Director:                Gerald Thomas

Producer:               Peter Rogers

Script:                   Talbot Rothwell

Cinematography:    H.A.R. Thompson and Ernest Steward

Original Music:        Eric Rogers

It's the golden Age for the British in India. Queen Victoria is on the throne, Her Majesty's governors are living the life of luxury, and all is harmonious…well nearly everything.

In the
northern Province of Kalabar, things are stirring. The Karsi of Kalabar, (Kenneth Williams) is desperate to throw the British out of India. But since his province is policed by the 3rd Foot & Mouth (‘The Devils in Skirts’) this seems impossible. Their reputation for being fearless and invincible is fuelled by their reputation for wearing nothing under their kilts. Then one of his neighbouring tribal leaders, Bungdit Din (Bernard Bresslaw), brings him a pair of woollen underpants, taken from a particularly ineffective guard at the infamous Khyber Pass. If all of the local tribes see this, they will rise up! And so the scene is set for, in my view the best of the carry on films.

Filmed in 1968 and set in British India in 1895, ‘Carry On Up the Khyber’ is one of the team's most memorable efforts. Sid James plays Sir Sidney Ruff-Diamond, the unflappable British Governor who must deal with the snakelike, scheming Khasi. All actors make memorable contributions although special mention should be made of Peter Butterworth as the slightly over – zealous evangelist. The performances, especially by Kenneth Williams and Bernard Bresslaw as the local chiefs, is superb. Roy Castle fills in a ‘Jim Dale’ type role as Capt. and Angela Douglas is suitably beautiful and innocent as the Princess Jelly (what!!)

The carry on films ran for twenty years and were pivotal in forming what British comedy was during these years. Yes they can’t be compared in terms of Adapted screenplay or cinematography with some of the other films on this website but that’s not what this is here for. It represents a huge portion of British culture in that period and besides it’s really funny. To have a site on British film and not include a Carry On movie would, well, just not be cricket…

The highlight has to be the final dinner sequence. In typically English fashion Sir Sidney decides to have dinner despite a full scale assault being launched on the mansion. During this sequence some of the highlights are, Joan Sims delivering the line:

‘I seem to be a little plastered’ post falling masonry

Peter Butterworth remarking on the ‘terrible noise’ to which Sid James replies…

’yes it’s dreadful – they’re not a first class orchestra – mind you they’re doing their best’

To someone who has not seen the film or has but isn’t British these lines will not doubt be lost – but for straight forward no holes barred slapstick comedy – boy was it ahead of its day.


Many have commented on the overtly ‘patriotic’ rising on the flag at the end on the movie which says ‘I’m backing Britain’ – well hey sue me, but at least someone was proud to be British then – well done Gerald. Our present prime minister would have several focus groups on the issue and then decide on a comprise along the lines of:

‘I think in principal we can endorse, at least the concept, of a semi inclusive backing – reliant on further investigation’

I wonder how you would get all that on a flag tony.