But Guns at Batasi is more surprising. Made in 1964, it deals with an unfashionable subject for British films - the retreat from Empire - and stars Richard Attenborough as a wholly convincing Regimental Sergeant Major. With his honourable but ultimately outmoded values, he is a Blimp of the other ranks.
As in every post-war British film, David Lodge plays a sergeant. The appearance of Mia Farrow is less expected.
But is is Attenborough's film. As the New York Times review says:
Guns at Batasi is being shown on Friday 26 September at 1.25 p.m. (Channel 4).
As the sergeant major, who is as stiff as a ramrod and an unblinking slave to the letter of military law, Richard Attenborough makes a proper hero to his tough mates, who are not averse to mimicking him.
In the face of attack by African troops and a Bofors gun or a showdown with the African leader of the revolt, he proves his mettle in unflinching, steely style. Mr. Attenborough's opportunities to ham it up are many, but even in the face to climactic orders to return to England he delivers a shaded performance that gives stature and meaning to what could have been a stereotyped role.