Ne'er-do-well Harry Flashman is coerced by Otto von Bismark into impersonating a prince.



(screenplay), (novel)

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Richard Pearson ...
Duchy Chamberlain
Alan Howland ...
Duchy Chamberlain


Captain Harry Flashman of the British army is a cad, a coward, and a lecher who always seems to come off inadvertently heroic. While romancing renowned courtesan Lola Montes, Harry is recruited against his will by Otto von Bismarck to substitute for a lookalike Prussian prince ostensibly in order to help Bismarck enlarge his hold over German duchies. But Bismarck has something more sinister in mind for both Harry and the prince. Written by Jim Beaver <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


See Capt. Harry Flashman surrender his way to victory! See more »


PG | See all certifications »





Release Date:

October 1975 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

El cobarde heroico  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Arthur Lowe was cast in this film but was replaced. See more »


At c.47 minutes Flashman strikes a red ball with his cue. However, in all variants of billiards the cue-ball is white. See more »


[first lines]
Harry Flashman: So, the last thing I have to tell you young fellows is this: play up and play the game, honor your queen and country, mind what your masters tell you, say your prayers each night, keep your minds and your bodies clean, take a cold bath each day, and you'll find you can always look the world in the eye like an English gentleman.
[audience members concurs, muttering "Here, here"]
Harry Flashman: Now my lads, I'm just a simple soldier.
[Audience members murmer objections and so does the headmaster]
Harry Flashman: Yes...
See more »


Spun-off from Tom Brown's School Days (1940) See more »


Music by Johann Strauss
Arranged by Ken Thorne
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User Reviews

A Huge Disappointment
11 October 2005 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

As an avid fan of the Flashman books by George McDonald Fraser, I looked forward immensely to seeing Flashy on the big screen when this film was first released. Sadly it was a huge disappointment then - so I left it alone for 20 years before going back to watch it again, but it was no better the second time. Mr Fraser is a tremendously skillful writer, but I am not a fan of his film screenplay work with Richard Lester. The penchant for slapstick spoilt 'The Three Musketeers' for me and the same applies here. To me, the whole tone and feel of the film is wrong. The Flashman books are uproariously funny in parts, but they are adventure novels. There is much seriousness in the way the adventures that Flashman has - after all, he is involved in dangerous situations. This is conveyed in the novels, but not conveyed at all on film due to the its comedic style. It is a tremendous shame as it could have a great film had it been a more faithful adaptation of the style of the book. When I first read that the book was to be filmed, the article said that the film was to star Oliver Reed. I rejoiced, as Reed to me was the epitome of Flashman. How I would have loved to see him in the role. Malcolm McDowell is a good actor, but does not fit the visual image of Flashman created by the books (too scrawny looking! Flashman is supposed to be a big strapping fellow). Neverheless Reed was excellent as Bismarck. What kills the film is that it is made as a comedy. The only scene in which it creates the true atmosphere of the book is the scene in which Flashman kills de Gautet (Tom Bell). A great shame, as the production values, costumes, sets etc are superb and the casting is generally excellent - just about everybody in the film is well cast apart from Malcolm McDowell. Possibly the directorship of Richard Lester was responsible for the way the film is, as a recent radio adaptation of 'Flash For Freedom', adapted by Mr Fraser, worked quite well. Perhaps one day we may see Flashman done justice on screen.

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