The Man Who Would Be King (1975) Script

I've come back.

Give me a drink, brother Kipling.

Don't you know me?


I don't know you.

Who are you?

What can I do for you?

I told you, give me a drink.

It was all settled... right here in this office.


Danny and me signed the contract... and you witnessed it.


stood over there.

I stood there.

And Daniel stood here.



Peachy Taliaferro Carnehan.

Of course.

Keep looking at me.

It helps to keep my soul from flying off.


The same... and not the same who sat beside you in the first-class carriage... on the train to Marwar Junction... three summers and a thousand years ago.

Jodhpur, please.


May I?

Riding in this bloody ash cart... is like getting kicked in the rear by a battery mule every ten minutes.

Mr. Clutterbury Das... failed entrance examination, Calcutta University, 1863.

Writer of correspondence for the illiterate general public.

Shut up.

Thank you, sir.

Out the window, babu.

Thank you, sir.

Outside, you inky-fingered thief.

And I hope you break your dirty neck. Thank you, sir.

Good God, man, you might have killed the chap.

Serves him right if I had.

But we're not making five miles an hour on this grade.

But why?

I caught him stealing your watch.

My watch?

I say, it is my watch.


I'm very much obliged to you, Mr...?

Carnehan. Former gunnery sergeant in Her Majesty's Forces.

Mine's Kipling.

May I offer you a drink? I don't mind if I do.

You've knocked about India a bit, I take it?

You can say that twice. On foot, on horseback and on camel.

But you don't look too green yourself, either.

No, I was born in India.

Great country, or was till the bureaucrats took over and ruined everything.

I hope you're not one of them. No, I'm not a bureaucrat.

No, I didn't think so.

They're usually narrow-chested chaps with long noses for looking down at you... and I've yet to have one of them offer me a drink.

Glenlivet, 12 years old.

You've an educated taste in whiskey.

I've an educated taste in whiskey and women... waistcoats and bills of fare... but I've had few chances to exercise it lately.

Because them that governs spend all their time making up new laws... to stop men like you and me from getting anywhere.

And who's loss is it? Why England's, of course.

If such as we were given our heads, it wouldn't be 70 millions... she'd be making in revenues, it'd be 700 millions. Right?

Yes, I quite agree. Yes.

Where are you heading for? Jodhpur.

Will you be travelling back along this line?

In about ten days time. Could you make it eight?

I must get a message to a man who'll be travelling through Marwar Junction... on the Bombay Mail on the night of the 24th.

He expects me to meet him, but I can't.

I've got urgent business in the south. I'm sorry, I can't help you there.

Supposing I was to ask you... as a stranger going to the west... to seek for that which was lost.

What would you say then?

I should answer, "Where do you come from?"

From the east, and I am hoping that you will give my message... on the square for the sake of the widow's son.

Which lodge do you hail from?

Travelling Lodge 3276, the Fore and Fit.

The Queen's Own Royal Loyal Light Infantry, Regimental District 329A.

To whom shall I deliver the message? Daniel Dravot.

Dravot? Yes.

A big man with long gray sideboards. A great swell he is.

You'll find him surrounded by his luggage in a first-class compartment.

But don't you be afraid, just slip the window down and say:

"Peachy's gone south for the week."

Peachy's gone south for the week.

Yes, and he'll tumble.

Well, I'll be getting off now before we reach the station.

By the way, brother Carnehan...

I missed my watch in the station at Lahore... before boarding the train.

How was I to know you were a Mason?


What's this?

God's holy trousers, tickets again?

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 was to give you anything for telling me this? Because I won't.

No, he didn't. Then why did you do it?

For the sake of the widow's son.


He said south, did he? Yes.

Then that'll be Degumber.

Since you're a pal of Peachy's, I don't mind telling you.

We're going to put the screw on the rajah for what he did to his mother-in-law.

Filled her with red peppers, hung her over a beam and flogged her to death.

You mean to say that you intend to blackmail him?

Man, you wouldn't get out of Degumber alive.

If they don't cut your throats, they'll certainly poison you.

Both's been tried more than once, but Peachy and me, we don't kill easy.

But the rajah's an independent ruler, he answers to nobody. Ha, ha, ha.

How do you hope to put the screw on him?

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

You can't. You can't do that. You can't do that.

Because I am the correspondent of The Northern Star!

You what?

I'm the correspondent of The Northern Star!

What did you say, brother?

As you know, Kipling, we took them at the Degumber Border... so there's a question of jurisdiction involved.

But a charge of conspiracy to blackmail might be brought.

I didn't lay this information before you as a criminal prosecution, sir... only to save their lives.

Then may I ask what particular interest you have in these scoundrels?

Well, they... They happen to be...

Freemasons, like myself.


Those chaps? I should think you'd strike them off your roll.

Once a Mason, always a Mason.

Never could understand how perfectly pukka chaps, like yourself... can go about on public occasions wearing aprons and sashes... shaking hands with total strangers.

Just what is Masonry, Kipling?

It's an ancient order dedicated to the brotherhood of man... under the all-seeing eye of God.

