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A 1975 film directed by John Huston and starring Sean Connery and Michael Caine about the glorious and awful sides of European Imperialism. This film follows former non-commissioned officers of the British Raj on a journey into the wilds beyond the Khyber Pass and into the lands of Kafiristan on a mission to become kings or die trying.
Based on a short story by Rudyard Kipling, the movie is very faithful and differs from the story only in the ending.
This film contains examples of:
- Alas, Poor Yorick: The end.
- Ancient Conspiracy: Peachy and Danny are members of the Freemasons. When this is found out, it marks them as the descendants of Alexander the Great to the Holy Men.
- Audience Surrogate: Kipling.
- Awesome Moment of Crowning: Danny gets a very humble one.
- A God Am I: Danny develops this attitude.
- Battle-Interrupting Shout: Priests walk across the battle field and the War stops.
- Book Ends
- Celibate Hero: Subverted.
- Chased by Angry Natives: After the wedding.
- Crazy Homeless People: Peachy appears to be one at the start of the film.
- Con Man: Both of the protagonists.
- Cunning Linguist: Billy Fish.
- Dueling Stars Movie: Sean Connery and Michael Caine.
- Feud Episode: Brought on by the A God Am I trope.
- Final Speech: At the end of the film, as they face death, the protagonists join together in singing a rousing Protestant hymn, "The Son of God Goes Forth To War", which is sung to the tune of "Minstrel Boy"
- Fun with Foreign Languages: Kafiristan means "Land of Infidels".
- God Guise: The basis of most of the plot.
- Heroic Vow: The Contract.
- Heterosexual Life Partners: Peachy and Danny.
Daniel Dravot: "Peachy, I'm heartily ashamed for getting you killed instead of going home rich like you deserved, on account of me being so bleeding high and bloody mighty. Can you forgive me?"
Peachy Taliaferro Carnehan: "That I can and that I do, Danny. Free and full and without let or hindrance."
Daniel: "Everything's all right then."
Billy Fish: After refusing his chance to escape in a horse: Gurkha is foot soldier, not cavalry.
- In Medias Res: Of the How We Got Here variety.
- It Has Been an Honour: Peachy and Danny stuck in the Hindu Kush, where they think they will freeze to death.
- And Billy Fish, refusing his chance to escape.
- Karma Houdini: The High Priest of Kafiristan.
- Kick the Dog: Not performed by a villain, but by one of the protagonists, who throws an eager-to-please Indian out of a moving train at the start of the film.
- Lean and Mean: The High Priest of Kafiristan.
- Loveable Rogue: The protagonists.
- Mentors: Kipling.
- Mister Danger: Peachy and Daniel in spades.
- Nubile Savage: Roxanne and a woman who attempts to seduce Peachy at one point in the film.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: Danny masquerades as a 'poor, harmless priest' in order to gain safe passage through Afghanistan.
- Ominous Latin Chanting: Not quite, but omnious tribal music during the wedding sequence lets the audience know something is up...
- Pocket Protector: Used to stop an arrow with a bandolier.
- Prophetic Names: Roxanne, who shares the name of one of the wives of Alexander the Great.
- Real Life Relative: Roxanne is played by Shakira Caine, Michael's wife.
- Scenery Porn: The remote region of Kafiristan.
- Sinister Minister: The High Priest of Kafiristan.
- Sole Survivor: Billy Fish of a mapping expedition years before Danny and Peachy set out.
- Tempting Fate: Danny.
- Thwarted Escape: The end of the film.
- Training the Peaceful Villagers: Peachy and Danny do a lot of it in order to build up their Kingdom.
- Unreliable Narrator: Averted at the end, when Peachy proves the tale was true by taking Danny's head out of a bag with the crown still on it.
- Very Loosely Based on a True Story: The film is based partly on the travels of American adventurer Josiah Harlan and James Brooke, the English "white Raja" of Sarawak in Borneo.
- What Could Have Been: This was originally going to be made in the 1950s, starring Humphrey Bogart as Peachy and Clark Gable as Danny.
- White Man's Burden: One of the main themes.