BrianRxm Coins in Movies 64/118
The Man Who Would Be King (1975)
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The 1975 Allied Artists film "The Man Who Would Be King" shows some ancient coins
of Alexander the Great and, inadvertently, a well-known Roman tourist fake coin.
 
The film is based on the Rudyard Kipling short story about two British army sergeants
who set out in the 1880's for a remote part of Afghanistan where one becomes appointed as a king.
 
The film stars Sean Connery as Daniel Dravot, Michael Caine as Peachy Carnehan,
and Christopher Plummer as reporter Rudyard Kipling.
 
At one point a temple official shows the men boxes of treasure, including some ancient coins
which the men handle.
Man Who Would Be King
1. Title
 
The film stars Sean Connery and Michael Caine as two former British soldiers who venture
into 1880's Afghanistan to find a lost kingdom and appropriate a treasure.
The film was directed by John Huston and was filmed mostly in Morocco.
 
The locals come to believe that Sean Connery is a descendant of Alexander the Great
and appoint him their king.
 
Man Who Would Be King
2. The two gentlemen introducing themselves
 
Man Who Would Be King
3. The two gentlemen on horseback in uniform, sergeants in the British Army
 
Man Who Would Be King
4. The city founded by Alexander
 
Man Who Would Be King
5. Daniel gets his crown
 
Man Who Would Be King
6. In the treasure room, Daniel holds up a coin
 
Man Who Would Be King
7. The coin appears to be similar to an Alexander tetradrachm
 
Only the obverse of the coin appears in the film
The coin in the film is larger than an authentic coin, obviously a film prop coin
A Roman coin appears in the lower right, see below
 
Greece Alexander tetradrachm Lysimachus
8. An actual tetradrachm from the period of Alexander
 
This coin was issued in Thrace, Greece by one of Alexander's successors, Lysimachos.
Obverse: Head of Alexander the Great wearing the Horn of Ammon
Reverse: Athena left on throne, left arm on shield, spear on right side
 
30mm, 17.14gm
Struck: BC 288-281 (about)
 
A small part of the reverse of another coin appears below the Alexander coin.
It reads "COS II / S C" under a chariot and four horses, a legend and design used on
some ancient Roman coins.
The coin in the film is a modern fake Roman coin produced for sale to tourists.
 
The image below is rotated to place the Roman coin on top.
 
Man Who Would Be King
9. Image rotated to place Roman coin at top
 
The coin is similar to the fake/fantasy Roman Lucius Verus (AD 161-169) coin below:
 
Rome Lucius Verus Copy
10. Fake Roman coin of Lucius Verus
 
This coin is a popular fake made for sale to tourists visiting ancient historical sites in Europe and Asia.
 
The Roman chariot and four horses on the reverse might have been chosen for this fake
as while few tourists are familiar with Roman history, many would have seen the film "Ben-Hur"
which is set at the time of Christ and features such a chariot in the climatic chariot race scene.
 
The Roman emperor on the coin, Lucius Verus, was the co-emperor with Marcus Aurelius
from AD 161 to 169 which is long after the time of Alexander the Great.
 
A gold-plated version of this coin appears in the 1988 film "The Last Temptation of Christ".
Notes:
 
Cast:
Sean Connery as Daniel Dravot
Michael Caine as Peachy Carnehan
Christopher Plummer as Rudyard Kipling
Saeed Jaffrey as Billy Fish
 
Director: John Huston
Writers: John Huston, Gladys Hill, Rudyard Kipling (story)
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