Follow TV Tropes


Film / Carry On Up the Khyber

Go To

"That will teach them to ban turbans on the buses!"
Bungdit Din

Carry On Up the Khyber is a 1968 film and the sixteenth in the British Carry On film series (often named as one of the best films out of the series) starring regulars Sid James, Kenneth Williams, Charles Hawtrey, Roy Castle, Joan Sims, Bernard Bresslaw, Peter Butterworth, Terry Scott, Angela Douglas, and Cardew Robinson.

It is set in the glory days of the British Empire, in which the governors who have set up camp in British India struggle to befriend the Kalabar citizens on the other side of the Khyber Pass. The head governor is Sir Sidney Ruff-Diamond (James), along with his men Captain Keene (Castle), Major Shorthouse (Julian Holloway) and Sergeant Major MacNutt (Scott), who are in an ongoing cold war between Rhandi Lal, the Khasi of Kalabar (Williams), who lives on the other side of the Khyber Pass: a long road around a mountainside guarded by the British army, the Third Foot & Mouth Regiment - nicknamed the "Devils in Skirts".

The British governors hope to scare the opposition into surrender by making their army wear nothing under their uniforms, but when Private James Widdle (Hawtrey) faints in front of army general Bungdit Din (Bresslaw), it is revealed he has done no such thing. This makes the governors inspect all of the army, finding the horrifying sight of them all wearing underpants. Despite hoping that the enemy will not see this, the sexually-frustrated Lady Joan Ruff-Diamond (Sims) takes a secret picture of the spectacle and takes it to the attractive Khasi, hoping to have sex with him in return.

With her disappeared, the Khasi's many wives make love to Sir Sidney as he waits for his wife to be released from her "capture". Captain Keene, Sergeant Major MacNutt and Private Widdle wear disguises as they try to reclaim Lady Joan and the photograph from the Khasi's palace, with the reluctant help of Brother Belcher (Butterworth), a missionary who "rescues" women from falling out of religion by secretly making love to them and Captain Keene's love interest, Princess Jelhi (Douglas), the Khasi's daughter.

The group retrieve Lady Joan, but time is on the line as they make their escape with help from a travelling fakir (Robinson), and Hilarity Ensues as the Brits foolishly face the natives with a Stiff Upper Lip.

Tropes Included:

  • Acronym and Abbreviation Overload: According to Sir Sidney, his royal titles from Queen Victoria include KCB, AC/DC, OBE, BBC, etc., ITV. Available for private pay.
  • Affectionate Parody: Has elements of Zulu and several British Empire movies.
  • All Men Are Perverts:
    • Sir Sidney is sex-crazy, complaining about being interrupted because he hasn't been able to do it in ages (when invading Calcutta, he got to have sex twice a day), and doesn't show any sign of slowing down when he's ravished by members of the Khasi's harem.
    • Brother Belcher Got Volunteered for the mission by sending a sloe-eyed Indian beauty to seduce him.
  • Ambiguous Syntax: Shorthouse seems to have been in Airplane! at some point.
    Sir Sidney: Under a flag of truce, eh? I wonder what that means.
    Shorthouse: Well, sir, it's a piece of white material stuck to a pole—
    Sir Sidney: I KNOW what it is!
  • Anachronism Stew: As is typical for the historical Carry On films, the script includes a few jokes that require the characters to know details of historical events still decades in the future for them. For example, when Sir Sidney is watching the polo match at the beginning of the film, he applauds the skill of Philip Mountbatten and notes that he should do all right for himself as long as he marries well. Sure enough, he did marry well, to his distant cousin Princess Elizabeth, later Elizabeth II. However, the future Duke of Edinburgh was not born until 1921, twenty years after the death of Queen Victoria, who is stated to still be alive when the film is set.
  • Armed Farces: The 3rd Foot and Mouth Regiment is populated entirely by incompetent fools and cowards (apart from the traditionally heroic Captain Keene), who, among other things, do not live up to the legend of wearing nothing under their kilts (instead, they wear gigantic pairs of underwear as a safeguard against the cold winds blowing through the Khyber Pass).
