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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 (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
Learn more

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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:

RKO RADIO'S TOWERING SHOW OF SHOWS! (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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Did You Know?

Trivia

In the opening Tantrapur sequence, left-handed Cary Grant throws the dynamite sticks and his best punches lefty; however, he fires his sidearm right-handed. See more »

Goofs

When the British return to Tantrapur the second time, they posted guards. But when the guards reported, they never called out their post number. They all called out, one at a time, "Post number, all's well". See more »

Quotes

Sgt. Thomas 'Tommy' Ballantine: You displease me greatly, and I ignore the both of you.
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

Cut to 96 minutes for a theatrical re-issue; for years this was the only version available for viewing until the film was archivally restored. See more »

Connections

Spoofed in Radio (2003) 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 »

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
See full technical specs »

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