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Gunga Din (1939)

Approved  |   |  Adventure, War  |  17 February 1939 (USA)
7.6
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 8,162 users  
Reviews: 98 user | 41 critic

In 19th century India, three British soldiers and a native waterbearer must stop a secret mass revival of the murderous Thuggee cult before it can rampage across the land.

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(screen play), (screen play), 9 more credits »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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...
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Eduardo Ciannelli ...
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Montagu Love ...
Robert Coote ...
Abner Biberman ...
Lumsden Hare ...
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Storyline

Based loosely on the poem by Rudyard Kipling, this takes place in British India during the Thuggee uprising. Three fun loving sergeants are doing fine until one of them wants to get married and leave the service. The other two trick him into a final mission where they end up confronting the entire cult by themselves as the British Army is entering a trap. This is of the "War is fun" school of movie making. It has the flavour of watching Notre Dame play an inferior high school team. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

INSPIRED BY RUDYARD KIPLING'S HEROIC LINES (original one-sheet poster) See more »

Genres:

Adventure | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

17 February 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Aufstand in Sidi Hakim  »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,910,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (reissue)

Sound Mix:

(RCA Victor System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In March 1939, the Kipling family objected to a reporter being called Rudyard Kipling, prompting RKO to eliminate that scene from the film when it was re-released. However, it is in the prints available today. The scheduled release date of December 1938 was postponed for retakes. John Sturges, an uncredited editor on this film, directed the remake, Sergeants 3 (1962). See more »

Goofs

When Din and Cutter first see the temple, it is in full sun. The next shot shows only the top of the temple in sun with dark shadows hiding the lower levels. See more »

Quotes

Sgt. 'Mac' MacChesney: Wait a minute! Wait a minute! Cutter, you ain't leaving this village without my permission. Give me that bottle.
Sgt. Archibald Cutter: MacChesney, I've been a soldier for fourteen years. I know my duties as well as you do. But you're not talking to a soldier now, you're talking to an expedition. I'm an expedition!
See more »

Crazy Credits

The credits appear on a gong. Standing next to the gong is a Hindu man, and every time he strikes the gong, the credits change. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Dick Van Dyke Show: Three Letters from One Wife (1964) See more »

Soundtracks

Auld Lang Syne
(1788) (uncredited)
Traditional
Lyrics by Scottish poet Robert Burns
Played as part of the score at the end
See more »

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User Reviews

 
The ultimate motion picture adventure
20 April 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

A rousing adventure form director George Stevens (before he would turn to more serious fare such as 1948's I REMEMBER MAMA and 1956's GIANT) that set the standard for all future action yarns to follow. Loosely based on Rudyard Kipling's poem of the same, GUNGA DIN follows the journey of three military officers in 19th century India. The noble trio must brave a series of battles and other various dangers including a thuggee cult and a temple full of gold. Their screen adventures remain thrilling even after more than six decades, and have lent inspiration to nearly everything from the cliffhanger-inspired space opera STAR WARS (1977) to the similarly-plotted RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARC (1981).

The biggest reason for the picture's success, however, is the pitch-perfect performances by the film's trio of extremely charismatic actors. Victor McLaglen has rarely been better as the strapping tough guy, Cary Grant is the ultimate comic foil, and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr is as suave a swashbuckling hero as imaginable - perhaps even more so than rival Errol Flynn. The chemistry between the three actors simply could not be improved upon, and such warm and believable comradely is precisely what's missing from most modern action pictures - and they receive tremendous support from the marvelous Sam Jaffe, who overcomes the obvious physical miscasting and makes the title character a beacon of humane sweetness and quiet strength. A huge hit in its day (the film was reportedly the second-biggest money maker of 1939 behind the outrageously successful GONE WITH THE WIND), and it remains arguably the best film of its kind.


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