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Guns at Batasi (1964)

Approved | | Drama, History, War | 25 September 1964 (UK)
Anachronistic strict Regimental Sergeant Major Lauderdale (Sir Richard Attenborough), on a remote colonial African army caught in a local coup d'etat, must use his experience to defend those in his care.


John Guillermin


Robert Holles (screenplay), Robert Holles (novel) | 3 more credits »
Won 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Richard Attenborough ... Regimental Sgt. Major Lauderdale
Jack Hawkins ... Colonel Deal
Flora Robson ... Miss Barker-Wise
John Leyton ... Private Wilkes
Mia Farrow ... Karen Eriksson
Cecil Parker ... Fletcher
Errol John ... Lieut. Boniface
Graham Stark ... Sgt. 'Dodger' Brown
Earl Cameron ... Captain Abraham
Percy Herbert ... Colour Sgt. Ben Parkin
David Lodge ... Sgt. 'Muscles' Dunn
Bernard Horsfall ... Sgt. 'Schoolie' Prideaux
John Meillon ... Sgt. 'Aussie' Drake
Horace James Horace James ... Corporal Abou
Patrick Holt ... Captain


Regimental Sergeant Major Lauderdale (Sir Richard Attenborough) is a by-the-book, strict disciplinarian, who seems like an anachronism in a sleepy peacetime African outpost of the modern British commonwealth. Ridiculed behind his back by his subordinate N.C.O.s, he must play host to a liberal women M.P. making a tour of the base. However, when an ambitious African officer, who happens to be a protegè of the M.P., initiates a coup d'etat against Captain Abraham (Earl Cameron), the lawful African commandant, the resourceful Sergeant Major uses all of his military training to save his men from a certain firing squad. Written by Gabe Taverney (duke1029@aol.com)

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


On Parade A Tyrant...In a Hot Spot - A Hero! See more »


Drama | History | War


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


Mia Farrow, who filmed the pilot for Twentieth Century Fox's Peyton Place (1964) - the basis for her and the studio's iconic series and television's first prime-time soap opera - became a last minute replacement for Britt Ekland. The young Swedish actress had bailed on her commitment to co-star as Karen Eriksson in order to remain at the hospital bedside of her lover and and new husband, Peter Sellers, who'd infamously experienced a heart attack while in the throws of passion with her in Los Angeles, California, the night of April 5, 1964. Ekland's Swedish nationality was an obvious selling point on her playing a character who's last name is Eriksson, very Scandinavian sounding, while Farrow's features look far from Scandinavian. Sellers' recovery was slow, six months. Meanwhile, upon completion of filming this movie in England for Twentieth Century Fox, the studio signed Farrow to a contract for film and television and immediately put her to work on the small screen as ABC had ordered Peyton Place (1964) as a serialized half hour, uniquely designed for twice-a-week airings, beginning in September 1964. See more »


At regimental dinners in the Sgts Mess, the Loyal Toast is always proposed by Mr Vice, the junior member of the mess, and not by the RSM. See more »


[first lines]
Sgt. Dodger Brown: [singing as he drives a truck] She'll be comin' round the mountain when she comes. She'll be comin'
Colour Sgt. Ben Parkin: Can't you sing in tune?
Sgt. Dodger Brown: round the mountain when she comes!
[pause as truck bumps over rough road]
Sgt. Dodger Brown: Hey, Ben, you know I was just thinkin'. Back home they wouldn't let me drive a scooter without taking a test.
Sgt. Dodger Brown: Marvelous, isn't it?
[thud as truck jolts]
Colour Sgt. Ben Parkin: Marvelous
See more »


Referenced in Pestilent City (1965) See more »

User Reviews

A Little-Seen Excellent Motion Picture
26 August 2006 | by mphilipmSee all my reviews

Richard Attenborough gave a performance in this film worthy of an Oscar and everyone in the movie shone. The writing, the direction, the experience are what movies are all about and time has not dimmed the significance of the content. It seemed to be a lost film for many years but has come out on DVD with the usual--and in this case--entertaining extras. It is billed as a "war film" but it is much more than that, an action film in the way in which Master and Commander is an action film, exciting but significant as well, since it illustrates a point of view with which you may agree or disagree but which you will see distinctly after a viewing, comparisons and contrasts being inherent to the vehicle itself. Mia Farrow debuted in this but it is an English movie with a fine supporting cast including Jack Hawkins in a final speaking role.

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Release Date:

25 September 1964 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Guns at Batasi See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »

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