Gandhi


3h 8m 1982
Gandhi

Brief Synopsis

The legendary Indian leader uses peaceful means to free his homeland from British rule.

Film Details

MPAA Rating
Genre
Drama
Historical
Biography
Period
Release Date
1982
Location
India

Technical Specs

Duration
3h 8m

Synopsis

Biographical epic on the life of Mohandas K Gandhi, a proponent of peaceful revolution who led his country's fight for independence and was subsequently assassinated.

Cast

Ben Kingsley

Candice Bergen

John Gielgud

Gareth Forwood

Raj Chaturvedi

Sudhanshu Mishra

Jalal Agha

Jane Myerson

Tarla Mehta

S S Thakur

Roshan Seth Obe

Stewart Harwood

Alyque Padamsee

Michael Hordern

John Savident

Lakshmi Shankar

Performer

Irpinder Puri

Prabhakar Patankar

Sunil Shende

Bernard Hill

Bani Sharad Joshi

Neena Gupta

Alok Nath

John Vine

Avpar Jhita

Karkirat Singh

Richard Griffiths

Ashit Desai

Performer

Daniel Day-lewis

Rohini Hattangady

Shreedhar Joshi

Rama Kant Jha

Vagish Kumar Singh

Caroline Hutchinson

Wilson George

Keith Drinkel

Saeed Jaffrey

Amrish Puri

Trevor Howard

Gerald Sim

Terrence Hardiman

John Ratzenberger

John Quentin

Rupert Frazer

Athol Fugard

Pankaj Kapoor

Charubala Chokshi

Michael Bryan

John Naylor

Ernest Clark

Sharad Kumar

Performer

Moti Makan

Tilak Raj

Ian Bannen

Gerard Norman

Bernard Horsfall

Roop Kumar Razdan

Jyuoti Sarup

James Snell

P Desai

Performer

Vijay Crishna

Sunila Pradham

Dean Gasper

Tom Alter

Bernard Hepton

Pankaj Mohan

Vijay Raghav Rao

Performer

Peter Harlowe

Raja Biswas

Norman Chancer

Marius Weyers

Avinash Dogra

Gulshan Kapoor

Richard Vernon

Richard Leech

Ian Charleson

Geoffrey Chater

Rahul Gupta

Christopher Good

Gunther Maria Halmer

Avis Bunnage

James Cossins

Monica Gupta

Stanley Lebor

David Sibley

Sultan Khan

Performer

Nigam Prakash

Om Puri

Vinay Apte

Colin Farrell

Winston Ntshona

Bhatawadekar Prakash

Jon Croft

David Markham

Pren Kapoor

Dilsher Singh

Supriya Pathak

Rovil Sinha

William Hoyland

Bob Barbenia

Hansu Mehta

Sanjeev Puri

Geraldine James

Sekhar Chatterjee

Ray Burdis

Suhas Palshikar

Manohar Pitale

Anthony Sagger

Graham Seed

K K Raina

Ken Hutchison

John Clements

Brian Oulton

Sudarshan Sehti

John Mills

Stanley Mcgeagh

Nigel Hawthorne

David Gant

Pratap Desai

John Boxer

Vivek Swaroop

Homi Daruvala

Daleep Tahil

Barry John

T K Ramakrishnan

Performer

Virenda Razdan

Vijay Kashyap

John Patrick

Ashish Khan

Performer

Sankalp Dubey

Sudheer Dalavi

Anang Desai

Subhash Gupta

Daniel Peacock

Edward Fox

Shane Rimmer

Dominic Guard

Shreeram Lagoo

Rajeshwar Nath

Peter Cartwright

Martin Sheen

Dina Nath

Jack Mckenzie

Harsh Nayyar

Mohan Agashe

Habib Tanveer

Gurcharan Singh

Aswani Kumar

Michael Godley

Richard Mayes

Crew

Rashid Abbasi

Unit Manager

Margaret Adams

Post-Production Assistant

Nissar Allana

On-Set Dresser

Chic Anstiss

Camera Operator

Bhanu Athaiya

Costumes

Richard Attenborough

Producer

Colonel Balachandra

Technical Advisor

Jonathan Bates

Sound Editor

Bhisham Bhasin

Assistant Director

Apurba Kishore Bir

Camera Operator

John Bloom

Editor

John Briley

Screenplay

Robin Browne

Photography

Roy Button

Assistant Director

Sharlene Catelier

Production Assistant

Eleanor Chaudhuri

Production Assistant

Terence A Clegg

Production Supervisor

Stuart Craig

Production Designer

Gerry Crampton

Stunt Coordinator