We should've done well to have left that sort of thing behind us in England.

It can never work here.

There are tales that it did work here before we ever came.

Some audacious scholars can even trace it back to the builders of Solomon's Temple.

Hm. Old wives' tales, I suspect.

Yes, in all likelihood, sir.

Well, let's have a look at your lodge brothers.

Right turn.


Hats off.

You men are not under arrest... thanks to Mr. Kipling here, who happens to be a genuine correspondent... for The Northern Star.

But both of you richly deserve to be in jail.

I have your records before me.

There's everything in them... from smuggling to swindling to receiving stolen goods... to bare-faced blackmail.

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?

And how did you propose to keep it out?

By telling the editor what I know about his sister... and a certain government official in these parts.

Let him put that in his paper if he has need of news.

It would have been wiser if you had gone home at the end of your army service.

Home to what?

A porter's uniform outside a restaurant and tanner tips from belching civilians... for closing doors on them and their blowzy women?

Not after watching Afghans come howling down out of the hills... and taking battlefield command when the officers had copped it.

Well said, brother Dravot.

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.

Detriments you call us? Detriments?

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.

Left... turn.

There's no need to let any of this get into the Star...

...I take it, Kipling? Huh?

No, no.


My God. You two.

What do you want this time?

We want to ask you a favor.

Another favor?

Calm yourself, brother Kipling... we've never taken advantage of a fellow in the craft.

We don't want money, just a little of your time... a look at a book or two, study of your maps.

We'll take a drink if one's being offered, but we won't be put out if one isn't.

Peachy here is as sober as I am.

It's important you have no doubts on that score.

So we'll take one of your cigars apiece... and you shall watch us light up.

And now, sir, let me introduce you to brother Peachy Carnehan, which is him.

And brother Daniel Dravot, which is I.

The less said about our professions, the better... for we have been most things in our time.

We've been all over India... we know her cities, her jungles, her jails and her passes... and we have decided that she isn't big enough for such as we.

That's what I understood the commissioner to say.

Therefore, we are going away to another place... where a man isn't crowded and can come into his own.

We're not little men.

So we're going away to be kings.

Kings of Kafiristan.

Oh. Kafiristan?

We hear they have two and 30 idols there.

So we'll be the 33rd and 34th.

It's a place of warring tribes, which is to say... a land of opportunity for such as we... who know how to train men and lead them into battle.

We'll go there. We'll say to any chief we can find:

"Do you want to vanquish your foes?"

"Of course," he'll say, "go to it."

We'll fight for him, make him king, then we'll subvert that king.

We'll seize his royal throne and loot the country four ways from Sunday.

How's that for a plan?

You're both out of your minds.

To start with... the only way to get there is through Afghanistan. Hm!

Kafiristan? No, no, no.

Two white men on their own would be cut to pieces... before they were five miles into the Khyber Pass.

Just suppose we managed it.

Just suppose, and suppose we got across the Afghan plains, then what?

There's the Hindu Kush... a frozen sea of peaks and glaciers.

A party of geographers, a mapping expedition... tried several years ago and vanished into thin air.

No white man has ever been there and come out since Alexander.

Alexander who?

Alexander the Great, King of Greece... about 300 years before Christ.

Well, if a Greek can do it, we can do it.


I can only repeat, you're a pair of lunatics.

Would a pair of lunatics draw up a contract like this?

"This contract between me and you..." pursuing witnesseth here in the name of God, Amen, and so forth.

One: That you and me will settle this matter together... i. e., to be Kings of Kafiristan.

Two: That you and me will not, while this matter is being settled... look at any liquor nor any woman, black, white or brown... so as to get mixed up with one or the other harmful.

Three: That we conduct ourselves with dignity and discretion... and if one of us gets into trouble, the other one will stay by him.

"Signed by you and me this day."

There's no need for the last article, but it's got a ring to it.


Now, you witness it and it's legal.

Well, gentlemen, it's 4 in the morning.

Don't you stand on politeness, brother Kipling.

If you want to go to bed, we won't steal anything.

Well, thank you.

We'll send word when we're ready to push off... in case you want to bid us a fond goodbye.

Yes, well, try not to burn the place down.

Here we are.

"Kafiristan, 10,000 square miles, mountainous terrain..." religion unknown, population unknown.

Conquered by Alexander in 328 B.C.

According to Herioditus... he defeated King Ox Y-Artes...

"...whose daughter Roxanne he subsequently took to wife."

Buy for your wife, sir?


If you buy from me, sir, I make you very good price, sir.

Very cheap, very nice thing for you. Specially for you, sir.

Hee-yah, hee-yah, hee-yah.

Our forward continuance is impeded by this fellow, sir, who is begging the sahib... that you will accompany with him that he may show to you a rare...

...and wonderful thing. Thing? What thing?

Indeed, the man would not say what thing.

Therefore, sahib, sir, I suspect his bad intentions... to entice the sahib into a naughty house of disreputation... where he will take you and kill you and murder you... and cut your throat and rob the money from your pockets also.

Crikey, wait for me at the office.

But, sir, please. Sahib, myself, I will take you to a loving house. More better.

