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Drama - Historic

55 Days in Peking (1963)

Duration 2h 34m Rating (UK) PG
Source of story A book about real events, the siege of the foreign legation compound in Peking in 1900 during the Boxer rebellion, by Noel Gerson.
Writers/Script Robert Hamer, Phillip Yordan, Bernard Gordon, Ben Barzman
Additional Info The set of the foreign compounds was built outside Madrid at a cost of $900,000, contributing to the eventual failure of the Samuel Bronston studio. There is a lot of fun trivia on IMDb.
Director Nicholas Ray (who died of a heart attack during the production to be replaced by Guy Green).
Starring Charlton Heston, Ava Gardner, David Niven, Flora Robson, John Ireland, Harry Andrews, Leo Genn, Robert Helpman, Elizabeth Sellars, Walter Gotell, Bert Kwouk
Elevator Pitch During the Boxer rebellion which has resulted in the deaths of many foreigners and Chinese Christians, the foreign legation’s compound in Peking is beseiged and defended by a multi-national force led by an American major, supported by the British consul and the leaders of the other nationals.
Content A number of pitched battles between the opposing sides, with much rifle fire and some explosions. Moments of tension as the beseiged discuss possible outcomes. Some romance between a Russian countess and the American major. Scenes in the Chinese court as the Boxers are assisted. No nudity, drugs, sex or serious drinking.
A View 19th century Chinese history is very interesting, and this film is one of the few records readily available to the general public, so even though it is fictionalised it is worth a watch. It makes you want to find out more. One of the results was the deployment of many foreign gunboats on the Yangse, also the subject of some films.

About Victor R Gibson

Author of this site three technical books and two novels



  1. Pingback: Kings of the Sun (1963) | A MOTION PICTURE LIST - February 21, 2022

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