Alexander Degrunwald

Production Manager

Norman Dorme

Art Director

Rani Dube

Coproducer

Devi Dutt

Production Manager

Nic Ede

Wardrobe

George Fenton

Music

George Fenton

Original Music

Susie Figgis

Casting

Graham Ford

Location Manager

Paula Gillespie

Hair

Shama Habibullah

Production Manager

Aruna Harprassad

On-Set Dresser

Gerry Humphreys

Rerecording

Suresh Jindal

Associate Producer

Sina Kaul

Technical Advisor

Simon Kaye

Sound

Robert Laing

Art Director

Steve Lanning

Assistant Director

Gerry Levy

Unit Manager

John Matthew

Assistant Director

John Mollo

Costumes

Lorna Mueller

Researcher

Govind Nihalani

Camera Operator

Robin O'donoghue

Rerecording

Grania O'shannon

Unit Manager

Loretta Ordewer

Production Coordinator

U S Pani

Assistant Director

Alan Patillo

Associate Editor

R Puri

Consultant

Jill Quertier

On-Set Dresser

June Randall

Script Supervisor

Vijay Raghav Rao

Music Coordinator

John Richards

Sound

Chris Ridsdale

Editor

Manju Raj Saraogi

Costumes

Sudesh Sayal

Location Manager

Michael Seirton

Set Decorator

M Shahjehan

Assistant Director

Ravi Shankar

Music

Francis Silkstone

Music Coordinator

Tom Smith

Makeup

Michael Stanley-evans

Executive Producer

Rajiv Suri

Location Manager

Kamal Swaroop

Assistant Director

Ron Taylor

Director Of Photography

David Tomblin

Assistant Director

Charles Torbett

Property Master

Julian Wall

Assistant Director

Peter Waller

Assistant Director

David Watkins

Special Effects Supervisor

Billy Williams

Director Of Photography

Ram Yedekar

Art Director

Photo Collections

Gandhi - Academy Archives
Here are archive images from Gandhi (1982), courtesy of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Videos

Movie Clip

Trailer

Hosted Intro

Film Details

MPAA Rating
Genre
Drama
Historical
Biography
Period
Release Date
1982
Location
India

Technical Specs

Duration
3h 8m

Award Wins

Best Actor

1982
Ben Kingsley

Best Art Direction

1982
Stuart Craig

Best Cinematography

1982

Best Costume Design

1982

Best Director

1982
Richard Attenborough

Best Editing

1982
John Bloom

Best Original Screenplay

1982

Best Picture

1982

Award Nominations

Best Makeup

1982

Best Score

1982

Best Sound

1982

Articles

Gandhi


If there was a singular personal embodiment of the history, the spirit, and struggles of India during her battle for independence from Britain, it was inarguably Mahatma Gandhi. His never-failing commitment to his country's freedom through what he termed Satyagraha, non-violent passive resistance, was worth more than anything to him - including his life, at the hands of a Hindu assassin. In death, he transcended his mortal existence to become a powerfully inspirational symbol for the Indian people, who carried on with his mission for a free India-something they would finally achieve in 1947. Fifteen years later, the dream to bring the story of Gandhi (1982) to film was conceived when actor Richard Attenborough was implored to read a biography of the leader. Attenborough was immediately captivated, but quickly realized such an undertaking would not be simple. Such a hallowed and revered historical figure set against the backdrop of a country of millions would require not only a project of epic proportions but deft counterbalancing to achieve a poignant and intimate portrait of a deeply spiritual individual.