You will be very happy and delightful.

Hey! Hey, hey, hey!

Morning to you, brother.

Glad you stopped by and caught the matinée performance.

What'd you think of it? It's convincing enough... but what the devil are you two rascals up to now?

Last week it was kings you were to be, of Kafiristan, as I remember.

Right, but we've gotta get there first.

Madness is a trick.

Who'd hurt some poor crazy priest and his servant, hm?

Peachy worked out this dodge. We've used it before. He's good with the lingo.

He does the talking while I act dumb and balmy.

I've got so I can do the clowning pretty good.

I can twitch so as to put the fear of Allah into any good Muslim.

I can froth at the mouth something horrid. Want to see?

Well, I can imagine.

All right, then. Some other time, perhaps.

Come over here.

Give it a touch up down here.

Rifles? Martinis, 20 of them and ammunition.

Cost us every sou we squeezed out of the Raj of Degumber.

Good heavens.

You mean, you went back there? Of course, brother Kipling.

Heaven help you if you're caught with those at the border.

Gun-running isn't exactly new to us.

Well, brother Kipling, goodbye and many thanks.

Man, don't do it.

The odds are too great.

Wish us luck. We met upon the level.

And we're parting on the square.

Good luck indeed.

Come along, you ugly beast.


Here, take this.

Last time Danny and me came through the Khyber Pass... we fought our way, yard by bloody yard.

And General Bobbs called us heroes afterwards.

But that was years ago... and times have changed.

Blast. Look who's on sentry.


That loud-mouthed Mick from the Black Tyrone.

Private Mulvaney.

Come to attention when I am addressing you.

Slope arms.

Present arms.

Mark time.

At the double.

Corporal of the Guard.

Take three men and put Private Mulvaney under close arrest.

Bloody man's drunk again.

We came through the Khyber with that caravan... doing all sorts of antics to amuse the people.

At night he told them their fortunes in a tongue of his own devising... and I translated.

And all concerned were happy... because I promised them that all their wishes would come true.


Then at Jaedallak... we turned off towards Kafiristan.

They were sad to see us leave the caravan. We'd brought it good luck.

Two she-camels had been foaled and there was no sniping at us from the hills.

They waved goodbye to the mad priest and his servant.

And Danny danced them out of sight.

The country was deserty, the inhabitants was dispersed and solitary.

We traveled by night and kept away from villages... as we didn't want to waste ammunition in idle fighting with Afghans.

The Pushtukan.

A little wavy blue line on the map... but we couldn't hope to get the camels across.

So Peachy says to Danny, "It doesn't matter what they cost us... in the Lahore Bazaar. We'll trade them for goats."

We're playing for very high stakes.

Pipe Major McCrimmon bet me ten bob once... he could blow up a whole goatskin with one breath... and he did.

Though he'd sat down on an anthill in his kilt unknowing-like.

Ten shillings. It was ten shillings to Pipe Major McCrimmon.


Now... the problem is... how to divide five Afghans from three mules... and have two Englishmen left over.

Shoot them out their saddles.

No, the mules would bolt.

Sit over there, Danny.

So we starts forward, into those bitter cold mountainous parts... and never a path broader than the back of your hand.

The mountains was tall and white... like wild rams.

They was always fighting so you couldn't sleep at night for the din of their fighting.

The son of God goes forth to war A kingly crown to gain His blood-red banner streams afar Who follows in his train?

For God's sake, Danny, pipe down.

Why? Who's going to hear us up here?

These mountains, that's who. Do you want to start an avalanche?

God, you don't believe that kind of foolishness, I hope.

If a king can't sing, it ain't worth being king.

A glorious band, the chosen few...

The country was most mountainous and the mules was most contrary.

They all died but one, and she died later on.

Danny went snow-blind and clung to Jenny's tail.

Up and up we went... and down, and down, through defiles... and over snowy saddles, till all at once... two giants stood in our way.

God's holy trousers.

What's the matter, Peachy?

Blokes twice our size, standing guard in the snow, like.

Two of them. Give them a round apiece.

Not a move out of them.

Stay put.

I'll reconnoiter.

They're not real, thank God.

They're horrible.

Put there by the Kafiris to frighten the neighbors, no doubt.

Peachy... that means we're in Kafiristan or almost.

So it does.

What was that?

Our bridges have been burnt, so to speak.

What do you mean?

The bridge we crossed by ain't there no longer.


Now what?

Well, tell me.

A crevasse.

We've had it, Danny, coming and going.

Wide? Wide enough.

It drops into nothing below, straight as a beggar can spit.

That's the last of them Peachy.

No more gods to burn.

It looks like "Last Post," Danny.

I don't fancy dying by inches... feeling the cold creeping up my arms and legs, getting all numb.

I'll do the necessary when the fire goes out.

Fair enough.

Ain't it a bloody shame though, eh?

Our getting this close and not making it.

A stone's throw away, our kingdom.

I'd have like to seen you, Danny, with a gold crown on your head... if you could've found one that fitted it.

Peachy, in your opinion... have our lives been misspent?

