27 user 5 critic

King of the Khyber Rifles (1953)

Approved | | Adventure, Drama, History | 19 March 1954 (Sweden)
A half-caste British officer in 19th-century India battles the prejudices of both his Army colleagues and the local populace while trying to help put down a rebellion led by a greedy local ruler.


Henry King


Ivan Goff (screenplay), Ben Roberts (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
1 nomination. See more awards »




Cast overview:
Tyrone Power ... Capt. Alan King
Terry Moore ... Susan Maitland
Michael Rennie ... Brig. Gen. J. R. Maitland
John Justin ... Lt. Geoffrey Heath
Guy Rolfe ... Karram Khan
Richard Wyler ... Lt. Ben Baird (as Richard Stapley)
Murray Matheson ... Maj. Ian MacAllister
Frank DeKova ... Ali Nur (as Frank de Kova)
Argentina Brunetti ... Lali
Sujata Rubener Sujata Rubener ... Native Dancer (as Sujata)


Freshly arrived Sandhurst-trained Captain Alan King, better versed in Pashtun then any of the veterans and born locally as army brat, survives an attack on his escort to his Northwest Frontier province garrison near the Khyber pass because of Ahmed, a native Afridi deserter from the Muslim fanatic rebel Karram Khan's forces. As soon as his fellow officers learn his mother was a native Muslim which got his parents disowned even by their own families, he falls prey to stubborn prejudiced discrimination, Lieutenant Geoffrey Heath even moves out of their quarters, except from half-Irish Lt. Ben Baird. Brigadier general J. R. Maitland, whose policy is full equality among whites, learns King knew Kurrum Khan as a boy and charges him with training and commanding native cavalry, which comes along fine. The general's egalitarian daughter Susan Maitland takes a fancy to King, even falls in love but the general decides to send her safely home to England after a kidnapped attempt when King saved ... Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


GREAT ADVENTURE OF INDIA! (original print ad - all caps) See more »


Approved | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Tyrone Power was widely considered too old for his character, as well as unconvincing as an officer in the British army. See more »


Captain King's pocket watch contains photographic images of his parents (~12:00) which must predate their stated 1833 date of death. The earliest known photograph of a person by Daguerre is from 1838 and were all exposed onto metallic silver plates. See more »


Karram Khan: You see Alan, even I am not wholly without a conscience. Last night you spared my life. Now I return the gesture. You will be returned safely to Peshawar. But we'll meet again and when we do there will be no hesitation. I will cut you out of my path as I would a weed. The scales are balanced now. There is no past.
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Referenced in Capital Visit (1955) See more »

User Reviews

Rousing tale of the raj
29 February 2008 | by lorenellroySee all my reviews

The story was previously filmed as The Black Watch ,after the famed British regiment of the same name,by none other than John Ford ,and is based on a once popular now long forgotten novel by Talbot Munday . In this 1953 version Tyrone Power plays Captain Alan King a mixed race Brish Officer in Imperial India in 1857.He leads a supply column of native troops ,the Khyber Rifles ,to the British base at Peshawar and they are attacked by Afridi tribesman under the command of his old childhood friend Karram Khan (Guy Rolfe).The attack is repelled and the column reaches Peshawar .There King falls in (reciprocated )love with the daughter of the base commander and in so doing incurs the enmity of a fellow officer Lieutenant Heath (John Justin)who also loves the young lady in question (Terry Moore).The revelation of his mixed race ancestry results in the girls father CommnaNder Maitland (Michael Rennie)to forbid the romance between King and his daughter .She is then kidnapped by Karrem Khan's forces and he sets out to rescue her by infiltrating his ranks .

Henry King is a largely neglected and under-rated director who made some splendid movies and in this instance he conjured up s work that has energy,flair and drive in abundance .Power is perhaps a tad too old for the part but still gives a dashing and attractive performance and is well backed yo by the menacing Rolfe ,the austere and dignified Rennie and the always reliable Justin.Moore is suitably decorative without being any great shakes in the Thespic department. The script touches on without really exploring the bigotry angle and overall this is a well shot and decently acted slice of Imperial heroics.The politically correct will not like it -but since I view them as children who need to grow up I won't let their thin lipped moral rigidity deter me from enjoying the picture .Nor should you

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Release Date:

19 March 1954 (Sweden) See more »

Also Known As:

Capitaine King See more »


Box Office


$2,190,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo (Western Electric Recording)


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.55 : 1
See full technical specs »

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