The Prisoner of Zenda

Synopsis: This is a classic swashbuckler. Rudolph Rassendyll, Rudolf V's identical distant cousin, is asked to risk his life and impersonate the would-be king when his relative is kidnapped before his impending coronation. If Rudolf V isn't present at the ceremony, he will forfeit the crown to his older half-brother. Complications ensue when Princess Flavia, the king's cousin and betrothed, begins to notice a "personality change" in her fiancé.
Production: United Artists
  Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 1 win & 1 nomination.
Rotten Tomatoes:
101 min

Passengers will please to descend.

Passengers will please to descend.

Papers from all parts of Europe!

Inside for passport examinations, please.

What's this nonsense about passports?

Passports at the frontier, indeed.

There's some political unrest here.

- Special rates for the coronation.

- Special high rates.

All passports examined inside, please.

"Rudolf Rassendyll, British subject.

Object of visit, pleasure. "

What hotel in Strelsau,

Mr. Rassendyll?

Oh, I hadn't thought of that.

Better begin thinking,

if you don't wanna sleep in the park.

Report your address to the police

within 24 hours of your arrival.

That's regulations.

On second thought, I shall not go

to Strelsau until after the coronation.

I hope that doesn't offend you,

but I was born...

...with a natural distaste for crowds.

And I really only came

to your country to...

I beg your pardon,

is something the matter?

Of course, I know you don't dress

this way in your country...

...but you see,

we don't dress your way in England.

Package examination, that way.

Thank you.

Thank you for making me feel

so much at home so quickly.

Your train, sir. Your train is gone.

I'm not going to the coronation.

The best fishing is here... Pardon.

- And that's what I came for,

fishing, not coronations.

I don't like coronations

and I do like fishing.

Now, if you'll be good enough to tell me

where I go to get a fishing license...

Are you dumb?

I hope your trout take as much interest

in me as you seem to take...

...and I shall get some good fishing.

The devil's in nature!

Shave him, and he'd be the king.

May I ask your name, sir?

Since you have taken the first step

in the acquaintance...

...give me a lead in the matter of names.

This is Colonel Zapt,

and I am called Fritz von Tarlenheim.

We're in the service

of His Majesty the King.

I am Rudolf Rassendyll,

traveling from England...

...not so long ago

in the service of the queen.

- Rassendyll?

- Then we're all brethren of the sword.

Rassendyll! By heaven,

your face betrays you.

- You know the story, Fritz.

- Oh, yes, I had heard something of it.

So the skeleton is not confined exclusively

to the Rassendyll cupboard?

- Fritz! Where are you?

- Here, Your Majesty.

Confound it, I thought I'd lost you.

Who is this gentleman?

He's by way of being

a relative of yours, sire.

Relative? What do you mean, relative?

It is something for which you can't

entirely blame me, Your Majesty.

Who is to blame?

If I may hazard a guess, I would say

that the blame might lie equally...

...between your

great-great-great-grandfather Rudolf...

...and my

great-great-great-grandmother Amelia.

- What?

- Right, by heaven.

- The man's a Rassendyll from England.

- England? Rassendyll!

And since Amelia's time, sire...

...the Elphberg face crops out

on one of us every now and then.

Well met, cousin!

You must forgive me

being unduly surprised.

One doesn't expect to see doubles

so early in the day, eh, Fritz?

What are you doing here, cousin?

I must admit

that I may have been guilty...

...of somewhat the same offense

as our mutual ancestor.

- Such as what?

- Fishing in forbidden waters.

That's good, very good.

The man has wit.

You must come

to my coronation tomorrow.

I'd give a thousand crowns

for a sight of Michael's face...

...when he sees the pair of us.

But you don't know

my brother Michael, do you?

Well, I'm afraid, sire,

I haven't that honor.

We must arrange that he enjoy

that honor, eh, Fritz?

You shall stay at my hunting lodge.

And tonight,

we shall dine you right royally.

Our ancestors laid down some good wine

here in the lodge, cousin.

They little thought a bottle or two of it

would lay down for you.

All in the family. All in the family.

- I propose a toast, Cousin Rudolf.

- Hear, hear.


A toast to our ancestor, that scandalous

rogue Rudolph II, God bless him.

Hear, hear.


With your permission, sire...

...I propose that we also pay honor

to my great-great-great-grandmother Amelia.



- To great-great-great-grandmother Amelia.

- To great-great-great-grandmother Amelia.


- With your permission, sire?

- Permission granted.

- Another toast, by heaven.

- Toast.

- Now, let's see, who shall it be?

- For your brother, Michael, perhaps?

Michael? Why waste good wine?

No, I'll tell you a secret

about my brother Michael.

- He doesn't love me.

- No?

No. Michael thinks the world's all wrong.

He thinks he ought to be me,

and I ought to be he.

But let's not waste time about Michael.

Let's drink a toast to cousin Flavia.

Soon to be my bride and queen.

Hear, hear.

You know, it's a shame

you can't meet the princess.

Well, at least they tell me it's a shame.

I haven't seen her for years.

She and I didn't get on very well then.

Perhaps we shall now.

Oh, I certainly hope so, sire,

if you're going to marry her.

They say she's much too good for me.

She probably is.

You know what they say about me,

don't you? I drink too much.

I imagine you're well able to take care

of yourself on that score, Your Majesty.

Oh, I've done a lot of drinking in my time,

I won't say I haven't.

But tomorrow... the cathedral...

...when they put the crown on my head

and proclaim me their king...

...I shall be their king

for the rest of my life.


Tonight, I drink with my friends.

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Anthony Hope

Sir Anthony Hope Hawkins, better known as Anthony Hope (9 February 1863 – 8 July 1933), was an English novelist and playwright. He was a prolific writer, especially of adventure novels but he is remembered predominantly for only two books: The Prisoner of Zenda (1894) and its sequel Rupert of Hentzau (1898). These works, "minor classics" of English literature, are set in the contemporaneous fictional country of Ruritania and spawned the genre known as Ruritanian romance, works set in fictional European locales similar to the novels. Zenda has inspired many adaptations, most notably the 1937 Hollywood movie of the same name. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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