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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

This was first announced as a Stanley Kramer production. See more »

Goofs

Just before the camp is liberated we can hear an airplane fly over and it is definitely a propeller operated plane; however, the scene displays a jet flying over complete with vapor trails. However, the B-29 Bomber is a 4 engined prop plane which flew high enough to leave substantial contrails (30,000ft+). Bombers normally flew in large formations but this is a single aircraft which may allude to the Enola Gay, which dropped the first Atomic bomb indicating that Japanese surrender imminent. However, the Enola Gay was accompanied by other B-29s on her atomic bomb raid. See more »

Quotes

Lt. Robin Grey: Why do you think it is? Why do you think you have so much, and the rest of us have so little? One day, Corporal, you're going to make a slip. All this wealth you'e got won't check against my list, and when you do, when that happens, I'll be ready, and you'll be there in my cage. I'm not playing at being provost marshal. You know, I never yet heard of luck that didn't run out. Yours will. Depend on it. Because yours will run out. You will depend on it. Because like all criminals, you're greedy.
Cpl. King: ...
See more »

Crazy Credits

[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 »

Connections

Referenced in A Smell of Honey, a Swallow of Brine (1966) 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

Clavell's most researched work
25 March 2002 | by jeffhill1See all my reviews

I saw "King Rat" on television shortly before going to Vietnam. A few months later I was reading the James Clavell novel while serving on DaNang Air Base with air force communications intelligence. It struck me that this book and this movie, which was "researched" by James Clavell when he was a POW in a camp near Singapore during World War II, have the real feel of what it is to be surrounded by enemy forces one almost never sees while being kept isolated on a hot, humid, dusty encampment It's an environment that brings out the best and the worst in mankind. The novel, the movie, and my own war zone experience also point out that adapting to a war zone and mastering the skills that enable one to survive and even prosper there do not necessarily mean that the individual will subsequently be adaptable to "civilization" when he returns to it. The novel, the movie, and my own experiences also raise the questions that are raised in "The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit" (and even in "Rambo" for that matter): Which is more of a challenge and which is the "real" life: adapting to the war zone as a youth or the expectations by "civilization" that you readjust to life back in "the world" as if nothing had happened?


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