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Kings and Desperate Men (1981)

 |  Drama  |  22 August 1981 (Canada)
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Ratings: 6.2/10 from 77 users  
Reviews: 9 user | 6 critic

A group of terrorists take a radio disk jockey and his wife and child hostage in order to get their manifesto out to the world.



(story), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Title: Kings and Desperate Men (1981)

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Credited cast:
John Kingsley
Alexis Kanner ...
Lucas Miller
Margaret Trudeau ...
Elizabeth Kingsley
Budd Knapp ...
Judge McManus
Neil Vipond ...
Henry Sutton
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Marcel Beaulieu ...
Special Squad
Jean-Pierre Brown ...
Chris Kingsley
Kevin Fenlon ...
Jane Hooper ...
Girl with Radio
Andre Koudsey ...
Special Squad
Bob Lepage ...
Special Squad
Frank Moore ...
Pete Herrera
Kate Nash ...


On the eve of Christmas, an urbane, loutish and acidly cynical Montreal radio talk-show host is taken hostage in his own studio by a band of crusading terrorists who want a new on-the-air trial of a comrade they feel was wrongly convicted. For collateral, the terrorists have also taken hostage his rich wife and mentally retarded son in their own home. The listening audience shall act as the jury and phone in their verdicts. As the trial progresses, disembodied voices, Christmas hymns, religious imagery, one of the terrorists relating the story of "The Wind in the Willows," the voice of a child singing "Come All Ye Faithful" in Latin reflect the psyche of the characters in moments of truth. All the while, the talk-show host must sustain the role of grand showman and project his wit and cavalierness to the listening audience, despite the tense situation. Captor and captive engage in a furious battle of wits. Written by thustlebird

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The lives of innocent people hang by the jagged thread of a maniac's whim... See more »







Release Date:

22 August 1981 (Canada)  »

Also Known As:

Kings and Desperate Men: A Hostage Incident  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


CAD 1,200,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Director Alexis Kanner met the film's co-writer Edmund Ward on the set of Goodbye Gemini (1970) (a.k.a. Twinsanity), with which both were involved. When Kanner was planning to seriously progress with pre-production, he remembered Ward and called him into to collaborate on the script. See more »


The reflection of two crew members are briefly seen just before Margaret Trudeau enters an elevator towards the beginning of the film. See more »


Lucas Miller: You heard the man. There is no more recourse in the law.
Kidnapper: Law dee dah dee dah.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Kineversal Productions Presents a Film of a Hostage Incident See more »


Featured in In Search of the Prisoner (2001) See more »

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User Reviews

A pretty bad movie
9 October 2000 | by (washington dc) – See all my reviews

I saw this movie, hoping to expect something fairly decent, since Patrick McGoohan was the star. How disappointed I was. It was one of the worst movies I've ever seen. Patrick McGoohan totally overacts, and that's just one of the many things that ruins this movie. His overacting sometimes got a little embarassing to watch.

Many conversations going on at the same time and weird camera angles also make this movie hard to watch. And it was overly long. I never thought it was going to end.

If you're a Patrick McGoohan fan, you should see it just because he's in it. That's why I saw it. But I'll never watch it again. I could never sit through this movie one more time.

4 of 13 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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