The dream proved extraordinarily difficult, becoming a quest of twenty years for Attenborough just to get the project off the ground as documented in his book In Search of Gandhi. Since this was a personal mission of Attenborough and not a studio-driven project, he was charged with the Herculean task of finding funding for the massive undertaking on his own. In a 1983 interview, he spoke of the subject: "I found it very difficult indeed to persuade those boys that the subject of Mahatma Gandhi had within it such drama, such emotion that it had the chance of being financially viable. In fact, I failed to persuade them. The money for Gandhi was put up, to a certain extent, by people who came into the industry to make that film." Among other sources, Attenborough came up with the necessary capital by selling his stake in the extremely successful play The Mousetrap and agreeing to direct two films for producer Joseph E. Levine - A Bridge Too Far (1977) and the inordinately creepy Magic (1978) starring Anthony Hopkins.

Once the monies were finally in place, earnest efforts to cast Gandhi began. Since Attenborough had been thinking about this project for 20 years, several actors had been considered over the years for various roles. Attenborough worked with a young Candice Bergen in the mid-60's and even back then asked her if she would play the part of photographer Margaret Bourke-White, which she would, fifteen years later. Martin Sheen's impressive performance in Apocalypse Now (1979) earned him his role in Gandhi, as did Ian Charleson's work in Chariots of Fire (1981). As for the lead role, three actors were in main contention: Anthony Hopkins, Alec Guinness, and John Hurt. All three actors eventually agreed the ability of a European actor to convincingly play an Indian was just too great - and then came Ben Kingsley. Attenborough knew of Kingsley from his London stage work and thought highly of his abilities although the only screen work that the actor had done up to that point was a minor television film. One aesthetic advantage with Kingsley was that he was of Indian descent; born Krishna Bhanji, he was actually from the same Indian state as Gandhi himself, Gujarat. But his screen test sealed the deal: Attenborough explains, "He was a miracle. He burst out on the screen with a credibility and with a magnetism that one could scarcely have contemplated. His eyes were mesmeric, and his physical frame - provided he lost some weight was right. He even wore his dhoti as though it was part of his everyday garb. It appeared to all of us that if there was one actor on the earth who could play the part of Gandhiji with conviction, it was Ben."

Kingsley utterly immersed himself in the role during his preparation, devouring practically every book on the leader and visiting all key locations associated with his movement. On a strict vegetarian diet, he lost seventeen pounds and dedicated himself to learning the spinning wheel just as Gandhi knew. Enlarged photos of the man adorned Kingsley's living space so that he could constantly observe the physical characteristics of his study. And in addition to ninety minutes of yoga a day, he slept on a cot in order to more fully relate to the lifestyle of Gandhi. The result was an incredibly inspired performance; cast and crew and later audiences were astounded at the accuracy of his portrayal, with some declaring him "Gandhi's ghost." In fact, the entire production team was very conscientious to treat the project with an extraordinarily high level of reverence and respect for the subject matter, never underestimating the critical devotion and love an entire country felt for the man. Attenborough made frequent visits to the site of his assassination, a memorial place at which he could pay appropriate acknowledgment. He worked very closely with public officials to ensure that all applicable parties were in support of character portrayals and the depictions of historical events. Cast and crew alike were careful to follow the local customs at all times, and a couple - Sheen and English actor Edward Fox--were so inspired by the experience that they ended up donating their salaries for the film to various charitable organizations in India.

