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Gunga Din (1939)

Approved | | Adventure, Comedy, War | 17 February 1939 (USA)
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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 (screen play), Fred Guiol (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:
Cary Grant ... Cutter
Victor McLaglen ... MacChesney
Douglas Fairbanks Jr. ... Ballantine
Sam Jaffe ... Gunga Din
Eduardo Ciannelli ... Guru
Joan Fontaine ... Emmy
Montagu Love ... Colonel Weed
Robert Coote ... 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:

THRILLS FOR A THOUSAND MOVIES PLUNDERED FOR ONE MIGHTY SHOW! (original print ad - all caps) See more »

Genres:

Adventure | Comedy | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

17 February 1939 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Aufstand in Sidi Hakim See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,910,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$2,807,000, 31 December 1939
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (reissue)

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Victor System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Bits and pieces of the film's use of the boulder-strewn area of Lone Pine (CA) remain, including the anchors for the rope bridge across the "chasm". Some judicious referencing of the film, and stills from it, make for an interesting tour of the area to locate where a number of the scenes were shot. See more »

Goofs

In the end, when they're taking Gunga Din's body away, Colonel Weed does the salute the American way (palm down). The British salute with the palm up (Sam Jeffe demonstrates it perfectly a few seconds later). See more »

Quotes

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

Alternate Versions

Also shown in a computer-colorized version See more »

Connections

Referenced in Century of Cinema: Ourselves Alone? (1995) See more »

Soundtracks

Auld Lang Syne
(1788) (uncredited)
Traditional
Lyrics by Scottish poet Robert Burns
Played as part of the score at the end
See more »

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User Reviews

 
This movie featured by three swaggering sons of the British battalions and with the seething , gusty excitement of cyclone
16 August 2005 | by ma-cortesSee all my reviews

The film is based on Kipling's heroic lines that inspire Hollywood's biggest movie 1939 . Out of the drumbeat rhythm of Kipling's most famous 85 lines rises a picture that will become known as the one great movie of the year . Big on the score of its armies in battle , its war elephants , its bandit hordes , its terror temples Thugs and mystic mountains of India . The picture is bigger still in its scope and sweep , is thrill and action but biggest of all in the life breathes through three (Gary Grant , Victor McLagen and Douglas Fairbanks Jr) roaring , reckless , swaggering sons of the thundering gunfighters men who stride its mighty scenes in the flesh and blood of high adventure , it's a honest film of it all that makes Gunga Din a new experience in entertainment . Joan Fontaine gambled her against the valiant sergeants three . The romance between Fontaine and Fairbanks Jr aflame through dangerous days and nights of terror in a land where anything can happen .

This George Stevens motion picture has thrills for a thousand movies plundered for one mighty show . It's a fabulous , furious and far-flung adventure with the red-blood and gunpowder heroes who rise from the storied mystery of India and storm the screen with the lusty , rousing , robust life-thunder of men who fight for the love of it and love for the fun of it . Those portions of this picture dealing with the worship of The Goddess Kali are based on historic fact . Upon release a campaign was launched by the Indian newspapers against the misrepresentation of Indian caricatures in the film, and the displaying of insensitivity towards Hindu customs , following riots in India and Malaya the film was withdrawn by the censors . The roles of Sergeants Cutter, Ballantine, and MacChesney were based on Privates from Kipling's "Soldiers Three" short stories .

The picture is well interpreted by the brave and roguish Gary Grant who rounded hundred villains Thugs and the mean Guru -Eduardo Ciannelli- , then Grant shouts : You're under arrest! . Gary Grant being amusingly accompanied by two great and sympathetic colleagues : Douglas Fairbanks Jr. and Victor McLagen . Besides , appearing the heroic water man , Sam Jaffe , whose regiment colonel -Montagu Love- says of him : You're a better man than I am , Gunga Din ! . However , Sabu was first choice to play Gunga Din ; when it became clear he was unavailable , the Jewish Russian-American Sam Jaffe was hired in his place , playing convincingly the valiant Indian Muslim .


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