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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 8,070 users  
Reviews: 98 user | 40 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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Title: Gunga Din (1939)

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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:

RKO RADIO'S TOWERING SHOW OF SHOWS! (original print ad - all caps) 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

Opening credits: Those portions of this picture dealing with the worship of The Goddess Kali are based on historic fact. See more »

Goofs

The rifle that Ballantine carries to the top of the temple is a M1896 Krag-Jorgensen. See more »

Quotes

Sgt. Archibald Cutter: Eight feet away from where I'm sitting, right here, there's enough gold to make me sole owner and proprietor of a pub as big as the Crystal Palace. Best pub in Hampshire.
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 Wonderful Wizard of Oz: 50 Years of Magic (1990) 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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