  • Awful Wedded Life: Sid and Joan are implied to have a rocky relationship. At the beginning of the movie, Sid is very cold towards her and snaps below-the-belt comments at her when she asks to continue their love-making, followed by Joan running away to the Khasi's palace in hope for a passionate fling. When Sid finds out, he's not heartbroken and states that his thoughts and prayers are with the Khasi for putting up with her. And when she finds out what he's been getting up to with the Khasi's wives in his absence... They do appear to have made up by the end of the film, though.
  • Backwards-Firing Gun: A cannon that MacNutt hopes to use fires the ammunition backward. Turns out the enemy stuck a bung in the front.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: Most of the British party from the armed services that were at the dinner party during the war. They go outside and even take part!
  • Bloodless Carnage: Much of the shootings and stabbings that we see on screen leave no marks.
  • Blue Oni, Red Oni: In a way with MAJ Shorthouse and CPT Keene. Keene is much more involved with the army unlike Shorthouse and shows much more enthusiasm, whereas Shorthouse seems to show the Stiff Upper Lip trope. It also helps that Keene has red uniform and Shorthouse has blue.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Brother Belcher expresses his disgust over how the governors were acting in the middle of a war to the audience.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: Sir Sidney, who's only worried about the fate of the British Army when his secretary points out that it would be "the end of a cushy job" for him.
  • British Stuffiness: The climactic dinner sequence is perhaps the ultimate example.
  • Brownface:
    • Although there are several Indian characters, there isn't a single Asian actor in the cast.
    • In-universe, when sneaking into the Khasi's palace, Keene, MacNutt, Widdle, and Belcher cover their faces with it in order to pass the guards.
  • The Captain: CPT Keene, which adds to his mild badass in charge.
  • Captain Smooth and Sergeant Rough: The genial and charming Captain Keene is accompanied by the constantly shouting and always irritated Sergeant Major MacNutt.
  • The Casanova:
    • Brother Belcher, who uses this to his advantage.
    • Sir Sidney, although that is invoked, but it fits with Sid James' typical character persona.
  • Casual Danger Dialog: Parodied where Governor Sir Ruff-Diamond, his wife, and special guests are having a sit-down meal while the natives are massacring the guards outside. This is because he said earlier:
    Sir Sidney Ruff-Diamond: Do? We're not going to DO anything. We're British.
  • Casual Kink: Referenced. When the Khasi confronts him with the evidence that one of the Devils in Skirts was discovered wearing underpants, Sir Sidney makes up an excuse: the individual in question had donned the itchy wool garment merely as "self-punishment." The Khasi quickly twigs that he means something in the vein of le vice anglais.
    Khasi of Kalabar: Ohh! As they say in England, they... tickle the fancy? [...] I didn't have the old Oxford education for nothing, you know.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Sid sends for Keene to tell him about new conduct from the Army Rulebook that he's going to highlight to the army so that no one wears underwear anymore. Seems rather legit, but is never touched on again ... then much later...
  • Comically Missing the Point: As usual, a stock response in Carry On films:
    • During the climactic dinner scene, the palace is being shelled and fired on by the Khasi's men, while Sir Sidney, Lady Joan, Belcher, Keene, Shorthouse, and Princess Jelhi are all eating soup to the accompaniment of a small chamber group.
      Sir Sidney: [to Belcher, who is clearly rattled] Aren't you enjoying your soup then?
      Belcher: Oh, delightful. (sound of shooting from outside intensifies) ...Terrible noise.
      Sir Sidney: Yes, it's shocking, innit? [confidentially] It's not a first-class orchestra. Mind you, they're doing their best.
    • Later, Chindi brings in the covered platter containing the meat course.
      Sir Sidney: [smiling confidently] Ah, the meat course. You'll love this.
