Gunga Din

TitleGunga Din
Publication TypeFilm
Year of Publication1939
AuthorsStevens, George
Running Time1h 57m
Date Released1939
DistributorRKO Radio Pictures
CountryUnited States
Publication LanguageEnglish

Loosely based on the Rudyard Kipling poem, this movie presents late 19th-century British colonialism in India in a positive light while noting sharp differences among its colonized subjects. Three British sergeants and their bhisti (water carrier) Gunga Din travel to a remote outpost to investigate. They encounter the legendary Thuggees, a gang of Indians known for violence and barbarism. In their armed conflict, Gunga Din gives his life to save the British and posthumously earns his desire to become a British soldier. 


Cary Grant

Victor McLaglen

Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.

Sam Jaffe

Eduardo Ciannelli

Joan Fontaine


Produced and Directed by George Stevens

Written by Joel Sayre and Fred Guiol

Cinematography by Joseph H. August

Edited by Henry Berman and John Lockert

Music by Alfred Newman

Full Text

Deemed "culturally significant" by the United States Library of Congress and selected for presevation in the National Film Registry in 1999. 

Recent scholarship notes that the legend surrounding the Thuggees as violent murderers and thieves was largely an invention by the British to justify their rule of India.  

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