7.7/10
3,829
50 user 11 critic

The Prisoner of Zenda (1937)

Approved | | Adventure, Drama, Romance | 3 September 1937 (USA)
An Englishman on a Ruritarian holiday must impersonate the king when the rightful monarch, a distant cousin, is drugged and kidnapped.

Directors:

John Cromwell, W.S. Van Dyke (uncredited)

Writers:

Anthony Hope (celebrated novel), John L. Balderston (screen play) | 3 more credits »
Reviews

On Disc

at Amazon

Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Adventure
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

An Englishman vacationing in a Ruritarian kingdom is recruited to impersonate his cousin, the soon-to-be-crowned king when the monarch is drugged and kidnapped.

Director: Richard Thorpe
Stars: Stewart Granger, Deborah Kerr, Louis Calhern
Drama | History | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A pair of lookalikes, one a former French aristocrat and the other an alcoholic English lawyer, fall in love with the same woman amongst the turmoil of the French Revolution.

Directors: Jack Conway, Robert Z. Leonard
Stars: Ronald Colman, Elizabeth Allan, Edna May Oliver
Lost Horizon (1937)
Adventure | Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A plane crash delivers a group of people to the secluded land of Shangri-La - but is it the miraculous utopia it appears to be?

Director: Frank Capra
Stars: Ronald Colman, Jane Wyatt, Edward Everett Horton
Animation | Adventure | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.9/10 X  

The King of Ruritania is kidnapped by his scheming brother: can his British double save him?

Stars: Christine Amor, Robert Coleby, Clair Crowther
Captain Blood (1935)
Action | Adventure
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

After being wrongly convicted as a traitor, Peter Blood, an English physician, is sent to exile in the British colonies of the Caribbean, where he becomes a pirate.

Director: Michael Curtiz
Stars: Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, Lionel Atwill
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

An amnesiac World War I veteran falls in love with a music hall star, only to suffer an accident which restores his original memories but erases his post-war life.

Director: Mervyn LeRoy
Stars: Ronald Colman, Greer Garson, Philip Dorn
Scaramouche (1952)
Action | Adventure | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

In France during the late 18th Century, a man sets out to avenge the death of his friend at the hands of a master swordsman.

Director: George Sidney
Stars: Stewart Granger, Janet Leigh, Eleanor Parker
The Sea Hawk (1940)
Action | Adventure | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Geoffrey Thorpe, a buccaneer, is hired by Queen Elizabeth I to nag the Spanish Armada. The Armada is waiting for the attack on England and Thorpe surprises them with attacks on their galleons where he shows his skills on the sword.

Director: Michael Curtiz
Stars: Errol Flynn, Brenda Marshall, Claude Rains
Adventure | Fantasy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

In medieval Persia, during the rule of Caliph Harun-Al-Rashid, Sinbad the Sailor boasts about his latest adventures to his friends.

Director: Richard Wallace
Stars: Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Maureen O'Hara, Walter Slezak
Ivanhoe (1952)
Adventure | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A knight seeks to free the captive King Richard and put him back on the throne.

Director: Richard Thorpe
Stars: Robert Taylor, Elizabeth Taylor, Joan Fontaine
Certificate: Passed Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Three British soldiers on the Northwest Frontier of India struggle against the enemy - and themselves.

Director: Henry Hathaway
Stars: Gary Cooper, Franchot Tone, Richard Cromwell
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

D'Artagnan and his musketeer comrades thwart the plans of Royal Prime Minister Richelieu to usurp the King's power.

