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The Man Who Would Be King Reviews

Page 1 of 44
Dan S

Super Reviewer

October 19, 2009
Quite possibly the most over-rated film of all-time concerning two con men (Sean Connery, Michael Caine) who pull off the ultimate heist of making a city of people believe that Connery is a god and thus, make him their king. This is not so much a bad movie as it is just really unremarkable. I don't understand why it has a 96% approval on Rotten Tomatoes. You can tell that Connery and Caine are obviously just winging this thing, their acting has seen much better days, and the movie is not nearly as funny as it thinks it is. And yeah, I guess it is adventurous and the cinematography is good to look at, but this thing plods along and becomes overblown by its conclusion. I just never got into it, and I think the overall story is way to simple and I did not really like any characters in the story or wanted to see them succeed.
FilmFanatik
FilmFanatik

Super Reviewer

February 21, 2012
The Man Who Would Be King tells the story of two men out to seek their fortunes as they go into a small village and build themselves up as people of importance in order to start their own nation. This is a film that I had been hearing about for a long time from various people that it was just a fantastic movie and one that doesn't get much attention these days. While I agree it's certainly underrated and not talked about, I wouldn't call it a masterpiece. The film definitely has some merit to it, but I do have to say that I was sort of bored for the first half hour or so. Things take so long to set up in a story a little over two hours long that you just want it to get there already. There's no real conflict character-wise until the third-act, which is a bit off-putting. Sean Connery and Michael Caine give good performances, of course, but the story is very uneven to me. I liked it, but I can't say that I'd recommend it without mentioning some of its faults.
Jens S

Super Reviewer

October 7, 2007
Good old fashioned adventure film after a lesser known Rudyard Kipling story. Two British soldiers decide to create an empire on their own by traveling from India into the wild Afghan mountains, soon finding traces of Alexander the great. There is plenty to see here, two excellent leading men with Connery and Caine, gorgeous landscapes and bizarre local rituals make for a very entertaining, sometimes funny, often brutal ride, even if the heroes are cocky and still believe in making the world a better place just by being British. You see their eventual downfall coming but still cheer for them of course. Gladly, the tragic ending doesn't feel forced but as the only possible solution.
garyX
garyX

Super Reviewer

January 7, 2007
Two likable rogues Michael Caine and Sean Connery hatch a scheme to conquer the untamed wilderness of Kafiristan using their military training to unite its warring tribes. Seeing Connery and Caine together is reason enough to recommend this film to anyone, but John Huston's adaptation of Rudyard Kipling's classic story lives up to all expectations. There is no superfluous action, love scenes or unnecessary bells and whistles; just pure storytelling at its finest. Unsurprisingly, the central double act play off each other brilliantly and together with an excellent Christopher Plummer as Kipling himself, they make for a fantastic parody of and homage to "Britishness" amid a perfect blending of humour and derring do. Huston effortlessly shifts tone, darkening the mood til the wonderful twist in the tale with a similar morality message to his own The Treasure Of The Sierra Madre. One of the last of the true boy's own classics and another of the "they don't make them like that anymore" category.
Anthony L

Super Reviewer

May 10, 2010
Based on the brilliant book by Rudyard Kipling, The Man Who Would Be King was Huston last great adventure film (Not actual last, just last great) and undoubtedly one of the last great adventure films of an era. It's all jolly good fun, very British but also quite dark, I mean, what an ending!! It inculpates Kipling's style perfectly, and Connery, Plummer but particularly Caine are all brilliant, as is Jaffrey in a smaller role. A classic buddy movie too!
bbcfloridabound
bbcfloridabound

Super Reviewer

April 6, 2010
An outstanding film, Be Prepared to sit a while and enjoy, Filxster write up says its 2hr 9 Min the version I watched was much longer. Sean Connery and Michael Caone are basically con-men in the British Empire Of India, They travel North where no white man has gone and come back, in there travels Connery is mistaken for the Son of Alexander the great, and Travels to the holy city. Makes for an interesting adventure, Remember this was filmed in 1975, based on that I give this one 4 Stars
jjnxn
jjnxn

