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Farewell to the King (1989)

PG-13 | | Action, Adventure, Drama | 3 March 1989 (USA)
An American soldier who escapes the execution of his comrades by Japanese soldiers in Borneo during WWII becomes the leader of a personal empire among the headhunters in this war story told... See full summary »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Captain Fairbourne
...
Tenga
...
Gwai
...
Marilyn Tokuda ...
Yoo
Chang Wing Choy ...
Lian
...
Colonel Mitamura
...
Conklin
William Wise ...
Dynamite Dave
...
Bren Armstrong
Richard Morgan ...
Strech Lewis
Elan Oberon ...
Vivienne
...
Ferguson
Michael Nissman ...
...
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Storyline

An American soldier who escapes the execution of his comrades by Japanese soldiers in Borneo during WWII becomes the leader of a personal empire among the headhunters in this war story told in the style of Joseph Conrad and Rudyard Kipling. The American is reluctant to rejoin the fight against the Japanese on the urging of a British commando team but conducts a war of vengeance when the Japanese attack his adopted people. Written by Keith Loh <loh@sfu.ca>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

In the midst of war, one man vanished into the jungle, and emerged as king.

Genres:

Action | Adventure | Drama | War

Certificate:

PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

3 March 1989 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Adiós al rey  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$20,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$2,420,917 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In February 1989, the film's writer-director John Milius said: "Orion isn't behind it. They don't think it is going to be big at the box office. You put all the sweat and blood you can into it, and the outcome is whatever happens" and "In a way - I don't know why - I guess this film is more heartfelt than anything I've done since Big Wednesday (1978) . . . the producers, Al Ruddy [Albert S. Ruddy[ and Andre Morgan, who are friends of mine now, were lied to by Orion executives. They did a very careful divide-and-conquer and turned us against each other. They [Albert S. Ruddy and Andre Morgan] would love to re-cut it the way I wanted . . . We'd all love to re-cut that movie and re-release it". See more »

Goofs

According to Learoyd's story, roughly three years have passed since he arrived among the tribe, but when he introduces his daughter to Sgt. Corbett, she is clearly five or six years old. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Title Card: THE COAST OF BORNEO - April 1942 / Shortly after the fall of the Philippines the Japanese are triumphant in the Pacific
See more »

Connections

Edited into Dinosaur Island (1994) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A moving, if slow, drama
5 August 2004 | by (Portsmouth, England) – See all my reviews

This is a curious piece whose dramatic arc takes a while to reach its full speed, but builds to a climax of considerable horror, involving cannibalism, genocide, loyalty and revenge. It is, I think, a mistake to label it an action movie: it is a drama, and played with a theatricality to which the viewer must adjust.

Nevertheless, once it gets into its stride this film has considerable charm.

The core cast bond closely and Frank Mcrae, who plays Sgt Tenga, and Marius Weyers (Sgt. Conklin) manage to give warmth to the invaders who threaten the survival of The People of the Hills.

The central relationship, between Nolte and Havers, is a fragile one which teeters on the brink of formulaic in Nolte's rescue of the sick Englishman and their mutual debts of gratitude and obligation. However, as they plunge into the conflict against the remnants of the defeated Japanese army, they each shock one another with what they are prepared to do.

I think the climax of the horror, which I do not wish to spoil, is brilliantly done. I felt the protagonists' turmoil and understood their brutal reactions, while still being shocked by it.

This film is open to charges of hokiness, theatricality and slowness, but, given a chance, it explores themes similar to those in The Thin Red Line; the imperialistic side effects of the Pacific war and the dehumanising effect of soldiering, against the fully human power of love and community.


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