The King and I

The King and I

Synopsis of Movie

"Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera..."

The King and I was another lavish Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, this time based on Anna Leonowens' autobiographical novel Anna and The King of Siam.

Originally a Broadway show, the musical tells the story of Anna, a young, recently-widowed mother of one son who comes to 19th-century Siam (now known as Thailand) to tutor the king’s many children. Anna and the King immediately clash. The King expects everyone to kowtow to his beliefs and demands, and he is greatly annoyed when Anna does not. Her headstrong personality and British upbringing make her bristle at Siam’s notions of subservience and sexism.

The King and Anna eventually warm to each other, even if they still do not necessarily approve of each other’s thinking. Yet the two are charmed by each other’s distinct, but opposing personalities. Anna also loves tutoring the King’s large brood of children and wives, but she soon learns that their perspective of the world is marred by the King’s outrageous opinions and huge ego. When she tries to instruct them about world geography, she is amused to learn that the children think that Siam is the largest country in the world, and the British Empire is tiny by comparison.

Anna seems to enjoy living in Siam until she witnesses the King’s harsh treatment of one of his concubines, a young woman unwilling to be the King’s consort because she is in love with another man. Anna must decide whether she can live in a country whose way of life she does not entirely approve of, as well as reconcile her feelings for the King himself.

The King and I included several memorable Rodgers and Hammerstein songs, including “Getting to Know You” and “Shall We Dance?,” as well as the famous “House of Uncle Thomas” performance that featured Thai dancing and pantomime. Yul Brenner originated the role of the King of Siam on Broadway and also played him in the film, winning both a Tony and an Oscar for his performance of the same role. The King and I was also nominated for eight other awards, including Best Picture, winning five of them.

After more than four decades in release, The King and I has become a classic musical, still being watched by song and dance fans around the world. The story's continuing popularity has led to two remakes, both released in 1999. Warner Bros.' The King and I was an animated retelling of the Rodgers and Hammerstein play, while 20th Century Fox's Anna and the King dispensed with the singing and dancing to focus on Anna Leonowens' story, with Jodie Foster and Chow Yun-Fat in the title roles.

Movie Release History

1956 - The King and I

Movie Sub Categories


Movie Studio

20th Century Fox


Anna Leonowens  Deborah Kerr
King Mongkut of Siam  Yul Brynner
Tuptim  Rita Moreno
Kralahome  Martin Benson
Lady Thiang  Terry Saunders
Louis Leonowens  Rex Thompson
Lun Tha  Carlos Rivas
Prince Chulalongkorn  Patrick Adiarte
British Ambassador Sir John Hay  Alan Mowbray
Sir Edward Ramsay  Geoffrey Toone
Keeper of the Dogs  Robert Banas
Twin  Dennis Bonilla
Twin  Thomas Bonilla
Specialty Dancer  Gemze De Lappe
Lun Tha (singing voice)  Reuben Fuentes
Captain Orton  Charles Irwin
Angel (in ballet)  Michiko Iseri
Siamese Girl  Irene James
Simon Legree  Marion Jim
Whipping Guard  Fuji Levi
Whipping Guard  Weaver Levy
Whipping Guard  Jocelyn Lew
Messenger  Eddie Luke
Anna (singing voice)  Marni Nixon
Guest at Palace  Josephine Smith
Interpreter  Leonard Strong
Uncle Thomas  Dusty Worrall
High Priest  William Yip
Eliza   Yuriko

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