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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:

Out of the stirring glory of Kipling's India they roar!...Three fighting, loving, swaggering sons of the British Battalions! 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)
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

"Star wars episode VIII: The last Jedi" was influenced by Gunga Din (1939),along with Sahara (1943),Bridge On The River Kwai (1957),Seven Samurai (1954),Twelve O'Clock High (1949),To Catch A Thief (1955),Three Outlaw Samurai (1964) and Letter Never Sent (1960), See more »

Goofs

The position of the curtain material in Ballantine's belt changes. See more »

Quotes

Colonel Weed: [reading from the poem by the journalist, Rudyard Kipling] "Though I've belted you and flayed you / By the living God that made you / You're a better man than I am, Gunga Din."
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 »

Connections

Referenced in Sneak Previews: The Best and Worst Films of 1976 (1977) See more »

Soundtracks

The Atholl Highlanders
(uncredited)
Traditional
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Rousing adventure from Hollywood's golden age
7 August 2010 | by sme_no_densetsuSee all my reviews

George Stevens' "Gunga Din", loosely based on the famous poem by Rudyard Kipling, tells the story of a trio of British soldiers in India along with the titular native water-bearer who yearns for the life of a soldier. When one of the three decides to leave the army and get married his buddies trick him into returning for one last mission which ends up leading to a stand-off with the murderous Thuggee cult.

The cast is expertly assembled. Cary Grant, Victor McLaglen & Douglas Fairbanks Jr. make a great team. Their characters are men of action but each of the actors also get a chance to inject some comedy into the proceedings from time to time. Sam Jaffe plays Gunga Din and he does a fine job as well.

The film benefits from the sure hand of director George Stevens and features a wealth of quality location work. The cinematography garnered the film's sole Oscar nomination but the film exhibits considerable technical appeal on the whole, including a stirring score from nine-time Oscar winner Alfred Newman.

"Gunga Din" mixes action, adventure, comedy and drama in a good old-fashioned adventure yarn the likes of which we rarely see these days. It's an obvious influence on "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" and I also have to wonder if some of the characterization rubbed off on Lucas' "Star Wars" as well. It's a pity that the background of British imperialism spoils the film for some but I can't say that it did so for me.


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