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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:

INSPIRED BY RUDYARD KIPLING'S HEROIC LINES (original one-sheet poster) 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

Director George Stevens' flair for comedy in this film is no accident. As a cameraman for Hal Roach, he filmed shorts with Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, was doubtless a friend of Charley Chase and had directed some of the "Boy Friends" shorts before his association with this film. See more »

Goofs

Ballantine and MacChesney are bound and gagged when the last Thuggee is about to behead them after Gunga Din sounds the alarm. Cutter shoots the Thuggee and Ballantine and MacChesney are unbound as they rush to Cutter's side. See more »

Quotes

Sgt. Archibald Cutter: Eight feet away from where I'm sitting, right here, there's enough gold to make me sole owner and proprietor of a pub as big as the Crystal Palace. Best pub in Hampshire.
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 The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

Blue Bonnets Over the Border
(uncredited)
Traditional
See more »

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User Reviews

 
The ultimate motion picture adventure
20 April 2006 | by robb_772See all my reviews

A rousing adventure form director George Stevens (before he would turn to more serious fare such as 1948's I REMEMBER MAMA and 1956's GIANT) that set the standard for all future action yarns to follow. Loosely based on Rudyard Kipling's poem of the same, GUNGA DIN follows the journey of three military officers in 19th century India. The noble trio must brave a series of battles and other various dangers including a thuggee cult and a temple full of gold. Their screen adventures remain thrilling even after more than six decades, and have lent inspiration to nearly everything from the cliffhanger-inspired space opera STAR WARS (1977) to the similarly-plotted RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARC (1981).

The biggest reason for the picture's success, however, is the pitch-perfect performances by the film's trio of extremely charismatic actors. Victor McLaglen has rarely been better as the strapping tough guy, Cary Grant is the ultimate comic foil, and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr is as suave a swashbuckling hero as imaginable - perhaps even more so than rival Errol Flynn. The chemistry between the three actors simply could not be improved upon, and such warm and believable comradely is precisely what's missing from most modern action pictures - and they receive tremendous support from the marvelous Sam Jaffe, who overcomes the obvious physical miscasting and makes the title character a beacon of humane sweetness and quiet strength. A huge hit in its day (the film was reportedly the second-biggest money maker of 1939 behind the outrageously successful GONE WITH THE WIND), and it remains arguably the best film of its kind.


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