The scale of Gandhi was enormous; when an open solicitation for crowd members was made for the funeral scene, an estimated 300,000 extras showed up. The scene, incidentally, was shot on the 33rd anniversary of the event. Mammoth crowds were present at every location, as eager spectators if nothing else. The film suffered a tragedy during one such shoot: a young boy was fatally crushed when the wall he was sitting atop to watch the filming collapsed. Thankfully, no other significant accidents occurred during the rest of the 126-day shooting schedule. The magnanimity of the project did not overpower the poignancy of the subject matter, however, with critics later drawing comparisons between Gandhi and David Lean films Lawrence of Arabia (1962) and Doctor Zhivago (1965) for, as Roger Ebert put it, the "ability to paint a strong human story on a very large canvas."

Despite the fact that no one wanted to finance the film for twenty years, distributors scrambled to secure rights for Gandhi once the completed feature was revealed in industry previews. Claiming it to be one of the most important films ever made, Columbia committed to do anything it took to be the distributor - including organizing the biggest worldwide opening schedule for a film ever at that time. Ravi Shankar immediately agreed to score music for the film - resulting in Indian session musicians coming to London to perform. Arriving in January, the studio had to be specially warmed, because their instruments-unused to the cold-were constricting, resulting in inaccurate pitches and notes. No one could dispute the quality of the film once released: critics and audiences alike were amazed and effectively overwhelmed. The New York Times pointed out that perhaps the greatest contribution was "that the film will bring Gandhi to the attention of a lot of people around the world for the first time, not as a saint but as a self-searching, sometimes fallible human being with a sense of humor as well as of history." Gandhi earned eleven nominations with eight of those wins at the Oscars®, including statuettes for Best Picture, Director, and Actor. Despite its many accolades, Gandhi succeeds in its greatest goal, that which India's first prime minister Pandit Nehru asked of Attenborough during a preproduction meeting in Delhi years before: "Whatever you do, do not deify him-that is what we have done in India-and he was too great a man to be deified."

Producer: Richard Attenborough, Rani Dube, Suresh Jindal, Michael Stanley-Evans
Director: Richard Attenborough
Screenplay: John Briley
Cinematography: Ronnie Taylor, Billy Williams
Film Editing: John Bloom
Art Direction: Norman Dorme, Ram Yedekar
Music: Ravi Shankar
Cast: Ben Kingsley (Mohandas Gandhi), Candice Bergen (Margaret Bourke-White), Edward Fox (Gen. Reginald Dyer), John Gielgud (Lord Irwin), Trevor Howard (Judge Broomfield), John Mills (Lord Chelmsford).
C-188m. Letterboxed.

