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The King and I (1956)

G  |   |  Biography, Drama, Musical  |  29 June 1956 (USA)
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Reviews: 76 user | 34 critic

A widow accepts a job as a live-in governess to the King of Siam's children.



(screenplay), (book), 1 more credit »
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Won 5 Oscars. Another 8 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:
Martin Benson ...
Terry Saunders ...
Rex Thompson ...
Carlos Rivas ...
Patrick Adiarte ...
Geoffrey Toone ...


Mrs. Anna Leonowens and her son Louis arrive in Bangkok, where she has been contracted to teach English to the children of the royal household. She threatens to leave when the house she had been promised is not available, but falls in love with the children. A new slave, a gift of a vassal king, translates "Uncle Tom's Cabin" into a Siamese ballet. After expressing her unhappiness at being with the King, the slave decides to make an attempt to escape with her lover. Anna and the King start to fall in love, but her headstrong upbringing inhibits her from joining his harem. She is just about to leave Siam but something important she finds out makes her think about changing her mind. Written by Randy Goldberg <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


20th Century-Fox's crowning entertainment achievement! See more »


G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

29 June 1956 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Rodgers and Hammerstein's The King and I  »

Box Office


$4,550,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)| (70 mm re-release)| (1956 roadshow version)


Aspect Ratio:

2.55 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Although Walter Lang is given sole directorial credit on the film, Yul Brynner repeatedly clashed with him and made many of the directorial suggestions which found their way into the finished film. See more »


The film is riddled with numerous inaccuracies about the biographies of King Mongkut and King Chulalongkorn (see trivia), causing the film to be banned and shunned in Thailand/Siam as libelous and slanderous. See more »


Lady Thiang: They think you dress like that because you shaped like that!
Anna: Well I most certainly am not!
See more »

Crazy Credits

The credits first say "Twentieth-Century Fox presents a Cinemascope Picture in Cinemascope 55", and then they go on to say "Darryl F. Zanuck presents Rodgers and Hammerstein's 'The King and I'". See more »


Referenced in Flick (2000) See more »


Act I Finale
(1951) (uncredited)
Music by Richard Rodgers
Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II
Sung by Yul Brynner, Siamese wives and children
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

A magnificent, emotionally packed unusual love story
29 October 2000 | by (Los Angeles) – See all my reviews

I originally saw THE KING AND I at the Roxy Theatre in New York when I was ten years old. My grandmother took me after a day trip to the Statue of Liberty, and I was expecting to see one of my favorites, Jan Clayton, the star of LASSIE, in the starring role.

When the movie unfolded I was enraptured by the beautiful redhead playing the lead and realized it wasn't Miss Clayton (whom I later learned had played in the road version of the show, and kids that age don't really know the difference). I went out into the theatre lobby and looked at the ornate program, which listed Mrs. Anna as Deborah Kerr.

What an impression this woman has had on my life over the years from the retelling of the classic tale of the British woman who comes to Siam to teach the king's children. It is superb, not only musically, but from a story standpoint holds up as the best of the Rodgers & Hammerstein musicals. It is essentially a women's lib story, which makes it as relevant today as it was fifty years ago when it premiered on Broadway.

The fiery, but compassionate Mrs. Anna who is at first turned off by the king and then charmed by him, and who little by little changes him from a near-despot to a man who can grow.

The subplots are fanciful, but lovely and, in the ballet of Uncle Tom, as performed by Tuptim draw a direct analogy to the unpleasant lives endured by Siamese slaves, in particular women. It does so with majesty and intelligence, no less so than Arthur Miller did in "The Crucible," contrasting the Salem Witch Trials with the awful McCarthy political witchhunts on Capitol Hill.

It is an extraordinary achievement, and it is shocking that it did not even make the top 100 AFI films a year ago. It is continually fresh and alive, and every time there is a festival or re-release it does well. Indeed, a few years ago it was shown on a huge screen at The Hollywood Bowl, with orchestral accompaniment, and it was a smash again.

My only regret is that Deborah Kerr (six times nominated for an Oscar) was not gifted with an Academy Award along with her co-star Yul Brynner.

It is a film that should be seen for generations to come.

36 of 45 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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