Watch 55 Days at Peking putlocker
||IMDB Rating: 6.8/10 from 4,181 votes
||Release: 6 May 1963 (UK) /
||Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama
||Director: Nicholas Ray,
||Stars: Ava Gardner, Charlton Heston, David Niven, Elizabeth Sellars, Flora Robson, Harry Andrews, Jacques Sernas, Jerome Thor, John Ireland, Kurt Kasznar, Leo Genn, Massimo Serato, Paul Lukas, Philippe Leroy, Robert Helpmann
||Synopsis: Diplomats, soldiers and other representatives of a dozen nations fend off the siege of the International Compound in Peking during the 1900 Boxer Rebellion. The disparate interests unite for survival despite competing factions, overwhelming odds, delayed relief and tacit support of the Boxers by the Empress of China and her generals. Written by Martin H. Booda <[email protected]>
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Watch 55 Days at Peking - Alternative Versions.
This movie fits comfortably in the epic category of the 1950s-1960s -
historically based with exotic locales. Thus, we had Dr. Zhivago, Ben Hur,
War and Peace, Lawrence of Arabia, Le Cid, Julius Caesar, Nicholas and
Alexandra, The Agony and the Ecstasy, Taras Bulba, The Robe, Bridge on the
River Kwai, A Man for All Seasons, The Sand Pebbles, Cleopatra, Spartacus,
Samson and Delilah, The Brothers Karamazov, Becket. My guess is that if you
like most of these movies, you'll like this one.
I'd like to correct some misstatements on this board about the setting of
Unlike most of the world, China was never a colony - nor part of any empire
other than its own. (Do not confuse this with India or much of Africa - the
situations were very different!).
The impetus from the West (until well into the 19th century, the West really
meant Britain) was from the beginning simply a desire to trade freely with
China. Free trade was seen by late 18th and 19th century Britain as far more
than an economic benefit to the world - but one that promoted peace,
progress, and international good-will. Moreover, China had for centuries
been fabled for its wealth.
At first, the Manchu Emperors did not mind trade (from foreigners whom they
very much regarded as inferiors - "monkeys" was a common term) - so long as
the foreigners were kept strictly at a distance. Thus, for example, the
British were strictly limited in where they could live (a tiny enclave in
the city of Canton), they could not bring their wives (to make the stays
temporary), they were barred from learning Chinese.
The British merchants (and Britain was the world's greatest trading nation)
found the restrictions chafing, irrational, primitive and of course
profit-reducing. There was little demand in China for British finished
goods, but British merchants gradually found a product for which there was
enormous Chinese demand -- opium, which the Manchu Emperors had banned.
However, the Emperors did not enforce the ban very strictly - in part
because they made money from all trade (there were heavy taxes on the
foreigners) - thus the government officials would deliberately send out
their coast guard boats long after the British ships had unloaded and sold
the opium at the wharves, fire one or two cannon shots from out of range,
and report that they had "scared the British ship away".
However, internal pressure from reformist groups in China caused the Manchu
Emperors to feel they had to act far more forcefully against the trade - and
they twice declared war against Britain (the two "Opium Wars" were separated
by some 20 years) to "punish" them. In declaring war, the Manchus were
entirely ignorant of how primitive the Chinese navy and shore batteries
would be against the British Navy - who swiftly and crushed the Chinese
The resulting peace treaties were disastrous to China's exclusionary policy
- the wars' peace terms required China to open up four, and then nine, small
separate enclaves within coastal cities (the "Concessions") for westerners
to live, bring their families, police themselves within the enclaves under
their own laws, begin their own industries in those enclaves - and permit
foreign missionaries to enter, travel, proselytize freely and establish
missions in China.
Moreover, the peace terms required that Britain be authorized to collect and
turn over all the trade duties on behalf of the Chinese. (The last
unexpectedly proved a boon to the Chinese Court - the efficient and honest
British customs collections more than tripled the Court's
The loss of the wars obviously was a great humiliation to the Chinese who
had always regarded China as the center of the universe (the "Middle
Kingdom") and their emperors as appointed by Heaven to rule the earth.
(Beijing for example has the "Temple of the Sun" at one side, the "Temple of
the Moon" on the other, the curved "Temple of Heaven" to the south).
