The Man Who Would Be King (film)

novella by Rudyard Kipling
(Redirected from The Man who would be King)

The Man Who Would Be King is a 1975 film about two roguish adventurers who travel into Central Asia to become kings. Based on the story by Rudyard Kipling.

Do you suppose that if a man thought twice, he'd give his life for Queen and Country? Not bloody likely! He wouldn't go near the battlefield!
Directed by John Huston. Written by John Huston and Gladys Hill.

Peachy Carnehan

I want to remind you it was detriments like us that built this bloody Empire and the Izzat of the bloody Raj! Hats on! About turn! By the left, quick march!
Peachy Carnehan: I've come back. Give me a drink, Brother Kipling. Don't you know me?
Rudyard Kipling: No. I don't know you. Who are you? What can I do for you?
Peachy Carnehan : I told you; give me a drink. It was all settled right here in this office. Remember? Danny and Me signed a contract, and you witnessed it. You stood over there. :I stood there, and Daniel stood here. Remember?
Rudyard Kipling : Carnehan!
Peachy Carnehan:Peachy Toliver Carnehan.
Peachy Carnehan:Of course.
Peachy Carnehan: Keep looking at me. It helps to keep my soul from flying off.
Rudyard Kipling : Carnehan.
Peachy Carnehan : The same - and not the same, who sat besides you in the first class carriage, on the train to Marwar Junction, three summers and a thousand years ago.
Rudyard Kipling : Jodhpur, please
  • Peachy: Blast! [Carnehan realizes he has just pick-pocketed a fellow Freemason's watch]
  • Conductor: All Aboard!
Peachy: may I? riding in this ashcart is like being Kicked by a mule every 10 Minuites:
  • Indian passenger:Mr Clutterbury Das...failed entrance examination..Calcutta University, 1863..Writer of correspondence...for the illiterate genera Public
    Peachy: SHUt UP
  • Indian:Thank you Sir
Peachy: Out of the window, Banu
  • Indian:Thank you Sir {Peachy throws Das out of the door)
Peachy: Outside, you inky-fingered thief! I hope you break your neck
  • Indian:Thank you Sir
Rudyard Kipling :You might have killed him
  • Peachy: Serves Him right if I did..we're not making five miles an hour
Rudyard Kipling :But why?
Peachy: I caught him stealing your watch
Rudyard Kipling :My watch...I say it is my watch! Well! Im much obliged to you Mr..?
  • Peachy: I have an educated taste in whiskey, women, waistcoats and bills of fare. But I've had few chances...
Peachy Carnehan: Where are you heading for?
Rudyard Kipling :Jodhpur.
Peachy Carnehan: Will you return on this line?
Rudyard Kipling : In 10 days.
Peachy Carnehan:Can you make it eight? I have a message for a man......travelling through Marwar Junction on the 24th. He expects to meet but I have urgent business.
Peachy: ...Suppose I was to ask you, as a stranger going to the West, to seek for that which was lost - what would you say then?
Kipling:...I should answer, where do you come from?
Peachy: From the East, and I am hoping that you will give my message on the square for the sake of the widow’s son.
Kipling: ...Which lodge do you hail from?
Peachy:Traveling Lodge 3276, Fore and Fit. The Queen’s Own Royal Loyal Light Infantry. Regimental District 329A.
Kipling: (satisfied) To whom is the message?
Peachy:Daniel Dravot.
Kipling: Dravot.
Peachy: A big man with long gray sideboards. A great swell. You'll find him in a first-class compartment.Don't be afraid. Slip the window down and say, "Peachy's gone south for the week."
Kipling: "Peachy's gone south for the week."
Peachy: - Yes, and he'll tumble. Well, I'll be getting off now before we reach the station.
Kipling: By the way, Brother Carnehan..I missed my watch in the station at Lahore...before boarding the train.
Peachy:How was I to know you were a Mason?
  • LASt time Danny and me came through the Khyber Pass,we faught our way...yard by bloody yeard...and general Bobbs called us heroes afterwards..But that was years ago..Times have changed....Blast!Look Who's on scntry!
  • Dravit: Mulvaney...that loudmouthed Mick from the Black Tyrone! Private Mulvaney!Come to attention when I am addressing You! Slope arms!Preent!March!Mark time!At the double!

