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Jungle Fighters (1961)
"The Long and the Short and the Tall" (original title)

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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 499 users  
Reviews: 18 user | 4 critic

A troop of British soldiers are out in the jungle to record jungle noises and troop noises in the jungle so that the recordings can be played back by other troops to divert the enemy to ... See full summary »

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Title: Jungle Fighters (1961)

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Nominated for 2 BAFTA Film Awards. See more awards »

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Psychological drama about a British patrol in the Burmese jungle who fall out among themselves.

Director: Lindsay Anderson
Stars: Robert Shaw, Edward Judd, Ronald Fraser
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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John Rees ...
Kenji Takaki ...
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Storyline

A troop of British soldiers are out in the jungle to record jungle noises and troop noises in the jungle so that the recordings can be played back by other troops to divert the enemy to their whereabouts. As they progress to what they think is closer to the base camp they find themselves farther and farther from radio range until the only channel they can get clearly is that of a Japanese broadcast. They now realize they are probably only 10 to 15 miles from a Japanese camp! The tension is added to by rowdy and openly admitted "non-hero" Private Bamforth who has nothing good to say about anyone and especially Corporal Johnstone (who holds an equal dislike for Bamforth). When a Japanese soldier is taken as their prisoner, the true colors of each man comes to the surface ... Written by McGinty <McGinty@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

War | Drama

Certificate:

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Release Date:

8 September 1961 (Finland)  »

Also Known As:

Jungle Fighters  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Richard Harris, a vocal socialist, did not get along with Richard Todd during filming. See more »

Goofs

In the hut the soldiers' clothes become dry very quickly. Even when Laurence Harvey is wringing his shirt to get the water out, the rest of his clothes are dry. In the jungle during the rainy season, clothes would take hours if not days to dry out. See more »

Quotes

Pvt. 'Bammo' Bamforth: [to Macleish] I hope they carve your brother up... I hope they carve your bloody brother up!
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Soundtracks

Bless 'Em All
(uncredited)
Written by Fred Godfrey, Jimmy Hughes and Frank Lake
Performed by the cast
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User Reviews

 
Human weakness
7 March 2012 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

The Long and the Short and the Tall is perhaps the most human film I've ever seen. It's meant to be a war film set in the Burmese Jungle, although with absolutely no contour to the ground, and the movie backgrounds all-in-all resembling Kew Gardens or a Rousseau painting, a rather less exotic location must be surmised. With absolutely minimal amounts of fighting you could mislead people by even referring to it as a war movie.

The movie follows a platoon of stupid and weak men, I do not for one moment mean that in the sense that they are decadent or immoral, but they struggle for understanding and willpower; I wouldn't have been surprised to see the radio operator ask the Sergeant for a blanky. The Sergeant is a clearly incompetent man, who once got busted down a stripe for losing his patrol, as if it were something easily lost. I stress though that he's not a lazy man, and these two things are often conflated in the movies. The Dream Factory tends to suggest that human limits are to be found only at the limits of our imagination, however most people are profoundly challenged to just get by in life, strive as they might.

The 'jock' lance corporal Macleish is a dumb, proud, and self-righteous man, but not in the normal sense of the word, he's not vainglorious at all, he's simply so stupid that he interprets the world via a small and therefore secure moral framework. When he preaches to his leaders about the Geneva Convention, he's not doing it out of some sort of profound understanding, but merely because the Geneva Convention is a rule, and he finds rules easy to grope his way in the dark with.

The only one in the bunch who appears to have half a brain says at one point that, "I just do as I'm told". This reminds me of a scene in Mad Max where a guy says to the Toecutter, "Anything you say", to which the Toecutter replies, "Anything...I...say, what a wonderful philosophy you have".

These severely challenged men have a moral decision to take, will they manage to do the right thing? Or will they blindly concentrate on the insignia on each other's uniforms? What I like about this film is that we are mostly like that, severely challenged, and I think it's incredibly rare that this is ever acknowledged at the cinema.


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