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The Court Jester (1955)

Approved  |   |  Adventure, Comedy, Family  |  27 January 1956 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.0/10 from 8,762 users  
Reviews: 102 user | 32 critic

A hapless carnival performer masquerades as the court jester as part of a plot against an evil ruler who has overthrown the rightful king.

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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 1 win. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Cecil Parker ...
Robert Middleton ...
Herbert Rudley ...
Noel Drayton ...
Edward Ashley ...
Black Fox
Sir Brockhurst
Lewis Martin ...
Sir Finsdale
Patrick Aherne ...
Sir Pertwee


The throne of rightful king of England, the small babe with the purple pimpernel birthmark, has been usurped by the evil King Roderick. Only the Black Fox can restore the true king to the throne--and all he needs is the king's key to a secret tunnel. And while he's trying to steal it, someone has to change the king's diapers. The task falls to Hawkins, the gentlest member of the Fox's band. The Fox's lieutenant, Maid Jean, guards Hawkins and the babe while they travel, but when they meet the King's new jester on the road, they decide to initiate a daring plan for Hawkins to replace him, become an intimate at the court, and steal the key. So, humble Hawkins becomes Giacomo: the king of jesters and jester to the king. But things begin to get zany when the King's daughter falls for Giacomo, the King falls for Jean, people randomly sing what are supposed to be recognition codes, and a witch with very effective spells (and poison pellets) begins to interfere. Written by Kathy Li

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

king | jester | fox | key | poison | See All (45) »


SONGS! Where Walks My True Love -- Baby Let Me Take You Dreaming -- Life Could Not Better Be -- The Maladjusted Jester -- My Heart Knows A Lovely Song! -- Outfox The Fox See more »


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

27 January 1956 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Der Hofnarr  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$4,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Unimpressed with him in tights, the producers made Danny Kaye wear "leg falsies" to improve the shape of his legs. This adds a touch of irony when Hubert Hawkins offers the princess all of him, including his legs and calves. See more »


During the tournament between Sir Griswold and Hawkins, when Sir Griswold lops off Hawkins' helmet, the helmet's visor opens and a head can be seen inside the helmet. Then Hawkins' head is shown emerging from his armor. See more »


Hubert Hawkins: I'd like to get in, get on with it, get it over with, and get out. Get it?
Ravenhurst: Got it.
Hubert Hawkins: Good.
See more »

Crazy Credits

During the opening credits, Danny Kaye dances around the credits while singing a song about the movie. The lyrics of the song relate to the credits. For instance, when the music credits go by he sings about the music and when the screenwriter credits go by he sings about the story. See more »


Referenced in Happy Days: Jailhouse Rock (1975) See more »


Willow, Willow, Waleyc/ Pass The Basket
Written by Sammy Cahn and Sylvia Fine
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User Reviews

I love this movie!
26 March 2004 | by (Tennessee) – See all my reviews

I have seen this movie literally hundreds of times but everytime it is on TV, I sit and watch it again. This is a sweet, funny, light-hearted movie that the entire family can watch--no gratuitous sex, no four-letter words--just fun. They don't make them like this anymore. I still laugh about the "pistol with the poison is in the flagon with the dragon, the chalice from the palace has the brew that is true". Danny Kaye is a genius, no one can utter tongue twisters like he can. This movie also features a very young and beautiful Angela Lansbury (for you "Murder, She Wrote" fans). Of course there is Basil Rathbone, who is of course, suave and dashing. What more could you ask of a movie? Watch this movie--you'll be glad you did.

27 of 29 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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