The Man Who Would Be King


The Man Who Would Be King (1975)


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Movie Info

A late-career masterpiece from legendary director/adventurer Huston and adapted from a Rudyard Kipling story, it stars Sir Sean and Michael Caine as a pair of opportunistic Victorian chappies scheming to take over a remote middle-eastern kingdom, with Saeed Jaffrey and Christopher Plummer rounding out a star-studded cast. EIFF's long-serving patron has often named John Huston's rip-roaring adventure classic among his own personal favourites. We're therefore especially delighted to present this much-beloved film with the generous support of Park Circus. 35 years on, we've become accustomed to watching movies on our televisions, our laptops, even our mobiles. But of all the films selected for this year's programme,The Man Who Would Be King is the one which emphatically demands to be seen on the biggest of screens. It's surely what Huston would have wanted - this is the man who once said "Edinburgh is the only film festival that's worth a damn."

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Critic Reviews for The Man Who Would Be King

All Critics (26) | Top Critics (5)

John Huston has been wanting to make this movie for more than 20 years. It was worth the wait.

Apr 20, 2010 | Full Review…

A too-broad comedy, mostly due to the poor performance of Michael Caine.

Oct 22, 2008 | Full Review…
Top Critic

Connery and Caine (both excellent) become classic Huston overreachers, and echoes of The Treasure of the Sierra Madre and Moby Dick permeate the mythic yarn.

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

It's a tall tale, a legend, of steadfastness, courage, camaraderie, gallantry and greed, though not necessarily in that order.

May 9, 2005 | Rating: 4/4

It's been a long time since there's been an escapist entertainment quite this unabashed and thrilling and fun.

Oct 23, 2004 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

It's pure Huston: an impossible quest, an out-of-reach grail and an ironic twist leading to a supremely glorious failure.

Aug 25, 2017 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Man Who Would Be King

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 buildings as well as 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 outcome of imperial feeling of superiority.

Jens S.
Jens S.

Super Reviewer


Two scrappy if amoral Brit Adventurers decide to carve out a bit of the third world for themselves (just as they've seen nations, particularly their own, do). They don't make 'em like this anymore, and hence the love this work generates, while it's stars, connery and caine, both sort of embody the last of the era they portray. The story, if slight, is played with heart. And Pith helmets.

Kevin M. Williams
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer


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.

Dan Schultz
Dan Schultz

Super Reviewer


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.

Tim Salmons
Tim Salmons

Super Reviewer

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