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James Donald is a Actor British born on 18 may 1917 at Aberdeen (United-kingdom)

James Donald

James Donald
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Birth name James Robert MacGeorge Donald
Nationality United-kingdom
Birth 18 may 1917 at Aberdeen (United-kingdom)
Death 3 august 1993 (at 76 years) at Wiltshire (United-kingdom)

James Donald (18 May 1917 – 3 August 1993) was a Scottish actor. Tall and thin, he specialised in playing authority figures.

Donald was born in Aberdeen, and made his first professional stage appearance in the late-1930s, having been educated at Rossall School on Lancashire's Fylde coast. During World War II he had minor roles in war films including, In Which We Serve (1942), Went the Day Well? (1942), and The Way Ahead (1944). He played Mr. Winkle in the 1952 film version of The Pickwick Papers. However, leading roles eluded him until he played Theo Van Gogh in Lust for Life (1956).

His work in the theatre included Noël Coward's Present Laughter (1943) which starred Coward himself, and The Eagle with Two Heads (1947), You Never Can Tell (1948), and The Heiress (1949) with Ralph Richardson, Peggy Ashcroft and Donald Sinden.

He memorably portrayed Major Clipton, the doctor who expresses grave doubts about the sanity of Col. Nicholson's (Alec Guinness) efforts to build the bridge in order to show up his Japanese captors, in the blockbuster classic film The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957). He had the honour of speaking the film's iconic final words: "Madness!, Madness!" He also played another memorable military character, Group Captain Ramsey, the Senior British Officer in The Great Escape (1963), as well as roles in other notable films both in Britain and the United States, including The Vikings (1958), King Rat (1965), Cast a Giant Shadow (1966), and Quatermass and the Pit (1967).

Donald starred in a 1960 television adaptation of A. J. Cronin's The Citadel and appeared regularly in many other television dramas in the UK and US, as well as on stage. In 1961, he played Prince Albert opposite Julie Harris's Queen Victoria, in the Hallmark Hall of Fame production of Laurence Housman's play Victoria Regina, for which he received an Emmy nomination.

Best films

The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
The Great Escape (1963)
The Vikings (1958)
Lust for Life (1956)

Usually with

Source : Wikidata

Filmography of James Donald (30 films)