      (Chindi uncovers the Fakir's severed head on the platter, very much alive, with an apple in his mouth. Belcher gasps with horror)
      Fakir: [spits out the apple, grinning] And for my next trick...I will perform a feat...
      (Chindi covers the platter)
      Lady Joan: [puzzled] Well, that's not what we ordered, is it, Sidney?
      Sir Sidney: Of course it isn't. Chindi, what's the meaning of this?
      Chindi: I... I do not know, Your Excellency.
      Sir Sidney: And I ordered sucking pig, didn't I?
      Chindi: I'm very sorry, Your Excellency.
      Sir Sidney: Well, take it away, go on. [to Lady Joan] You've got to get rid of that cook, dear.
      Lady Joan: Ooh, yes.
      Sir Sidney: [to Belcher] Did you want to go somewhere, Mr Belcher?
      Belcher: [shrieking] Mad! That's the fakir's head! They've killed him!
      Sir Sidney: Well, that's dashed unsporting.
      Belcher: Unsporting?!
      Sir Sidney: Yes, it's the closed season for fakirs.note 
  • Copycat Mockery: The Khasi mocks the British prisoners with a Cockney accent when he talks of their punishment.
  • Daddy's Girl: Princess Jelhi. She finds it hard to remember what her mother looks like, even though she lives in the palace (to be fair, she's down in a cellar with the Khasi's other wives).
    Khasi of Kalabar: Now go to the Women's Quarters and pay your respects to your mother.
    Princess Jelhi: Yes, my father. [hesitates] ...Which one is she, again?
    Khasi of Kalabar: Foolish child! How many times do I have to tell you? She with the emerald eyes and hair of copper... and number thirty-two stamped on her back.
  • Deadpan Snarker: MAJ Shorthouse to Sir Sidney, mostly when Sir Sidney gets involved with several of the Khasi's wives.
    Sir Sidney: [dictating a letter to Queen Victoria] "... and I have also been able to have some intimate relationships with many of your subjects."
    MAJ Shorthouse: [under his breath] Eleven, to be precise.
    Sir Sidney: [in a slight cross tone] "MANY of your subjects..."
    • Later on, when it looks as though the Khasi will carry out his threat of burning down the Residency and killing them all:
    Keene: Things look rather bad, sir. What are we going to do?
    Sir Sidney: Do? We're British. We won't do anything.
    Shorthouse: Until it's too late.
    Sir Sidney: Precisely. That's the first sensible thing you've said today.
    Shorthouse: Thank you, sir.
  • Delegation Relay:
    • Common between Sid, Keene and MacNutt. When dealing with the army, Sir Sid will dismiss himself by saying "carry on, Captain," and then Keene will dismiss himself by saying "carry on, Sergeant-Major."
    • The Khasi of Kalabar demands proof that the feared Scottish soldiers aren't wearing anything under their kilts. Unfortunately the soldiers have secretly started wearing underwear, so each officer passes the buck down to their sergeant-major who can only stand there embarrassed and refuse to obey the order.
  • Dirty Old Monk: Brother Belcher, who has sex with women in the Indian markets that have "fallen" out of their religion.
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: S.MJR MacNutt. He even treats a normal conversation as if he was barking out commands to his soldiers.
  • Driven to Madness: Brother Belcher in the dinner scene starts to go nuts at the way nobody else is taking seriously the bombardment of the palace.
  • Either/Or Title: Carry On Up the Khyber or The British Position in India.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: S.MJR MacNutt screams like hell at his soldiers and is genuinely a horrible person, but he is caught wearing underwear that mummy and daddy knitted for him. Complete with flowers!
  • Everybody Calls Him "Barkeep": The only time the Khasi of Khalabar is not called by his royal title is when Sid introduces his wife to him, and when Sid's wife flirts with him.
  • Faction Motto: The 3rd Foot & Mouth Regiment have "Always ready for action" which is the reason why they never wear underpants under their kilts. Do with that what you will.