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.

No, hardly that.

Nobody's gonna weep their eyes out at our demise.

And who'd want them to anyway?

And we haven't many good deeds to our credit.

None. None to brag about.

But how many men have been where we've been... and seen what we've seen?

Bloody few, and that's a fact.

Why, even now, I wouldn't change places with the viceroy himself... if it meant giving up my memories.

Me neither.

Do you remember the time the Highlanders was retreating down the hill... Ali Masjid... Ali Masjid.

And Pipe Major McCrimmon got his sporran shot off? Ha, ha, ha.

Half a crown was in it, right?

So back he goes after it without even looking to see if that was all he'd lost.

And then he got the Victoria Cross... Victoria Cross.

Because the bloody Highlanders turned around and followed him up the hill.


We could get on.


The promised land.


Must be their Halloween.

Upsadaisy, lad.

Brass band and all. Hail the conquering heroes.

Bloody cheek.

Where's their gratitude?

I say...

I say there...

Are you Englishmen, please?

Stone the bleeding crows.

Yes, mate.

And who might you be?

Peachy, it's a Gurkha.

Rifleman Machendra Bahadur Garung, known to my regimen as Billy Fish.

Is that right?

Well, report, rifleman. What are you doing here, wherever here is?

I come with Colonel Robertson, sir.

The geographer's party?

Dear me, alas, by Jove.

Party not reaching Er Heb for very misfortunate reasons.

Large mountain is falling on the heads of Colonel Robertson and others.

Everybody buried alive, except your servant.

What about them up there, banging drums and blowing horns... and then shooting arrows at us?

Oh. Big noise, intended to scare away devils.

Many devils here these days, you know?

They thought we was devils?

Kafiristan peoples very ignorant.

I say to Headman Ootah...

I say, oh, no, by Jove, they're not devils... they gorasahibs, British soldiers.

Good man, Billy Fish.

And now, if you will take us to this Ootah bloke... we will begin his education.





Tell him we won't hurt him, not to worry.

He wants to know where you come from.

Tell him we tumbled from the skies.

He wants to know are you gods?

Not gods, Englishmen, which is the next best thing.

I ofttimes tell Ootah about Englishmans... how they give names to dogs and take off hats to womans... and march into battle, left, right, with rifles on their shoulders.

Bringing enlightenment to the darker regions of the earth.

He wants to know how rifle works.

Show him, Peachy.

We are not gods exactly... but we are heaven-sent to deliver you from your enemies.

Enemies all around.

The Bashkai are the worst.

Whole town comes out and pisses downstream when we go bathing.


They are always killing our womans.

Putting on masks...

so Er Heb chap is thinking them devils and running like the bloody hell away.

War. Red war we'll give them.

He says he give you two goats for each Bashkai man you're killing.

One goat for each womans and childs.

A handsome offer.

But rather than knocking them over one at a time... we'd like to do the whole thing in one foul swoop.

Serve him up a proper victory. Storm Bashkai, take the city.

He says how much for all that?

Only the honor... of leading the brave men of Er Heb into battle.

Plus whatever we may fancy in the way of souvenirs.

A bauble here and a bangle there.

Bashkai is only the beginning. We hope to go on from victory to victory... until he runs out of enemies.

And a monarch of all you survey.

All he surveys?

From the highest place in the valley.

The mountains will echo your name.

Ootah the Great.

He says he prefers Ootah the Terrible.

Then Ootah the Terrible it shall be.

And take him in token of our earnest.

And now the womans of Er Heb will cut his bullocks off. Ha, ha, ha.

Couldn't happen in a better cause.

Contract. Contract.

Ootah say, "You no like?"

Tell His Highness we've given up strong drink... until we've conquered all his enemies.

Boil them once or twice in hot water and they'll come out like chicken and ham.

You wouldn't know them from the Gaiety chorus.

Ootah says take your pick.

He does?

Tell His Majesty... one's prettier than another.

I couldn't choose.

Take two, take three, take as many as you like.

There are more where they came from.

He has 27 daughters.

They're his daughters? His own daughters?

The dirty old brute.

Different countries, different customs. Mustn't be prejudiced, Peachy.

Thank His Majesty but tell him we've also taken a vow... not to dally with females till all his enemies are vanquished.

He has 32 sons if you're liking boys.

Tell him he makes my gorge to rise. Go on.

Hold on, Peachy, he's only being hospitable according to his likes.


Everything's the same as ours except the ball. It's bigger.

Do they always use that bigger ball?

It depend on size of man's head. Big head, big ball. This your Bashkai man.

Big damn head.

The bloody heathens.

Different countries, different customs. Mustn't be prejudiced, Danny.

Now, listen to me, you benighted muckers.

We're gonna teach you soldiering, the world's noblest profession.

When we've done with you, you'll be able to stand up... and slaughter your enemies like civilized men.

But first, you'll have to learn to march in step.

Do the manual of arms without even having to think.

Good soldiers don't think, they just obey.

Do you suppose 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 you're going to be crack troops.

Him there with a five-and-a-half hat size has the makings of a bloody hero.

