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King & Country (1964)

Not Rated | | Drama, War | 30 November 1965 (USA)
During World War I, an army private is accused of desertion during battle. The officer assigned to defend him at his court-martial finds out there is more to the case than meets the eye.

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Writers:

(screenplay), (from the stage play by) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 4 BAFTA Film Awards. Another 2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Captain Hargreaves
...
Private Arthur James Hamp
...
Captain O'Sullivan
...
Lieutenant Webb
...
Colonel
James Villiers ...
...
Private Sparrow (as Jeremy Spencer)
Barry Justice ...
Lieutenant Prescott
Vivian Matalon ...
Padre
...
Corporal of Guard
James Hunter ...
Private Sykes
Jonah Seymour ...
Corporal Hamilton
...
Sergeant Major
David Cook ...
Private Wilson
Richard Arthure ...
Guard
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Storyline

During World War One, the British troops are entrenched at Passchendaele, Belgium. Among the volunteers there is a young British soldier, Arthur Hamp, who is the sole survivor of his original company. Hamp spent three years in the trenches and this makes him a veteran. He has never been accused of cowardice but one day he simply decides to leave the war behind him and walk all the way home to Britain. In Calais, France, he is challenged by a Military Police patrol who promptly arrests him for leaving without permission. Hamp's commanding officers decide to convene a Court Martial and charge him with desertion. If found guilty, Hamp could be shot by a firing squad. Captain Hargreaves is assigned to be Hamp's defending attorney but he seems skeptical about his chances of acquittal for the deserter. During their first talk, Captain Hargreaves is impressed by his client's utter sincerity and naivete. He learns that his client volunteered on a dare by his friends back home, spent three ... Written by nufs68

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The most intense excitement you have ever experienced in this shock-filled story of the incident that rocked an empire! See more »

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

30 November 1965 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

För kung och fosterland  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$300,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Color:

(archive footage)|

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Film debut of Keith Buckley. See more »

Goofs

The battalion commander mentions a meeting at twenty-hundred hours. 24-hour clocks were only used from the Second World War. See more »

Quotes

Captain Midgley: A proper court is concerned with law. It's a bit amateur to plead for justice.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Dirk Bogarde: By Myself (1992) See more »

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User Reviews

 
pretty devastating
19 November 2010 | by See all my reviews

"King & Country," directed by Joseph Losey and released in 1964, is an unrelenting look at war. The World War I drama concerns a young soldier (Tom Courtenay) who is being tried for desertion. It's evident that, after his whole battalion was lost, that the boy was shell-shocked. A Captain Hargreaves (Dirk Bogarde) is brought in to defend him.

The film has actual photos of dead bodies from the London War Museum throughout the movie. The setting is freezing cold, wet bunkers with lots of mud. The men have been jaded to death and suffering and at times act brutally.

The end of the film is particularly awful, that's the only word I can think of. Not awful as in it's a bad movie, but awful in the situation.

Tom Courtenay does an excellent job as a wide-eyed young man who really doesn't realize what he did or what may happen to him as a result; Leo McKern turns in an excellent performance as a no-nonsense officer. Dirk Bogarde is wonderful as the captain who goes to the mat for his client and comes up against a cruel system that seems to have no understanding of or compassion for human frailty.

Lots of gross stuff in this movie - imagine actually having to endure it. Excellent directing job by Losey, and a thought-provoking film that you won't forget quickly, even though you want to.


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