Gunga Din

Synopsis: 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.
Genre: Adventure, Comedy, War
Director(s): George Stevens
Production: Turner Home Entertainment
  Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win.
Rotten Tomatoes:
117 min

"Now, in Injia' s sunny clime,

Where I used to spend my time

"A-servin of Er Majesty, the Queen

"Of all them black-faced crew

"The finest man I knew

"Was our regimental bhisti "

Detail, halt!

What was that all about?

They are pilgrims, sahib,

going home to the hills.

They beg to follow us for safety.

Tell them not to fall too far behind.

Detail, walk. March!

Jadoo, the sun is going down.

Expect we'd better bivouac

at Elephant Rock, as usual.

Yes, Markham sahib.

I don't like it, Mitchell.

I don't like it. Silence is unhealthy.

No word from Markham in 48 hours.

Blast it, an officer and his patrol

don't vanish into thin air.

- Telegraph just got through, sir.

- Good.

What have you got?

Wires apparently down

for the last two days.

I thought it was something like that.

Emergency signal, sir.

Why doesn't he go on?

Wire's gone dead, sir.

I don't like this.

Can't have the wires down.

Things start too quickly up there.


Find Sgts. MacChesney, Cutter,

and Ballantine, and bring them here.

That's a bit difficult,

as they're all on leave.

On some mysterious mission, they said.

It'll be a mystery

if they come back right side up.

Bring them here at once.

- What do you want?

- Where's Sgt. Ballantine?

- Here.

- Where's Sgt. Cutter?

He's busy.

Buying a map for a buried treasure.

You ought to have your head examined.

- I didn't know the map was a swindle.

- You and your emeralds.

You ought to be put in a padded cell.

If we'd found them emeralds,

we could've left the army...

and lived like dukes. See?

That's the fellow that sold me the map.

Just a minute.

Let me take care of him, will you?

Take your hands off that man.

I'm waiting for an explanation.

Speak up, MacChesney.

Speak up!

We were swindled, sir.

- We?

- Who swindled you?

We don't want to make any charges

until we have further proof.

Further proof?

You practically wrecked a village.

You surely didn't do that,

MacChesney, without proof?

Sir, we had our suspicions.

Suspicions of what?

Come on. I've no time

to wheedle the story out of you.

We bought a map.

Go on.

From a private

in a certain Scottish regiment, sir.

No, I did it. I bought the map myself, sir.

Now, listen. Don't you

try to shield your friends, Cutter.

And it won't do you two any good

to hide behind Cutter's generosity.

Out with it. A map of what?

Of Lake Singali, sir.

Yes, sir. And the privilege of diving into it

to our heart's content.

Diving for what?

- For emeralds, sir.

- A barge full, sir.

According to the information I bought,

it was sunk in the year 241.

I can hardly believe it.

Ballantine, a man of your intelligence...

MacChesney, at your age...

They was the spoils of a maharajah, sir.

Thank you, Cutter. That will be sufficient.

As for you two...

I ought to take away your stripes,

not only for insubordination...

but for idiocy.

Sheer, childish, soft-brained idiocy.

But fortunately for you,

I need all three of you at Tantrapur.

We're going out on a job, sir?

Of the most vital importance.

You leave for Tantrapur...

with a detachment in the morning...

to repair the telegraph and keep it open.

Left turn! Left wheel, quick march!

Left wheel! Attention!

Eyes forward!

Party, halt!

Sergeants, dismount!



I don't mind saying the whole thing

fair gives me the creeps.

Creeps or no creeps,

we've got to get in touch with the Colonel.

We can't until we get them poles up

and this wire strung.

Naik, detail 10 men for guard duty.

The remainder will pile arms

and prepare for work.


Gunga Din, water.

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Joel Sayre

Joel Sayre (December 13, 1900 – September 9, 1979) was an American novelist, war reporter, and screenwriter born in Marion, Indiana. He was the chief screenwriter for the 1939 film Gunga Din. He died on the September 9, 1979 of heart failure. His daughter was the film critic and essayist, Nora Sayre. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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