David BruceThis is a great film. It brought tears to my eyes and a smile to my face. The message of this film is important.
-Review by David Bruce

This page was created on January 15, 2000
This page was last updated on May 22, 2005
Directed by Andy Tennant
Writing credits Anna Leonowens (diaries), Steve Meerson and Peter Krikes

Jodie Foster as Anna Leonowens
Yun-Fat Chow as King Mongkut
Ling Bai as Tuptim
Syed Alwi as The Kralahome
Tom Felton as Louis
Randall Duk Kim as General Alak
Kay Siu Lim as Prince Chowfa
Melissa Campbell as Princess Fa-Ying
Deanna Yusoff as Lady Thiang

Produced by Eric Angelson (associate), Lawrence Bender, G. Mac Brown (co-producer), Terence Chang (executive), Ed Elbert, Jon J. Jashni (co-producer), Julie Kirkham (co-producer), Wink Mordaunt (co-producer).

Original music by George Fenton
Cinematography by Caleb Deschanel
Film Editing by Roger Bondelli

Andy Tennant says:

"When I finished the 'Anna' script I was welling up with tears, not because it was such a big canvas, but because it's a story of a woman who changed the heart of a king. Two people sacrifice the love of their lives for a higher ideal."

Jodie Foster says:
"The film is a story of East meets West and West meets East, and the prejudices that each person brings to the table. Anna arrives in Siam believing the King is a despot, heathen and barbarian. The King, on the other hand, thinks she represents a country that has done nothing but invade countries and then act like the British way is the only way. By the end of the story they come to appreciate their differences, even though it means that the places they come from can?t necessarily be reconciled."

"I like to make movies about unconventional people in conventional timesand Anna Leonowens was unconventional in the most conventional of times the Victorian era."

English schoolteacher Anna Leonowens has done something that women of the Victorian age simply never do: The young widow has traveled thousands of miles with her son to Siam, a land that is largely unknown to the Western world.
Anna has been employed to educate the king's fifty-eight children. She knows very little of King Mongkut, apart from the fact that his people revere him as a god. She brings with her an "East vs. West" prejudice against the king, considering him to be uncivilized. She soon realizes that her views are more than matched by the ruler's own preconceptions about the West and particularly this impertinent English woman.

But over time, Anna and the King share a growing connection. Anna discovers that Mongkut is a true man of vision who is leading Siam to take its place among the nations of the modern world. And the King recognizes that Anna has shined a light not only on him and his family, but on Siam itself.

Anna presents a wonderful group of liberated Christian women in the 1800's that worked to end slavery. The film mentions that Anna was one of the forces that ultimately brought freedom from slavery and freedom of religion.

Anna gives a copy of Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's cabin to the King's son. In America slaves were slaves only until Stowe wrote about them in this powerful book. Lincoln credited her for having started the Civil War. It is this book in the film that begins the liberation of the slaves in Siam.
Bulletin Board:

Subject: King Mongkut
Date: Sun, 11 Feb 2001
From: Midge

I would like to see a movie on the life of King Mongkut from birth including his life as a child under his father's reign, the events between his brother prior to ascending to the throne and details on his reign before and after the years involving Anna Leonowens, including but not centering on the years Anna was in Siam. A movie with factual basis from the Thai records. I think a movie like this would do equally well as the movie based on Anna & the King. Additionally, it would be interesting to see a separate movie on the life of Anna Leonowens before and after her stay in Thailand. Including but not centering on her experiences in Thailand. This movie should include her life as a child, her marriage and both of her children up to her death. A movie also with factual basis from the actual records. A movie on the life and reign of his son King Rama V would also be interesting. Not that it will make a difference, but it would be nice if these suggestions could be sent to the producers and screenwriters on the slim chance it merits consideration.
Midge C.

Date: Mon, 14 Feb 2000
From: Laurie

I saw "Anna and the King" last night and was deeply moved. I was in tears at least 4 times. It is a beautiful story and the scenery is equally magnificent. There are lessons learned by Anna and the King about each others cultures. An important lesson that Anna learns is that she must respect the social workings and culture that she is in. She cannot act as she would in England without there being consequences ie she causes two lives to be taken through her attitude of cultural superiority. This is a movie that has it all a moral lesson, romance, action and beauty. BUT we need to remember that this is a STORY, as in fiction. In real life Anna was 30 years younger than King Mongkut and had little or no access to him. This does not detract from the beauty of the story. In our stories and dreams we can be what we aspire to be.

My response: Thank you Laurie. I was deeply moved by this film too. I made sure my 3 teenage girls saw this film. Anna is a wonderful role model. Cheers to Jodie Foster!

Anna and the King © 1999 Fox. All Rights Reserved.