When Singapore surrendered to the Japanese in 1942, the Allied P.O.W.s, mostly British, but including a few Americans, were incarcerated in Changi prison. This was a P.O.W. camp like no other. There were no walls or barbed-wire fences, for the simple reason that there was no place for the prisoners to which to escape. Included among the prisoners is the American Corporal King (George Segal), a wheeler-dealer who has managed to established a pretty good life for himself in the camp. While most of the prisoners are near starvation and have uniforms that are in tatters, King eats well and and has crisp clean clothes to wear every day. His nemesis is Lieutenant Robin Grey (Sir Tom Courtenay), the camp Provost who attempts to keep good order and discipline. He knows that King is breaking camp rules by bartering with the Japanese, but can't quite get the evidence he needs to stop him. King soon forms a friendship with Lieutenant Peter Marlowe (James Fox), an upper class British officer who ...
He entered WWII a soldier... and left a King.
See more »
Did You Know?
Due to the cast, director and setting, this is often assumed to be a British movie, but it was entirely filmed in California. See more
When Max lifts the pot of boiling water from the hot plate he lifts it from the bottom to pour with his bare hand, which he shouldn't be able to do if the pot is hot enough to boil water. See more
[speaking about King
It wouldn't have occurred to you would it, Grey, that you're only alive because of what he gave you?
Lt. Robin Grey
What are you talking about? I never took anything from him. He never gave me anything.
Only hate, Grey. Only hate.
[Prologue] This is not a story of escape. It is a story of survival.
It is set in Changi Jail Singapore, in 1945
The Japanese did not have to guard Changi as a normal prison of war camp. The inmates of Changi had no friendly Swiss border or any other neutral country within reach. They were held captive not so much by high walls, or barbed wire, or machine-gun posts, but by the land and sea around them - and the jungle was not neutral, nor was the ocean.
They did not live in Changi. They existed. This is the story of that existence. See more
Spoofed in King Frat
Written by Frederick Oakeley (1841)
Variation sung in distant background by POWs See more