  • Fourth-Date Marriage: Captain Keene finds out that Princess Jheli is in love with him, and he falls in love with her too. They meet up about three or four times and then they later reveal that they are engaged at the British governors' dinner party. Somewhat justified in that she's betrayed her father and country to save Keene's life, and so she needs protection and a formal position in British society.
  • Funny Background Event
    • In the introduction, the Ruff-Diamonds are riding on the back of an elephant. Because of the narration distracting the viewer, it's hard to notice that the elephant is heard passing wind, and noticing the married couple wafting the smell away with their hands.
    • When trying to sneak back over the border to India, a bomb backfires at the British group when they try to stall the enemy's approach, and they charge across like mad. Brother Belcher is so terrified, he jumps onto Lady Ruff-Diamond, and she carries him across screaming in terror.
  • Funny Foreigner: Bungdit Din.
  • Gatling Good: Spoofed. PVT Widdle and Sgt Maj MacNutt turn a hand-cranked Gatling-type on the horde of rampaging Burpers, only for it to play music instead. They open the drum magazine to discover a gramophone record.
  • Going Commando: Something that the British Army are failing to do.
  • Good-Looking Privates:
    • Keene, on account of being a respected captain of the British Army, as well as being a member of a polo team and just looking younger than the some of the other members. Also, Princess Jelhi notes of how his eyes sparkle.
    • invoked Possibly MAJ Shorthouse, considering that his actor Julian Holloway was commonly used as The Other Darrin for the attractive Carry On regular Jim Dale whenever he was unavailable.
  • Got Me Doing It: The Khasi finds himself copying the Burpa's habit of nodding by shaking his head.
    Bungdit Din: Do you have the photograph?
    Khasi of Khalabar: [shakes his head] Yes. [Lady Ruff-Diamond] has it. [realises] OH DEAR, THEY'VE GOT ME DOING IT NOW!!
  • Got Volunteered: Facing an incoming horde of angry locals, MacNutt valiantly offers to slow them down, telling Keene he can't do it because it's not an officer's place (also, Keene realises this would mean he'd die, and isn't so keen on that). Then MacNutt asks for assistance. The only others present are the Princess and Mrs. Ruff-Diamond, and Brother Belcher waves off because he's a civilian. That leaves only Widdle, who tries begging off via cowardice. No sale.
  • Gross-Up Close-Up: The Brits have been thrown into an Afghan prison, awaiting horrible torture.
    Brother Belcher: Let me out! You can't do this to me! I'm a man of the cloth!
    [Afghan guard charges up so close we can only see his blackened teeth]
    Guard: What do you want, Engleesh PEEG?!
    Brother Belcher: Err, I was going to ask you for the name of a good dentist, but I don't think I'll bother.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: Private Widdle is assigned to guard the Khyber Pass, the "entrance to India", which is just a small gate anyone could easily climb over. There's meant to be a password, but Widdle tells Bungdit it anyway, and lets him through.
  • He's Dead, Jim: A soldier appears to be dead so they pull a sheet over his face. He then sits up and goes: "That's right, suffocate me!" then dies for real.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Jelhi betrays her father by telling the British governors about her father's plans.
  • Honey Trap: Keene and MacNutt ensure Belcher's cooperation by paying a local girl to lure him off for "tiffin", then walk in on him in a compromising situation, blackmailing him into cooperating.
  • Idle Rich: How Sid and Shorthouse got their army titles is slightly baffling. Most of the time, Sid is sitting around in his plush office or having sex off-screen... or having sex off-screen in his plush office; Shorthouse also mostly sits around in his office, playing Sid's secretary all day. Perhaps they're taking a break after successfully conquering most of the Empire. But still...
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: As the dinner scene goes on, and Brother Belcher's sanity goes down, he starts chugging more and more bottles of wine, often straight from the bottle.
  • Informed Conversation: A weird one, to say the least. Although we see Keene and Jelhi meet and have a secret conversation, we don't see it completely. When Jelhi creeps up on Keene and warns him of her father planning to get rid of the British army, she reasons that she told him because she loved him and she wants to protect him, however, when Keene tells Sid that he and Jelhi had met up, he tells him about the Khasi's plan, and then about Joan giving the Khasi evidence from the photograph that she'd secretly taken in a hope of sex in return, which was far from what Jelhi had told him, probably meaning that they must have gone to hide to continue the discussion far from the army lines.