by Eleanor Quin
Gandhi

Gandhi

If there was a singular personal embodiment of the history, the spirit, and struggles of India during her battle for independence from Britain, it was inarguably Mahatma Gandhi. His never-failing commitment to his country's freedom through what he termed Satyagraha, non-violent passive resistance, was worth more than anything to him - including his life, at the hands of a Hindu assassin. In death, he transcended his mortal existence to become a powerfully inspirational symbol for the Indian people, who carried on with his mission for a free India-something they would finally achieve in 1947. Fifteen years later, the dream to bring the story of Gandhi (1982) to film was conceived when actor Richard Attenborough was implored to read a biography of the leader. Attenborough was immediately captivated, but quickly realized such an undertaking would not be simple. Such a hallowed and revered historical figure set against the backdrop of a country of millions would require not only a project of epic proportions but deft counterbalancing to achieve a poignant and intimate portrait of a deeply spiritual individual. The dream proved extraordinarily difficult, becoming a quest of twenty years for Attenborough just to get the project off the ground as documented in his book In Search of Gandhi. Since this was a personal mission of Attenborough and not a studio-driven project, he was charged with the Herculean task of finding funding for the massive undertaking on his own. In a 1983 interview, he spoke of the subject: "I found it very difficult indeed to persuade those boys that the subject of Mahatma Gandhi had within it such drama, such emotion that it had the chance of being financially viable. In fact, I failed to persuade them. The money for Gandhi was put up, to a certain extent, by people who came into the industry to make that film." Among other sources, Attenborough came up with the necessary capital by selling his stake in the extremely successful play The Mousetrap and agreeing to direct two films for producer Joseph E. Levine - A Bridge Too Far (1977) and the inordinately creepy Magic (1978) starring Anthony Hopkins. Once the monies were finally in place, earnest efforts to cast Gandhi began. Since Attenborough had been thinking about this project for 20 years, several actors had been considered over the years for various roles. Attenborough worked with a young Candice Bergen in the mid-60's and even back then asked her if she would play the part of photographer Margaret Bourke-White, which she would, fifteen years later. Martin Sheen's impressive performance in Apocalypse Now (1979) earned him his role in Gandhi, as did Ian Charleson's work in Chariots of Fire (1981). As for the lead role, three actors were in main contention: Anthony Hopkins, Alec Guinness, and John Hurt. All three actors eventually agreed the ability of a European actor to convincingly play an Indian was just too great - and then came Ben Kingsley. Attenborough knew of Kingsley from his London stage work and thought highly of his abilities although the only screen work that the actor had done up to that point was a minor television film. One aesthetic advantage with Kingsley was that he was of Indian descent; born Krishna Bhanji, he was actually from the same Indian state as Gandhi himself, Gujarat. But his screen test sealed the deal: Attenborough explains, "He was a miracle. He burst out on the screen with a credibility and with a magnetism that one could scarcely have contemplated. His eyes were mesmeric, and his physical frame - provided he lost some weight was right. He even wore his dhoti as though it was part of his everyday garb. It appeared to all of us that if there was one actor on the earth who could play the part of Gandhiji with conviction, it was Ben." Kingsley utterly immersed himself in the role during his preparation, devouring practically every book on the leader and visiting all key locations associated with his movement. On a strict vegetarian diet, he lost seventeen pounds and dedicated himself to learning the spinning wheel just as Gandhi knew. Enlarged photos of the man adorned Kingsley's living space so that he could constantly observe the physical characteristics of his study. And in addition to ninety minutes of yoga a day, he slept on a cot in order to more fully relate to the lifestyle of Gandhi. The result was an incredibly inspired performance; cast and crew and later audiences were astounded at the accuracy of his portrayal, with some declaring him "Gandhi's ghost." In fact, the entire production team was very conscientious to treat the project with an extraordinarily high level of reverence and respect for the subject matter, never underestimating the critical devotion and love an entire country felt for the man. Attenborough made frequent visits to the site of his assassination, a memorial place at which he could pay appropriate acknowledgment. He worked very closely with public officials to ensure that all applicable parties were in support of character portrayals and the depictions of historical events. Cast and crew alike were careful to follow the local customs at all times, and a couple - Sheen and English actor Edward Fox--were so inspired by the experience that they ended up donating their salaries for the film to various charitable organizations in India. The scale of Gandhi was enormous; when an open solicitation for crowd members was made for the funeral scene, an estimated 300,000 extras showed up. The scene, incidentally, was shot on the 33rd anniversary of the event. Mammoth crowds were present at every location, as eager spectators if nothing else. The film suffered a tragedy during one such shoot: a young boy was fatally crushed when the wall he was sitting atop to watch the filming collapsed. Thankfully, no other significant accidents occurred during the rest of the 126-day shooting schedule. The magnanimity of the project did not overpower the poignancy of the subject matter, however, with critics later drawing comparisons between Gandhi and David Lean films Lawrence of Arabia (1962) and Doctor Zhivago (1965) for, as Roger Ebert put it, the "ability to paint a strong human story on a very large canvas." Despite the fact that no one wanted to finance the film for twenty years, distributors scrambled to secure rights for Gandhi once the completed feature was revealed in industry previews. Claiming it to be one of the most important films ever made, Columbia committed to do anything it took to be the distributor - including organizing the biggest worldwide opening schedule for a film ever at that time. Ravi Shankar immediately agreed to score music for the film - resulting in Indian session musicians coming to London to perform. Arriving in January, the studio had to be specially warmed, because their instruments-unused to the cold-were constricting, resulting in inaccurate pitches and notes. No one could dispute the quality of the film once released: critics and audiences alike were amazed and effectively overwhelmed. The New York Times pointed out that perhaps the greatest contribution was "that the film will bring Gandhi to the attention of a lot of people around the world for the first time, not as a saint but as a self-searching, sometimes fallible human being with a sense of humor as well as of history." Gandhi earned eleven nominations with eight of those wins at the Oscars®, including statuettes for Best Picture, Director, and Actor. Despite its many accolades, Gandhi succeeds in its greatest goal, that which India's first prime minister Pandit Nehru asked of Attenborough during a preproduction meeting in Delhi years before: "Whatever you do, do not deify him-that is what we have done in India-and he was too great a man to be deified." Producer: Richard Attenborough, Rani Dube, Suresh Jindal, Michael Stanley-Evans Director: Richard Attenborough Screenplay: John Briley Cinematography: Ronnie Taylor, Billy Williams Film Editing: John Bloom Art Direction: Norman Dorme, Ram Yedekar Music: Ravi Shankar Cast: Ben Kingsley (Mohandas Gandhi), Candice Bergen (Margaret Bourke-White), Edward Fox (Gen. Reginald Dyer), John Gielgud (Lord Irwin), Trevor Howard (Judge Broomfield), John Mills (Lord Chelmsford). C-188m. Letterboxed. by Eleanor Quin