Super Reviewer

August 13, 2007
Disappointing dull
flixsterman
flixsterman

Super Reviewer

January 18, 2009
Have you ever noticed that Sean Connery is always playing Sean Connery? I mean sure, he's a Scotsman who usually plays an Englishman. Occasionally he'll stretch his acting skills and play an Irishman, but he's always himself. The beauty of it is that he's so damn likeable nobody ever questions it. Hell, I'd bet few even notice it. He's my favorite James Bond, his Irish cop was the best part of The Untouchables and his persona was completely acceptable as a Russian submarine commander in The Hunt of Red October. In my opinion, any movie is better with Sean Connery in it.

Which brings me to The Man Who Would Be King. Absolutely fantastic! And not just because Connery is in it. Michael Caine's 'Peachy' is spot-on. An epic drama with a surprising amount of humor. Very, very good stuff.
Pierluigi P

Super Reviewer

June 13, 2007
Another everlasting glimpse of John Huston's adventurous and relentless soul.
The epic tale of two petty rascals who embarked on a quest for wealth, but found instead the essence of life itself, and most importantly, remained together against all odds.
An incisive ethnographic and existential study, and a chant to camaraderie and glory narrated with vigor and beauty.
Ken S

Super Reviewer

April 19, 2007
Good old fashion high adventure. Featuring Michael Caine and Sean Connery's wicked chemistry.
rubystevens
rubystevens

Super Reviewer

November 1, 2007
god's holy trousers! two rogues get more than they bargained for when they set out to be kings. a fantastic road movie and my favorite adventure film. originally conceived as a vehicle for bogart and gable tho it's hard to imagine anyone being better than connery and caine are here. it may not be 'politically correct' but i love this movie! and isn't it all about the dangers of imperialism? still relevant today i think
Lanning :

Super Reviewer

May 17, 2007
You call it luck. I call it destiny. And, in the darkness of 20-20 hindsight, it could be called fate. Fatal. The fatal flaw. Hubris. Greed. The egotistical assumption of divine calling. Delusions of grandeur. A never-ending laundry list of tragic flaws unfolding in the character of unthinking people and obtuse peoples. The rise and fall of Daniel Dravot; the rise and fall of the British Empire. Kipling and Huston tell the age-old tale of the quest to reach out, reach out and conquer someone. It is an historically repetitive universal tale of tragic overreach which can rarely end happily. But the English author, my dear Rudyard Kipling, who was born and lived in India, in Vermont, and in England, points fingers not just at his own English countrymen. The phrase "savages all" comes to mind. No people is perfect. Some are just more egregiously and overbearingly imperfect than others. 09/11/06 update: On this fifth anniversary of 9-11, Kipling's story is ringing some huge bells. The abysmally ignorant and avaricious clawing of George Bush and his twistedly horrid group of dark-force jackass -- just say no to politics. Sorry. My apologies. I must remember to restrain this kind of venting. So for a brilliant segue: The team of Connery and Caine is another beautifully energetic male pairing not to be missed. A great friendship/road movie despite the downside. If you've not seen this gem, flixster friends, you must do so as soon as the opportunity presents itself. You will not be disappointed. Note: Michael Caine's real-life wife, Shakira Caine, who, kinkily enough, plays Sean Connery's love interest in this movie, adds a whole other level to the intrigue value of this movie.
Cameron W. Johnson
Cameron W. Johnson

