In Victorian times, two lovable and roguish, though criminal, British comrades-in-arms, full of schemes and plots, hatch upon the most brazen and audacious plan of their lives – travel to the remote land of Kafiristan and, using their scientific and military knowledge, pass themselves off as gods and live out the rest of their lives in pampered splendor as objects of worship and veneration, while finding treasure and reaping untold monetary riches. Surviving numerous robbers, avalanches and blizzards, they eventually arrive in Kafiristan and, for a while, appear to have achieved their lofty aims. However, the higher the rise, the deeper the fall…
Rudyard Kipling’s original story, upon which the film is based, was originally published in 1888 in his story collection, The Phantom Rickshaw and other Eerie Tales, and tells the story of Daniel Dravot and Peachey Carnehan, the two adventurers. J.M. Barrie, perhaps best known as the creator of Peter Pan, once described the story as “the most audacious thing in fiction”.
It should be noted that, although the film is ostensibly satirizing it, the story’s British imperialist attitude and tone, which arguably borders on condescending racism, is an integral part of the story and may, looking at it from a contemporary perspective, potentially give offense to some audiences. All that being said, be prepared to set out on an epic experience of a "boy’s own" spirit of military camaraderie, a rousing action-adventure told with a slight tongue-in-cheek style, unabashed escapism, and the rise and devastingly tragic and gruesome fall of the divinely presumptuous, topped off with a satisfying dose of exotic and foreign locations to admire from afar.
Check out, from the Library, the film
Read, at the Library, the original story
- The best short stories of Rudyard Kipling
- The borzoi book of short fiction
- Kipling, a selection of his stories and poems
More, at the Library, about Kipling