5.3/10
14,422
54 user 18 critic

King Ralph (1991)

As the only relative to take over the Royal throne, a down on his luck American slob must learn the ways of the English.

Director:

David S. Ward

Writers:

Emlyn Williams (novel), David S. Ward (screenplay)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
John Goodman ... Ralph
Peter O'Toole ... Willingham
John Hurt ... Graves
Camille Coduri ... Miranda
Richard Griffiths ... Phipps
Leslie Phillips ... Gordon
James Villiers ... Hale
Joely Richardson ... Princess Anna
Niall O'Brien Niall O'Brien ... McGuire
Julian Glover ... King Gustav
Judy Parfitt ... Queen Katherine
Ed Stobart Ed Stobart ... Dysentery
Gedren Heller Gedren Heller ... Punk Girl
Rudolph Walker ... King Mulambon
Michael Johnson Michael Johnson ... Hamilton
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Storyline

When an accident obliterates the British royal family and most of its branches, a desperate geneological search discovers the next King: Ralph, a sleazy American lounge singer. Can Ralph measure up to the job, even with the help of loyal aristocrat Willingham? Written by Reid Gagle

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

When Ralph becomes royalty, laughter reigns! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Romance

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

15 February 1991 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

King Ralph I See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$8,327,550, 18 February 1991

Gross USA:

$34,002,045

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$52,487,045
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby SR

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

According to "Variety", on this movie "Lensing was done on U.K. locations, and at London's Pinewood Studios." See more »

Goofs

The "punks" who are shown watching television and commenting at various times throughout the months-long reign of King Ralph are always wearing the same clothing. See more »

Quotes

Sir Cedric Willingham: How's it going, Your Majesty?
Ralph Jones: Great. We've got nothing in common and she's got a voice like a tuba. If she had her way, we'd have sex on a bed of nails on national television. But at least the party stinks.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Family Guy: Friends of Peter G. (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Be-Bop A-Lula
Written by Gene Vincent and Tex Davis (as Sheriff Tex Davis)
See more »

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User Reviews

 
not great, but it has its moments
21 June 2017 | by ivkoSee all my reviews

So I don't consider this a classic, as some other reviewers have labeled it. You really have to stretch the imagination to accept the premise that the first 30 people or so in line for the crown are suddenly killed and England, one of the largest and most powerful economies of the world, has to ask some D list lounge singer to be their new king. But I get it; this is a just-for-laughs fish out of water story, not a serious what-if film.

John Goodman, whose career was built on playing the middle-aged working class every man, does a decent job here portraying a beer drinking, football loving regular Joe who just can't stop creating uncomfortable moments around stuffy British people.

The gags are a bit of a mixed bag. When they develop in a way that's organic to the character and moment, they work pretty well. But for every good setup there is the overly forced one, such as when Goodman's character accidentally launches a greasy bird off his plate at a state dinner while trying to cut into it. The ensuing chaos sees every glass along a long, long table fall over like dominoes for nearly 30 seconds. The scene feels so desperate to hit the laugh; you can practically see the little charges going off to keep the glasses falling in comedic fashion past the horrified diners. The problem is, comedy is really hard. Even a whiff of desperation for laughs like that scene has turns funny into sad really quick.

The other part of this movie that's hard to swallow is the romance subplot. Hollywood knows that one of their major target demographics, middle aged guys, will identify with Goodman and so they supply the dream girl for the viewers alter-ego. In this case the movie asks us to believe that an insanely gorgeous 26 year old is just dying to fall in love with her dream guy: an obese man nearly old enough to be her father. When the leading man is Tom Cruise or Brad Pitt, yah OK I can believe that. But Goodman? I don't know, I just think an actress more age appropriate would have been easier to believe. The two here just don't seem like they go together.

My enjoyment of the film may have been effected by the fact that I don't care much for the concept of a monarchy, and I find arguments that keeping families in an artificial state of wealth and privilege is a good thing because they "serve the people" facile and ignorant. Note that the fantasy is always that you get to suddenly become royalty, never that you get to suddenly be a subject who gets sent to prison for not bowing properly or mouthing off. Monarchies are an outdated and brutish form of government best left in the history books, imho.

All in all, I managed to watch the whole movie, even if I wasn't enthralled the whole way thru. Passable entertainment.


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