How I Won the War (1967)

Approved  |   |  Comedy, War  |  23 October 1967 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.8/10 from 1,770 users  
Reviews: 30 user | 20 critic

An inept British WWII commander leads his troops to a series of misadventures in North Africa and Europe.



(novel), (screenplay)
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Lt. Goodbody
Lee Montague ...
Jack Hedley ...
Melancholy Musketeer
Karl Michael Vogler ...
Ronald Lacey ...
James Cossins ...
Ewan Hooper ...
American General
British General
Mrs. Clapper's Friend
Happy-Trousered Man


This film features former Beatle John Lennon and Roy Kinnear as ill-fated enlisted men in under the inept command of Lieutenant Earnest Goodbody. The story unwinds mostly in flashbacks of Lieutenant Goodbody who has lower-class beginnings and education which make him a poor officer who commands one of the worst units of the army. Written by Jenny Evans <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


"There have been far too many unwounded prisoners taken in this war!" See more »


Comedy | War


Approved | See all certifications »


Official Sites:



Release Date:

23 October 1967 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Cómo gané la guerra  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(RCA Recording System)



Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?


The glasses worn by John Lennon were known as "metal British National Health Service (NHS) style frames". The standard issued eyeglasses were covered by the "free" British health care system. John Lennon was "blind as a bat" claimed fellow Beatle Paul McCartney. While making the movie, he felt a sense of liberation being able to see while not worrying about how he looked in them. The glasses, which at the time were the farthest thing from being fashionable were a keeper. They have now become known as John Lennon glasses and are available in most optical store in the western hemisphere. See more »


Gripweed: Well, our officer calls me up and he says to me, he says, "Musketeer Gripweed..." He was a tall chap, some would call him weedy. I did. He said to me, and bear in mind that we were some few hundred miles behind enemy lines. He said, "green, green, green," so I did.
See more »


Featured in The Beatles Anthology (1995) See more »


Keep the Home Fires Burning
Music by Ivor Novello and lyrics by Lena Guilbert Ford
Whistled by the OCTU candidates
See more »

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User Reviews

Another gem from my favorite British director
12 April 2004 | by (Roanoke, Va.) – See all my reviews

Wow, it is not everyday that one comes across a right-wing essay on the IMDB as one of the posters did in regards t this film. First of all, I am delighted to have finally seen this. Aside from "The Royal Flash" and "Cuba," I believe I have seen most of Richard Lester's films which are of significance. I think too look at this film from a mere political pov is a mistake. It is a good statement first of all about how utterly ridicilous the war process is. Sure, there are awful people like Hitler and Mullah Omar, out there who threaten the world at large but by and large, the war process rarely leads to any resounding political solutions and long-term peace and understanding. I think even people who generally support their government's wars would agree to this sentiment. Lester does a brilliant job of poiting this out through the course of this film, and he is helped by some great acting- including a surprisingly brilliant John Lenon to achieve this great satire. Lester, who was actually born in Philadelphia, has a great sense of man's moral faults and he reflects that in this film, as well as in "Petulia"- which is considered to be his best film. I think Lester's genius can even be seen in his two most blatant commerical ventures, "Suprman II" and "Butch and Sundance: The Early Years" as well as the Beatles movies. He deserves more respect, and I think one day he just might get it.

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