Royal Flash (film)

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Royal Flash
Directed by Richard Lester
Produced by Dennis O'Dell
David V. Picker
Written by George MacDonald Fraser
(based on the novel Royal Flash by George MacDonald Fraser)
Starring Malcolm McDowell
Oliver Reed
Alan Bates
Florinda Bolkan
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release dates
  • October 1975 (1975-10)
Running time 102 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Budget $4,040,000[1]

Royal Flash is a 1975 film based on George MacDonald Fraser's second Flashman novel, Royal Flash. It starred Malcolm McDowell as Flashman. Additionally, Oliver Reed appeared in the role of Otto von Bismarck, Alan Bates as Rudi von Sternberg, and Florinda Bolkan played Lola Montez. Fraser wrote the screenplay and the film was directed by Richard Lester.

Though it got good reviews for its performances and action scenes, Royal Flash only saw limited release in theatres.

Plot summary[edit]

The film begins with Flashman making a patriotic speech to the boys of Rugby School framed by a giant Union Flag, in a scene which appears to be a parody of the opening sequence in the 1970 film Patton. There is a brief flashback to the events of the original Flashman, with the head of the Rugby School (Michael Hordern) recounting Flashman's exploits in Afghanistan.

The film then follows the plot of the book, which itself largely derives from The Prisoner of Zenda. Flashman is forced by Otto von Bismarck to impersonate a Danish prince, who is about to marry a German princess (Britt Ekland). Bismarck exacts this retribution partly in revenge for his humiliation at the hands of Flashman in London; Flashman stole Bismarck's mistress Lola Montez, then manoeuvred him into boxing against a professional boxer, John Gully (played by Henry Cooper), at a house party. Bismarck does not wish the Princess to marry a Dane, since this may tilt the balance on the Schleswig-Holstein Question and interfere with his plans for a united Germany.[2]


Production Notes[edit]

The movie was one of the first produced by executive David Picker following his resignation from being head of United Artists in 1973.[3]

This movie introduced actors Bob Peck, Bob Hoskins, and Christopher Cazenove. Bob Peck appeared in the original British TV series Edge of Darkness as Craven. Christopher Cazenove juggled British and American TV: he first began with The Duchess of Duke Street, followed by playing John Forsyth's brother on the nighttime soap Dynasty, and Bob Hoskins appeared in the original Pennies From Heaven followed by British and American films.

Home media[edit]

The film was not released on DVD in the United Kingdom for years, though there was a North American (Region 1) version. However, later, a UK Blu-ray was released on 20 May 2013 by Odeon Entertainment.[4]


  1. ^ Solomon, Aubrey. Twentieth Century Fox: A Corporate and Financial History (The Scarecrow Filmmakers Series). Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press, 1989. ISBN 978-0-8108-4244-1. p257
  2. ^ "ON THE SET OF "ROYAL FLASH".". The Australian Women's Weekly (1933 - 1982) (1933 - 1982: National Library of Australia). 26 February 1975. p. 27. Retrieved 24 January 2013. 
  3. ^ Warner's to Distribute Films of David Picker Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 21 Nov 1974: h23.
  4. ^

External links[edit]