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How I Won the War (1967)

Approved | | Comedy, War | 23 October 1967 (USA)
An inept British WWII commander leads his troops to a series of misadventures in North Africa and Europe.

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(novel), (screenplay)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Lt. Goodbody
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Gripweed
...
Clapper
Lee Montague ...
...
...
Grapple
...
Melancholy Musketeer
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Odlebog
...
Spool
...
Drogue
...
Dooley
...
American General
...
British General
...
Mrs. Clapper's Friend
...
Happy-Trousered Man
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Storyline

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 <J.Evans@uts.edu.au>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Comedy | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

23 October 1967 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Cómo gané la guerra  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

(RCA Recording System)

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

John Lennon wrote "Strawberry Fields Forever" while shooting this movie in Spain. See more »

Quotes

Clapper: You married?
Gripweed: No, I play the harmonica.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in A Touch of Frost: Deep Waters (1996) See more »

Soundtracks

Aftermath
Written by Ken Thorne
Performed by John Lennon (as Musketeer Gripweed and The Third Troop)
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Brilliant, gets better with age!
2 January 2004 | by (Brisbane, Australia) – See all my reviews

'How I Won the War' has to be one of the most original, bizarre and imaginative war films ever made. I first saw it late one night as an impressionable kid and immediately was drawn by its unusual style and narrative. To have the film tinted in several different colours to show the stages of the war was both daring and cool. One gets the feeling of having witnessed something larger, more intimate and important than just a mere war movie.

There are no real heros in this film, certainly Michael Crawford and his troop are pretty cowardly and inept, whereas the Germans are depicted, in the raid on the fuel dump scene, as being content with religious service and a bit of soccer.

It is true that history is written by the victors and Michael Crawford's character, Goodbody, is one of only two survivers from his regiment. He proudly states at the very end of the film that he "won the war". Maybe he did, but his actions and his balmy enthusiasm show us just how idiotic war can be.

My favourite scene was the one with Goodbody and the German officer who befriends Goodbody for much of the film. Together, they talk about how cruel both the British and Germans are, and how the German officer has killed many Jews. Goodbody then talks about how he got his commission and why he is fighting. It ends with the German officer telling Goodbody that he (Goodbody) is a fascist. "Am I?", replies Goodbody, "but I don't particularly dislike Jews."

When the very affable German officer, who is attempting to surrender, is blindly run over by an advancing British tank, we know that in this war the good, the bad and the ugly become mixed up and inseperable.

I currently own a very worn out video of the film and am hoping it will be released soon on DVD here in Australia.


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