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Colonel Bogey March

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How can you show your group to have a cohesive and united front? Show them whistling the Colonel Bogey March. This is originally Lost in Imitation from The Bridge on the River Kwai. The tune is a real march, but there are also about half a million bawdy little numbers written to it — it's a musical snowclone on par with the Major-General's Song. In Bridge (the movie that made it a trope), the prisoners used it as a way of getting one such tune ("Hitler Has Only Got One Ball") past their Axis captors' radar.


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  • The lyrics are alluded to in a 2003 advertisement for Spitfire Beer (the 'Bottle of Britain'), an English Ale. Hitler is shown photographed in full Wehrmacht Uniform with the caption 'Spot the ball'. The advertisement refers to print media spot the ball competitions in which readers were shown photographs of moments in football matches and asked to guess where the ball (which is edited out) would have been. See: Spitfire site.
  • Once used (with a new text, obv.) for a German schnapps commercial. Hilarious if you know about the origin.
  • Commercials for Indonesian pain relief medicine Bodrex use parts of this song as the jingle. It had its own lyrics in the 1990s, sang by the "Bodrex Army" while marching in the ads.

  • In Ricky Gervais' stand-up tour Fame, he speaks about the version of the song which refers to the Albert Hall. He states that when he went to the Albert Hall he couldn't find it and he had even looked for it which is "suspicious". Gervais continues stating that "if I had that, I'd have it in the foyer. On a plinth. In an eggcup". He ends it by questioning why "His mother has got the other", which would mean Hitler had three.

    Comic Books 
  • The Jim Steranko History of Comics includes an anecdote about artists working on Captain Marvel who reworked the song to satirize the demands of the publishing house's censors: "Captain Marvel Has No Balls At All."
  • A verse appears in the 2000 Vertigo miniseries Adventures in the Rifle Brigade by Garth Ennis and Carlos Ezquerra. The follow-on miniseries, Operation Bollock, uses the missing testicle as a central plot device.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The song was sung in the Chinese/German film John Rabe by actor Steve Buscemi as an American Doctor Robert Wilson in 2009. Thanks to Youtube for hosting a clip of it.
  • The main character of the 2003 movie Wondrous Oblivion, a British teen who is the son of Jewish Holocaust survivors, sings this song for a friend.
  • The Hector Scott character (played by Donald Moffat) sings this ditty to Shirley MacLaine's character in the movie The Evening Star (1993).
  • The lyrics were sung in the 1972 film adaptation of the John Knowles novel A Separate Peace (although they are not in the book, and the tune to which they are sung in the film is not the "Colonel Bogey March").
  • The song is sung in the Czech film Dark Blue World (2001).
  • The song is used to harass a Jewish student in School Ties, a 1992 film.
  • Bette Midler sang the lyrics in her concert film Divine Madness!
  • Spaceballs: Dink dink, dink dink dink dink dink dink! Dink dink, dink dink dink dink dink dink!
  • Used in The Bridge on the River Kwai, and formed the basis of Malcolm Arnold's score for the film. The lyrics were considered too vulgar and were not used — but any viewer who lived through WWII, especially in Britain, would know exactly what was being referenced. Arnold's score included "The River Kwai March", which was essentially the Colonel Bogey March with a counter-melody of his own composition played over it. The names of the two songs get mixed up frequently.
  • Briefly heard in Short Circuit: as Number Five leads the robots he's reprogrammed to the roadhouse, he's whistling it.
  • Whistled by the students in detention during The Breakfast Club. It's an early indication of the group coming together.
  • In The Parent Trap, the other girls at the camp whistle this as the twins are escorted to the Isolation Cabin.


    Live-Action TV 
  • The song was used in Episode 5 of Series 3 of The Armstrong and Miller Show, as it comically depicted the writing of it.
  • In one of the 'Head-to-Head' dialogue sketches in the BBC comedy series Alas Smith and Jones, Mel Smith and Griff Rhys Jones reminisce about the war and about the songs of the era. Smith sentimentally and poignantly sings the opening lines of "White Cliffs of Dover", and "We'll Meet Again", and then (to avoid lowering the tone) has to interrupt Jones when he begins to sing, "Hitler has only got one..."
  • In an episode of the BBC comedy programme 2point4 Children, the grandmother mentions Goebbels in conversation with a friend and — when queried — points out that "he was the one with no balls at all, if you remember".
  • After accidentally sneaking into a POW camp in 'Allo 'Allo!, Captain Geering was taught the lyrics by a British POW and sings part of the first line to try and pass as a captured British airman.
  • Desmond, Jin, Charlie, and Hurley do this in the Lost episode "Catch-22".
  • Salute Your Shorts: "Ug, one day his face turned blue/Ug, he likes to punish you..." Used in promo commercials during the show's run.
  • The BBC's 1983 adaptation of Robert Westall's The Machine Gunners used the march for the series closing theme, playing on its war movie and wartime associations.
  • This was the basis for "The Peacock Strut", the fight song of the fictional ULA, on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
  • Magnum, P.I. has Higgins trying to build a scale model of the bridge from the River Kwai film, but Magnum later blows it up, humming the tune as he does so.


  • In the British radio series The Bradshaws, Alf taught Billy the song.
  • In the British radio sitcom Old Harry's Game, Satan mentions in one episode that he used to think the World War II version of the song was only propaganda, but he's seen Hitler in the showers and now he's not so sure

    Video Games 
  • In Overlord II, when disguised as enemy soldiers, the Minions start humming the song.
  • The song shows up as one of the records in Nintendogs. If you play it, your dogs will start marching in a circle.
  • Wanted: Monty Mole uses it as its main theme.

    Western Animation 
  • In the Flintstones episode "The Snorkasaurus Hunter", a picnic is ruined when ants come marching in to this tune and carry off all the food.
  • The Simpsons: "Lisa, her teeth are big and green/Lisa, she smells like gas-o-line..."
  • A kazoo version of the song was heard in Recess: School's Out as the kids are preparing to break into the school to save T.J.
  • The Beatles whistle this at the end of their cartoon episode "And Your Bird Can Sing."

    Real Life 
  • There is a little ice cream truck that rides around the area of Mons, Belgium that has this as its song.
  • A schoolyard ditty had a jingle for Comet cleanser as the words for the song:
    Comet—it tastes like gasoline,
    Comet will make your mouth turn green,
    Comet will make you vomit
    So get some Comet and vomit today!
  • And the original lyrics to the song from WW2 run:
    Hitler has only got one ball;
    Goering - has two, but very small;
    Himmler - had something similar;
    And poor old Goebbels, has no balls, at all!


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Colonel Bogey March

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