7.1/10
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31 user 11 critic

Guns at Batasi (1964)

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

Director:

John Guillermin

Writers:

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

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Cast

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 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
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Storyline

Regimental Sergeant Major Lauderdale is a by-the-book, strict disciplinarian, who seems like an anachronism in a sleepy peacetime African outpost of the modern British commonwealth. Rdiculed 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, the lawful African commandant, the resourceful sergeant major uses all his military training to save his men from a certain firing squad. Written by Gabe Taverney (duke1029@aol.com)

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

These were the last of the great adventurers - suddenly besieged in a jungle powderkeg half way between heaven and hell! See more »

Genres:

Drama | History | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

25 September 1964 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Les canons de Batasi See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Based on the 1962 novel "The Siege of Battersea" by Robert Holles. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

[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.
[chuckles]
Sgt. Dodger Brown: Marvelous, isn't it?
[thud as truck jolts]
Colour Sgt. Ben Parkin: Marvelous
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Pestilent City (1965) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Even in Battersea, Batasi was great
7 November 2006 | by jandcmcqSee all my reviews

I remember seeing this film when it first came out and recall it made an impression on me as a young man. Saw it again last night on Fox Classics during war film week in the first week of November and it impresses me even more.

Since the first viewing I have experienced a military career in the air force and as a trainee pilot our WOD (Warrant Officer Disciplinary) could have been RSM Lauderdale to a tee. They just seem to know all about life and know what to do or say in any situation. And they have a wonderful innate knowledge of the big picture as well as the most intimate attention to detail. I am sure that this type of military rank was a vital cog in winning every war that has ever been won.

Loved the script - why, oh why, don't the smash, crash, wallop Hollywood script writers look at these old classics and learn how to put an interactive character piece together which can keep you on the edge of your seat without having cars smash through plate glass windows? Richard Attenborough certainly earned his BAFTA for his performance not only for the way he delivered his lines but his visual representation to every bat of his eyelid and twitch of his moustache.

My only criticism is the fact that being low budget it is quite obvious that it was shot in England especially when you can see English trees and houses in the background in some of the scenes. If only it could have been shot on location like "Zulu" it could have been even greater. But then again the strength of the film is the script and how cleverly it covered the type of dilemma which we still face to-day. Makes me wonder why it has never been done on the stage – or maybe it has.


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