Display filmography as list


The Big Sleep, 1h39
Directed by Michael Winner
Origin United-kingdom
Genres Drama, Thriller, Action, Crime, Romance
Actors Robert Mitchum, Sarah Miles, Richard Boone, Candy Clark, Joan Collins, Edward Fox
Roles Inspector Gregory
Rating58% 2.901282.901282.901282.901282.90128
In 1970s England, private detective Philip Marlowe (Robert Mitchum) is asked to the stately home of General Sternwood (James Stewart), who hires Marlowe to learn who is blackmailing him. While at the mansion, he meets the General's spoiled and inquisitive daughter Charlotte (Sarah Miles) and wild younger daughter Camilla (Candy Clark).
Conduct Unbecoming, 1h47
Directed by Michael Anderson
Origin United-kingdom
Genres Drama, Crime
Themes Films based on plays
Actors Michael York, Richard Attenborough, Trevor Howard, Stacy Keach, Christopher Plummer, Susannah York
Roles The Doctor
Rating63% 3.1960953.1960953.1960953.1960953.196095
Two young British officers arrive to join a prestigious regiment serving in India. One, Lieutenant Drake (York), from a middle-class background, is extremely eager to make the right impression while the other, Lieutenant Millington (James Faulkner), the son of a General, is not taken with the idea of the army, and keen to get out as soon as he possibly can. Almost as soon as they arrive, Millington gets off on the wrong foot with his comrades, causing them to dislike him.
Hannibal Brooks, 1h42
Directed by Michael Winner
Origin United-kingdom
Genres War, Comedy
Themes Military humor in film, Prison films, Political films
Actors Oliver Reed, Michael J. Pollard, Wolfgang Preiss, Karin Baal, Peter Carsten, John Alderton
Roles Padre
Rating71% 3.5936253.5936253.5936253.5936253.593625
Stephen "Hannibal" Brooks is a British prisoner of war officer put to work in a Munich zoo, looking after an Asian elephant called Lucy. When the zoo is bombed by the Americans the zoo's director determines it is unsafe for the elephant to remain there. So he sends Brooks along with hostile German soldier Kurt, a friendly German soldier named Willy, and Vronia, a female cook to accompany the elephant to Innsbruck Zoo via train.
David Copperfield, 1h58
Directed by Delbert Mann
Origin United-kingdom
Genres Drama
Actors Robin Phillips, Richard Attenborough, Ralph Richardson, Ron Moody, Cyril Cusack, Laurence Olivier
Roles Mr. Murdstone
Rating60% 3.002233.002233.002233.002233.00223
Charles Dickens' Immortal Story of a Young Man's Journey to Maturity. This version finds David Copperfield (Robin Phillips) as a young man, brooding on a deserted beach. In flashback, David remembers his life in 19th century England, as a young orphan, brought to London and passed around from relatives, to guardians, to boarding school. He relives his struggle to overcome the loss of his idyllic childhood and the torment inflicted by his hated step-father after his mother’s death. Then virtually abandoned on the streets of Victorian London, David Copperfield is flung into manhood and contends bravely with the perils of big-city corruption and vice; hardships which ultimately fuel his triumph as a talented and successful writer.
The Royal Hunt of the Sun, 2h1
Directed by Irving Lerner
Origin USA
Genres Drama, Adventure
Themes Théâtre, Films based on plays
Actors Robert Shaw, Christopher Plummer, Nigel Davenport, Leonard Whiting, Michael Craig, James Donald
Roles King Carlos
Rating63% 3.1979153.1979153.1979153.1979153.197915
With a small rag-tag band of soldiers, Francisco Pizarro enters the Inca Empire and captures its leader, Atahualpa. Pizarro promises to free him in return for a golden ransom, but later finds himself conflicted between his desire to conquer and his friendship for his captive...
Quatermass and the Pit, 1h37
Directed by Roy Ward Baker
Origin United-kingdom
Genres Science fiction, Horror
Themes Transport films, Rail transport films, Films about extraterrestrial life, Films about extraterrestrial life
Actors James Donald, Andrew Keir, Barbara Shelley, Julian Glover, Duncan Lamont, Bryan Marshall
Roles Dr. Mathew Roney
Rating69% 3.497843.497843.497843.497843.49784
Workers building an extension to the London Underground at Hobbs End dig up skeletal remains. Palaeontologist Dr Matthew Roney (James Donald) is called in and deduces that they are the remnants of a group of apemen over five million years old, more ancient than any previous finds. One of Roney's assistants uncovers part of a metallic object. Believing it to be an unexploded bomb, they call in an army bomb disposal team.
The Jokers
The Jokers (1967)
, 1h34
Directed by Michael Winner
Origin United-kingdom
Genres Thriller, Comedy
Themes Heist films
Actors Oliver Reed, Michael Crawford, Harry Andrews, Michael Hordern, James Donald, Daniel Massey
Roles Col. Gurney-Simms
Rating74% 3.7288753.7288753.7288753.7288753.728875
