"The Man Who Would Be King" remains a classic entertainment of the old school, and its lesson of imperial plundering and exploitation of territory (especially in Afghanistan) only grows deeper with time, and more familiar every day. Our governments are filled with con-men, adept and inept, as Danny and Peachey.The Story: In India, newspaper-man Rudyard Kipling (Christopher Plummer) has several encounters will two ne'er-do-well con-men and petty blackmailers, Daniel Dravot (Sean Connery) and Peachey Carnehan (Michael Caine). They share a bond as Freemason's, and so Kipling feels compelled to help his lodge-brothers out of several scrapes they get into. Amused by their exploits, charmed by their stories, he is still a bit wary of them when they show up at his offices at The Evening Star. Action!
Rudyard Kipling pulls out a story from his type-writer and calls for a copy-boy to retrieve it.Kipling: Copy!
Kipling: My God! You two! What do you want this time?
Peachey: We want to ask you a favor…
Kipling: Another favor?
Daniel: Calm yourself, brother Kipling. We’ve never taken advantage of a fellow in the craft.
Peachey: We don’t want any money…just a little of your time, a look at a book or two, a study or your maps...
Peachey: We’ll take a drink if one is offered, and we won’t be put out if one isn’t.
Kipling: Yes. That’s what I understood the Commissioner to say…
Peachey: Therefore we are going to another place…
Peachey: ...where a man isn’t crowded and he can come into his own. We are not little men. So we’re going away to be kings. Kings of Kafriristan.
Kipling: Oh! Kafiristan.
Daniel: We hear they have two and thirty idols there. So we shall be the thirty-third and the thirty-fourth.
Peachey: It is 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. Daniel: We’ll go there. We say to any chief we can find.. “Do you want to vanquish your foes?”
Daniel: We’ll seize his throne, and then loot the country four ways from Sunday.
Kipling: (Laughs) You’re both out of your minds.
Daniel: Just suppose we managed it. Just suppose. And suppose we got across the Afghan Plains.Then what?
Peachey: Alexander who?
Kipling: Alexander the Great. King of Greece. About 300 years before Christ.
Peachey: Well, if a Greek can do it, we can do it.
Kipling: (Laughs) I can only repeat: You’re a pair of lunatics.
Peachey: Would a pair of lunatics draw up a "contrack" like this:
Daniel: There’s no need for the last article, but, uh…it’s got a ring to it.
Daniel takes a pen, and seeing his drink half-full (or is it half-empty?)and knowing this is his last ceremoniously finishes it in one pour, his eyes rolling back in his head. Then having finished, he signs, followed by Peachey.
Peachey: Now…you witness it and it’s legal.
Kipling: Well, gentlemen, it’s four in the morning…
Daniel: Don’t you stand on politeness, Brother Kipling. If you want to go to bed, we won’t steal anything.
Kipling: Oh, well, THANK you.
Peachey: We’ll send word when we’re ready to push off if case you want to bid us a fond good-bye.
Peachey: Here we are…Kafiristan.
Words by Rudyard Kipling, Gladys Hill and John Huston