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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

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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)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (reissue)

Sound Mix:

(RCA Victor System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Mention is made of Chandragupta Maurya as a significant Indian soldier. He founded the Maurya empire, unifying much of India and becoming its first emperor. See more »

Goofs

In every scene with the snake pit, the strings making them move are visible. See more »

Quotes

Guru: You seem to think warfare an English invention. Have you never heard of Chandragupta Maurya? He slaughtered all the armies left in India by Alexander the Great. India was a mighty nation then while Englishmen still dwelt in caves and painted themselves blue.
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 Californication: Hell Bent for Leather (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Blue Bonnets Over the Border
(uncredited)
Traditional
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User Reviews

One of the film classics
14 November 2005 | by (San Francisco CA USA) – See all my reviews

In the most general of terms Gunga Din not only qualifies as a classic but more or less defines the term "classic" in every respect. I wouldn't know how to fault this film, as it succeeds on every level.

You begin with a workable idea for a story. Then you follow that up with superb script writing, direction and photography, and wonderful performances by the entire cast. The end result of that collaboration of successful effort is, as it must be . . . a classic.

And not only does Gunga Din succeed as a mere action adventure, which would be impressive enough, but it's comedic relief serves as a virtual workshop for aspiring directors who, lamentably today, just don't seem to get that part of the equation in all too many cases--you know, as in movie-making is an art? Or at least it used to be.

There's seems to be a gap in our society's culture when it comes to the enjoyment of art which attempts to communicate on various intellectual levels. I would put this down to dubious education all around if I had to pick just one culprit, but I don't know, maybe that's too simplistic. I experience fear, though, when I read negative comments from viewers of films as rich in various, and to me obvious, qualities as is Gunga Din. All I hear in these cases, at best, is a fundamental lack of artistic appreciation at base.

Well, for these people I imagine that all that's left is to simply go out and buy the cheap remakes of the classic films, which are, of course, a dime a dozen nowadays. And then I suppose they will get what they need: presumably a package of questionable casting, incompetent direction, in many instances virtually no attempt at intelligent character development whatsoever, along with x-many minutes of gratuitous violence and endless smash-ups, replete, of course, with plenty of LFE icing for this new-age filmic cake.

Meanwhile, I hope that my daughter will come to appreciate the great films such as Gunga Din for the classic productions they were upon release, and which they certainly remain today.


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