  • Inconsistent Spelling: There is some debate to how Terry Scott's Sergeant Major character's surname is spelt. The opening credits use "Macnutt", the DVD subtitles use "MacNutt", and some books use "McNutt".
  • Just Ignore It: Used to great comic effect where the senior officers and ambassador have a dinner party and steadfastly ignore the pitched battle just outside, even when explosions blow in the windows and make plaster fall over the meal.
  • Lie Back and Think of England: It's heavily implied that this is the sex life of Sid and Joan. When Keene points out that Joan ran off with the Khasi willingly, Sid points out that Joan always does things "unwillingly".
  • Logo Joke: The arrival of the British governor at the Khasi's palace is announced by a shirtless man striking an enormous gong, just like the Rank Organisation logo.
    Khasi: (wincing at the noise) I do wish you wouldn't keep doing that. Rank stupidity!
  • Lovable Coward: Brother Belcher. He's even scared of knocking on the door of the Khasi's palace.
  • Major Injury Underreaction: MacNutt spends most of the last twenty minutes of the film with a giant spear sticking out of his back, although he appears not to notice it.
  • Man in a Kilt: The 3rd Foot and Mouth Regiment are known as "The Devils in Skirts" for their practice of wearing kilts with nothing underneath... or so the legend goes. A war is fought over the belief that the kilted British Army wear underpants. The enemy are ultimately routed by being shown outright that they don't.
  • A Man Is Always Eager: Averted. Joan hopes for sex in return for tipping off the Khasi, but he has no interest in her, and has her imprisoned when the deed is done.
  • Mighty Whitey and Mellow Yellow: CPT Keene and Princess Jelhi, although the roles of this trope seem to be inverted because the princess seems to end up saving Keene and his army by relaying information from her father's secret plans and creating ways to get Keene out of trouble.
  • Mood Whiplash: The death of Widdle's friend on the battlefield is taken as seriously as one would with death until Widdle covers him with a nearby tartan.
    Widdle's friend Ginger: [pulls himself upright and drags the tartan off his face] Oh, THAT'S right!! Bleeding suffocate me, why don't you?! [drops dead]
  • Mundane Made Awesome: A war begins because PVT Widdle has his underwear stolen by an angry local.
  • No Indoor Voice: S.MJR MacNutt ranges between this and Suddenly Shouting. In many indoor scenes at Sidney's base, MacNutt's bellowing can be faintly heard outside, even if there are no open windows.
  • Officer Jerkass: S.MJR MacNutt to PVT Widdle, implying that he relishes yelling at him and telling him what to do. He also points out that the only reason he brought Widdle on the hunt for the underpants in the streets of India was because that Widdle could be blamed for the plan going wrong if the party were caught, even if he did nothing wrong.
  • Oh, Crap!: The Khasi's reaction when the British soldiers have lifted their kilts and scared his army into fleeing. Made funnier by Kenneth Williams's talent for different accents:
    Khasi: [shouting at his men in a strong majestic voice] Come back, you fools, come back! There's nothing to be afraid of! [turns and sees for the first time what's under the kilt; in Williams's own nasal voice] ...Ooh, I dunno, though. [runs off]
  • Only Sane Man: Belcher, who is the only British character that is concerned about the war as the characters have a formal dinner while the enemy fire at the building outside.
  • Panty Thief: Bungdit Din, in order to show his leader that the no-underwear-under-kilt theory is just a myth.
  • Passive-Aggressive Kombat: Shading into Volleying Insults, when the Khasi delivers his ultimatum to Sir Sidney:
    Khasi: Greetings, Your Excellency. It is most kind of you to see us at such short notice.
    Sir Sidney: [beaming] You're always welcome, Your Highness.
