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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.

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(screen play), (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:
... Cutter
... MacChesney
... Ballantine
... Gunga Din
... Guru
... Emmy
... Colonel Weed
... Higginbotham
... Chota
... 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:

Love in a lawless land, where terror stalks through brooding hills---and a woman is sure of nothing! See more »

Genres:

Adventure | Comedy | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

17 February 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Aufstand in Sidi Hakim  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,910,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (reissue)

Sound Mix:

(RCA Victor System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Joan Fontaine fell in love with director George Stevens during filming. See more »

Goofs

When in the village, the command is given to "Form a Square". This type of military formation was used as a defence against large massed assaults, usually of cavalry and would not have been of much use against riflemen/ snipers in buildings. It would have made the troops a larger target. See more »

Quotes

[Sgt. Cutter confronts the Thugs in their stronghold]
Sgt. Archibald Cutter: Well if it ain't young toadface. Fancy meeting you here.
Guru: Vile dog! For that insolence you shall grovel before my son. You shall grovel, I say!
Sgt. Archibald Cutter: Look here! I'm a soldier of her Majesty, the Queen. I don't grovel before any 'eathen.
Guru: Tabul, take him to the tower and teach him the error of false pride. Take him away!
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

Featured in The Essentials: Gunga Din (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

Blue Bonnets Over the Border
(uncredited)
Traditional
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User Reviews

 
The ultimate motion picture adventure
20 April 2006 | by See 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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