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The Prince and the Pauper (1977)
"Crossed Swords" (original title)

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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 1,040 users  
Reviews: 24 user | 4 critic

A poor boy and the Crown Prince of England exchange identities, but events force the pair to experience each other's lives as well.



(original screenplay), (screenplay), 2 more credits »
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Title: The Prince and the Pauper (1977)

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Two lookalike boys, one a poor street kid and the other a prince, exchange places to see what the other's life is like.

Directors: William Keighley, William Dieterle
Stars: Errol Flynn, Claude Rains, Henry Stephenson


Cast overview, first billed only:
Lady Edith
Edward / Tom
Julian Orchard ...
Prince's Dresser
Princess Elizabeth
Lady Jane
Mother Canty
Graham Stark ...
Preston Lockwood ...


Tom Canty is a poor English boy who bears a remarkable resemblance to Edward, Prince of Wales and son of King Henry VIII. The two boys meet and decide to play a joke on the court by dressing in each other's clothes, but the plan goes awry when they are separated and each must live the other's life. Written by Eric Sorensen <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

17 March 1978 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El príncipe y el mendigo  »

Box Office


$8,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (DVD)

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The last non-special-event movie to play Radio City Music Hall in NYC. See more »


Tom Canty: If you think the food may be poisoned, why not feed it to a dog, or a plumber?
See more »


Remade as The Prince and the Pauper (1996) See more »

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User Reviews

More Than You Bargain For
4 December 2007 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

For those who are expecting a straight telling of Mark Twain's story or a remake of the Errol Flynn classic, you're going to get more than you bargain for. The characters have been greatly expanded and several new ones have been created to give the plot a little more body.

Mark Lester, nine years after being the screen's Oliver, plays the dual role of Edward Tudor who becomes Edward VI of England and Tom Canty the beggar boy doppleganger. Young Tom is a much brighter lad and has been given the curse as his father Ernest Borgnine sees it of reading which encourages idleness. It's not good to be idle when your father is trying to teach you the family trade of thievery.

Tom's not cut out for it and one day in eluding pursuers he stumbles into the royal palace where Prince Edward notices the resemblance straight off. As a joke the two of them exchange clothing, but then the real Prince of Wales gets tossed out of the palace and back into Ernest Borgnine's clutches.

In the meantime King Henry VIII played by Charlton Heston with considerable padding is dying and shuffles off the mortal coil with Tom Canty given some real upward mobility, unheard of in Tudor England. And the real prince struggles dealing both with his father's death and how to get out of this predicament, making only one real friend out there, Oliver Reed as Miles Hendon.

Director Richard Lester was lucky enough to secure four Best Actor Oscar Winners for his cast, Borgnine, Heston, Rex Harrison as the Duke of Norfolk and George C. Scott as the Ruffler. My favorite in the film is Scott in the added role of the Ruffler, former monk now turned head of an outlaw band because Henry VIII closed the monasteries and looted them for his treasury. It's one droll and witty performance, Scott steals the film when he's in it.

The Ruffler is only addition to the plot. There's a subplot involving David Hemmings as Reed's brother Hugh stealing the family estate out from under Reed while he was serving abroad and his bride Raquel Welch besides. So Crossed Swords now deals with two usurped heirs.

Though I liked seeing all these people, I'm not sure that a more straight forward version of the story wouldn't have been better. Still the film is entertaining enough, but I think the classic Warner Brothers film is better.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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