6.9/10
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Bitter Victory (1957)

Approved | | Drama, War | March 1958 (USA)
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.

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Writers:

(screenplay) (as Rene Hardy), (screenplay) | 3 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Captain Leith
...
Major Brand (as Curt Jurgens in opening credits) (as Curd Jurgens in closing credits)
...
Jane Brand
Raymond Pellegrin ...
Mekrane
...
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
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Storyline

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 his beautiful wife Jane and Leith 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 its 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 | major | See All (144) »

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

| |

Release Date:

March 1958 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Bitter Victory  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Upon seeing this at the Venice Film Festival, Jean-Luc Godard said his iconic statement "Le cinema, c'est Nicholas Ray (The cinema is Nicholas Ray)." See more »

Quotes

Major Brand: Are you trying to goad me into killing you?
Capt. Leith: Perhaps...
Major Brand: Why?
Capt. Leith: Perhaps because... i haven't the courage to do it myself.
See more »

Crazy Credits

End credits are designed to look like they came from a typewriter (although in white on a dark background). There are no upper case letters (capitals) in the credits. See more »

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User Reviews

 
One of Nicholas Ray's finest
29 November 2005 | by (Braintree, MA) – See all my reviews

Thankfully now available in its full 103-minute version, this is one of Nicholas Ray's strongest works and one of the handful that doesn't bear the marks of studio meddling. It's an unrelentingly grim tale of cowardice and lost love which is almost incidentally set during WWII. Richard Burton manages to deliver cutting, pointed dialogue without making it hammy, and Curt Jurgens' performance of a deceitful squad leader is extremely strong; a coiled spring which never quite releases.

I can't help but wonder if some of the comments above are based upon the US version, which was cut by a whopping 21 minutes, because this is unquestionably one of the best of the Nick Ray canon. Working in many of his trademark themes of sacrifice and loss but keeping the melodrama surprisingly low-key, it's also gorgeously photographed in 'Scope black-and-white and none of the performances falter. Those who have enjoyed ATTACK, HELL IS FOR HEROES, THE BIG RED ONE and particularly Anthony Mann's brilliant MEN IN WAR are well advised to check this out, and it's a must-see for Ray enthusiasts, right up there with ON DANGEROUS GROUND, THE SAVAGE INNOCENTS, JOHNNY GUITAR and IN A LONELY PLACE.


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