The Lives of a Bengal Lancer (1935)


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Movie Info

This adventure epic is set in Northwest India under colonial British rule. Gary Cooper stars as frontier fighter McGregor, who arrives at a remote Indian outpost in the company of neophyte officers Fortesque and Stone, the son of a commander, whose poor judgment threatens the welfare of the other soldiers.

Rating: Unrated
Genre: Drama, Action & Adventure, Classics
Directed By:
Written By: Achmed Abdullah, Grover Jones, John L. Balderston, Waldemar Young, William Slavens McNutt
In Theaters:
On DVD: May 31, 2005
Paramount Pictures



as Lt. Alan McGregor

as Lt. John Forsythe

as Lt. Donald Stone

as Col. Stone

as Maj. Hamilton

as Hamzulia Khan

as Tania Volkanskaya

as Lt. Barrett

as Mohammed Khan

as Mohammed Khan

as Hendrickson

as Ram Singh

as Maj. Gen. Woodley

as Grand Vizier

as The Ghazi, a Prison...

as McGregor's Servant

as Nuim Shah

as Afridi

as British Officer

as Lt. Norton

as Servant

as Snake Charmer

as Lt. Gilhooley

as Kushal Khan

as British Officer

as British Officer

as Indian Officer

as Indian Officer

as Indian Officer

as Indian Officer

as Indian Officer

as Experienced Clerk

as Assistant to Grand V...

as Solo Dancer

as Girl on Train
Show More Cast

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Critic Reviews for The Lives of a Bengal Lancer

All Critics (9) | Top Critics (2)

Full Review… | March 26, 2009
Top Critic

Full Review… | May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

One of the most exciting action-adventures of the 1930s (perhaps of all time), catapulting Gary Cooper to major stardom.

Full Review… | March 18, 2009

A rousing adventure story in the Kiplingesque fashion.

Full Review… | December 29, 2006
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Pretty good, but it should have been great.

June 23, 2003
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

May 14, 2004
Las Vegas Review-Journal

Audience Reviews for The Lives of a Bengal Lancer

Another tale of the heroic white guy in the midst of terrifying dark people. Not terribly great without the wooden Gary Cooper, pretty terrible with the block of wood.

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

The Lives of a Bengal Lancer (1935)

Along the same lines as Gunga Din (1939) in British Imperial India only with other actors, Captain McGregor (Gary Cooper), and the new recruits who just arrived, Lt. John Forsythe (Franchot Tone) and Lt. Donald Stone (Richard Cromwell) who is the young son of the Commanding Officer, Colonel Stone (Guy Standing).

There is humor, but this film lacks the comedy of Gunga Din. It deals more with serious maters of taming Northern India and interpersonal relations between the soldiers.

Although it shows exotic Tania Volkanskaya (Kathleen Burke) who is sort of a spy, we really don't see much of her and it's mostly our gallant soldiers getting into mischief and doing some serious soldiering against the evil Hamzulla Kahn (Monte Blue) and his puppet Emir (Akim Tamiroff).

And, I can't go without mentioning my favorite British stereotype, C. Aubrey Smith as Major Hamiiton. This film may have been doomed to the public domain but the DVD has been included in the Gary Cooper Collection box set.

Rick Rudge

This film really captures what fascinated Europeans about the Kiplingesque British Army in India. Most pleasantly, the locals are not simple shooting targets or merciless blood suckers. As a result, the script has a touch of realism that makes it truly interesting. Except around the end when selfless heroes take over, the film is full of humour.
But ultimately two aspects make it really good: the quality of secondary characters which are both stereotypically English and perfectly realistic and the whole military life part is perfectly recreated.
In two words: perfect entertainment.

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