Director: George Sidney
Stars: Lana Turner, Gene Kelly, June Allyson
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
Ronald Colman ... Major Rudolf Rassendyll / The Prisoner of Zenda
Madeleine Carroll ... Princess Flavia
C. Aubrey Smith ... Colonel Zapt
Raymond Massey ... Black Michael
Mary Astor ... Antoinette de Mauban
David Niven ... Fritz von Tarlenheim
Douglas Fairbanks Jr. ... Rupert of Hentzau
Montagu Love ... Detchard
Philip Sleeman Philip Sleeman ... Albert von Lauengram
Eleanor Wesselhoeft Eleanor Wesselhoeft ... Frau Holf - Cook
Florence Roberts ... Duenna (scenes deleted)
Torben Meyer ... Max - Butler
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Arthur Byron ... (scenes deleted)
Francis Ford ... (scenes deleted)
Margaret Tallichet ... (scenes deleted)
Edit

Storyline

This is a classic swashbuckler. Rudolph Rassendyll, Rudolf V's identical distant cousin, is asked to risk his life and impersonate the would-be king when his relative is kidnapped before his impending coronation. If Rudolf V isn't present at the ceremony, he will forfeit the crown to his older half-brother. Complications ensue when Princess Flavia, the king's cousin and betrothed, begins to notice a "personality change" in her fiancé. Written by Albert Sanchez Moreno <a.moreno@mindspring.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The most thrilling swordfight ever filmed... See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

3 September 1937 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Der Gefangene von Zenda See more »

Filming Locations:

California, USA

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$1,250,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the National Film Registry in October 1991. See more »

Goofs

Colman's hairstyle changes during the scene on the terrace with Madeleine Carroll. In the brief dialogue with Aubrey Smith, his hair is longer and swept back. Presumably this part of the scene had to be re-shot a few weeks later. See more »

Quotes

Rudolph Rassendyll: King for a day! What would it mean if I fail?
Col. Zapt: [Grimly] Your life and mine and Fritz's here!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Have You Got Any Castles? (1938) See more »

Soundtracks

On the Beautiful Blue Danube, Op.314
(1866) (uncredited)
Written by Johann Strauss
Whistled by Wilhelm von Brincken
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Lookalike Saves Kingdom in Classic!
14 November 2000 | by cariartSee all my reviews

'The Prisoner of Zenda' is one of the most fondly-remembered films of the '30s, and for good reason. It offers Ronald Colman, one of Hollywood's most beloved British stars, in the dual role of Rudolf, crown prince of a small European kingdom, and Rudolf Rassendyll, his look-alike British cousin, end product of a brief affair of an ancestor (as the Englishman puts it, "Fishing in forbidden waters"); the radiant Madeleine Carroll, best-known as Robert Donat's leading lady in Hitchcock's classic 'The 39 Steps', as the royal betrothed, who falls in love with the pretender; Raymond Massey, Canadian star of H.G. Wells' SF masterpiece, 'Things to Come' (and, 3 years later, the quintessential Abraham Lincoln on stage and in film!), as Black Michael, Rudolf's scheming half-brother; and, best of all, a youthful Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., son of silent Hollywood's greatest swashbuckler (and a pretty fair swashbuckler, himself), as the suavely villainous ally of Michael.

The story is simple, and has been done many times before, but never with such elan; drugged monarch-to-be must be impersonated by look-alike for coronation, lest kingdom fall into hands of evil half-brother. In the hands of this PERFECT cast (with terrific support by C. Aubrey Smith, a young David Niven, and Mary Astor) the tale becomes a stylish tale of love, intrigue, and derring-do. High points include an astonishingly beautiful Royal Ball, where Colman and Carroll reveal their love; a very funny yet menacing meeting between Colman and Fairbanks, as they discuss the real King's potential fate; and best of all, a MAGNIFICENT climactic swordfight between the pair, as they lunge and parry furiously through the halls of a castle, while exchanging quips and one-liners.

This is swashbuckling at it's finest! If you are unfamiliar with Ronald Colman's work, you're in for a treat...Don't miss it!


23 of 23 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 50 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Check Out What's Playing on IMDb Freedive

See what movies and TV series you can watch for free today, and visit IMDb Freedive for even more. Select any poster below to play the movie!

Find more things to watch

Stream Popular Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed