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Information

Year
1939
Runtime
117 min.
Director
George Stevens
Genres
Adventure, War
Rating *
7.5
Votes *
8,413
Checks
2,064
Favs
94
Dislikes
34
Favs/checks
4.6% (1:22)
Favs/dislikes
3:1
* View IMDb information

Top comments

  1. dombrewer's avatar

    dombrewer

    I think you'd have to be in a very forgiving kind of mood to really enjoy "Gunga Din" in this day and age. In the first instance there's Grant, McLaglen and Fairbanks Jr goofing around while natives and soldiers are being massacred on all sides which is a pretty strange tonal choice under the circumstances, the more slapstick it becomes the odder the drama seems. Then there's the fairly traditional usage of white actors in the leading Indian roles - middle aged Jewish American Sam Jaffe has a stab at playing the title role (a teenage Indian water carrier) in blackface and it's pretty embarrassing. They obviously wanted Sabu, seemingly Hollywood's only Indian, for the part - but he wasn't available. Frankly they should have waited until he was, although you'd think there must have been more than one competent Hindi actor out there somewhere. Never mind. Lastly there's the whole myth of the British Raj as a worthy heroic action in the first place and Gunga Din naively idolising the military bluster and arrogance of colonialism - the Thuggee cult probably have a point, the British probably deserved to be strangled in their beds. The action sequences are pretty good, although mostly sped up, and Annie the elephant is delightful. Just don't think too much the snakes bouncing around on wires in the snake pit, or British soldiers wielding American guns and saluting wrong way, or about how Grant can survive a lashing, being shot and then bayonetted right through the back in the final showdown. It's exceptionally silly. 7 years 9 months ago
  2. LordKinbote's avatar

    LordKinbote

    This movie has a high FFPM (face punches per minute) ratio. I approve! 9 years 2 months ago
  3. Siskoid's avatar

    Siskoid

    Respect where respect is due - Gunga Din is absolutely, totally a precursor and inspiration for the Indiana Jones films, managing the same sense of fun and comedy in an otherwise violent adventure (Cary Grant essentially being a greedier Indy). The morality is black and white, and we're not supposed to take the many deaths very seriously unless we're meant to. Unfortunately, the film is dated almost beyond my ability to recommend it except for its importance to film history, or perhaps for Kipling completists, despite having some good moments, impressive builds, and a good pulpy story ultimately about friendship and loyalty. Possibly the easiest problem to ignore is the unambiguous Colonial point of view, with heroic British occupiers (with variable accents, ooh boy) whereas the locals are either servants or savage cultists. But the black face is egregious, especially in the case of the Thuggee guru and the eponymous water bearer from Kipling's poem. And sometimes the comedy feels a bit forced, such as the punch-spiking sequence, or the way the director speeds up all the fist-fighting action as if we were in a silent Buster Keaton feature. What's THAT all about? 2 weeks 1 day ago
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In 7 official lists

  1. This movie ranks #74 in AFI's 100 Years...100 Cheers
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    AFI's 100 Years...100 Ch…

    74
  2. This movie ranks #128 in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die
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    1001 Movies You Must See…

    128
  3. This movie ranks #218 in David Thomson's Have You Seen?
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    David Thomson's Have You…

    218
  4. This movie ranks #267 in Library of Congress's National Film Registry
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    Library of Congress's Na…

    267
  5. This movie ranks #354 in The New York Times's Book of Movies
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    The New York Times's Boo…

    354
  6. This movie ranks #803 in Halliwell's Top 1000: The Ultimate Movie Countdown
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    Halliwell's Top 1000: Th…

    803
  7. This movie ranks #881 in TSPDT's 1,000 Greatest Films: 1001-2000
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    TSPDT's 1,000 Greatest F…

    881
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