Farewell to the King (1989)

Farewell to the King (1989)
  • 2662
  • PG-13
  • Genre: Action
  • Release year: 1989 ()
  • Running time: 117 min
  • Original Title: Farewell to the King
  • Voted: 2662

An American soldier who escapes the execution of his comrades by Japanese soldiers in Borneo during WWII becomes the leader of a personal empire among the headhunters in this war story told in the style of Joseph Conrad and Rudyard Kipling. The American is reluctant to rejoin the fight against the Japanese on the urging of a British commando team but conducts a war of vengeance when the Japanese attack his adopted people.

1Nick NolteLearoyd
2Nigel HaversBotanist
3Frank McRaeTenga
4Gerry LopezGwai
  • A movie in the true Milius tradition... by 9

    All the other posters make good points, but the one they miss is that this is first, last and simply, pure Milius. If you don't know who John Milius is you probably do not read movie credits. John Milius is a screen writer and director. Kind of a cult figure. His stock in trade is manly virtue. His detractors would use the term "macho", but that is too derogatory. Movies you may have see by him are, "Wind and the Lion, Red Dawn, Conan the Barbarian, Jeremiah Johnson, Clear and Present Danger, The Rough Riders, Apocalypse Now, Magnum Force, Dirty Harry, Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean. See a pattern here?

    Every one of the above movies deals with male relationships, honor, loyalty, fall and redemption. Romance relationships take a back seat to the relationships between the male characters, be they protagonists or antagonists. Jeramiah Johnson is a great example of this and shares many theme similarities with Farewell to the King.

    Milius the director's sense of honor transcends the norm and underscores his reputation as a Hollywood rebel and outcast. Leroyd is betrayed by his erstwhile allies symbolized by Gen. MacArthur who gives his word and violates that promise. Leroyd ultimately accepts his former hated Japanese enemy simply because he too possesses a personal code of honor similar to Leroyd. A similar scene plays out at the end of Red Dawn, where the Cuban Commander lets the dying Jed escape, carrying his dead brother (Charlie Sheen through a shared warriors sense of honor. Jed then goes to a playground to sit in a swing, presumably regaining their lost childhood in joined death. This is a familiar theme in Milius' work.

    Another familiar theme is that of the Rebel or loose cannon. Dirty Harry, the Marine Captain in Wind and the Lion, are just a few examples. Milius is the quintessential loose cannon in Hollywood. So he probably feels a kinship to the characters of which he writes.

    There are many other themes that are familiar to all his movies. The female as a catalyst and semi-tragic figure is another. His women move his protagonists to greater heights. The female at risk or her unfortunate demise drives the central character to either his doom or his redemption, or both.

    I have to say that I am a Milius fan. This movie is one of my favorites by him. Yes, I cringe at some of the acting, like Sgt. Tenga's horrible fake British accent (Kenyan by way of Chicago, perhaps?) The English speaking "Apaches" also make me roll my eyes. But scenes like "Advance the Colors", or Leroyd's redemption at the end of the movie, more than make up for the other lapses. This movie is good stuff. Get a six pack, or a bottle of scotch, a few cigars, some munchies and enter the world of John Milius. A world where men live by their honor, disputes are resolved man to man, and if enemies survive the ordeal, the sit down and drink to one another as survivors.

  • Fantastic film by 10

    I've seen this film many times and it's one I would watch and enjoy any time it was on. Sure it has plot problems, but the over-all beauty of this story is both heart wrenching and epic. It ranks as one of my all-time favorites, like the beautiful cinematography of "The Mission". Its depiction of World War II war-time action in an obscure theater of war like Borneo, is both interesting and eye-opening. The plot is believable and gut wrenching in its depiction of an invader attacking ones homeland. I could not help but be reminded of scenes from another favorite film of mine, "Last of the Dog Men". I only wish this film was available generally to all in DVD format, as I believe it to be a film that buffs would want to add to their collection.

  • A gripping, thought-provoking, action adventure by 9

    Nick Nolte stars as the enigmatic hero of this little-known but highly interesting film. Basically at war with himself, Nolte evolves from Army deserter to a genuine jungle king.

    He's an interesting actor, and never more so than in this movie, which is set in Borneo during World War II. It might just as easily been set in a Montagnard village during the Vietnam War.

    This off-beat, under-rated movie is more of a psychological study than a mindless, run-of-the-mill action flick. This movie has a lot more depth and heart than that.

    The locations are beautiful, the musical score is outstanding, and, as in most John Milius films, the uniforms, weapons, and other goodies are faithfully and accurately depicted with wonderful detail.

    This is a thinking man's "war movie". If you enjoyed "The Man Who Would Be King", you will very likely enjoy this film, too.

    If you can find it on video, snap it up fast!

  • Pure beauty of love, war, adventure, heroism, honesty, bravery... by 10

    You gotta be really stupid to mark this one lower then 8. It's fantastic movie that combines films like The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (Headless Horseman), Dances with Wolves, River on bridge Kwai... With stunning performance of Nick Nolte - this character has been like made for him! And not to mention Nigel Havers who is one of the biggest underdogs in movie industry today. He pick ups where Peter O'Toole left. Playing dandy intellectuals with ease and graciousness.

    I liked the adaptation skill given to natives. Unlike other portraits of Indians or other native cannibal age tribes folks here are keen of accepting useful western habits so the gap of values isn't unbridgeable. That might be unrealistic but it's a movie and that is what movies are about.

    Although there were sad moments in the movie it didn't left me depressed but lifted me high. Great soundtrack helps with that.

    Highly recommended.

  • Captivating by 7

    I can't explain why, but this movie captivates me. I had never seen or even heard of it, and bought it from a video store that was going out of business. And I am glad that I did.

    For some reason this movie stirrs emotion for me. and the last line at the end, well, you'll see, if you see the film.

    If you have a chance to rent this movie, do so. Even if you don't get the charge out of it I did, you will at the very least, be entertained.

    I recommend it. 7 out of 10

1Dean Semlercinematographer
2Basil Poledouriscomposer
3John Miliusdirector
4Andre Morganproducer
5Albert S. Ruddyproducer
6Pierre Schoendoerfferwriter