Milvanry goes through manuel of arms

  • Officer"Coproral of the guard! take three menr and put private Mulvaney under arrest!Bloody man's Drunk again!
Now, the problem is, how to divide five Afghans from three mules and have two Englishmen left over.
  • Danny's only a man. But he can break wind at both ends simultaneous — which is more, I reckon, than any god can do.
  • They've twigged it Danny, you've had it!
  • We've got to brass it out, Danny. Danny brass it out!
    Bags of swank!

Peachy Carnehan : [final lines] And old Danny fell. Round and round and round and round, like a penny whirligig. Twenty thousand miles and it took him half an hour to fall before he struck the rocks. But do you know what they did to Peachy? They crucified, him, sah, between two pine trees. As Peachy's hands will show.

[Peachy displays the mutilated palms of his hands to Kipling]

Peachy Carnehan : Put poor Peachy who had never done them any harm. He howled there and he screamed, but he didn't die. And one day they come and they took him down and they said it was a miracle he wasn't dead and then they set him down and they let him go. And Peachy come home, in about, a year. And the mountains they tried to fall on old Peachy, but he was quite safe because Daniel walked before him. And Daniel never let go of Peachy's hand and Peachy never let go of Daniel's head.

Rudyard Kipling : [aghast] His head?

Peachy Carnehan : You knew Danny, sir. Oh, yes, you knew, most Worshipful Brother.

[Takes something out of the sack he is carrying and places it on a table]

Peachy Carnehan : Daniel Dravot, Esquire. Well, he became king of Kafiristan, with a crown on his head and that's all there is to tell. I'll be on my way now sir, I've got urgent business in the south, I have to meet a man in Marwar Junction.

[Peachy limps out of the room. Kipling opens the sack and removes Daniel's decaying head with the golden crown still on his head]

Daniel Dravot

  • What's this? God's holy trousers!Tickets again?

kIPLING:Is your name Dravot, sir? I'm to say that Peachy has gone south for the week.

  • He's gone south for the week. Did he say I'd give anything for this? I won't.

kIPLING:- No, he didn't.

  • - Then why did you do it?

kIPLING:For the sake of the widow's son.

  • He said south, did he?


  • Then that'll be Degumber. Since you're Peachy's pal, I'll tell you. We're gonna put the screw on the rajah for what he did to his mother-in-law.

Filled her with peppers and flogged her to death.

  • kIPLING:You mean you intend to blackmail him?You wouldn't get out alive! If they don't cut your throat, they'll poison you.
  • Both's been tried. Peachy and me don't kill easy!

kIPLING:the rajah's an independent ruler. He answers to nobody. How will you put the screw on him?

  • By telling him we're correspondents for The Northern Star.

kIPLING;You can't! You can't do that! Because I am the correspondent of The Northern Star!