Super Reviewer

September 1, 2012
Usually, I would consider a title like that to be pretty cool, but really, it kind of diluted my interest in the film, because it doesn't really seem all that well thought-out. I can see the book's author, Rudyard Kipling, sitting around, trying to think of a title he finally thinks to himself, "Hm, let's see, it's a period piece about a man... who would be king; oh, pip-pip cheerio and all that crumpet, I do believe I've got it!" I think that it's safe to presume that he said something along those stereotypical lines, because the film alone is British as all get-out. Granted, it's directed by an American, but it's John Huston, and he was hardly shy of flaunting his English roots, so you better believe that this film is British something fierce, as if the cast wasn't enough evidence, because we're talking about Sean Connery, Michael Caine, as well as, of course, Christopher Plummer as Kipling himself. Yeah, Chris Plummer wishes he was British, and thank goodness for that, because in order to be more like the Brits, he learned to pull off flawless faux accents, and that's amazing when you consider that he's an Ameri-oh, wait, he's Canadian, so nevermind. A lot of Canadians have a flat accent, much like Americans, and yet, everyone from an accented country seems to forget that and only call out Americans as the people who can't usually do other accents well, though that might just be because Canada's got Chris Plummer on its side, and he makes for a pretty strong argument, because he managed to pull off Rudyard Kipling, and that's pretty darn English, as made clear by much of his work, including this film's source material. Hey, say what you will about the, well, still admittedly pretty cool title, but I'm betting that short story sure made for a good read, though the film, on the other hand, while reasonably worth watching, isn't exactly all that consistently thrilling of adventure film.

The earlier acts of the film are limp something fierce, dragging along with a dry atmosphere and even a considerable bit of quietness that taints the film with a degree of dullness, the sting of which goes worsened by the simple fact that very little happens in that first act. The film fails to open terribly strong and just kind of limps out, but just when you succumb and fear that the film will descend to underwhelmingness, the film, well, just enters second act, and that's about it. The film perhaps picks up at the body, though if it does, then it really doesn't pick up all that much, dismissing enough limpness to keep from getting dull, yet sustaining much of the limpness that tainted the first act and plagues most of this final product. Little happens throughout long periods of this film, and after a while, it's easy to become disengaged, as the film's breaking from its consistently dry and somewhat bland tone is an event that doesn't occur as often as it should, and such tonal consistency is not only problematic because there's not much bite to the tone to begin with, but because the film's running a mostly straight line of tone leaves narrative structure to take damage the film to not always pick up when it should. Now, the film never falls too far when it limps out and isn't likely to at some point along the way, as the film does, in fact, pick up slowly but surely, until by the final act, we're facing an actually genuinely good film, yet that's too little too late, as the remainder of the film fails to hit as hard as it should have, because John Huston fails to do that could have saved this film from underwhelmingness: provide enough depth. This film is definately an adventure piece, and after a while, it becomes something of an epic, though that's almost all in concept, as Huston's directorial execution doesn't quite provide enough tonal sweep or depth to really milk this film for all its worth, and with Huston instead further diluting intrigue through slowness and limited tonal dynamicity, the final product comes out not quite what it should have been. However, what ultimately emerges is nevertheless an enjoyable film that may not be able to consistently sustain your attention, let alone full investment, but provides enough of what you want to get you by, particularly if you're looking for a production fit for the epic that this film should have been more like.

The film is not exactly heavily produced, though its production value remains reasonably hefty in quantity, as well as fairly impressive in quality, reconstructing this time period with grand yet delicate authenticity, while keeping dynamic in design concepts for you to feel the progression of this adventure, maybe even to the point of feeling some of the epic sweep that John Huston needed to deliver more of. What certainly provides a degree of epic sweep is Oswald Morris' photography, which has dated in several areas, yet remains grand and lively with a broad scope that captures this environment and brings it to life, particularly during the scarce yet worthwhile battle sequences. The film is certainly impressive on a technical level, and while those technical values have dated to a certain extent, they carry this film quite a long ways, while the man who keeps this film going the rest of the way is Rudyard Kipling, who really has crafted a fascinating and lively story that I'm sure must make for a pretty good read, as it does make for a pretty good concept for this film. John Huston's and Gladys Hill's execution of the concept, however, doesn't entirely do it justice, yet neither does it betray the concept entirely, as Huston and Hill do provide a screenplay that is flawed, yet generally well-structured, with some snappy dialogue, lively set pieces and charming characterization, and with his directorial execution, Huston makes many missteps, yet still does an adequate job for the story to charm, while the lead performers fire on all cylinders when it comes to delivering on charm. Sure, Christopher Plummer charms as the legendary Rudyard Kipling during the few times he's present, but this is Sean Connery's and Michael Caine's show, and you better believe that our legeneray charmers of British leads let you know for sure that this is literally Sean Connery's and Michael Caine's show, because they are playing themselves, as they always do, which is just the way I like it. Connery and Caine deliver on distinct, firecracker charisma that defines the Daniel Dravot and Peachy Carnehan characters as, well, Connery and Caine, respectively, but also as down-to-earth, yet still strong and unique enough for them to be bought as people who would find themselves in such grand situations as the ones portrayed in this interesting story. Connery and Caine charm by their own rights, and as a duo, they're sensational, boasting electric chemistry that defines the definitive comradery between our two leads and does the most in carrying this film, something that I wish had more than just the charm of its leads, worthiness of its source material, quality of its technical value and inspired occasions in writing and direction to keep it going, yet is still nevertheless kept going enough for you to walk away, maybe not terribly satisfied, but still with more reasonably fond memories than disappointments.

