7.5/10
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49 user 18 critic

King Rat (1965)

Approved | | Drama, War | 27 October 1965 (USA)
Fast-talking wheeler-dealer Corporal King is stuck in a Malaysian P.O.W. camp during World War II and uses bribery and larceny to take de-facto control of the camp.

Director:

Bryan Forbes

Writers:

James Clavell (based on a novel by), Bryan Forbes (written for the screen by)
Reviews
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
George Segal ... Corporal King
Tom Courtenay ... Grey
James Fox ... Marlowe
Patrick O'Neal ... Max
Denholm Elliott ... Lt. Col. G.D. Larkin
James Donald ... Dr. Kennedy
Todd Armstrong ... Tex
John Mills ... Smedley-Taylor
Gerald Sim ... Jones
Leonard Rossiter ... McCoy
John Standing ... Daven
Alan Webb ... Brant
John Ronane John Ronane ... Hawkins
Sam Reese ... Kurt (as Sammy Reese)
Michael Lees ... Stevens
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Storyline

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 ... Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

He entered WWII a soldier... and left a King. See more »

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

[last lines]
Peter Marlowe: [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.
Peter Marlowe: Only hate, Grey. Only hate.
See more »

Crazy Credits

[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 »

Connections

Spoofed in King Frat (1979) See more »

Soundtracks

Adeste Fideles
(uncredited)
Written by Frederick Oakeley (1841)
Variation sung in distant background by POWs
See more »

User Reviews

 
"Gather round to hear the words of the King"
28 June 2007 | by thinker1691See all my reviews

Many unforgettable films are to be found in the annals of World War II. Avid movie goers know which ones they are. Among my favorites are 'The Great Escape, The Blue Max, Cross of Iron, and of course, Sink The Bismark," But occasionally, a film is made which deviates from the superficial and ventures into the realm of the incredible. That is the essence of "King Rat." Here viewers are exposed to the harsh realities of what it takes to survive in a hell hole, like a Japanese Prisoner of War Camp. Our hero, one, Cpl. King (George Segal) dwells amid hundreds of starving British and a few American P.O.W.s. However, unlike the rest, who are seen as listless, emaciated and dying , King is for the most part, healthy and appears none the worse for wear. One individual who daily wants to know why King, walks about nearly impervious to the obvious conditions is Lt. Robin Grey (Tom Courtenay, convincing in this role). It is his job as Camp Provost Marshal, to maintain order in a camp where smuggling, trading with the enemy and outright theft is common place. Knowing King is secretly dealing with the enemy, Robin daily waits for him to make a mistake. This will be difficult as King relies on the fact, everyone, regardless of rank seeks to stay alive by whatever means. Aiding King is Peter Marlowe (James Fox) who despite his higher rank readily joins King's other 'employees' such as Tex, (Todd Armstrong), Top Sgt. Max (Patrick O'Neal, Lt. G.D. Larkin, (Denholm Elliott), and Col. George Smedley-Taylor (John Mills). But it is the camp Doctor (James Donald) who asks the pertinent question of King. "What is your secret Cpl? Medically, it should be worth a fortune." Throughout this stark and tragic Black and White film, one is equally curious, until we discover King's dark secret. Once we know it, the anger is dissipated by the fact, the war will eventually be over. Then Cpl. King will be called upon to reveal it. A superior movie with top notch acting by every actor. ****


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Malay | Japanese

Release Date:

27 October 1965 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

King Rat See more »

Filming Locations:

Thousand Oaks, California, USA See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Coleytown See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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