  • let me introduce you to Brother Peacy Carnehan, which is him and Brother Daniel Dravot which is I. The less said about our jobs, the better, We've been most things been all over India, We know her cities, jungles. Jails and passes. We have decided she isnt beig enough for us..The commissioner said that. We're going to another place...where a man isn;t crowded..and can come into his own. We're not little men, so we're going to be kings...Oh ,Kafisistan we hear they have two and 30 idols there,,So we'll be the 33d and the 34th..Its a place of warring tribes..meaning a landof oppurnity...In any place where they fight, a man who knows how to drill men can always be a King. We shall go to those parts and say to any King we find — "D'you want to vanquish your foes?' and we will show him how to drill men; for that we know better than anything else. Then we will subvert that King and seize his Throne and establish a Dynasty.
  • That's the last of them Peachy, no more gourds to burn.
  • The more tribes, the more they'll fight, and the better for us.
  • [Wistfully observing dancing women] Boil'em once or twice in hot water and they'll come out like chicken and ham! You wouldn't know them from the Gaietey Chorus!
  • [Lecturing his Er-Heb recruits while Billy Fish translates:] Now listen to me, you benighted muckers! We're going to teach you soldiering, The world's noblest profession! When we're done with you, you'll be able to stand up and slaughter your foes like civilized men! But first, you will have to learn to march in step. And do the manual of arms without even having to think! Good soldiers don't think, they just obey! Do you suppose that if a man thought twice, he'd give his life for Queen and Country? Not bloody likely! He wouldn't go near the battlefield! One look at your foolish faces tells me that you're going to be crack troops. Ohhh him there with the five-and-a-half hat size has the makings of a bloody hero!


District Commissioner:I have your records before me. There's everything in them, from smuggling to swindling to receiving stolen goods to bare-faced blackmail.
Peachy: Sir, I resent the accusation of blackmail. It is blackmail to obtain money by threats of publishing information *in* a newspaper. But what blackmail is there in accepting a small retainer for keeping it *out* of a newspaper?
District Commissioner:And how did you propose to keep it out?
Peachy:By telling the editor what I know about his sister, and a certain government official in these parts.
Daniel: [Referring to Kipling, the journalist present] Let him put *that* in his paper, if he has need of news.
District Commissioner: It would have been wiser if you had both gone home at the end of your army service.
Peachy: Home to what? A porter's uniform outside a restaurant and tanner tips from belching civilians for closing cab doors on them and their blowzy women?
Daniel: Not for us, thank you! Not after watching Afghans come howling down out of the hills and taking battle field command when all the officers had copped it!
Peachy: Well said Brother Dravot!
District Commissioner: There may be no criminal charges against you, but I'll see these files reach Calcutta with the recommendation that you be deported as political undesirables! Detriments to the Dignity of the Empire and the Izzat of the Raj!
Peachy: Detriments you call us? Detriments? Well I want to remind you it was detriments like us that built this bloody Empire and the Izzat of the bloody Raj! Hats on! About turn! By the left, quick march!

Daniel: Peachy, in your opinion, have our lives been misspent?
Peachy: Well, that depends on how you look at it.  I wouldn’t say the world’s a better place for our having lived in it.
Daniel: No, hardly that.
Peachy: Nobody's gonna weep their eyes out at our demise.
Daniel: And who'd want them to anyway?
Peachy: And we haven't many good deeds to our credit.
Daniel: None. None to brag about.
Peachy: But how many men have been where we've been ... and seen what we've seen?
Daniel: Bloody few and that's a fact!
Peachy: Why, even now, I wouldn't change places with the viceroy himself...if it meant giving up my memories...
But how many men have been where we've been.. ... and seen what we've seen?
Everything's all right then.

Billy Fish: He wants to know if you are gods?
Peachy: Not gods — Englishmen. Which is the next best thing.

Daniel: [admiring Roxanne, while a worried Peachy looks on] Just looking, Peachy. There's such a thing as admiring beauty for its own sake.
Peachy: Being only human, one thing leads to another.

Peachy: Billy Fish, mount the mule and ride! There's a chance you'll make it!
Billy Fish: Gurkha foot soldier, not cavalry! Rifleman Majendra Bahadur Gurung wishing you many good lucks! [Draws kukri and charges the mob alone] AYO-O-O GURKHALI-I-I!

Daniel: Peachy, I'm heartily ashamed for gettin' you killed instead of going home rich like you deserved to, on account of me bein' so bleedin' high and bloody mighty. Can you forgive me?
Peachy: That I can and that I do, Danny, free and full and without let or hindrance.
Daniel: Everything's all right then.