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The Man Who Would Be King (1975)

PG  |   |  Adventure  |  17 December 1975 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 34,751 users  
Reviews: 162 user | 47 critic

Two British soldiers in India decide to resign from the Army and set themselves up as deities in Kafiristan--a land where no white man has set foot since Alexander.



(screenplay), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 4 nominations. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:
Doghmi Larbi ...
Jack May ...
District Commissioner
Karroom Ben Bouih ...
Kafu Selim
Mohammad Shamsi ...
Paul Antrim ...
Graham Acres ...
The Blue Dancers of Goulamine ...
Shakira Caine ...


This adaptation of the famous short story by Rudyard Kipling tells the story of Daniel Dravot and Peachy Carnahan, two ex-soldiers in India when it was under British rule. They decide that the country is too small for them, so they head off to Kafiristan in order to become Kings in their own right. Kipling is seen as a character that was there at the beginning, and at the end of this glorious tale. Written by Greg Bole <bole@life.bio.sunysb.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

india | king | ex soldier | rifle | fall | See All (161) »


Long live adventure... and adventurers! See more »




PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

17 December 1975 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Rudyard Kipling's The Man Who Would Be King  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$8,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


(Technicolor) (uncredited)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The main theme of the movie is an old Irish air "The Moreen", more often called "The Minstrel Boy" after Thomas Moore wrote the lyrics "The minstrel boy to the war is gone." However, the words sung by Daniel and Peachey are from the Christian Hymn "The Son of God goes forth to war" by Reginald Heber. See more »


When Peachy and Danny travel with the caravan into the Khyber Pass, all of the camels are Arabian (aka dromedaries), rather than Asian (Bactrian) beasts. This is not an error. Despite their names, both species are present and available in their domestic form in eastern Afghanistan, where the Khyber Pass is, and have been for centuries before the events of the movie take place. See more »


Peachy Carnehan: I've come back. Give me a drink, Brother Kipling. Don't you know me?
Rudyard Kipling: No. I don't know you. Who are you? What can I do for you?
Peachy Carnehan: I told you; give me a drink. It was all settled right here in this office. Remember? Danny and Me signed a contract, and you witnessed it. You stood over there. I stood there, and Daniel stood here. Remember?
Rudyard Kipling: Carnehan!
Peachy Carnehan: Peachy Toliver Carnehan.
Peachy Carnehan: Of course.
Peachy Carnehan: Keep looking at me. It helps to keep my soul from flying off.
Rudyard Kipling: Carnehan.
Peachy Carnehan: The same - and not the same, who sat besides ...
See more »


Referenced in Mystery Science Theater 3000: Indestructible Man (1992) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Is it possible EVERYONE missed the point?
8 November 2005 | by (Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA) – See all my reviews

Top of my list of 10 films. But I cannot believe ALL the user comments to date have completely missed the emotional foundation of the film. Read Kipling's "Tommy" aloud if you don't understand why Peachy and Daniel (NOT "Danny") seemed so desperate for a new place in life. Otherwise, the best movie all the participants (except Saied Jaffery...you really need to explore his Bollywood career) have ever worked. Although "Zulu" is a close near-miss for Caine.

"The Man Who Would Be King" is (as has been noted by others) one of the very rare occasions of a motion picture improving upon brilliant literature. My "A Complete Kipling", dog-eared as each volume is, has not been as often read as my VHS and then DVD of THIS film. Should a writer/director of John Houston's capacity (demonstrated, of course) appear on the scene, I'm willing to suggest a dozen other projects.

39 of 71 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Despicable characters apache67
Are either Masons? dds740324
This is the movie that lost my faith in the Oscars empoascafabae
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question about missing scene Tavish_McDonell
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