    Khasi: [respectful nod] You are most kind.
    Sir Sidney: And how can I be of service to Your Highness?
    Khasi: As a mark of my deep respect for Your Excellency's person, I have come to offer you and your people safe conduct out of Kalabar.
    Sir Sidney: A very magnanimous gesture. And, er...if I do not wish to leave?
    Khasi: [politely] Then, Your Excellency, I shall be forced, most reluctantly, to burn the Residency to the ground and kill everyone in it.
    Sir Sidney: [cheerfully] Is that all?
    Khasi: As a further mark of my respect, I shall then exhibit your distinguished but neatly severed head from the walls of the palace.
    Sir Sidney: A very generous gesture. [They bow to each other]
    Khasi: You are most welcome, Your Excellency.
    Sir Sidney: Just to show that we too are capable of making a generous gesture...[blows raspberry]
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: Sir Sidney and MAJ Shorthouse, who are the leaders of a strong army and leave all its shenanigans for the captain and the sergeant-major to deal with.
  • Pun: In a invoked Deleted Scene, the Fakir is bit by his snake, Mabel, and then laughs that that's "all the fangs I get".
  • Punny Name: All of the characters are this.
    • Brother Belcher, of course.
    • Princess Jelhi, or Jelly. Appropriate in that she is, among other things, the film's cheesecake.
    • Captain Keene: he is indeed.note 
    • PVT Widdle, which is a Baby Talk version of "little", and could describe the size of his endowment. His full name "Jimmy Widdle" is derived from "Jimmy Riddle", which is Cockney rhyming slang for "piddle", which means both to urinate and to waste time.
    • Sidney and Joan Ruff-Diamond, which is a play-on the phrase "diamond in the rough", suggesting both their rough London edges, but also that deep down they're decent people.note 
    • S.MJR MacNutt, on account of his "nutty" behavior.
    • invoked Bungdit Din is a play-on-word of the phrase "bunged it in", which is a reference to Ass Shove, as well as a riff on the Rudyard Kipling character Gunga Din.
    • Though the Khasi are an indigenous people of north-east India (the vast majority of whom live in the state of Meghalayanote ), the title of Williams' character is also a homophone of "khazi", a slang term for "toilet". Lampshaded by Sid and Joan:
      Joan Ruff-Diamond: Thank goodness for that; now perhaps we'll get back to our tiffin.
      Sid Ruff-Diamond: Later. There's something really important I've gotta do.
      Joan Ruff-Diamond: What?
      Sid Ruff-Diamond: I've gotta go to the Khasi.
      Joan Ruff-Diamond: Well you should've gone before tiffin! You know it's very bad for—!
      Sid Ruff-Diamond: No, no. The Khasi of Kalabar.
    • Widdle's friend in the army is called Ginger Hale, i.e. ginger ale.
    • As noted above, Shorthouse's name, when shouted ("SHORT-'OOOUUUUSE!"), sounds like "short-arse", Cockney slang for a short person.
    • The 3rd Foot and Mouth Regiment, which is unfortunate when you know what foot and mouth is.
  • Royal Harem: The villainous Khasi hopes to raise the local tribes in insurrection against the English. When told their chiefs have arrived, he decides to let them sample the delights of the harem so they'll be in a good mood to hear his proposal. It's actually our heroes Dressing as the Enemy, and so they all get Caught with Your Pants Down when their cover is blown.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something:
    • If Princess Jelhi had stuck to the Men Are Strong, Women Are Pretty trope, the British would've been run out of India at the beginning of the movie.
    • The Khasi himself, who turns up to watch the war and, indeed lead his own army although the sight of massed British Army genitalia in close formation scares him off in the end.
