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Gunga Din (1939)

Approved | | Adventure, Comedy, War | 17 February 1939 (USA)
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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Writers:

(screen play), (screen play) | 3 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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Major Mitchell
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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:

STAGED ON A SCALE THAT BEGGARS WORDS! (original print ad - all caps) See more »

Genres:

Adventure | Comedy | 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:

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Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (reissue)

Sound Mix:

(RCA Victor System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Gunga Din is mentioned in the 1971 version of the Bob Dylan song You Ain't Goin' Nowhere. The song opens with the following verses: "Clouds so swift an' rain fallin' in / Gonna see a movie called Gunga Din / Pack up your money, pull up your tent, McGuinn / You ain't goin' nowhere". Joe McGuinn is an uncredited actor who appears in the film. See more »

Goofs

After escaping the ambush and returning to base, the soldiers are shown marching in directly toward the flagpole. The scene then shifts showing the soldiers stopping some distance to the side of the flagpole, and turning right in formation to face the flag. See more »

Quotes

Sgt. Archibald Cutter: Now get me some tools. Something to rip these blinking bars out.
Gunga Din: Already bring all tools could find. Is this satisfactory, sahib?
[holds up a fork]
Sgt. Archibald Cutter: Look... What do you think I want to break out of - a bloomin' pudding? Now go on, get something big.
[Din returns with an elephant]
Sgt. Archibald Cutter: What are you doing, Din?
Gunga Din: The large tool you asked for, sahib.
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

Featured in The Projectionist (1971) See more »

Soundtracks

Will Ye No Come Back Again?
(uncredited)
Written by Lady Carolina Nairne
See more »

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User Reviews

Politically incorrect only to the historically ignorant
12 May 2003 | by (Western Springs, Illinois) – See all my reviews

While it is fashionable in too many circles to condemn anything which portrays European colonialism generally, and the British Empire specifically, in a favorable light, a little historical knowledge will show that Kipling's story, as well as this superb film, are hardly the reactionary racist screed some would like to demote them to. Gunga Din is a regimental bhisti - a water carrier - and in 19th century India that meant that he had a job which guaranteed a place to sleep and food in a very brutal society. Considering that he was also an "untouchable" - a member of India's lowest caste - this was something. Colonel Weed is correct in saying "he had no official status as a soldier" - bhistis were non-military auxiliaries. As for his loyalty to the British, there were many Indians who clearly preferred British rule to that of their fellows - and not just the maharajas and princes.

If you read the story - and watch the movie with an objective eye - at the end, all the major characters have nothing but respect for Gunga Din. Sergeant MacChesney (Victor McLaglen) is clearly shamed by the fact that Din, in the end, was not only the better soldier but the better man - he sacrificed himself to prevent the ambush and massacre of the British column. The most telling example that the movie doesn't "put down" Gunga Din is at the end when Colonel Weed posthumously appoints the former regimental bhisti as a Corporal in the regiment. Corporal was a BRITISH rank - the equivalent Indian rank was Havildar. So, he was appointed as a BRITISH non-commissioned officer who could command British troops - hardly an example of political incorrectness.

Yes, this is "men-as-buddies" flick. However, this movie has a special appeal to anyone who has actually served in the military - those are the types of friendships you make (you'll share your last drop of water with your mess mate) and keep for the rest of your days. It acknowledges that. So enjoy it - it is a rousing tale - and keep the PC-nonsense out of it. The bad guys lose in the end while the best man is recognized for his virtues - you don't even get that it in real life.


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