"Farewell to the King" is an adaptation of Pierre Schoendoerffer's 1970 novel about a British soldier who unites the tribes of Borneo and leads them into war against the occupying Japanese.
In John Milius' adaptation, the soldier is American Sgt. Learoyd (played by Nick Nolte), a deserter who nearly dies while fleeing into the jungles of Borneo. He is nursed back to health by a native woman (Marilyn Tokuda), whom he marries, and after defeating a tribal leader in hand-to-hand combat, he becomes the tribe's rajah (king).
Learoyd wants no part of the fight with the Japanese, until British Capt. Nigel Fairbourne (Nigel Havers) and his special forces sidekick Sgt. Lionel Tenga (Frank McRae) parachute into the jungle and offer to negotiate a guarantee of freedom from Gen. MacArthur for all the tribes of Borneo in exchange for help in driving the Japanese off the island.
The questions are: Will Learoyd's warriors survive combat with the heavily armed Japanese? And if so, will MacArthur and his British allies honor their pact?