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Gunga Din (1939)

Approved | | Adventure, Comedy, War | 17 February 1939 (USA)
Trailer
2:12 | Trailer
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.

Director:

George Stevens

Writers:

Joel Sayre (screenplay), Fred Guiol (screenplay) | 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:
Cary Grant ... Sergeant Archibald Cutter
Victor McLaglen ... Sergeant MacChesney
Douglas Fairbanks Jr. ... Sergeant Thomas Ballantine
Sam Jaffe ... Gunga Din
Eduardo Ciannelli ... Guru
Joan Fontaine ... Emmy
Montagu Love ... Colonel Weed
Robert Coote ... Sergeant Higginbotham
Abner Biberman ... Chota
Lumsden Hare ... 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:

Barbaric Splendor - Gasping Magnitude - Adventure ! See more »

Genres:

Adventure | Comedy | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Gunga Din is first seen at about 11:00 into the film, as the detail marches out of the fort. His first line comes in the Tantrapur skirmish at about 26:00 into the film. See more »

Goofs

During the dance honoring Ballantine's wedding announcement, music is provided by a cylinder phonograph, which was not invented till the late 19th century, and available for sale till the early 20th century (1903) some 20 years after the Thuggee revival uprising in India. See more »

Quotes

Sgt. 'Mac' MacChesney: What do you mean "elephants"? This ain't elephants. This is Annie. My Annie.
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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 »

Alternate Versions

Also shown in a computer-colorized version See more »

Connections

Referenced in I've Got a Secret: Episode dated 16 September 1963 (1963) See more »

Soundtracks

Will Ye No Come Back Again?
(uncredited)
Written by Lady Carolina Nairne
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User Reviews

One of the film classics
14 November 2005 | by tristanjohn-1See 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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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

17 February 1939 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Gunga Din See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,910,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (reissue)

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Victor System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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