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The Man Who Would Be King (1975)
The Man Who Would Be King is a 1975 film adapted from the Rudyard Kipling short story of the same title. It was adapted and directed by John Huston and starred Sean Connery, Michael Caine, Saeed Jaffrey, and Christopher Plummer as Kipling (giving a name to the short story's anonymous narrator). The film follows two rogue ex-non-commissioned officers of the Indian Army who set off from late 19th century British India in search of adventure and end up as kings of Kafiristan. Kipling is believed to have been inspired by the travels of American adventurer Josiah Harlan during the period of the Great Game between Imperial Russia and the British Empire and James Brooke, an Englishman who became the "white Raja" of Sarawak in Borneo. Like much of his writing, Kipling's original story takes a nuanced view of imperialism; in Huston's telling, both East and West have their faults and virtues. While working as a correspondent at the offices of the Northern Star newspaper, Kipling (Christopher Plummer) is approached by a ragged, seemingly crazed derelict, who reveals himself to be his old acquaintance Peachy Carnehan (Michael Caine).