If I Were King (1938) - Rotten Tomatoes

If I Were King (1938)





Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

If I Were King recounts the legend of Francois Villon, previously filmed as The Beloved Rogue (1928) and musicalized on Broadway as +The Vagabond King. Ronald Colman plays Villon, renegade poet of France during the reign of King Louis XVI. The doddering, cackling Louis (marvelously portrayed by Basil Rathbone) secretly admires Villon, but can't abide the poet's irreverence and radical politics. Threatened with insurrection from the scheming Duke of Burgundy, Louis appoints Villon "king" for a day, hoping that the poet's popularity will enlist the support of the peasants. In the end, it is Villon's ragtag friends who save the city from toppling to Burgundy's forces. Supporting Ronald Colman in If I Were King are Frances Dee as the aristocrat whom Villon romances and Ellen Drew as the street girl who dies saving Villon's life.


Ronald Colman
as François Villon
Frances Dee
as Katherine de Vaucelles
Basil Rathbone
as King Louis XI
Ellen Drew
as Huguette
C.V. France
as Father Villon
Henry Wilcoxon
as Captain of the Watch
Stanley Ridges
as Rene de Montigny
Bruce Lester
as Neal le Jolya
Walter Kingsford
as Tristan l'Hermite
Alma Lloyd
as Colette
Sidney Toler
as Robin Turgis
Colin Tapley
as Jehan Le Loup
Ralph Forbes
as Oliver le Dain
John Miljan
as Thibaut d'Aussigny
William Haade
as Guy Tabarie
Adrian Morris
as Colin de Cayculx
Montagu Love
as Gen. Dudon
Lester Matthews
as Gen. Saliere
William Farnum
as Gen. Barbezier
Paul Harvey
as Burgundian Herald
Winter Hall
as Major-Domo
Jean Fenwick
as Lady-in-Waiting
Ann Evers
as Lady-in-Waiting
Francis McDonald
as Casin Cholet
Russ Powell
as Ruffian
Bruce Lister
as Noel de Jolys
John George
as Dwarf beggar
Stanley King
as Captain of Archers
Ethel Clayton
as Old woman
View All

Critic Reviews for If I Were King

All Critics (3)

Witty fictionalized historical adventure tale of the French 15th century vagabond poet Francois Villon.

August 18, 2017 | Rating: B | Full Review…

Sharply written by Preston Sturges and well acted by Basil Rathbone, this commercially popular swashbuckler was nominated for four Oscars.

February 15, 2013 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…

Colman is without peer in his portrayal of the famous French poet and ne'er-do-well Francois Villon.

November 12, 2007 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for If I Were King


Great romantic/adventure movie. Lots of fun. Much imitated, but never equaled.

Anthony Valletta
Anthony Valletta

Super Reviewer

If I Were King Quotes

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

News & Features