Michael Tremayne is booted out of Sandhurst. He and his brother David want to do something “big”. They decide to do a crime as a “grand gesture”. The brothers take Inge, David's new inamorata on a tour of London, including the Tower of London. At a dinner party they learn that you cannot be charged with theft unless you intend to permanently deprive the owner of their property. David proposes stealing the crown jewels and sending letters out beforehand, showing they aren’t intending to permanently deprive. Michael is somewhat jealous of David, as David is considered the ‘good’ son and him the ‘bad’ son. They write and deliver the letters. They plant a bomb at the Albert Memorial and observe the police procedure. Next they put a bomb at the lion cage at the London zoo. Then they blow up a ladies lavatory. David gets a laser. They put a bomb at the stock exchange and David goes to the army base, and using a tape recorder records the procedures. Finally the day comes. Michael goes to the jewel room in the Tower and hides a bomb there. David and Michael go to the base and tie up the duty officer. They take the place of the bomb disposal expert and his assistant. They ride with the army to the Tower. The pair go into the bomb room and knock out the rather silly Colonel who went in with them and who commands the army base. David and Michael have had the alarms turned of, due to the danger of “vibration” and use the laser to cut into the cabinets and steal the Crown Jewels. The pair set off a small bomb and a smoke bomb. They two stagger out pretending to be hurt. The pair then escape from the ambulance taking them to hospital along with the jewels. The theft causes a huge stink and a worldwide search is undertaken for the robbers. David and Michael enjoy the media frenzy. One week after the robbery on June 23, 1967, the letters are opened and delivered to the police. When they go to get the jewels from their hiding place they are not there. The police arrive to arrest David. Michael says he doesn’t know anything about the robbery. Michael never delivered his letter. David is identified as the bomb expert, but the witnesses can’t identify Michael. The police investigate, but can’t break down Michael’s alibi of being at a party. Michael is released. David is indicted and bail is refused. The police set up a plan to make Michael think his alibi is breaking down, but Michael evades police surveillance. We then see him digging up the jewels from where he buried them at Stonehenge. Michael calls on a telephone he knows is tapped to say he’s returning the jewels at Trafalgar Square at 4 a. m. The police set up a cordon, but Michael uses their concentration on the square to put them in the scales of justice on top of the Old Bailey. We close with both brothers imprisoned in the Tower, plotting their escape.
Cast a Giant Shadow, 2h26
Directed by Melville Shavelson
Origin USA
Genres Drama, War, Action, Historical
Themes Films set in Africa, Political films
Actors Kirk Douglas, Senta Berger, Angie Dickinson, Yul Brynner, James Donald, Frank Sinatra
Roles Maj. Safir
Rating63% 3.1509453.1509453.1509453.1509453.150945
The film is a fictionalized account of the experiences of a real-life Jewish-American military officer, Colonel David "Mickey" Marcus, who commanded units of the fledgling Israel Defense Forces during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War.
King Rat
King Rat (1965)
, 2h14
Directed by Bryan Forbes
Origin United-kingdom
Genres Drama, War
Themes Seafaring films, Prison films, Transport films, Political films
Actors George Segal, Tom Courtenay, James Fox, Gerald Sim, Patrick O'Neal, Denholm Elliott
Roles Dr. Kennedy
Rating74% 3.7459453.7459453.7459453.7459453.745945
Corporal King is an anomaly in the Japanese prison camp; one of a handful of Americans amongst the British and Australian inmates, he thrives through his conniving and black market enterprises, while others (nearly all of higher rank) struggle to survive sickness and starvation, while trying to keep their civilised nature. King recruits upper class British RAF officer Flight Lieutenant Peter Marlowe (James Fox) to act as a translator. As they become acquainted, Marlowe comes to like the man and appreciate his cunning. King respects Marlowe, but his attitude is otherwise ambiguous; when Marlowe is injured, King obtains expensive medicines to save Marlowe's gangrenous arm from amputation, but it is unclear whether he does so out of friendship or because Marlowe is the only one who knows where the proceeds from King's latest and most profitable venture are hidden.
The Great Escape, 2h52
Directed by John Sturges
Origin USA
Genres Drama, War, Thriller, Action, Adventure, Historical
Themes Prison films, Transport films, Aviation films, Motocyclette, Political films, Évasion, Disaster films, Films about aviation accidents or incidents, United States Armed Forces in films
Actors Steve McQueen, James Garner, Richard Attenborough, James Donald, Charles Bronson, Donald Pleasence
Roles Group Capt. Ramsey "The SBO"
Rating81% 4.099284.099284.099284.099284.09928
