The Prisoner of Zenda (1937)

The Prisoner of Zenda




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

In this costume romance taken from Anthony Hope's swashbuckling book, Ronald Colman stars as Rudolph, a commoner forced to assume the identity of his look-alike cousin, the kidnapped King Rudolf V.

Rating: Unrated
Genre: Drama, Action & Adventure, Classics
Directed By: , , , ,
Written By: Anthony Hope, Donald Ogden Stewart, John L. Balderston, Wells Root
In Theaters:
On DVD: Mar 6, 2007
United Artists



as Rudolph/King Rudolf ...

as Princess Flavia

as Rupert of Hentzau

as Antoinette de Mauban

as Col. Zapt

as Black Michael

as Detchard

as Fritz

as Johann

as De Gauiet

as Michael's Butler

as Cardinal

as Marshal Strakencz

as British Ambassador

as British Ambassador's...

as Master of Ceremonies

as Von Haugwitz, Lord H...

as Orchestra Leader

as Passport Officer

as Traveler

as Station Master

as Luggage Officer

as Station Attendant

as Guards at Lodge

as Guards at Lodge
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for The Prisoner of Zenda

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Critic Reviews for The Prisoner of Zenda

All Critics (12) | Top Critics (3)

Full Review… | March 26, 2009
Top Critic

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

This adaptation holds up really well, and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. is terrific as the bad guy.

September 19, 2004
Nitrate Online

Nigh on to perfect swashbuckler.

October 22, 2003
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Ronald Coleman is one of the greatest leading men in American cinema. High tea style acting mixed with an air of swashbuckling macho. Zenda is a treat.

July 25, 2003
Blunt Review

Audience Reviews for The Prisoner of Zenda

"prisoner of zenda" is an original british swashbuckler with aristocraticly dashing ronald colman as the brave knight who defends the secred throne of a nation; madeleine carroll, the british rose, as the divine love interest; dandy douglas fairbanks jr. and raymond massey form a league of doublecrossing vallainy. the infatuation over this swashbucking tale has been remade four times in cinematic history.

colman impersonates dual roles in this piece, the king to be throned and his identifical double who is merely an english man visiting outlandish nation. the king-to-be has been narcotized before the day he's about to be throned in consecration. so the loyal defenders of the king scheme to have the englishman as temporal substitute during his recovery. but the king's grudgy half brother covets the throne while his mischievous accomplice(fairbanks) drools over his mistress (mary astor). to add up the hardship, the englishman falls head over heels in love with the queen-to-be (carroll)...with all the conditions above, the price of honor and chivalric nobility appears precious. wouldn't that be the whole swashbuckler thing about?

ronald colman has the elegant screen presence as well as his composed charisma in the aristocratic costumes, while madelein carroll luminates the scenes with her striking beauty in the utmost degree, particularly in the cross-staring in the annoitment scene. douglas fairbanks jr. has limited screen time but remain impressive with his naughty mannerism and rascal-alike grinning.

"the prisoner of zenda" has every quintessential element of swashbuckler gendre except the consummation of romance since the queen-to-be selects her destined course of serving her royal house at the cost of her great one true love. the scene madelein bursts into an abrupt change of mind is sheer excellence of good acting. this is an aloof swashbuckler without the reward of his fair woman. perhaps tragic love emphasizes its gallantry for the ultimate swashbuckler without glorious compensation.

Veronique Kwak

Super Reviewer

In the 1930's and 40's when you see Selznick's name on a film it was always top notch in every way. The acting, cinematography, costumes and set design are all A+. If you have seen Moon Over Parador then you know the plot of this film. The best thing about this film is the performance of Fairbanks Jr. There are multiple bad guys in this but he outshines them all , alot like Jeffery Wright in Shaft. A great swashbuckling film that is left open for a sequel that was too depressing of a book for Selznick to make.

cody franklin

Super Reviewer


A fabulous adaptation of the classic novel! Ronald Colman is excellent in the dual role of Rudolf and Rudolph, and the duo of Raymond Massey and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. as the bad guys is awesome, especially Fairbanks, who exudes charismatic badness. A must-see!

The Prisoner of Zenda Quotes

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