Sir John Mills (1908-2005)


He was arguably the most refined, and versatile of all English film stars in the history of British cinema. Sir John Mills, the Oscar®-winning actor whose film career spanned over 70 years, died on April 23 of natural causes in London. He was 97.

Born Lewis Ernest Watts Mills in Norfolk, England on February 22, 1908. His father was a headmaster of a village school in Suffolk, where Mills was raised. After secondary school, he worked as a clerk in a corn merchant's office while acting in amateur dramatic societies. Ever ambitious, he relocated to London in 1928 to find more work as an actor.

He took tap-dancing lessons and made his stage debut as a chorus boy in The Five O'Clock Girl at the London Hippodrome in 1929. Later that year, he joined an acting troupe that toured India and the Far East with a repertory of modern plays, musical comedies and Shakespeare. It was during this tour when he scored his big break - he was spotted by Noel Coward while in Singapore and promptly taken under the playwright's wing when he returned to London in 1931.

On his return, he starred on the West End (London's Broadway), in Coward's Cavalcade and earned the lead in a production of Charley's Aunt. His song and dance talents came in handy for his film debut, an early British musical-comedy The Midshipmaid (1932). His biggest hits over the next few years would all fall into the genre of light comic-musicals: Britannia of Billingsgate (1933), Royal Cavalcade (1935), and Four Dark Hours(1937). He scored a his first big part as Robert Donat's student in the MGM backed production Mills went on to play Robert Donat's Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1939). He developed some more heft to his acting credentials that same year when he made his debut at the celebrated Old Vic Theatre as Puck in A Midsummer Night's Dream.

He served briefly in the Navy, 1940-41, during World War II before receiving a medical discharge. When Mills returned to the screen, he began a great turn as the atypical sturdy, dignified Englishman ("English without tears" went the popular phrase of the day). He starred as a stalwart lead in a amazing string of hit films: In Which We Serve (1942), We Dive at Dawn (1943), This Happy Breed (1944), The Way to the Stars (1945), and Waterloo Road (1945). Although Mills was ever dependable, they did not show his breakout talents until he starred as Pip in David Lean's gorgeous adaptation of Charles Dickens' Great Expectations (1946). As the young orphan who morphs into a man of wealth and stature, Mills showed the depth as an actor by offering a finely modulated performance.

