7.5/10
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King Rat (1965)

Approved | | Drama, War | 27 October 1965 (USA)
Fast-taking wheeler-dealer Corporal King (George Segal), in a Malaysian P.O.W. camp during World War II, uses bribery and larceny to take de facto control of the camp from his senior officers.

Director:

Bryan Forbes

Writers:

James Clavell (based on a novel by), Bryan Forbes (written for the screen by)
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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 Alan Webb ... Brant
John Ronane John Ronane ... Hawkins
Sam Reese 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 »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Malay | Japanese

Release Date:

27 October 1965 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El caudillo de los desalmados 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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Did You Know?

Trivia

Due to the cast and director and setting, this is often assumed to be a British movie, but it was entirely filmed in California. See more »

Goofs

The shoulder patch that Cpl. King (George Segal) is wearing is that of the 34th Infantry Division(Red Bull). The 34th ID served in the European Theater of Operations not in the Pacific. The 34th ID patch is a black Mexican water jug called an "olla" with a red bull's skull superimposed. The producers may have wanted to use the patch of the Philippine Division commanded by Maj.Gen. Jonathan Wainwright. This was the unit that surrendered to the Japanese on Bataan. The Philippine Div. patch was a red shield with a yellow carabao's head (water buffalo) superimposed. See more »

Quotes

Lt. Robin Grey: Where's the money?
Cpl. King: What money, sir?
Lt. Robin Grey: [Impatiently] The money from the sale of the diamond!
Cpl. King: [Acting as if he doesn't know what Grey's talking about] What diamond, sir?
Lt. Robin Grey: All right, all right, Corporal. The War will be over one day, and then you'll get yours!
Cpl. King: [Condescendingly] All right, sir. I believe you... but until then...
[He salutes half-heartedly and leaves]
See more »

Connections

Featured in A Walk on the Moon (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

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

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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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