Kind Hearts and Coronets ()

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A distant poor relative of the Duke D'Ascoyne plots to inherit the title by murdering the eight other heirs who stand ahead of him in the line of succession.

  • Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 4 wins & 2 nominations.
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Cast verified as complete

The D'Ascoyne Family: The Duke / The Banker / The Parson / The General / The Admiral / Young Ascoyne / Young Henry / Lady Agatha
The Hangman
The Prison Governor
Crown Counsel
Lord High Steward
John Salew ...
Mr. Perkins
Lyn Evans ...
The Farmer
The Schoolmistress
Peggy Ann Clifford ...
Anne Valery ...
The Girl in the Punt
The Reporter
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Stanley Beard ...
Warder (uncredited)
Norman Fisher ...
Member of D'Ascoyne Household (uncredited)
Maxwell Foster ...
Warder (uncredited)
Peter Gawthorne ...
First Lord Delivering Verdict (uncredited)
Molly Hamley-Clifford ...
Lady Redpole (uncredited)
Leslie Handford ...
Gamekeeper Hoskins (uncredited)
Nicholas Hill ...
Sergeant-at-Arms (uncredited)
Fletcher Lightfoot ...
Peer of the Realm (uncredited)
Cavan Malone ...
Young Graham (uncredited)
Warder in Jail (uncredited)
Gordon Phillott ...
Clerk of Parliament (uncredited)
Harry Phipps ...
Lawyer (uncredited)
Young Louis (uncredited)
Ivan Staff ...
Valuer (uncredited)
Defence Counsel (uncredited)
Young Sibella (uncredited)
George Wilson ...
Lord (uncredited)
Harold Young ...
Captain (uncredited)

Directed by

Robert Hamer

Written by

Roy Horniman ... (novel)
Robert Hamer ... (screenplay) &
John Dighton ... (screenplay)
Nancy Mitford ... (screenplay revisions) (uncredited)

Produced by

Michael Balcon ... producer
Michael Relph ... associate producer

Music by

Ernest Irving ... (uncredited)

Cinematography by

Douglas Slocombe ... director of photography

Editing by

Peter Tanner

Editorial Department

Roy Baker ... second assistant editor (uncredited)
Seth Holt ... assembly cutter (uncredited)
John Jympson ... second assistant editor (uncredited)

Casting By

Margaret Harper Nelson ... (uncredited)

Art Direction by

William Kellner

Costume Design by

Anthony Mendleson

Makeup Department

Barbara Barnard ... hair stylist
Harry Frampton ... makeup artist
Pearl Orton ... hair stylist (as Pearl Gardner)
Ernest Taylor ... makeup artist
Daphne Martin ... assistant hair stylist (uncredited)

Production Management

Leigh Aman ... unit production manager
Hal Mason ... production supervisor

Second Unit Director or Assistant Director

Norman Priggen ... assistant director
John Hewlett ... third assistant director (uncredited)
David W. Orton ... second assistant director (uncredited)

Art Department

Grace Bryan-Brown ... draughtsman (uncredited)
Bert Davey ... assistant art director (uncredited)
Norman Dorme ... draughtsman (uncredited)
Roger Hopkin ... draughtsman (uncredited)
Jack Shampan ... draughtsman (uncredited)
V. Shaw ... draughtsman (uncredited)
R. Thurgarland ... draughtsman (uncredited)

Sound Department

Stephen Dalby ... sound supervisor
John W. Mitchell ... sound recordist (as John Mitchell)
Norman King ... chief sound engineer (uncredited)
Peter Musgrave ... assistant sound editor (uncredited)
A. Steadman ... boom operator (uncredited)
Eric Stockl ... sound camera operator (uncredited)
Gordon Stone ... dubbing editor (uncredited)
Pat Wheeler ... assistant boom operator (uncredited)

Special Effects by

Geoffrey Dickinson ... special effects
Sydney Pearson ... special effects

Camera and Electrical Department

Jeff Seaholme ... camera operator
Jack Dooley ... still photographer (uncredited)
Arthur Lemming ... assistant camera (uncredited)
Bob Penn ... still photographer (uncredited)
P. Pollock ... clapper loader (uncredited)
Ken Westbury ... clapper loader: second unit (uncredited)
Hugh Wilson ... focus puller (uncredited)

Costume and Wardrobe Department

Edith Crutchley ... wardrobe mistress (uncredited)
Ben Foster ... wardrobe master (uncredited)

Music Department

Ernest Irving ... conductor: The Philharmonia Orchestra
The Philharmonia Orchestra ... musicians: orchestra

Script and Continuity Department

Phyllis Crocker ... continuity
Susan Carbutt ... assistant continuity (uncredited)

Additional Crew

J. Arthur Rank ... presenter (as J.Arthur Rank)
John Newnham ... publicist (uncredited)
Pat O'Connor ... publicist (uncredited)
Crew verified as complete

Production Companies




Special Effects


Other Companies

  • RCA (sound system)


Plot Summary

In prison awaiting execution the next morning, Louis, the 10th Duke of Chalfont, puts down on paper the events that led him to his current situation. His mother has been banished from her family, the D'Ascoynes, after she married Louis' father, who was considered far beneath her. After her death, the D'Ascoynes refused permission for her to be buried in the family crypt. Louis then plots his revenge, and kills all those ahead of him in the succession until he becomes the Duke. Along the way, he becomes involved with the married Sibelia who, when spurned, makes sure he ends up in prison. The day before his execution, Sibelia recants her testimony, saving him not only from the gallows, but also sets him free. Once outside the prison however, he realizes he's forgotten one little thing. Written by garykmcd

Plot Keywords
Taglines He chopped down the family tree... See more »
Parents Guide View content advisory »

Additional Details

Also Known As
  • Noblesse oblige (France)
  • Adel verpflichtet (Germany)
  • Ocho sentencias de muerte (Spain)
  • 仁心与冠冕 (China, Mandarin title)
  • Šlechetné Srdce a Šlechtické Korunky (Czechia)
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  • 106 min
Official Sites
Aspect Ratio
Sound Mix
Filming Locations

Did You Know?

Trivia Sir Alec Guinness nearly drowned in the scene where the Admiral goes down with his sinking ship. Guinness was held down by wires whilst the set filled up with water. Once the scene was wrapped, the crew started to leave, until one technician suddenly realized that they had forgotten to release Sir Alec from the wires holding him underwater. He immediately dove into the waters with some wire-cutters and freed Guinness. Fortunately for all concerned, Guinness took great pride in his ability to hold his breath for long periods of time. See more »
Goofs The first murder that Louis Mazzini commits involves him swimming fully dressed underwater to release a boat from its moorings. In spite of having brought no change of clothes or even a towel, he is shown shortly after committing the murder paddling down the river with his clothes bone-dry. See more »
Movie Connections Featured in Michael Balcon (1961). See more »
Soundtracks Il mio tesoro intanto See more »
Crazy Credits The opening credits list photos of the 4 leading actors with their character names; in the case of Alec Guinness, 8 photos of the 8 characters he plays are shown, along with the one character name of "The D'Ascoyne Family." In the end credits, the 8 character names are listed for him. See more »
Quotes Sibella: [sobs] Oh Louis! I don't want to marry Lionel!
Louis Mazzini: Why not?
Sibella: He's so dull.
Louis Mazzini: I must admit he exhibits the most extraordinary capacity for middle age that I've ever encountered in a young man of twenty-four.
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