By the late '40s, Mills was a bona fide star of British films, and over the next decade the strong roles kept coming: as the ill-fated Robert Falcon Scott in Scott of the Antarctic (1948); Bassett, the handy man who tries to help a troubled child (the brilliant John Howard Davies) of greedy, neglectful parents in the superb domestic drama The Rocking Horse Winner (1950); an overprotective father who gets trapped in a murder yarn in Mr. Denning Drives North (1952); a fine Willie Mossop in David Lean's Hobson's Choice (1954); an impressive "against-type" performance as a Russian peasant in War and Peace (1956); a sympathetic police inspector coaxing the trust of a juvenile (his daughter Hayley) who knows the facts of a murder case in the underappreciated Tiger Bay (1959); a rowdy Australian sheep shearer in Summer of the Seventeenth Doll (also 1959); and arguably his finest performance - a Best Actor award at the Venice Film Festival for a hard-as-nails army colonel who fears the loss of control over his regiment in Tunes of Glory (1960).

The mid-60s saw an isolated effort as a film director: Gypsy Girl (which starred his other daughter Juliet - who would later find fame on US television in Nanny and the Professor (1970-72); and showed the development of Mills into a charming character actor: the working-class patriarch in the modest comedy The Family Way (starring Hayley as his daughter); and a terrific comic bit as a murderous Lord who tries to kill off his kin for the family inheritance in Bryan Forbes The Wrong Box (all 1966).

By the '70s, his film work slowed considerably, but he was always worth watching: an Oscar winning performance as a mute villager in David Lean¿s study of the Irish troubles Ryan's Daughter (1970); as the influential General Herbert Kitchener Young Winston (1972); and as a driven oil driller in Oklahoma Crude (1973). With the exception of a small role in Sir Richard Attenborough's Ghandi (1982 - where he was credited as Sir John Mills after his knighthood in 1976), and a regrettable cameo in the deplorable Madonna comedy Who's That Girl (1987).

Very little was seen of Mills until recent years, where the most memorable of his appearances included: Old Norway in Hamlet (1996); as the stern chairman opposite Rowan Atkinson in the hit comedy Bean (1997); and - in a daring final role for his proud career - a nonagenarian partygoing cocaine user in Stephen Fry's bawdy social satire Bright Young Things (2003)! Mills is survived by his wife of 64 years, the novelist and playwright Mary Hayley Bell; his daughters, Juliet and Hayley; son, John; and several grandchildren.

by Michael T. Toole

Sir John Mills (1908-2005)