Now the timing in the British army has always been one, two, three.

One, two, three.

One, two, three.

One, two, three.

One, two, three.

Ready, steady, go.

One, two, three.

One, two, three.

You say it at the same time as all the others, right?

Tell him to say it the same time as all the others.

Right. Go.

One, two, three. One, two, three.

One, two, three.

Billy, tell him to say it with the others. With the others.

One, two, three.

All right. Now ready, steady, go.

One, two, three.

You don't say it before the others. He's saying it before the others, Billy.

Not before the others, not after the others. With the bloody others.

Right. Attention.

Now, you, look...

That one goes to there. Say that one goes to there, that's it.

Down there like that. There we are. You okay? Right.


Come on, smarten up, you horrible lot.


That's better.

Troops, march.

Regiment, quick march.

Left, left, left, right, left.

Now, wait a minute, ducks, you're a handsome piece, that I don't deny... but the contract clearly states... that the party of the first part, which is Danny... and the party of the second part, which is me... shall nowise compromise ourselves... with parties of the third part, which is you.

All binding, properly sworn to... witnessed and attested.

Danny. Shaw.

Thank God you arrived.

Let's go and seek safety in battle.

Trumpeter, sound your trumpet.

Billy Fish.

Blood is what we want, the bloodier the better. So see that it is so.

So it shall be, huzoor.

Like old times, Peachy. Reminds me of Ali Masjid.

It's a good job, the odds are only 10-to-1.


Line up in a straight line here.



Who are they?

What's happening?

Very holy men. They make walks through all Kafiristan... collecting offerings for Holy City.

Battle is postponed... until priests are passed.

Why have they got their eyes closed?

They do not wish to see any badness, so keep eyes closed... until they return to beauties of Sikandergul.


Aim! Fire!




The great bloody show-off.

Rifle section, form line.

Fix bayonets.


Volley fire.

Commence fire.


And what, may I ask, did you think you were playing at... charging the enemy single-handed?

I got carried away, heat of the moment, the blood was up.

Acting like some green lieutenant hoping to be mentioned in dispatches.

A man of your age, you ought to be ashamed of yourself.


Supposing you got killed? Supposing that? Where would I be at?

It won't happen again.

See it don't. And what are you carrying that arrow around for?

No particular reason. I've never seen anything like it in me life.

Hold on, laddy buck. What's he up to?

He say he great warrior. He win this big battle... and now according to custom he lop off their heads.

Great warrior, eh? Well, I never saw him in the thick of the fray.

There'll be no execution of prisoners in this army.

Tell him to put that sword away.

He says once sword unsheathed, it must taste blood.

Just as I thought, he hasn't had it out until now.

He says watch out or he get very angry and lop your head off.

All right, up you get, off your hunkers.

No more groveling.

We ain't gonna put your city to the torch... or hang you in chains nor rape your daughters.

Tell them to divide their goods in half... and we will choose which half we want, in the way of spoils.

Henceforth, let the men of Er Heb and the men of Bashkai be as brothers.

Brothers in arms.

Let them march together under one banner... and share and share alike in the victories to come.

Have the Bashkai any enemies to speak of?

Oh, enemies all around.

The Bhardoks, the Ghundaras, the Shus, the Khawaks.

The Bhardoks people coming out and pissing downstream on Bashkai people... when they go bathing.


We'll strike them down and grind them into dust.

Silver bracelet, ten shillings.

A good heavy necklace of the same, worth a fiver at least.

Earring with bangles.

One pig sticker with plain handle.

A gold coin, worn pretty thin.

A rosy red ring and a few other ones, plain.

The whole lot should fetch ten or fifteen quid in an able shop in London.

Not too bad for the back of beyond.

Sikander, Sikander, Sikander.

They're calling for you.

For me?

Sikander, Sikander, Sikander.

Sikander. Sikander.

What does Sikander mean, Billy?

Sikander a god. Come here long ago from the west.

Yeah, that'll be the Greek bloke brother Kipling told us about.


Alexander. Sikander.

Yeah. Alexander.

He builded great city...

Sikandergul, high in mountains.

Sit on throne, all peoples worship him.

Then one day, time comes, he say he must go to east.

People pull their hairs out, tear clothes... so Sikander promise to send back son.

328 B.C... the encyclopedia said.

Soldiers saw arrow go into Danny's chest... him pluck it out and not bleeding.


So son of Sikander.

They think I'm a god?

A god. Put your foot out that I may kiss your big toe.

You may kiss my royal arse.

Not royal, holy. You're a deity, remember?

Peachy? Yes, Billy.

Is Danny not son of Sikander?

No, Billy, he's a man like you and me.

He can break wind at both ends simultaneous.

Which, I'm willing to bet, is more than any god can do.

But the arrow...

The arrow stuck in the bandoleer.

There was no miracle, Billy, so you'd better tell them out there.

And my dad's name was Herbert Dravot, Esquire... and he was bar steward in a knocking shop in Durham.

Hang on a minute, Danny.

Maybe we're missing a bet here.

What do you mean?

Supposing you was an ignorant Kafiri... who would you rather follow, a god or a man?

