Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic, both of which took place in 1914. As in the film, a British cruiser force was defeated in the first battle by a superior German force and then Royal Navy reinforcements sent from England allowed the British to triumph in the second encounter. 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 »


It's a Long Way to Tipperary
Written by Jack Judge and Harry Williams
See more »

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User Reviews

Fine flick, with some of the most accurate action shots ever
20 May 2011 | by (Clearwater, FL) – See all my reviews

A fine film, with good acting and excellent pacing-it never drags. This film will appeal to a wide audience, as the romantic and heart-breaking portions will appeal to one group, while the great action shots will appeal to a different audience.

One thing that is almost unique is that this is one of the few films that shows the crews donning flash suits. Flash suits are made of white fire-resistant material to prevent burns from firing the large guns in such close proximity, and fires caused by enemy action. In most naval movies the crews don't the flash suits. For the main actors, there is an obvious reason- you can't see their faces, but in this film all the British crews don the suits (though they don't wear the hoods that cover the face and neck). This makes this film more accurate than almost all WWI and WWII naval films.

Da Worfster, a previous reviewer, made the following comment: "Of course the ships are way to modern to be WWII vintage craft "-This is incorrect. The ships used in the film are HMS Glasgow, HMS Cleopatra, and HMS Manxman, and all three served during WWII, the Glasgow for the entire war, while the other two joined the war in 1941.

One last historical note: British and German ships used different optical rangefinder systems. The German system was more accurate, but lost accuracy from the concussion of the gun firing during battle. The British system was not as accurate, but more rugged and better in dim light. The result of this is actually shown during this film, with the German shells straddling the British with the first shots, but then losing accuracy as the battle progressed, while the British shooting got better as they 'got the range'.

All-in-all, a fine film, well made, and with better accuracy than most. Recommended.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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