He was arguably the most refined, and versatile of all English film stars in the history of British cinema. Sir John Mills, the Oscar®-winning actor whose film career spanned over 70 years, died on April 23 of natural causes in London. He was 97. Born Lewis Ernest Watts Mills in Norfolk, England on February 22, 1908. His father was a headmaster of a village school in Suffolk, where Mills was raised. After secondary school, he worked as a clerk in a corn merchant's office while acting in amateur dramatic societies. Ever ambitious, he relocated to London in 1928 to find more work as an actor. He took tap-dancing lessons and made his stage debut as a chorus boy in The Five O'Clock Girl at the London Hippodrome in 1929. Later that year, he joined an acting troupe that toured India and the Far East with a repertory of modern plays, musical comedies and Shakespeare. It was during this tour when he scored his big break - he was spotted by Noel Coward while in Singapore and promptly taken under the playwright's wing when he returned to London in 1931. On his return, he starred on the West End (London's Broadway), in Coward's Cavalcade and earned the lead in a production of Charley's Aunt. His song and dance talents came in handy for his film debut, an early British musical-comedy The Midshipmaid (1932). His biggest hits over the next few years would all fall into the genre of light comic-musicals: Britannia of Billingsgate (1933), Royal Cavalcade (1935), and Four Dark Hours(1937). He scored a his first big part as Robert Donat's student in the MGM backed production Mills went on to play Robert Donat's Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1939). He developed some more heft to his acting credentials that same year when he made his debut at the celebrated Old Vic Theatre as Puck in A Midsummer Night's Dream. He served briefly in the Navy, 1940-41, during World War II before receiving a medical discharge. When Mills returned to the screen, he began a great turn as the atypical sturdy, dignified Englishman ("English without tears" went the popular phrase of the day). He starred as a stalwart lead in a amazing string of hit films: In Which We Serve (1942), We Dive at Dawn (1943), This Happy Breed (1944), The Way to the Stars (1945), and Waterloo Road (1945). Although Mills was ever dependable, they did not show his breakout talents until he starred as Pip in David Lean's gorgeous adaptation of Charles Dickens' Great Expectations (1946). As the young orphan who morphs into a man of wealth and stature, Mills showed the depth as an actor by offering a finely modulated performance. By the late '40s, Mills was a bona fide star of British films, and over the next decade the strong roles kept coming: as the ill-fated Robert Falcon Scott in Scott of the Antarctic (1948); Bassett, the handy man who tries to help a troubled child (the brilliant John Howard Davies) of greedy, neglectful parents in the superb domestic drama The Rocking Horse Winner (1950); an overprotective father who gets trapped in a murder yarn in Mr. Denning Drives North (1952); a fine Willie Mossop in David Lean's Hobson's Choice (1954); an impressive "against-type" performance as a Russian peasant in War and Peace (1956); a sympathetic police inspector coaxing the trust of a juvenile (his daughter Hayley) who knows the facts of a murder case in the underappreciated Tiger Bay (1959); a rowdy Australian sheep shearer in Summer of the Seventeenth Doll (also 1959); and arguably his finest performance - a Best Actor award at the Venice Film Festival for a hard-as-nails army colonel who fears the loss of control over his regiment in Tunes of Glory (1960). The mid-60s saw an isolated effort as a film director: Gypsy Girl (which starred his other daughter Juliet - who would later find fame on US television in Nanny and the Professor (1970-72); and showed the development of Mills into a charming character actor: the working-class patriarch in the modest comedy The Family Way (starring Hayley as his daughter); and a terrific comic bit as a murderous Lord who tries to kill off his kin for the family inheritance in Bryan Forbes The Wrong Box (all 1966). By the '70s, his film work slowed considerably, but he was always worth watching: an Oscar winning performance as a mute villager in David Lean¿s study of the Irish troubles Ryan's Daughter (1970); as the influential General Herbert Kitchener Young Winston (1972); and as a driven oil driller in Oklahoma Crude (1973). With the exception of a small role in Sir Richard Attenborough's Ghandi (1982 - where he was credited as Sir John Mills after his knighthood in 1976), and a regrettable cameo in the deplorable Madonna comedy Who's That Girl (1987). Very little was seen of Mills until recent years, where the most memorable of his appearances included: Old Norway in Hamlet (1996); as the stern chairman opposite Rowan Atkinson in the hit comedy Bean (1997); and - in a daring final role for his proud career - a nonagenarian partygoing cocaine user in Stephen Fry's bawdy social satire Bright Young Things (2003)! Mills is survived by his wife of 64 years, the novelist and playwright Mary Hayley Bell; his daughters, Juliet and Hayley; son, John; and several grandchildren. by Michael T. Toole

Quotes

Trivia

Miscellaneous Notes

Voted Best Actor (Kingsley) by the 1982 Los Angeles Film Critics.

Voted Best Picture and Best Actor (Kingsley) by the 1982 National Board of Review.

Voted Best Picture and Best Actor (Kingsley) by the 1982 New York Film Critics Circle.

Voted One of the the Year's Ten Best Films by the 1982 New York Times Film Critics.

Released in United States November 1982

Released in United States Winter December 1, 1982

Re-released in United States on Video February 13, 1996

Released in USA on video.

Released in United States November 1982

Released in United States Winter December 1, 1982

Re-released in United States on Video February 13, 1996

The Country of India