The king of tiny Bratenberg hopes in vain his lazy, unruly heir Horace will behave for the sake of his whipping boy, abandoned commoner Jemmy, whom he had absurdly arrested as later his kid... See full summary »


(as Sydney Macartney)


(novel) (as Sid Fleischman), (teleplay) (as Max Brindle)

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Truan Munro ...
Nic Knight ...
Prince Horace
Karen Salt ...
Blind George
Queen Mum
Nigel Betts ...
Lord Chancellor (as Nicolas Amer)
Georg Tryphon ...
Jane Hazlegrove ...
Mrs. Chestney


The king of tiny Bratenberg hopes in vain his lazy, unruly heir Horace will behave for the sake of his whipping boy, abandoned commoner Jemmy, whom he had absurdly arrested as later his kid sister Annyrose, who lands in jail. Alas Horace only regrets Jemmy who bravely fails to wince or whine when whipped for the prince's faults. After Horace's tomfoolery sabotages vital border negotiations with related King Philip's ambassador, he flees the palace with Jemmy. They get kidnapped, and Horace learns to appreciate his street-smart 'inferior' while growing up a little. The king realizes emotionally neglecting Horace is, the root of his pranks for attention. Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Family | Fantasy


G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:




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Release Date:

28 September 1995 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Prince Brat and the Whipping Boy  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Max Brindle, screenwriter, is actually Albert Sidney Fleischman, author of the book version. See more »


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User Reviews

A family adventure that could use more attention
12 August 2008 | by (Guelph, Ontario, Canada) – See all my reviews

I caught a bit of this made-for-TV adaptation of "The Whipping Boy", the children's novel by Sid Fleischman, perhaps when it first aired. Later, while I was still in elementary school, and studying the Middle Ages for a while, I was assigned to read and study the book. Eventually, a day came when we all had to come to school dressed as medieval figures (I dressed as a king), and that day, we were shown this made-for-TV movie, so that was when I got to see the entire thing. Over eleven years later, I've finally seen it again, which I certainly don't regret.

Prince Horace is a spoiled, mischievous young prince who loves to cause trouble and pull pranks, and is very unpunctual. Jemmy and Annyrose are two poor, orphaned siblings who catch rats. Not long after a confrontation between the prince and the two siblings, Jemmy is captured one day while his sister is not in sight, and taken to the castle! Being heir to the throne, the prince cannot be spanked, and has a "whipping boy" to take beatings whenever the prince misbehaves! Jemmy has been chosen as Prince Horace's new whipping boy, so, now captive in the castle, he is the one who is punished for the spoiled prince's wrongdoings. Meanwhile, Annyrose has been wrongfully accused of theft, and has been sentenced to prison! One night, Jemmy and Prince Horace, who are both unhappy for different reasons, run away together, and are soon captured by two criminals known as Hold-Your-Nose Billy and Cutwater!

This adaptation of the book obviously isn't exactly the same, but from what I remember about the popular children's novel, this 1995 made-for-TV movie follows it quite well, with the mischievous Prince Horace and his "whipping boy", Jemmy, on an adventure where the prince has some valuable lessons to learn. I'm not sure how much I liked this TV version of "The Whipping Boy" the first time, but watching it again after all these years was an intriguing experience for the most part. It's a family adventure film with some rather moving, serious parts, as well as some humour. The story also has a good moral about child neglect, which Prince Horace is a victim of, and as for the "whipping boy" aspect, that was one of the things I learned about while studying the Middle Ages in elementary school all those years ago. Yes, the story is fictional, but misbehaving young princes really did have "whipping boys" to take their punishments for them centuries ago, as absurd as it may sound, which I remember was pointed out in a note on the last page of Fleischman's book!

Back when I first saw this movie, I didn't know it was a TV movie, not a theatrical one. I didn't know that until years later, when I looked the film up on IMDb, and that was also when I discovered that it apparently wasn't too widely recognized. After finally seeing it again, I would say it deserves more recognition, and would have worked on the silver screen. Unfortunately, this adaptation of Sid Fleischman's children's novel seems to be pretty rare now, but if you like family-friendly films that take place centuries ago, ones that both seriousness and humour, as well as morals, it could be worth searching for. It may not be the greatest film of its kind, but if you ask me, it certainly isn't strictly for kids, and could probably reach quite a wide audience if only more people heard of it.

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