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The Prisoner of Zenda (1979)

PG  |   |  Adventure, Comedy  |  17 August 1979 (USA)
4.9
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Ratings: 4.9/10 from 741 users  
Reviews: 12 user | 1 critic

Anthony Hope's classic tale gets a decidedly 'un-classic' treatment at the hands of Peter Sellers. Following the story somewhat, friends of the new King Rudolph of Ruritania fear for his ... See full summary »

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Title: The Prisoner of Zenda (1979)

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BBC adaptation of Anthony Hope's classic adventure novel.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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...
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General Sapt
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The Countess
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The Count
...
...
Antoinette
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Fritz
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...
Bruno
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Archbishop
Graham Stark ...
Erik
Michael Balfour ...
Luger
Arthur Howard ...
Deacon
...
Johann
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Storyline

Anthony Hope's classic tale gets a decidedly 'un-classic' treatment at the hands of Peter Sellers. Following the story somewhat, friends of the new King Rudolph of Ruritania fear for his life, and switch him with a look-a-like London cabby. Throw in two(!) lovely blondes, treachery, and a battle for life and honour, and enjoy life at its zaniest. Written by Derek Picken <dpicken@email.msn.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Adventure | Comedy

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

17 August 1979 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

O Prisioneiro de Zenda  »

Box Office

Budget:

$12,500,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (Ontario)

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Lead actors Peter Sellers and Lynne Frederick were married at the time that this movie was made and released. This picture is their only ever film they made together as actors. Frederick though does have an executive producer credit on Sellers' final film The Fiendish Plot of Dr. Fu Manchu (1980). See more »

Quotes

Rudolf IV: Michael, why do you hate me so?
Duke Michael: Because you are conceited, arrogant, spineless, selfish, shallow, pity, pompous and pitiful!
Rudolf IV: But apart from that?
See more »

Connections

Version of The Prisoner of Zenda (1922) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Unimpressive
8 May 2003 | by (Isle Of Bute , Scotland) – See all my reviews

I`m not very familiar with THE PRISONER OF ZENDA . I know it`s a novel by Anthony Hope that involves an English commoner who so resembles the King of Rurtinia so much that he becomes a stand in , I know that Robert Donat starred in a well regarded film version , and that the 1978 DOCTOR WHO story The Andriods Of Tara was based on Hope`s novel . That was all I really knew as I sat down to watch this comedy version of the story

I was totally unimpressed , not by the bare bones of the story but by the obvious fact that there`s no laughs in this alleged comedy . I can`t think of one moment when I cracked a smile never mind burst out laughing . In fact about half way through all the evidence points that writers Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais just gave up attempting to make lame jokes and just wrote a traditional version of the story . But my major gripe is with director Richard Quine who spent twelve and a half million dollars on this movie which looks like it has a budget less than a tenth of that sum . All the interior sets look totally cheap and fake and there`s an action sequence involving a stage coach which is laughably bad . The whole sequence is shot at ground level to disguise the fact that the coach isn`t moving more than 10 mph , cut to some abysmal back screen projection with Peter Sellers wrestling with one of the bad guys , then cut back again to an exterior shot of the 10mph coach with all the characters looking away from screen so you won`t notice the characters are played by stuntmen . I wasn`t fooled by this type of sequence in James Bond films from the 1980s and I wasn`t fooled here


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