  • Screw the War, We're Partying: In perhaps the film's best-remembered sequence, when the Khasi leads his army against the British headquarters, Sir Sidney declares that they shall not let it stop the higher-ups, including Captain Keene and his bride-to-be, Princess Jelhi, from having a nice formal dinner. Even as cannon fire pounds the building, causing huge chunks of plaster to fall from the ceiling and walls, they continue eating as though nothing is happening, and when a shot causes the ceiling to collapse on top of the musicians providing the evening's entertainment (a concert of Strauss waltzes) the diners simply note that they appear to have finished their performance, and applaud politely (the musicians, meanwhile, dust themselves off and begin another Strauss waltz). Only Brother Belcher behaves as though what is going on is actually going on.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Despite the inspiration from Zulu, the movie references a few plot points from 1935's The Lives of a Bengal Lancer, which too was set during British-colonized India and had a plot point of the characters browning their skin to sneak into the enemy's base to rescue another character. Meanwhile, the Indians plan an ambush of the British forces to chase them out of their country.
    • The Khasi's gongman bashes the gong with a rather familiar sound, followed by the Khasi complaining about his "rank stupidity."
    • Bungit Din ... or Gunga Din?
  • Sex for Services: The Ruff-Diamonds and Brother Belcher use this. It's also what Lady Joan wants from the Khasi in exchange for the photograph.
  • Shot in the Ass: Subverted. Although the screenwriters love causing abuse to Terry Scott's ass, S.MJR. MacNutt is shot in the back by a javelin.
  • Skewed Priorities: Sidney's motivation is less the collapse of aforementioned rule, along with the death of him, his wife and every British soldier in India, and more because it'd cost him a cushy desk job.
  • Smug Snake: The Khasi accuses the British of being this on several occasions, which is probably why he pulls out all the stocks to have them executed rather publicly at sunset.
  • Sophisticated as Hell: When watching a game of croquet, Joan comments on the precision of a player's swing:
    Joan Ruff-Diamond: Oh I say! He didn't half crack that one, did he not!
    Sid Ruff-Diamond: Dearest, if you can't express yourself in more elegant terms, kindly shut your cake-hole.
  • Stealth Insult:
    • The Khasi's imprisonment of Lady Joan is rather luxurious, complete with a beautiful sari for her to wear. When the Khasi hints that he might consider giving in to her offer, this exchange occurs:
      Lady Joan Ruff-Diamond: [excitedly] Oh, I can hardly contain myself!
      Khasi of Kalabar: Yes. The sari is rather small.
    • The Khasi greets his honored British guests.
    The Khasi: May the benevolence of the god Shivoo bring blessings on your house.
    Sidney Ruff-Diamond: And on yours.
    Khasi: And may his wisdom bring success in all your undertakings.
    Sidney Ruff-Diamond: And in yours.
    Khasi: And may his radiance light up your life.
    Sidney Ruff-Diamond: And up yours.
    • Doubles as Viewers Are Geniuses: The Hindu god of Shiva (which the Khasi is making a reference to) is the god of DESTRUCTION. He's actually wishing devastation upon his guest.
  • Stiff Upper Lip: The British characters are constantly speaking in dry witticisms, going about their usual routines and having downplayed reactions to life-threatening situations. While having dinner during a bombardment, they discover that their "meat course" is actually a homeless Fakir's severed head. One Brit deadpans, "Well that's dashed unsporting. It's the closed season for Fakirs." The trope is specifically lampshaded then mocked when the gallant heroes are tossed into an Afghan prison, awaiting torture and execution. The captain tries to rally their spirit.
    Brother Belcher: Here we go. He's going to tell us to keep a stiff upper lip!
    Captain Keene: [slightly embarrassed] Actually, I was going to say, "Remember we're British".
    Brother Belcher: [defeated] Beggin' your pardon, sir.
    Captain Keene: [still awkwardly] And then I was going to say, "Keep a stiff upper lip".
    Brother Belcher: [crossly] Well, I'm not waiting in here for mine to stiffen!
  • Tagline: "Enlist in the Carry On army and see the world - of laughter!".
  • There Was a Door: S.MJR MacNutt squeezes through a thin man-sized crack in the wall of Sir Sidney Ruff-Diamond's dining room during a war outside the house. Sir Sid points out that the hole is right next to large double doors that could've been used instead but MacNutt states that his news is far too important to care about something like that.
