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The Man Who Would Be King (1975)

Two British former soldiers decide to set themselves up as kings in Kafiristan, a land where no white man has set foot since Alexander the Great.


John Huston


John Huston (screenplay), Gladys Hill (screenplay) | 1 more credit »

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Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 4 nominations. See more awards »




Complete credited cast:
Sean Connery ... Daniel Dravot
Michael Caine ... Peachy Carnehan
Christopher Plummer ... Rudyard Kipling
Saeed Jaffrey ... Billy Fish
Larbi Doghmi Larbi Doghmi ... Ootah (as Doghmi Larbi)
Jack May Jack May ... District Commissioner
Karroom Ben Bouih Karroom Ben Bouih ... Kafu Selim
Mohammad Shamsi Mohammad Shamsi ... Babu
Albert Moses ... Ghulam
Paul Antrim Paul Antrim ... Mulvaney
Graham Acres Graham Acres ... Officer
The Blue Dancers of Goulamine The Blue Dancers of Goulamine ... Dancers
Shakira Caine ... Roxanne


This adaptation of the famous short story by Rudyard Kipling tells the story of Daniel Dravot and Peachy Carnahan, two ex-soldiers in India when it was under British rule. They decide that the country is too small for them, so they head off to Kafiristan in order to become Kings in their own right. Kipling is seen as a character that was there at the beginning, and at the end of this glorious tale. Written by Greg Bole <bole@life.bio.sunysb.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Adventure in all its glory! See more »




PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Release Date:

19 December 1975 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Rudyard Kipling's The Man Who Would Be King See more »

Filming Locations:

Todgha Gorge, Morocco See more »


Box Office


$8,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$13,200,000, 31 December 1975
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo


Color (Technicolor) (uncredited)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Sir Sean Connery and Michael Caine later sued Allied Artists for what they felt was improper percentage profit share. They were reportedly awarded 250,000 dollars each. See more »


In Rudyard Kipling's office at the beginning of the film, Peachy states that according to Herodotus (pronounced "Harry-odotus"), Alexander the Great defeated King Oxyartes and took Roxanna as his wife. Herodotus actually died about 70 years before Alexander was born, thus making him unable to recount facts about Alexander's life history. See more »


Peachy Carnehan: It took him half an hour to fall.
See more »


Referenced in Danger Mouse: The Toad Who Would Be King (2017) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

John Huston: A Man Who Was King
6 March 2007 | by j_beaudineSee all my reviews

It took John Huston more than 20 years to bring one of his favorite stories, "The Man Who Would Be King," to the big screen. Originally, he had Humphrey Bogart and Clark Gable in mind for the lead roles. Sean Connery and Michael Caine would end up in the roles. Overall, it was worth the wait.

Based on Rudyard Kipling's short story, "The Man Who Would Be King" is a tale set in the 1880s at the height of the British empire's rule in India. Daniel Dravot and Peachy Carnehan (Connery and Caine respectfully) are two soldiers turned con men who decide to conquer Kafiristan, a remote section of Afghanistan. Once there, the two men plan to train the natives into an army, become rulers, and steal the country's treasure left behind by Alexander the Great. However, due to a misunderstanding, Daniel is crowned king and is seen as a possible god and descent of Alexander. Peachy wants to stick with the plan, but Daniel soon becomes consumed by his new power.

In a decade that evolved around the 'New Hollywood,' Huston was one of the very few filmmakers from the Studiio-era to be able to continue his craftsmanship and turn out some fine stories. In a way, "The Man Who Would Be King" is a big screen epic presented on a smaller scale. Despite all the breathtaking scenery and fine set pieces, it ultimately is a character driven story about two friends staying together until the end.

The performances of Connery and Caine rank among the best work from their distinguished careers. Christopher Plummer also gives a fine performance as Kipling himself. Huston, who always seemed to adapt other's materials successfully, achieved one of his most personal projects into fine perfection. With beautiful locations and a wonderful musical score by Maurice Jarre, "The Man Who Would Be King" is not only one of Huston's best, but is also one of the best films to come out from the 70s that still had a certain feel of stories that had a feel of a time long gone when film audiences were able to enjoy films that had everything. Adventure, comedy, drama, suspense, and so forth. I guess you could say 'They don't make them like they use to' after viewing this film from one of the great film mavericks of all time.

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