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Yesterday's Enemy (1959)

In WW2, during the Japanese invasion of Burma, the lost remnant of a British Army Brigade HQ, led by the ruthless captain Alan Langford, escapes through the jungle toward the British lines.



Nominated for 4 BAFTA Film Awards. See more awards »
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Cast overview:
Captain Langford
Sgt. McKenzie
David Oxley ...
Richard Pasco ...
2nd Lt. Hastings
Philip Ahn ...
Bryan Forbes ...
Wolfe Morris ...
David Lodge ...
Russell Waters ...
Barry Lowe ...
Japanese Soldier


Cut off by the Japanese advance into Burma, Captain Langford (Stanley Baker) and his exhausted British troops take over an enemy-held jungle village. Despite the protests of an elderly padre ('Guy Rolfe (I)') and of war correspondent Max Anderson (Leo McKern), Langford orders Sergeant McKenzie (Gordon Jackson) to shoot two innocent villagers, thereby "persuading" a Japanese informer to surrender vital information. When the Japanese recapture the village, their commander uses Langford's own desperate war-born tactics in a similar effort to extract information from the British. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crimes of War! See more »


War | Drama


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Release Date:

11 July 1959 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Yesterday's Enemy  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Stanley Baker regarded this as one of his best films, although he regretted they did not have a larger budget. See more »


One of the Japanese soldiers is armed with a German MP38/40 machine pistol. Only the Bulgarians and the Germans used the MP38/40. See more »


Captain Langford: He knew there's only one way to fight a war, any war. With your gloves off.
See more »


Referenced in Looking for Peter (2012) See more »


Burma March
Composed by Franz Reizenstein
See more »

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User Reviews

Towering performance by Stanley Baker.
30 July 2010 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Well, I was astonished by how good this film is. Made by Hammer Films in 1959 and despite being shot entirely on set in England it has a deep sense of the grime, heat and fear of the Borneo jungle during WWII.

What really holds it together and creates the powerful generator for this film is a gritty, un-theatrical,un-sentimental performance by Sir Stanley Baker. He creates a 3 dimensional character and (Amazingly for a top ranked star) never tries to get the audience to "like him".

Other fine performances from Guy Rolfe and Leo McKern make this absorbing film seem way too short. The director Val Guest struggled to have the film released without any soundtrack music and this really helps the atmosphere and leaves it up the the actors to create tension without music bailing them out. There are quite a few unexpected twists and surprises too.

The subject matter in 1959 was rather brave and controversial so well done Hammer! It doesn't seem to be available on DVD or Blu-Ray so that goodness for Stagevu otherwise I might never have seen this little gem.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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