Guns at Batasi (1964)


“Well, that’s a matter of opinion! I’m surprised at you, Ma’am! I thought you believed in all men bein’ equal!” – RSM Lauderdale

“Of course, I do! That’s exactly the point!” – Miss Baker Wise, M.P.

“Well, they had guns and we didn’t. That wasn’t very equal, was it?” – RSM Lauderdale

Number of Times Seen – 1 (20 Jul 2020)

Brief Synopsis – A group of British officers and soldiers are caught in the middle of a coup in Africa and must fend for themselves during the uprising.

My Take on it – This is a film that I had never even heard of before coming  across it during my quest to watch more films starring Richard Attenborough.

The story is quite profound and is able to show the way that the British instructors dealt with the changing world in Africa following the end of Colonialism in that area.

Attenborough is spectacular in the lead role and plays his character with harsh rigidness and professionalism the entire time as he refuses to not continue to do his duty no matter the cost or the circumstances.

The dialogue is written really well and they present the debates between the various characters quite well because we get an even clearer view of the various situations that arise here while setting a powerful tone throughout.

They do a great job showing the contrast between the professional British soldiers sent to train the African ones and the African soldiers themselves who are not able to do their jobs as well because it mostly comes across as sloppy and unprofessional throughout.

The film has a small romance sub-plot that seems far too out of place here and probably shouldn’t have been placed within this story because it just doesn’t fit in well with the rest of the story that is being told..

Bottom Line – Great film that works so well in portraying the way that the British handled the end of Colonialism in Africa.  Attenborough is superb in the lead role and shows how great an actor he can be while playing this rigid British soldier who will do his duty at all costs. The dialogue is perfect and sets a powerful tone for the story as debates roll on between characters as to what they should be doing in these kind of situations. The film is able to show the sharp contrast between the professional British soldiers and the sloppiness of the African soldiers that they trained.  The romance subplot is a bit out of place and probably shouldn’t even be in this story.  Recommended!

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – Although Regimental Sergeant Major Lauderdale (Sir Richard Attenborough) demands that a royal portrait of the Queen of England was hung behind the bar of the mess, it remains unseen all throughout the movie. Probably because of the ending scene when Lauderdale angrily throws a glass of whiskey on it and breaks it. Showing the portrait of Elizabeth II would have been outrageous and liable of censorship. (From IMDB)

Rating – Globe Worthy (8/10)

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