Anna and the King

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The man who says he has exhausted life generally means that life has exhausted him.
Oscar Wilde
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Anna and the King is a 1999 motion picture loosely based on the account of Anna Leonowens, who was an English schoolteacher in Siam, now Thailand, in the 19th-century. The authenticity of the written account has been questioned, disputed and proven wrong by later historians. As there are numerous points within the movie which are disrespectful to the monarchy of Thailand, this film and all other movies based on the books have been banned in Thailand.

Nevertheless, the story is well told in this movie and great efforts were made to contribute to a sense of realism. This movie stars a long list of well-known and popular Asian actors from Singapore and Hong Kong who were trained for several months to speak Thai and ride horseback. The performance is very believable even if the story is not.

Prince Chulalongkorn

  • I was only a boy, but the image of my father holding the woman he loved for the last time has remained with me throughout the years.
  • It is always surprising how small a part of life is taken up by meaningful moments. Most often they're over before they start even though they cast a light on the future and make the person who originated them unforgettable.

King Mongkut

  • When a woman who has much to say says nothing, her silence can be deafening.

Louis Leonowens

  • Mother, what's a concubine?

Anna Leonowens

  • Life is precious, especially when you're a Christian and only allowed one.
  • Everyone should have legends. It allowes us to dream.
  • I could not imagine a Siam without you.


King Mongkut: I have never danced with a English woman before.
Anna Leonowens: Nor I with a king.

Beebe: How was the King compared to the other Englishmen?
Anna Leonowens: He was charming, very charming. I don't think I will ever forget, how he held held his hand out to me, like I was...
Beebe: One of his 26 wives?
Anna Leonowens [A bit distraught]: Thank you Beebe, I never thought of it in that way.
Beebe [Knowingly]: Prehapes you should.

Prince Chulalongkorn: Son of teacher forgets that I am son of King.
Louis Leonowens: Son of teacher couldn't care less.
Anna Leonowens: Louis, remember what I told you.
Louis Leonowens: I'm sorry Mother, but he started it.
Prince Chulalongkorn: In my country, man never tell a woman he is sorry. If you had father, you would know this.
Louis Leonowens: You don't have a father, you have a map.
[Louis pushes the prince.]
Anna Leonowens: Louis!
Prince Chulalongkorn: It is forbidden to touch royalty.
Louis Leonowens: I didn't touch you — I shoved you. Why don't you get one of your servants to shove me back?

Louis: Moonshee, why does the king have so many wives?
Moonshee: That is an excellent question — For your mother.

Anna Leonowens: Lord Bradley, may I have a moment?
Lord Bradley: I'm afraid a moment is all we have.
Lady Bradley: We're leaving on the next boat, and so should you.
Anna Leonowens: My place is hear.
Lord Bradley: Your question?
Anna Leonowens: Are the British behind these Burmese attacks?
Mr. Kincaid: Stick to teaching, Ms. Leonowens. It's clear that you know nothing of pollitics.
Anna Leonowens: I know that Burma would never make a move without Englands blessing.
Lord Bradley: Preciseley. But, if our economy was threatend, then it would be our duty to protect our intrests.
Anna Leonowens: Our economy?! Our intrests?!
Lady Bradley: The ways of England are the ways of the world, my dear.
Anna Leonowens: Yes, a world that I am ashamed to call my own!
Lord Bradley: You forget yourself madam. Now if you will excuse us.
[They turn to leave]
Anna Leonowens: No, I will not. You toasted him! You praised him for his learnings! And all the while you were planning to take the throne from him!
Lord Bradley: Well, you should do well to remember your own self, next tine you are cheek to cheek with the king!

King Mongkut: If Alak crosses the bridge, everything I love will die.
Anna Leonowens: But they are only children!
King Mongkut: Yes, and heirs to the royal throne.
Anna Leonowens: What will you do?
King Mongkut: We will blow up the bridge.
Anna Leonowens: Will that work?
King Mongkut: It will, if he is on it.
Anna Leonowens: Your Majesty, promise me, promise me I will see you again!
[King turns and looks at Anna]
King Mongkut: If your Bible is correct, then the world was created in seven days. Who is to say that four men can not stop an army?
[The King puts his hand on Anna's cheek hesistantly, then walks away.]

Louis Leonowens: Mother, look! The king is standing on the bridge.
Anna Leonowens: What!?
Louis Leonowens: And there are thousands of men on the other side!

King Mongkut [Coming back alive]: Why did you not take everyone to the monastary like king orderd!?
Anna Leonowens: Becuase I already lost one man to the jungle, your majesty... I wasn't about to let it happen again.

Anna Leonowens: (Gazing at the King on a balcony): What?
King Mongkut: Am wondering, giving circumstances, if it is proper for king to ask Anna to dance.
Anna Leonowens: I have danced with a king before, your majesty.
King Mongkut: And I with an English woman.
[They start to dance, and he pulls her close]
King Mongkut: Until now, Madame Leonowens, I did not understand supposition, man can be satisfied with only one woman.
[He kisses her hand, and they dance closer.]

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