Bottom line, the film has its occasions of being dull, yet is consistent in being rather bland, as it is slowly, if not limply told, with limited tonal dynamicity, overlong periods of filler and, worst of all, not enough depth or sweep to sustain your complete attention, let alone full investment, thus leaving this final product to fall from its throne of potential satisfaction, yet never fall too far from grace, boasting clever production designs and sweeping photography, as well as a strong story concept that is generally well-structured by John Huston's and Gladys Hill's screenplay, as well as occasionally well-executed by John Huston's direction, but mostly brought to life by the sparkling charisma and chemistry between leads Sean Connery and Michael Caine, who do the most in making "The Man Who Would Be King" an enjoyable adventure opus that's reasonably worth sticking with.

2.5/5 - Fair
John B

Super Reviewer

January 13, 2012
Quite entertaining. You knew that the ruse was going to be up at some point and it was interesting to see how it all unravels. John Huston loved making it eh? Well he should. This was the cockney Caine era and he is wonderful as the only one who truly knows Connery's mortality.
Over the Rising Sun
Over the Rising Sun

Super Reviewer

April 24, 2011
Terrific performances from Connery and Caine, and skillful direction by John Huston that evokes wonderful imagery and cinematography. A bit slow in the beginning though and it's mighty difficult to understand exactly what's going on with Kipling's meandering dialogue and the two leads' strong Scottish accents. Wears out your patience after a while. As a well directed witty and audacious spectacle, it's worth a look. 86/100
Dracula787
Dracula787

Super Reviewer

September 23, 2008
This is an odd one, on one hand I found this an enjoyable little romp, on the other hand its attitudes toward race are a little less than ?PC.? This John Huston directed effort features some really fun performances by Michael Kaine and Sean Connery, it?s a fun adventure story, and it has some really funny moments. However, it?s based on a Rudyard Kipling story, and as such it has a pretty offensive attitude in regards to British colonialism. The Afghan tribe the characters run into are completely stereotypical and are depicted as little more than ignorant savages. Maybe I?m just being too sensitive, but I couldn?t? help but find the film?s attitudes a little disturbing. That said this is a very well made romp.
DrLappos
DrLappos

Super Reviewer

June 28, 2007
I genuinly enjoyed this film and have it in my library.God save the Queen
mingsysar
mingsysar

Super Reviewer

March 7, 2006
A must see, just for Connery and Caine scoring points off of each other, playing off each other and making the film palatable.
July 28, 2012
Personally I didn't think much of this while watching. For me, it was kind of hard to pay attention because I thought it was pretty boring, and your always trying to find the plot. Well really, the plot doesn't come until the end. And after watching more than half of the movie this movie becomes something else. It stops becoming boring and really ends up being one of the greatest stories ever told. I love Michael Caine, and Michael Caine in this is outstanding. One of his best films. A lot of people think that Connery was the main character, but really it is Caine. Such a wonderful movie.
April 20, 2012
A totally awesome adventure yarn, complete with comedy, war, ancient history, and general British arrogance. I can see how Frost and Pegg were influenced by this.
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