In the mid-19th century, a revolution began in the center of the country
against the Manchus - in part due to the humiliation from the loss of the
wars - it was savagely put down - and the Chinese massacres of the
missionaries caused Britain to respond by burning the palace where the
revolt began to the ground.
Meanwhile, other nations such as the U.S., France, Germany, Italy, Japan all
began to compete with Britain in trading with China. Indeed, this was, for
example the source of the wealth of the Roosevelt family in New York - and
led to a great sentimental fondness for FDR during World War II. The China
trade became one of the great romantic escapist careers for Americans
seeking adventure -- the "China clipper" ships built in the U.S. became
world-renowned - as did the courage and skill of their skippers.
America soon began to out-strip all other nations in sending missionaries to
China - throughout the U.S., churches raised money and their prayers to
support the Chinese missions where the congregants were assured the
missionaries were doing God's work. And in fact, millions of Chinese were
converted to Christianity and benefited from local charity provided by the
Such famous Americans as Henry Luce (founder of Time, Life and Fortune),
novelists John Hersey and Pearl Buck, the diplomats John Stewart Service and
John Paton Davies - were all children of missionaries, grew up in China and
were extraordinarily fond of the Chinese. Back home, Americans heard from
those who visited the missions about all the wonderful work they performed,
the need to continue their contributions for the Lord's work, and the
gratitude of the Chinese.
By the late 19th century, Russia and Japan sought to carve areas out of the
obviously weak China. In 1895, Japan crushed China in a local war - and took
Korea, Taiwan, railroad and industrial licenses in Manchuria. Russia seized
Outer Mongolia and demanded industrial concessions in northern coastal
China. The British and other European nations failed to object - but the
U.S., sentimental about the Chinese, reacted strongly to the foreign
incursions - and Secretary of State John Hay pronounced the "Open Door"
policy, insisting that no nation should obtain territorial advantages or
further exclusive concessions in China. Popular sentiment in America was
fiercely pro-Chinese and against the Japanese and Russian "brutes". Japan
was finally forced by the American-led western powers to disgorge some of
its gains from the war.
This was the situation at the time of the Boxer Rebellion - western powers
were freely trading with China, and had begun great industries in their
concession areas in nine coastal cities - meanwhile many Chinese were
humiliated by their failure to have kept the foreigners completely out of
China - yet many others flocked to the foreign concessions where they were
employed in sweatshop conditions in foreign industry. The coastal cities
exploded in population due to Chinese migration to work for the foreign
Millions of other Chinese had very much grown up around the thousands of
Christian missions situated throughout the country - and felt Christianity
to be the more "modern" progressive religion because it was associated with
the West which had proved itself more powerful and prosperous. This aroused
equally hostile feelings among other Chinese toward the Christian religion
and its missionaries, associating such "foreign" culture with Chinese
humiliation at foreign hands and resenting the very implication from the
missions' existence that the Chinese were backward and must be taught by the
The Boxers were a fanatical and murderous semi-religious sect (best seen as
like the Mahdi's Dervishes in Sudan or the Wahabbi sect of Islam that
bedevils the Saudis today) so named by the westerners due to the closed
fists of the sect's adherents. They swore to kill all the foreigners and to
drive them out of the country. They were in no sense a positive force -
merely a fierce and frenzied organization of hate for the West and all its
Naturally, the Boxers' primary target was missionaries and the Chinese
Christian converts -- they were defenseless and located throughout the
country. The torture, rape and massacres of the missionaries and converts of
course aroused outrage back in the U.S. and Britain - where tens of millions
had contributed to "help the Chinese" all their lives -and now they and the
charitable subjects of their savings - were being slaughtered.
The Western powers took no military action - but to evacuate as many
missionaries as possible - and attempt to persuade/threaten the Manchu court
to put down the rebellion itself. The Manchu court was undecided, split
between those who believed the Boxers could throw out the foreigner and
restore China's pride - and those who believed that if they sided with the
Boxers and lost, the western nations would themselves take victorious action
and the Manchu court would wind up paying a price in further concessions.
And so our movie begins!
Tags for 55 Days at Peking Full Movie
, Charlton Heston
, David Niven
, Elizabeth Sellars
, Flora Robson
, Harry Andrews
, Jacques Sernas
, Jerome Thor
, John Ireland
, Kurt Kasznar
, Leo Genn
, Massimo Serato
, Paul Lukas
, Philippe Leroy
, Robert Helpmann
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