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Gunga Din (1939)

Approved | | Adventure, Comedy, War | 17 February 1939 (USA)
Trailer
2:11 | Trailer

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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 »
Reviews
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:

She gambled her all against the valiant Sergeants Three!..Romance aflame through dangerous days and nights of terror..in a land where anything can happen -- most of all to a girl alone! 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

Kelly Reilly had long wanted to make "Gunga Din," and in 1936 brought in Howard Hawks to develop the project. Hawks felt Robert Donat or Ronald Colman were the best choices for the lead with Spencer Tracy as second lead, and early in 1937 he considered Ray Milland and Franchot Tone. However when Hawks took too much time on Bringing Up Baby (1938) he was taken off the project. It's also been said that Hawks was dropped from the film because "Baby" ended up as a box-office bomb, even though it has survived as a comedy classic. See more »

Goofs

During the fighting of the natives (none of whom speak English) a voice can be clearly heard shouting, "Watch out!" 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 »

Alternate Versions

German theatrical version was cut by approx. 12 minutes. This version was later shown on TV but never released on any home media format. Only in 2018 the film was released on DVD, with approx. 4 minutes restored. See more »

Connections

Featured in American Masters: Cary Grant: A Class Apart (2004) 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

 
Star Wars with actors
27 August 2004 | by pensmanSee all my reviews

Obviously a film that has had great influence not only on the buddy genre but action genre as well. George Lucas had to be a fan of this flick as so much of his Star Wars series seems to a homage to Gunga Din. The characters that Grant, McLaglen, and Fairbanks play are just precursors of Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, and Chewbacca. Even Sam Jaffe's Gunga Din morphed into C-3PO and R2-D2 and like him or not: Jar Jar Binks.

Today this film is viewed as non PC but there is a speech by Eduardo Ciannelli as Guru the leader of the Indian opposition to the British raj that could can be echoed in the sentiments of many today.

To a young boy this was a great film. Three strong male leads and only a hint of romance. There was a time when young boys deemed kissing the girl in Saturday matinee film was just mush. Not like today when the more skin is greeted with delight. Too late to lament lost innocence.

Hopefully this film will not be forgotten and a few who are channel surfing will stop at TCM and catch a film with action, adventure, and a cast of thousands instead of CGI actors.


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