The King and I (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

The King and I (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

With its sterling reviews, big box-office numbers, and five Academy Awards—including Best Original Score—the 1956 film version of The King and I was, by some measures, the most successful screen adaptation of a Rodgers & Hammerstein musical until The Sound of Music came along nearly a decade later. A big part of the film’s success was thanks to Yul Brynner, who won a Best Actor trophy for his performance, and who’d end up playing the role of King Mongkut more than 4,500 times over the course of his career. (Incidentally, it wasn’t Brynner’s only big role in 1956: He also played Rameses II in The Ten Commandments, the year’s top-grossing movie, four spots ahead of The King and I.) The film soundtrack featured some of the most indelible performances of some of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s most enduring songs, including “Getting To Know You,” “I Whistle a Happy Tune,” and “I Have Dreamed” (the latter of which has become a beloved standard). It also marked Rodgers & Hammerstein’s tentative exploration of Asian music, or at least the textures and sounds that might scan as “Asian” to Western audiences—a well-intentioned experiment that paralleled their attempts to humanely portray Asian characters in South Pacific. The soundtrack went to No. 1 on the album charts in October 1956—just seven months after Oklahoma! had vacated the top spot.

Select a country or region

Africa, Middle East, and India

Asia Pacific


Latin America and the Caribbean

The United States and Canada