Now, we're here to conquer this country, ain't we?

Well, with you as a god, it would take half the time and half the trouble.

The idea's a bit blasphemous-like.

No, Danny, blaspheming is when you take his name in vain...

God Almighty's.

And what if they found out we was having them on?

Why should they? We won't tell them.

And you won't tell them, will you, Billy?

Oh, no, indeed by Jove, no.



Er Heb and Bashkai people celebrate new brotherhood.

With whose head? Ootah's.

We marched and fought and took more villages.

Our ranks swelled.

They were well-trained and disciplined... but with Danny at their head, Sikander the Second... they were also inspired.

Sikander, Sikander, Sikander.

After half a dozen victories... his fame was such that there was no more fighting.

We was met with gifts and bevies of maidens... who danced and threw flowers.


Venus de Milo in the flesh, if flesh it is, and not Guinness and champagne.

Billy, tell her to stand up and turn around.

Just gazing, Peachy, just gazing.

There's such a thing as enjoying beauty for its own sake.

Being only human... one thing leads to another.

Give her a hat with an ostrich feather in it... and there'll be no girl in Brighton on a bank holiday could hold a candle to her.

I must admit... she really is an eyeful.

What's your name, girl?


Roxanne. Hey.

Wasn't that the name of the princess that Alexander married?

It was that.

Hold your head up.

Girl afraid. Of what?

If god takes a girl, she catches fire and go up in smoke.

They do what?

God's heart a burning torch, his veins run fire, not blood.

If god makes love to girl, she goes "Kaa-choom!"

In one flash. Not even any ashes left.

I bet that was made up by some jealous goddess.

They come from Holy City of Sikandergul... with a message for the one who calls himself Son of Sikander.

Tell them they're looking at him, or would be if they opened their eyes.

The message comes from Kafu Selim.

Who? Kafu Selim.

High priest of all Kafiristan.

What's the message?

Kafu Selim says come.


Is that all? That's all, just come.

Doesn't waste words, does he?

You tell Kafu Selim that we appreciate the invitation... and that we will avail ourselves of it one of these days.

No, come means come now, today. Oh.

What does he want to see us about, or didn't he say?

He just says come.

I see.

All right, well, tell him to stand by... and the army will be ready by first light.

He says no. You come alone, him and you.

Without the army?

You tell Kafu Selim or whatever his name is...

Peachy and me don't go anywhere without the army goes with us.

Shut up, Danny.

We have to go.

Have you gone starky?

Keep your voice down and put a smile on your face.

We've got an audience, remember?

Peachy, we'd be stone bonkers... to walk into a strange city by our lonesomes.

Either we do what they say or we pull stumps and run.

Make a beeline for the mountains as soon as it's dark... and never look back at Kafiristan.

Run? Not bloody likely. Run from the likes of them?

No... from our blokes.

We're over a barrel, Danny.

If we break away from a meeting with old Kafu Selim... we'll lose face and that is the one thing a god cannot afford.

What to do?

Bluff it out.

Polish our buttons and leather, stuff ramrods up our jacksies and look bold.

Like we did when we were on charges for drunk and resisting the guard.


God's holy trousers.

No weapons allowed in holy city.

All right, you've got us here.

Now what? Hm?

Where's your High Panjandrum? Hm?

Afternoon, Your Reverence. You said you wanted to see me?

Tell him he can keep it, Billy. Tell him I'm making him a present of it.

What did he say, Billy?

He say now we shall see.

You mortals wait down there.

Tell your filthy sods to take their paws off me double quick... or by God, I'll have their guts for garters!

I'll pluck out your livers and feed them to the kites.

How dare you lay your hands on me...

Daniel Dravot, Esquire.




Now what the bleeding hell?

One minute he's about to cut my bloody heart out... the next minute he's flat on his bleeding face.

He saw that... and he dropped like he was poleaxed.

What do you make of it?

He says that is mark of Sikander.

They're Masons.

By the square, by the level, by the plumb rule, by the compasses... and by the all-seeing eye. The craft, Danny, the craft.

That's what saved us. Blimey.

Only highest of high priests knows about this sign... put in stone long ago by Sikander.

Now Kafu Selim rejoicing at the coming of his son.

Sikander, Sikander, Sikander!

It ain't brass, Danny.


Belong to Sikander, now Son of Sikander's.

These here make the jewels in the Tower of London... look like cheap family heirlooms.

God's holy trousers.

Look at the size of that ruby.

There's a bigger one.

Why, Danny, we only have to fill our pockets and walk out of here... to be millionaires.

And all of it... all... would make us the two richest men in England.

The Empire. The world.

But will they let us take it?

Take it away, I mean?

Ask him, Billy.

He says belong to Son of Sikander, can do with it what he likes.

Leave it here, take away, no matter. His will be done.

We've mules enough, thank God... and riflemen to guard them when the time comes.

What month is it?

January, I make it, or maybe February.

March, April, May, June... four months of winter monsoon, then...

Four long months.

What'll we do with the time?

