Bitter Victory (1957)

Approved  |   |  Drama, War  |  March 1958 (USA)
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A commander receives a citation for an attack on Rommel's headquarters, which is actually undeserved as the commander is unfit for his job. On top of that, unbeknownst to him, his wife is having an affair with one of his officers.



(screenplay) (as Rene Hardy) , (screenplay), 4 more credits »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Captain Leith
Major Brand (as Curt Jurgens) (as Curd Jurgens: in closing credits)
Jane Brand
Raymond Pellegrin ...
Anthony Bushell ...
General Paterson
Alfred Burke ...
Lt.Colonel Callander
Sean Kelly ...
Lieutenant Barton
Ramón de Larrocha ...
Lieutenant Sanders (as Ramon De Larrocha)
Sergeant Barney
Ronan O'Casey ...
Sergeant Dunnigan
Fred Matter ...
Oberst Lutze
Raoul Delfosse ...
Lieutenant Kassel
Andrew Crawford ...
Private Roberts
Private Wilkins
Harry Landis ...
Private Browning


In North Africa during World War II, Major David Brand is assigned to lead a British commando raid into German-held Benghazi to retrieve whatever documents they can lay their hands on at the German headquarters. His number two will be Capt. Jimmy Leith who speaks Arabic fluently and knows Benghazi well. Brand also learns that Leith and his beautiful wife Jane were lovers before the war creating tension between the two. Brand is untested in battle and freezes at a critical moment, losing the respect of his men. After the raid, the trek back is arduous and takes it's toll on the men. It also results in only one of the two senior officers surviving. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

commander | rommel | raid | well | africa | See All (146) »


30 Fighting "Desert rats" Invade Africa's Fortress! See more »


Drama | War


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Release Date:

March 1958 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Bitter Victory  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


In March 1958, this film was being shown on a double bill with Cell 2455, Death Row (1955). See more »


Capt. Leith: [to Brand] If you don't have the courage to kill me, don't try to save me.
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Crazy Credits

"The producer gratefully acknowledges the kind cooperation of the British war office and of her majesty's forces in Lybya." See more »

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User Reviews

Recipe for disaster
29 October 2012 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

The fine playing of Curt Jurgens and Richard Burton raises Bitter Victory quite a few notches. Actors less capable than them and a director less capable than Nicholas Ray would have made a muck of this film which borders on incoherency at times in terms of the point it was trying to make.

I'm just finished watching it and I still don't know what it was all about. Jurgens who is a South African the better to explain his German accent while leading British troops in the desert war in Italy has been a staff officer for years and has no combat experience. But his knowledge of the German language is considered valuable on this mission. He's married to Ruth Roman who has joined the British WAAFs to help in the cause. And she's on duty at headquarters.

Which doesn't help matters as the other officer in consideration for commanding a commando raid on Rommel's headquarters is Richard Burton. He's an archaeologist, speaks Arabic and, oh yes, he's Roman's former boyfriend. And he's got the requisite combat experience.

But Jurgens is a major and Burton is a captain so Jurgens is in command. Burton is sure he's a coward when he hesitates shooting. And since he'd like to get back with Roman he'll do anything to discredit Jurgens.

What a recipe for a disaster and the mission nearly turns into one. One of them doesn't make it out of the Libyan desert.

Sad, but Ray, Burton, and Jurgens were all capable of better work and did it. I'd view this only if I were a fan of any combination or all of the above cinema icons.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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