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Yesterday's Enemy (1959)

Approved | | Drama, War | 11 July 1959 (Japan)
2:45 | Trailer
In World War II, during the Japanese invasion of Burma, the lost remnant of a British Army Brigade HQ, led by the ruthless Captain Alan Langford, escapes through the jungle toward the British lines.


Val Guest


Peter R. Newman
Nominated for 4 BAFTA Film Awards. See more awards »





Cast overview:
Stanley Baker ... Captain Langford
Guy Rolfe ... Padre
Leo McKern ... Max
Gordon Jackson ... Sgt. McKenzie
David Oxley ... Doctor
Richard Pasco ... 2nd Lt. Hastings
Philip Ahn ... Yamazaki
Bryan Forbes ... Dawson
Wolfe Morris ... Informer (as Wolf Morris)
David Lodge ... Perkins
Percy Herbert ... Wilson
Russell Waters Russell Waters ... Brigadier
Barry Lowe Barry Lowe ... Turner
Burt Kwouk ... Japanese Soldier


Cut off by the Japanese advance into Burma, Captain Langford (Stanley Baker) and his exhausted British troops take over an enemy-held jungle village. Despite the protests of an elderly padre ('Guy Rolfe (I)') and of war correspondent Max Anderson (Leo McKern), Langford orders Sergeant McKenzie (Gordon Jackson) to shoot two innocent villagers, thereby "persuading" a Japanese informer to surrender vital information. When the Japanese recapture the village, their commander uses Langford's own desperate war-born tactics in a similar effort to extract information from the British. Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Crimes of War! See more »


Drama | War


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


Gordon Jackson (Sgt. McKenzie) and Burt Kwouk (Japanese Soldier) reprised their role from the original television version Yesterday's Enemy (1958). See more »


One of the Japanese soldiers is armed with a German MP38/40 machine pistol. Only the Bulgarians and the Germans used the MP38/40. See more »


Captain Langford: He knew there's only one way to fight a war, any war. With your gloves off.
See more »

Crazy Credits

There is no 'The End' at the end of the film. The camera merely pans away from a memorial which reads 'WHEN YOU GO HOME TELL THEM OF US AND SAY- FOR THEIR TOMORROW WE GAVE OUR TODAY'; and silence, but with just birds singing. See more »


Burma March
Composed by Franz Reizenstein
See more »

User Reviews

No music needed
28 August 2006 | by benbrae76See all my reviews

This 1959 black and white WWII movie is one of the most realistic depictions of jungle warfare I have ever seen. Wonderfully acted by all concerned, and the script strikes a clever balance between duty and anti-war opinions. It is about a lost group of soldiers from the "forgotten army" in Burma, trying to reach their own lines, and whilst doing so take over a Japanese held village.

The tension is almost unbearable, and the movie never relies on music to enhance that tension, for there is no music in it from start to finish. (And to be truthful in this movie it's not missed.) It's impossible to pick out a star performer. They all are, but I suppose the two that really stand out are Stanley Baker as the commanding officer and Leo McKern as the cynical war-correspondent attached to the group.

I have yet to see this movie screened on TV (although someone may set me right if it has), and considering the pap that is aired, I can't think of one reason why it hasn't. It's a terrific film and if you enjoy realistic gritty war movies, then this is the one for you.

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English | Burmese | Japanese

Release Date:

11 July 1959 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

Yesterday's Enemy See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

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