Add up our blessings here... divide them by two... not forgetting you, Billy...

and multiply that by the years we've got left.

Tell His Reverence... he has my thanks... for discharging his trust so correctly... and delivering to me what is mine.

And tell him I'm also grateful to all them other holy men... who waited for me, from one generation to another... down the centuries to this present day and fortuitous occasion.

My lord, these people are from village of Kamdesh.

This man owns 60 cows... all cows in the village.

Very enterprising of him.

Enterprise is not his, enterprise is hers.

She's his wife, you see, and every time he catches her with other mans... other mans has to pay a forfeit of six cows. Is Kafiri custom.

Use other man's wife, pay him six cows.

You mean, he's piled up a fortune of 60 cows out of her infidelities?

And 32 goats.

She ain't a wife, she's a going concern. Ha.

And these are the unfaithful husbands?

And these the wives?

Those four wives of one man.

These three wives of another. Those six of another.

This ain't no laughing matter.

Without cattle, there ain't no meat, nor hides, nor hooves, nor horns.

Without milk there ain't no butter nor cheese and the children's bowls go empty.

Outrageous it is.

Now, for encouraging his wife to comport herself like Jezebel... one cow shall be paid each of the other wives.

For using a good law for a bad purpose, another.

For causing the young and innocent to go without, a third.

And for thinking he can get away with it, a fourth.

He shall pay 22 cases of compensation... of four cows to each wife.

Which means, she's got...

Fourteen and two-thirds.

Fourteen and two-thirds more infidelities to commit, to come out even.

Let her husband see how he likes it when she's earning cows for somebody else.

Next case.

What's the charge?

No charge, this chief from Agatsi... which village have big fire and winter supply of grains go up in smoke.

Now chief want permission to raid another village for to steal grain.

They don't have to raid and they won't starve neither.

Make a proclamation, Billy. What number is it?

Thirty-one, my lord.

Each and every village will bring one-tenth of its crop here... to my royal city of Sikandergul... where same will be suitably stored.

Henceforth, any village suffering from privation... shall have grain issued to it in accordance with its needs.

I now pronounce this law enacted. Selah.

I also pronounce a five-minute recess in this durbar.

Yes, my lord.

If we're gonna make it stick that I'm a god... you ought to bow when you pass in front of me like everybody else.

All right, Danny.

You understand, for appearance's sake.


No offense.

No, no, of course not, Danny.

You'd have to take your hat off to Daniel Dravot.

He dealt out justice as though he wrote the book.

Peachy was the general of all his armies... but there was no more battles to be fought.

So Danny put him to building a bridge... that would span the chasm below the holy city.

It'd help keep Peachy occupied till the spring came.

Look, Danny, the geese. Skeins of them flying north.

Another fortnight and the pass will be open.

Now, what we ought to do is make camp high up on the mountain... and wait on the weather.

I ain't going, Peachy. What?

You heard me.

Not going? Correct.

Have you gone barmy?

No. I ain't been drinking neither.

I see things clear.

It's like bandages have been removed from my eyes.

Have you ever walked into a strange room...

And it's like you've been there before?

I know what you mean, yes. Let me tell you something.

This isn't the first time I wore a crown.

There's more to this than meets the eye.

It all adds up.

What does?

Everything that's happened from the time we decided to come here.

No, before that... beginning with your taking brother Kipling's watch.

More than chance has been at work here.

More than mere chance.

Why his watch and not somebody else's?

And what made him give me the emblem?

One thing after the other.

The avalanche, the arrow... the mark on the stone, and not to mention, another Roxanne.


The Venus de Milo?

The same.

One more thing is needful for my destiny to be fulfilled.

That I take her to wife.

For God's sake, leave the women alone.

Who's talking of women? I said wife.

A queen to breed a king's son for the king.

What about the contract?

The contract only lasted until such time as we was kings... and king I've been these months past.

The first king here since Alexander, the first to wear his crown in 2200 and...

Fourteen. Fourteen years.

Him... and now me.

They call me his son and I am... in spirit, anyway.

It's a hugeous responsibility.

The bridge we're building, it's only the first of many.

They'll tie the country together.

A nation I shall make of it, with an anthem and a flag.

I shall treat on equal terms the viceroy and other kings and princes.

And when I've accomplished what I set out to do...

I'll stand one day before the queen... not kneel, mind you, but stand like an equal.

And she'll say, "I'd like you to accept the Order of the Garter..." as a mark of my esteem, cousin."

And she'll pin it on me herself.

It's big, I tell you, it's big.

And I tell you, you need a physic.

I'm fair disappointed in you, Peachy. You of all men... who followed me and helped to make me what I am.

Followed you? Me? Who had hold of the mule's tail, tell me that?

The jenny also done her bit.

Danny. Danny, we've had this rare streak of luck.

Let's quit winners for once. Cut and run while the running's good.

You call it luck.

I call it destiny. Ha, ha.

Pardon me while I fall down laughing.

Whatever you may think... and however you may feel, I'm a king and you're a subject.

So don't you provoke me, Peachy Carnehan.

Or you'll do what?

You've got me trembling in my boots here. What'll you do?

