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 ...
They made the toughest among them... King!
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Did You Know?
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
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
How's that chair feel?
Cost me eighty bucks.
Did it? Yes, well I'd never have guessed.
You'da said more, huh?
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'.
[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
Referenced in Urban Legends: Final Cut
Written by Frederick Oakeley (1841)
Variation sung in distant background by POWs See more