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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:

They made the toughest among them... King! See more »

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

James Clavell, the author of the original novel, based his book on his personal experiences as a prisoner of the Japanese in World War II. See more »

Goofs

King keeps his fresh eggs in an open bowl in a suitcase. They hide the case, before they can re-arrange the contents, in a hidden vault dropping it down sideways and undoubtedly breaking them. As they do this frequently they will have taken more care of this valuable commodity. See more »

Quotes

Cpl. King: How's that chair feel?
Peter Marlowe: Fine.
Cpl. King: Cost me eighty bucks.
Peter Marlowe: Did it? Yes, well I'd never have guessed.
Cpl. King: You'da said more, huh?
Peter Marlowe: No, I don't think so. I don't think I'd have said anything really. I've never been a great 'chair price guesser'.
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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

Referenced in Urban Legends: Final Cut (2000) See more »

Soundtracks

Adeste Fideles
(uncredited)
Written by Frederick Oakeley (1841)
Variation sung in distant background by POWs
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User Reviews

 
A grimly humorous meditation on power, class, privilege and character difficult to ever forget.
10 July 2004 | by JohnBunionSee all my reviews

I saw this grainy black and white film sometime in 1967 one steamy evening in a tin hooch Army movie theatre at TSN airfield on the outskirts of Saigon. The movie was punctuated by the sounds of mortars on the perimeter and the occasional flash from an aerial flare. I never forgot it. It rang true there. So true that no-one could say a word after. We just got drunk -- as usual. I haven't talked to many others who saw this movie. It hit right in the middle of the rising tide of despair over Vietnam. And since it wasn't actually an anti-war movie, I think it went nowhere. I believe it's origin is a short novel, possibly autobiographical by J.B. Clavell, author of Tai Pan and other sagas set in the 19th C orient. No matter what George Segal has done since, I have known that he has the heart of a rat. His King was a natural ruler in a perverse state of nature -- and his fate the fate of all maverick rulers in the end. If you can find it and see it, it will take on the character of a lost dream.


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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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