You have our permission to bugger off.

That I'll do, with or without your bleeding permission.

And may you rot in hell, Daniel Dravot.

From Sikander the First... to Sikander the Second... was a long time between kings... and a country needs a king, like a king needs a crown.

The one is the glory of the other.

Therefore, I shall leave a son behind me... who will, in his turn, beget other sons... so the royal succession will be unbroken... and kings will be guaranteed to you forever.

To which end...

I have chosen a wife.

Roxanne of Khawak.

Let her be brought here, attended by members of her family.

I want flowers strewed along her way... and the wedding ceremony will be surrounded by pomp and circumstance.

Let messengers be sent forth and summon my people from near and far.


What are they saying, Billy Fish?

How can daughters of men marry gods or devils?

A god can do anything. But it is not proper.

Who says it isn't?

All the priests.

Would they put their word against that of a god?

They say let Imbra decide.

Imbra is highest god of all.

And what if Imbra should hold against me?

What'll they do about it?

Am I a dog or a god?

Haven't I put the shadow of my hand over this country?

Do as I say. Send for the girl.

Tell them that's an order.

Well, Billy, what's going on?

Signs very bad, Peachy.

Priests open up birds, all green inside and stinking most horrid.

Imbra very angry.

They probably cut the spleen, the green's only bile.

Don't worry, Billy... the girl won't go up in smoke, I'll guarantee you that.

Girl don't matter... many girls here, no difference.

Few girls more or less.

But cows now, they dry up... and goats throw babies too soon.

And corn do not ripen.

Everybody go hungry.

Now, Billy, you know as well as I do... that Dravot's no god.

He himself told you about the arrow.

But then priests must be mistaken about Imbra.

He not angry because... god marrying a mortal... but because son of man pretend to be a god.

Roxanne, don't be afraid...

I wouldn't harm you.

When the time comes, you'll catch fire, I warrant... like all women should when their husbands hold them close.

But you won't perish, girl, I promise you that.

Well, Danny... the time has come, as the saying goes.

When do you leave?

At first light.

I thought you might like to take a peek in the boxes before I nail them shut... see what I'm taking.

Take what you like.

I weighed the gold out, pound for pound.

The gems, ounce for ounce, every jot and tittle.


I'll only need half the mules we planned... but I would like to take all 20 riflemen... to see me safe through the Khyber Pass.

Take them. Take them.

God's holy trousers.

What is that?

They're savages here, one and all.

Leave them to go back to slaughtering babes... and playing stick and ball with one and other's heads... and pissing on their neighbors.

Please, Danny... for the last time of asking... come back with me.

For the last time of answering, I won't.

Peachy, I know you've got my best interests at heart... but the choice has been made.

Well, I'll be seeing you, then.

In London maybe...

when the queen gives you the Order of the Garter.


Yes, Danny. I'm to be married mid-morning.

Could you not wait and leave afterwards?

See me up the aisle for old times' sake,

If you like.

Peachy, the ring.

I, Sikander the Second, hereby take thee, Roxanne... to be my lawful wedded wife... and Queen of Kafiristan.


She bit me.

The slut bit me.

What's he saying, Billy?

Danny's bleeding. They know. He says not god, not devil, but man.

They've twigged it, Danny. You've had it.

The jig's up.

I, Sikander... For God's sake.

We've got to brass it out, Danny. Danny, brass it out.

Bags of swank.

We'll get your riflemen, Peachy, we'll come back and slaughter the dogs.

A drenching in their own blood, we'll give them.

Riflemen, prepare to advance.

Too many for that, Danny. Retire in sections.

Retire? Retire be damned.

We've gotta make a run for it.

Front section.



Front rank. Fire!


Break ranks!

Billy Fish, mount the mule and ride.

There's a chance you'll make it.

Gurkha foot soldier, not cavalry.

Rifleman Machendra Bahadur Garung wishing you many good lucks.

Out of bloody ammo. Me too.

Peachy, I'm heartily ashamed for getting you killed... instead of going home rich like you deserved to... on account of me being so bleeding high and bloody mighty.

Can you forgive me?

That I can... and that I do, Danny.

Free and full and without let or hindrance.

Everything's all right, then.

The son of God goes forth to war A kingly crown to gain His blood-red banner...

Cut you buggers, cut.

A glorious band, the chosen few On whom the spirit came Twelve valiant saints, their hope they knew And mocked the cross and flame He met the tyrant's brandished steel The lion's gory mane He bowed his head, his death to feel

Who followed in his train?

And old Danny fell... round and round and round and round... like a penny whirligig.

Twenty thousand miles.

For it took him half an hour to fall before he struck the rocks.

And do you know what they did to Peachy?

They crucified him, sir... between two pine trees... as Peachy's hands... will show.

Poor Peachy, who'd never done them any harm.

He just hung there and he screamed, but he didn't die.

And the next day they come and they took him down and they said... it was a miracle he wasn't dead, 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.

His head?

You knew Danny, sir. Oh, yes.

You knew... most worshipful brother...

Daniel Dravot, Esquire.

Well, he became... the 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.