In 1943, having expended enormous resources on recapturing escaped Allied prisoners of war (POWs), the Germans move the most determined to a new, high-security prisoner of war camp. The commandant, Luftwaffe Colonel von Luger (Hannes Messemer), tells the senior British officer, Group Captain Ramsey (James Donald), "There will be no escapes from this camp." Von Luger points out the various features of the new camp designed to prevent escape, as well as the perks the prisoners will receive as an incentive not to try. After several failed escape attempts on the first day, the POWs settle into life at the prison camp.
Third Man on the Mountain, 1h47
Directed by Ken Annakin
Origin USA
Genres Drama, Adventure
Themes Sports films, Children's films
Actors Michael Rennie, James MacArthur, Janet Munro, James Donald, Herbert Lom, Laurence Naismith
Roles Franz Lerner
Rating71% 3.5860753.5860753.5860753.5860753.586075
Au milieu du XIX siècle en Suisse, un célèbre alpiniste britannique, le capitaine John Winter, souhaite escalader un sommet difficile, la Citadelle. Il se rend dans un petit village mais aucun guide ne souhaite l'accompagner. Un jeune homme du village, Rudi Matt, dont le père est mort quinze ans plus tôt durant une tentative d'ascension de la Citadelle, est déterminé à l'accompagner, avec l'aide de son oncle. Winter parvient également à engager un guide d'un village voisin et concurrent, Emil Saxo. La cordée de quatre hommes entame alors l'ascension du sommet encore inviolé.
The Vikings, 1h56
Directed by Richard Fleischer
Origin USA
Genres Drama, War, Action, Adventure, Historical, Romance
Themes Seafaring films, Transport films, Films set in the Viking Age
Actors Kirk Douglas, Tony Curtis, Janet Leigh, Ernest Borgnine, James Donald, Alexander Knox
Roles Lord Egbert
Rating70% 3.5497753.5497753.5497753.5497753.549775
The King of Northumbria is killed during a Viking raid led by the fearsome Ragnar (Ernest Borgnine). Because the king had died childless, his cousin Aella (Frank Thring) takes the throne. The king's widow, however, is pregnant with what she knows is Ragnar's child because he had raped her during that fateful raid, and to protect the infant from her cousin-in-law's ambitions, she sends him off to Italy. By a twist of fate, the ship is intercepted by the Vikings, who are unaware of the child's kinship, and enslave him.
The Bridge on the River Kwai, 2h41
Directed by David Lean
Origin United-kingdom
Genres Drama, War, Adventure, Historical
Themes Seafaring films, Pont, Prison films, Transport films, Rail transport films, Political films, Évasion
Actors William Holden, Alec Guinness, Jack Hawkins, Sessue Hayakawa, James Donald, Percy Herbert
Roles Maj. Clipton
Rating80% 4.049384.049384.049384.049384.04938
In World War II, British prisoners arrive by train at a Japanese prison camp in Burma. The commandant, Colonel Saito (Sessue Hayakawa), informs them that all prisoners, regardless of rank, are to work on the construction of a railway bridge over the River Kwai that will connect Bangkok and Rangoon. The senior British officer, Lieutenant Colonel Nicholson (Alec Guinness), reminds Saito that the Geneva Conventions exempt officers from manual labour.
Lust for Life, 2h2
Directed by George Cukor, Vincente Minnelli
Origin USA
Genres Drama, Biography, Musical theatre
Themes Peinture, Vincent van Gogh
Actors Kirk Douglas, Anthony Quinn, James Donald, Pamela Brown, Everett Sloane, Niall MacGinnis
Roles Theo van Gogh
Rating73% 3.6984553.6984553.6984553.6984553.698455
Vincent van Gogh's obsessive devotion to his art engulfs, consumes, and finally destroys him. The apostate religious leaders do not like his zeal for God and they frown on his social activism and care for the poor in a coal mining town. He returns home to his father's house where he is rejected by a woman he obsessively loves, takes up with a prostitute who leaves because he is too poor, and discovers painting, which he pursues while agonizing that his vision exceeds his ability to execute. His brother, Theo van Gogh, provides financial and moral support, while Vincent lives off and on with the critical Paul Gauguin. Vincent begins experiencing hallucinations and seizures and voluntarily commits himself to a mental institution. He signs himself out, and with Theo's help, returns to a rural area to paint, where he ultimately shoots himself in despair of never being able to put what he sees on canvas.
Beau Brummell, 1h53
Directed by Curtis Bernhardt
Origin USA
Genres Drama, Biography, Historical
Themes Films based on plays
Actors Stewart Granger, Peter Ustinov, Elizabeth Taylor, Robert Morley, James Donald, James Hayter
Roles Lord Edwin Mercer
Rating64% 3.246313.246313.246313.246313.24631
Au début du XIX siècle, à Londres, George, alias « Beau » Brummell, un jeune roturier devenu militaire, consacre toute son énergie à l'emporter sur ses rivaux mondains par l'élégance et par l'esprit. Il parvient ainsi à gagner l'amitié éblouie du régent, le prince de Galles, rejeton obèse, futile et despotique du roi fou George III. Désormais favori à la cour, il se demande aussi, entre deux choix cornéliens de cravate, s'il convient d'épouser sa maîtresse, l'ensorcelante Lady Patricia...