This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.Find sources: "The Citadel" 1938 film – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR (January 2017) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)

The Citadel
Directed byKing Vidor
Screenplay byIan Dalrymple
Frank Wead
Elizabeth Hill
Based onThe Citadel
1937 novel
by A. J. Cronin
Produced byVictor Saville
StarringRobert Donat
Rosalind Russell
Ralph Richardson
Rex Harrison
CinematographyHarry Stradling
Edited byCharles Frend
Music byLouis Levy
Charles Williams
Distributed byLoew's Inc[1]
Release date
  • 3 November 1938 (1938-11-03)
Running time
110 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom
Box office$987,000 (Domestic earnings)
$1,611,000 (Foreign earnings)

The Citadel is a 1938 British drama film based on the 1937 novel of the same name by A. J. Cronin. The film was directed by King Vidor and produced by Victor Saville for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer British at Denham Studios.[1] It stars Robert Donat and Rosalind Russell.


Dr. Andrew Manson (Robert Donat) is an idealistic, newly qualified Scottish doctor dedicated to treating the Welsh miners suffering from tuberculosis in the Welsh mining village of Blaenely and is an apprentice to Dr. Page (Basil Gill). Initially, he has many lofty scientific goals, but meets local resistance in his research. After his laboratory and notes are destroyed by the miners, he moves to London, treating working-class patients in impoverished conditions. There, his purpose erodes when a chance encounter with a medical school friend, Dr. Frederick Lawford (Rex Harrison) leads to his quiet seduction by an unethical medical establishment, treating rich hypochondriacs. Christine (Rosalind Russell), his wife, tries to set him back on the original path. Dr. Philip Denny (Ralph Richardson), Manson's best friend and still working for improved working-class health, dies at the hands of an incompetent, social-climbing surgeon.

Differences from other versions

The film is based on the novel, but departs from it in certain vital respects. In the original text, the character of Christine Manson is killed off in a road accident at the point when she and her husband have begun to address problems in their relationship. The incident involving the incompetent surgeon occurs, but it is a minor character who dies. Denny survives, and the understanding (not related in the book but implied) is that he and Manson went into practice together.[2] A 1982 BBC radio adaptation[3] of the novel stays closer to the original text.



The film was nominated for Oscars in four categories: Best Picture, Best Actor (Robert Donat), Directing, and Adapted Screenplay.

The film won the Best Picture Award from both the New York Film Critics Circle and the National Board of Review. It is a New York Times Critics' Pick and is also listed in The New York Times Guide to the Best 1,000 Movies Ever Made.


A Hindi-language film, Tere Mere Sapne, based on the A.J. Cronin novel, was released in 1971.

In February 2020, the film was shown at the 70th Berlin International Film Festival, as part of a retrospective dedicated to King Vidor's career.[4]


  1. ^ a b The Citadel at the American Film Institute Catalog
  2. ^ Cronin, AJ.The Citadel, Gollancz 1938.
  3. ^ "BBC Radio 4 - the Citadel".
  4. ^ "Berlinale 2020: Retrospective "King Vidor"". Berlinale. Retrieved 28 February 2020.

Streaming audio