7.6/10
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King Rat (1965)

Approved | | War, Drama | 27 October 1965 (USA)
A fast-taking wheeler-dealer corporal in a Malaysian POW camp during WWII uses bribery and larceny to take de facto control of the camp from his senior officers.

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(based on a novel by), (written for the screen by)
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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
Max
...
Larkin
...
Todd Armstrong ...
Tex
...
Gerald Sim ...
Jones
...
McCoy
...
Daven
Alan Webb ...
Brant
John Ronane ...
Hawkins
Sam Reese ...
Kurt (as Sammy Reese)
Michael Lees ...
Stevens
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Storyline

When Singapore surrendered to the Japanese in 1942 the Allied POWs, mostly British but including a few Americans, were incarcerated in Changi prison. This was a POW detention center like no other. There were no walls or barbed-wire fences for the simple reason that there was no place for the prisoners to escape to. Included among the prisoners is the American Cpl. King, a wheeler dealer who has managed to established a pretty good life for himself in the camp. While most of the prisoners are near starvation and have uniforms that are in tatters, King eats well and and has crisp clean clothes to wear every day. His nemesis is Lt. Robin Grey, the camp Provost who attempts to keep good order and discipline. He knows that King is breaking camp rules by bartering with the Japanese but can't quite get the evidence he needs to stop him. King soon forms a friendship with Lt. Peter Marlowe an upper class British officer who is fascinated with King's élan and no rules approach to life. As the ... Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

They made the toughest among them... King! See more »

Genres:

War | Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

| |

Release Date:

27 October 1965 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El caudillo de los desalmados  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Frank Sinatra was considered for the starring role. See more »

Goofs

Just before the camp is liberated we can hear an airplane fly over and it is definitely a propeller operated plane; however, the scene displays a jet flying over complete with vapor trails. However, the B-29 Bomber is a 4 engined prop plane which flew high enough to leave substantial contrails (30,000ft+). Bombers normally flew in large formations but this is a single aircraft which may allude to the Enola Gay, which dropped the first Atomic bomb indicating that Japanese surrender imminent. However, the Enola Gay was accompanied by other B-29s on her atomic bomb raid. See more »

Quotes

Lt. Robin Grey: Where's the money?
Cpl. King: What money, sir?
Lt. Robin Grey: [Impatiently] The money from the sale of the diamond!
Cpl. King: [Acting as if he doesn't know what Grey's talking about] What diamond, sir?
Lt. Robin Grey: All right, all right, Corporal. The War will be over one day, and then you'll get yours!
Cpl. King: [Condescendingly] All right, sir. I believe you... but until then...
[He salutes half-heartedly and leaves]
See more »

Connections

Spoofed in King Frat (1979) See more »

Soundtracks

Adeste Fideles
(uncredited)
Written by Frederick Oakeley (1841)
Variation sung in distant background by POWs
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User Reviews

Not in the Top 1000 Films
23 February 2006 | by (Thailand) – See all my reviews

It has always bothered me that King Rat is so underrated. On one list of top the thousand films in history, it gets no mention. I think it's because George Segal's character, Corporal King wasn't a totally likable person. He is not the standard Hollywood hero. But he is a hero of mine. Were I in that prison camp, I guarantee you, I would have been Corporal King's best friend. One thing I learned in life was how to survive, and everyone around Corporal King survived. The movie misses a very important point that was in James Clavell's novel on which it is based. In case the war turned bad for the Japanese and they started taking revenge on the prisoners, King had planned an escape route. Not just for himself, for everyone close to him. Put that in the film and you've got a major American hero. The movie is totally cliché free. One never knows where it is going or how it is going to end. Winning the war, you see, will not guarantee the safety of the prisoners. How it ends is perfectly logical in retrospect, but difficult to predict. It is a near perfect motion picture.


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