  • Those Two Guys:
    • The Khasi and Bungdit Din of Jacksy.
      • Also, Bungdit Din and a nameless member of the army. (Seen with Bungdit in the first Khyber Pass scene and in the palace meeting the real chiefs of the Afghans.)
    • CPT Keene and S.MJR MacNutt.
    • Sir Sid and MAJ Shorthouse.
  • Two-Faced Aside: At the beginning of the film, Sid and Joan are attending a polo match and are sitting not far from the Khasi of Kalabar and his daughter. Sid and the Khasi smile and wave politely to each other, but the former mutters to Joan that he doesn't trust the Khasi any further than he can throw him, while the latter mutters to his daughter that he is determined to kill Sid and the rest of the British soldiers — or at least run them out of India.
  • Tyop on the Cover: The blurb on the back of the Australian VHS release gets the names of Charles Hawtrey and Kenneth Williams' characters wrong, calling them "Private Twiddle" and the "Khasi of Kalabash", respectively.
  • Undercrank: There is a sequence in the Khasi's palace in which his dancers turn out to be the British in disguise; when he orders Bungdit to arrest them, the footage is sped up as the British beat up the guards and run out of the building.
  • Unusual Euphemism: Played with. "Tiffin" is a legitimate Indian-English word for a light midday meal, but in the film it's used as innuendo for having sex.note  Which goes a long way to explain the following dialogue:
    Keene: Major Shorthouse, I must see the Governor right away.
    Shorthouse: I can't disturb him now, he's with the memsahib, having a bit of tiffin.
    Keene: [Oh, Crap!] Ooh, that is awkward. [steels himself] However, it is a matter of the utmost urgency.
    Shorthouse: Well, I'll see if they've finished.
    [Shorthouse strolls over to Sir Sidney's door and knocks]
    Sir Sidney: [anxious] You can't come in!
    Shorthouse: Certainly not, sir, but Captain Keene's here to see you on a matter of the utmost urgency.
    Sir Sidney: Oh, all right, just a minute.
    Shorthouse: Just coming.
    [Sir Sidney enters, doing up his dressing gown]
    Sir Sidney] Now, what is it? You know how I hate being interrupted in mid-tiffin.
    Shorthouse: I know, sir, I'm sorry.
    Sir Sidney: That's all very well, but it's not often the mem and I get the chance these days. When we were in Calcutta, we had it twice a day, together. Regularly.
    Keene: I'm afraid it's my fault, Your Excellency.
    Sir Sidney: All right, I expect she'll keep it warm.
  • Victoria's Secret Compartment: Lady Joan Ruff-Diamond keeps a tiny pistol there and promises to save a bullet for the rest of the British governors.
  • Vocal Dissonance: The upper-class Ruff-Diamonds have the most working-class Cockney accents in the film.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The subplot of PVT James Widdle learning how to be brave in his time in the army seems to disappear once the enemy arrive outside the governor's mansion. Does Widdle even survive the war?
  • What's a Henway?:
    Sir Sid Ruff-Diamond: [gestures to a champagne bottle] Want some, Mr Belcher?
    Brother Belcher: [realises he can't hear the sounds of bombs anymore and cheers with delight] IT'S FINISHED!!
    Sir Sid Ruff-Diamond: No, there's still half a bottle here.
  • While Rome Burns: When the Governor learns that the Residency is about to be attacked, he resolves to do nothing and instead holds a black tie dinner. The officers and ladies sit down to a fine dinner as the Residency is being shelled around them, completely ignoring the chaos going on. Only the missionary Brother Belcher, who is the Only Sane Man, comments on the destruction or takes any precautions.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Din demands to know why they don't just take the photo from Lady Joan by force. The Khasi is outraged at the suggestion, as in India the cow is a sacred animal.
  • Women Are Wiser: Princess Jelhi for definite.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: After getting all the information he needs from Sid's wife, the Khasi imprisons her until she gives him the photograph.