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The Vagabond King (1930)

The story takes place in medieval France. Poet-rogue Francois Villon, sentenced to hang by King Louis XI for writing derogatory verses about him, is offered a temporary reprieve. His ... See full summary »


Ludwig Berger, Ernst Lubitsch (uncredited)


Brian Hooker (operetta), Herman J. Mankiewicz (adaptation) | 3 more credits »
Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Dennis King ... François Villon
Jeanette MacDonald ... Katherine
O.P. Heggie ... King Louis XI
Lillian Roth ... Huguette
Warner Oland ... Thibault
Arthur Stone ... Oliver the barber
Tom Ricketts ... The Astrologer (as Thomas Ricketts)
Lawford Davidson ... Tristan
Christian J. Frank Christian J. Frank ... Executioner
Elda Voelkel ... Girl
Dorothy Davis ... Brunette
Thora Waverly Thora Waverly ... Brunette
Cecile Cameron Cecile Cameron ... Brunette
Jean Douglas Jean Douglas ... Blonde
Eugenia Woodbury Eugenia Woodbury ... Blonde


The story takes place in medieval France. Poet-rogue Francois Villon, sentenced to hang by King Louis XI for writing derogatory verses about him, is offered a temporary reprieve. His hanging will be postponed for 24 hours, and in that time he must defeat the invading Burgundians and win the love of the beautiful Katherine. Written by Albert Sanchez Moreno <a.moreno@mindspring.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

remake | swashbuckler | operetta | See All (3) »


Paramount Pictures presents the 100% Technicolor All-Talking, All-Singing Musical Romance! See more »


Musical | Romance







Release Date:

17 February 1930 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Der König der Vagabunden See more »


Box Office


$1,200,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)


Color (2-strip Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Ernst Lubitsch oversaw the retakes, including a battle montage near the end of the film, without credit. See more »

Alternate Versions

This film was also released as a silent, for theatres not yet equipped for sound and for overseas markets that were not receptive to musicals. See more »


Version of The Oubliette (1914) See more »


Overture (Song of the Vagabonds)
Music by Rudolf Friml
Lyrics by Brian Hooker
Performed by Chorus
See more »

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User Reviews

Vagabond King is a lovely film.
22 April 2006 | by paul-2208See all my reviews

I have seen The Vagabond King (1930) twice on the big screen, in the restored two-strip Technicolor version and it is gorgeous. It is like a Rembrandt painting which moves, with lots of dark, muted colors which evoke the medieval setting. The smaller size of the film studio orchestras at this time (compared with symphonic proportions later on), and the stage-bound camera-work typical of early talkies, combine with the acting style of Dennis King and the rest of the cast, to give the modern viewer a sense of seeing this great musical on stage. In fact, a film such as this, I believe ought to be compared to stage productions or other films of the period, more than to later films. Dennis King's Shakepearian delivery and legitimate baritone singing voice would seem out of place in a later film, where subtlety would reign. How fortunate, then, that we have such a fine document from the Broadway creator of the role. Jeanette MacDonald fairly glows in this, her second film, and gives a haunting delivery of Only a Rose. As a fan of early stage and film musicals and the 1920s era in general, I highly recommend this film in the color version.

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