I Served the King of England

Synopsis: Czechoslovakia, 1963. Jan Díte is released from prison after serving 15 years. He goes into semi exile in a deserted village near the German border. In flashbacks, he tells his story: he's a small, clever and quick-witted young man, stubbornly naïve, a vendor at a train station. Thanks to a patron, he becomes a waiter at upscale hotels and restaurants. We see him discover how the wealthy tick and how to please women. He strives to be a millionaire with his own hotel. Before the war, he meets Líza, a German woman in Prague. Is this his ticket to wealth or his undoing? Meanwhile, we see Jan putting a life together after prison: why was he sentenced, and who will he become?
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
Director(s): Jirí Menzel
Production: Sony Pictures Classics
  10 wins & 12 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
113 min


Correctional Facility


I was sentenced to 15 years,

but because of the amnesty

I only served 14 years, 9 months.

It was always my luck

to run into bad luck.

My whole life, I aspired solely

to becoming a millionaire.

But before that

I wanted nothing more

than to peddle frankfurters

at the train station.

I'm hungry.

Forget the coins,

just give me back the bills!

And I sold

those frankfurters so well

that I was determined

to become a millionaire.

Then I'd buy a small hotel

and marry a rich bride

and when my wife

and I put our money together

I'd be respected

like the other hoteliers.

Everyone would recognize me

as a rich man as a millionaire.

I was even able

to cry at the station.

And because I was small,

perfectly piccolo,

They let me have the money

because they took me for an orphan.

So I started

having money of my own.

Within a month I had a couple

hundred, then even 1000 crowns.

And I discovered

what motivates people

and what they're willing to do

for a few coins:

They'll bend over, kneel down,

even crawl on all fours.

I used to daydream about

scooping up fistfuls of coins

and scattering them

like a shower of seed.

I saw almost no one could

resist collecting those coppers,

how they'd jostle each other and

butt heads to snatch them up,

coins they all thought

were theirs and theirs alone.

But that was long ago.

After they released me, they said.

I could find

whatever work I pleased

on the condition

that it be near the border.

They sent me to be a roadman

faraway in the mountains

where resettled Germans

had abandoned their cottages

They even gave me

the key to one of them.

And the unbelievable, which was

becoming reality, did not desert me.

I knew that another person

would have fled from here

as from a place of ill fortune.

But I rejoiced

to see such devastation.

I knew that I would like it here,

that this would be my new home.

I considered it a good omen

that the key fit a former pub

because I started out in a pub

and I had worked

in the hotel trade my whole life.

I was small, from a small village,

and here it felt

like the big world.

A select society came:

The notary and the stationmaster,

the veterinarian, the music

school master, the industrialists...

They could sip beer all afternoon

discussing, for example,

a poplar that stood outside town

by a bridge 30 years ago.

One would say that there

had been no bridge, only a poplar.

Another said the bridge

was just a plank and a handrail.

They shouted and cursed.

But it was alljust pretend.

They only shouted so as

to enjoy the beer all the morel

Do you think

I should move my bishop to G7?

Move your knight

to C5 and you'll win.

Mr. Dite,

mind your own business!

Hold on there... That shrimp

is right. Checkmate!

Another time they argued

about the best beer in Bohemia.

One said Protivin,

another Vodnany, another Nymburk,

- and another said...

- Pilsner is known the world over!

And although they shouted

they all liked each other.

They only shouted

as a way of killing time.

And I was amazed at how rich

people can enjoy themselves all afternoon.

Except from the lungs, I'd like

every main course you have.

Bring one after another

until I say to stop.

Then bring four mineral waters

and a pound of salami to my room.

Thus I came to know Mr. Walden.

He liked me most probably

because he was as small as I.

I Represent Van Berkel & Co.

The largest firm in the world

is the Catholic Church.

They deal in something

no one has ever seen or touched:

Rate this script:(0.00 / 0 votes)

Bohumil Hrabal

Bohumil Hrabal (Czech pronunciation: [ˈboɦumɪl ˈɦrabal]; 28 March 1914 – 3 February 1997) was a Czech writer, often cited as one of the best Czech writers of the 20th century. more…

All Bohumil Hrabal scripts | Bohumil Hrabal Scripts

FAVORITE (0 fans)

Submitted on August 05, 2018

Discuss this script with the community:



    Translate and read this script in other languages:

    Select another language:

    • - Select -
    • 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified)
    • 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional)
    • Español (Spanish)
    • Esperanto (Esperanto)
    • 日本語 (Japanese)
    • Português (Portuguese)
    • Deutsch (German)
    • العربية (Arabic)
    • Français (French)
    • Русский (Russian)
    • ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)
    • 한국어 (Korean)
    • עברית (Hebrew)
    • Gaeilge (Irish)
    • Українська (Ukrainian)
    • اردو (Urdu)
    • Magyar (Hungarian)
    • मानक हिन्दी (Hindi)
    • Indonesia (Indonesian)
    • Italiano (Italian)
    • தமிழ் (Tamil)
    • Türkçe (Turkish)
    • తెలుగు (Telugu)
    • ภาษาไทย (Thai)
    • Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
    • Čeština (Czech)
    • Polski (Polish)
    • Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
    • Românește (Romanian)
    • Nederlands (Dutch)
    • Ελληνικά (Greek)
    • Latinum (Latin)
    • Svenska (Swedish)
    • Dansk (Danish)
    • Suomi (Finnish)
    • فارسی (Persian)
    • ייִדיש (Yiddish)
    • հայերեն (Armenian)
    • Norsk (Norwegian)
    • English (English)


    Use the citation below to add this screenplay to your bibliography:


    "I Served the King of England" Scripts.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 26 Nov. 2020. <https://www.scripts.com/script/i_served_the_king_of_england_10520>.

    We need you!

    Help us build the largest writers community and scripts collection on the web!

    The Marketplace:

    Sell your Script !

    Get listed in the most prominent screenplays collection on the web!

    The Studio:

    ScreenWriting Tool

    Write your screenplay and focus on the story with many helpful features.

    Thanks for your vote! We truly appreciate your support.