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Farewell to the King (1989)

PG-13 | | Action, Adventure, Drama | 3 March 1989 (USA)
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An American soldier who escapes the execution of his comrades by Japanese soldiers in Borneo during WWII becomes the leader of a personal empire among the headhunters in this war story told... See full summary »

Director:

John Milius

Writers:

Pierre Schoendoerffer (book), John Milius (screenplay)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Nick Nolte ... Learoyd
Nigel Havers ... Botanist
Frank McRae ... Tenga
Gerry Lopez ... Gwai
Marilyn Tokuda Marilyn Tokuda ... Yoo
Chang Wing Choy Chang Wing Choy ... Lian
Aki Aleong ... Colonel Mitamura
Marius Weyers ... Conklin
William Wise William Wise ... Dynamite Dave
Wayne Pygram ... Bren Armstrong
Richard Morgan Richard Morgan ... Strech Lewis
Elan Oberon Elan Oberon ... Vivienne
James Fox ... Ferguson
Michael Nissman Michael Nissman ... General Sutherland
John Bennett Perry ... General MacArthur
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Storyline

An American soldier who escapes the execution of his comrades by Japanese soldiers in Borneo during WWII becomes the leader of a personal empire among the headhunters in this war story told in the style of Joseph Conrad and Rudyard Kipling. The American is reluctant to rejoin the fight against the Japanese on the urging of a British commando team but conducts a war of vengeance when the Japanese attack his adopted people. Written by Keith Loh <loh@sfu.ca>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

In the midst of war, one man vanished into the jungle, and emerged as king.

Genres:

Action | Adventure | Drama | War

Certificate:

PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

3 March 1989 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Adiós al rey See more »

Filming Locations:

Borneo See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$20,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$1,150,531, 5 March 1989

Gross USA:

$2,420,917

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$2,420,917
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby SR

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

"You wouldn't call 'Farewell to the King' a right-wing establishment movie, it's certainly not in favor of empire. I think this movie is the most honest depiction of my politics. It's also hopelessly romantic: I'm just a romantic fool" said John Milius. See more »

Goofs

Just before Lian the Magnificent lands on the fire, his pants are clearly shown to be wet down to protect the stunt performer from being burned. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Title Card: THE COAST OF BORNEO - April 1942 / Shortly after the fall of the Philippines the Japanese are triumphant in the Pacific
See more »

Alternate Versions

The US version of the film is different in quite a few ways to the European version. Despite being slightly shorter, it has some additional footage: the battle montage as the Japanese retreat is much longer (the entire battle at the river is cut from the European versions), while there's also a scene of James Fox reminiscing about a girl he knew in India that is missing from the European cut. However, there is a huge and fairly important scene cut from near the end of the picture, where Fairbourne (Nigel Havers) visits the Japanese general as he has his last meal before his execution. Otherwise there is a big structural difference with the prologue from the US cut showing Learoyd deserting and watching his companions being executed being much more comfortably placed in the flashback sequence when Learoyd is telling the story of how he became king in the European version. Among other small differences in the US version: the opening quote has been dropped and replaced with title cards specifying the date and location; the first scene between James Fox and Nigel Havers is slightly longer with a line of dialogue at the end to lead into the scene where he talks about the girl he loved in India; the scene with MacArthur is shorter in the US version, with the footage of MacArthur giving Fairbourne some of his tobacco deleted; the scene where Fairbourne betrays Learoyd by telling the Colonel about the salt has an extended ending with more dialogue; the end narration is longer ("I hope he finds his valley... somewhere.") with a slightly awkward edit in the final music cue to extend it; the end title music is different - the US version begins with a replay of the main title, the European version with part of Nigel's Trip. See more »

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User Reviews

The last king of Borneo
5 February 1999 | by Scott-8See all my reviews

One person I know saw this movie and called it "Ramblonde" after Nick Nolte's long hair. Other people have characterized as an adaptation of King Lear.

"Farewell to the King" is really neither. It's a story about a man who finds his kingdom and himself against the backdrop of World War Two Borneo.

The movie is touching and dramatic about a man who leaves behind a war he didn't want and everything he knew, only to have to face it again. Many questions are raised about the meaning of loyalty and honor, and who is your enemy and your friend.

Not, it's definitely not a "Rambo" movie, more a tight and involving drama the way they used to make them.


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