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The Bofors Gun (1968)

A national service non-commissioned officer (David Warner) comes face to face with an embittered Irish Gunner (Nicol Williamson) who is determined to humiliate him.

Director:

Jack Gold

Writers:

John McGrath (adaptation), John McGrath (play)
Reviews
Won 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Nicol Williamson ... O'Rourke
Ian Holm ... Flynn
David Warner ... Terry "Lance Bar" Evans
Peter Vaughan ... Sgt. Walker
John Thaw ... Featherstone
Barry Jackson ... Shone
Richard O'Callaghan ... Rowe
Donald Gee Donald Gee ... Crowley
Barbara Jefford ... NAAFI Girl
Gareth Forwood ... Lt. Packering
Geoffrey Hughes ... Pvt. Samuel (cook)
John Herrington John Herrington ... German Pointer
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Lindsay Campbell Lindsay Campbell ... Captain Cheeseman
Glynn Edwards ... Sergeant-Major West
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Storyline

A national service non-commissioned officer (David Warner) comes face to face with an embittered Irish Gunner (Nicol Williamson) who is determined to humiliate him.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The protest film of the year! See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

22 September 1968 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El cañón Bofors See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

£4,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Shot in thirty days. See more »

Connections

Featured in The Unforgettable John Thaw (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

The Finger of Suspicion
(uncredited)
Written by Paul Mann and Al Lewis
See more »

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User Reviews

good stage-to-screen drama, character driven
19 March 2002 | by CarsonDSee all my reviews

I remember that David Warner is a mild-mannered young British officer guarding a naval gun station in the North Atlantic, in peacetime after World War Two. It's a cold, remote, unpleasant duty, and he's desperate to transfer out of there. But the transfer must happen soon, before he's more than halfway through his service time - otherwise, the War Department won't bother retraining him for a new post, and he'll be stuck. He's got a fiance or something he needs to get back to, but he also reports to an unsympathetic superior who doesn't like him and will do anything to delay his paperwork - effectively denying the transfer. So we have a sensitive, educated young upperclassman, the opposite of any kind of warrior, fighting not the enemy but "the system:" in this case, the British military bureaucracy.

He only needs to get through one more night of guard duty without mishap, which should be easy because there is absolutely nothing going on. But he has trouble relating to the men under his command, especially Nicol Williamson, a borderline psychotic from the slums who constantly tests Warner's authority and creates havoc wherever he goes. So now we've got class warfare in a power struggle between the civilized and the savage. Williamson is brilliant as he deserts his post, gets drunk with his buddy Ian Holm (also excellent), vandalizes the base, and just gets crazier and more dangerous as the night unfolds.

Warner has to control this lunatic and somehow correct and conceal the escalating troubles before his superior finds out. There's a lot of suspense as Warner becomes increasingly stressed, racing the clock between inspection rounds. As another reviewer points out, there is also a lot of talk, in the somewhat-Freudian, somewhat-socially conscious theatrical style of the time. But the conflict and rising tension is splendidly executed, like a first-rate stage play brought to the screen, and Williamson's bravura performance is one of the best in his outstanding career. This is a little-known movie that I recommend.

Best line, Williamson, sweating drunk in a moment of insane clarity: "I should not be at large...!"


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