7.6/10
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MASH (1970)

R | | Comedy, Drama, War | March 1970 (USA)
The staff of a Korean War field hospital use humor and high jinks to keep their sanity in the face of the horror of war.

Director:

Writers:

(from the novel by), (screenplay)
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 14 wins & 25 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Roger Bowen ...
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'Me Lai' Marston
Indus Arthur ...
Lt. Leslie
Ken Prymus ...
PFC. Seidman
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Sgt. Gorman
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Storyline

The personnel at the 4077 MASH unit deal with the horrors of the Korean War and the stresses faced in surgery by whatever means. The tone at the MASH is established by recent arrivals, surgeons Captains 'Hawkeye' Pierce, 'Duke' Forrest, and 'Trapper' John McIntyre - the latter who Hawkeye knows he's met somewhere, but Trapper who won't divulge where - whose antics can be best described as non-regulation, and in the negative words of one of their fellow MASH-ers: unmilitary. The unit's commanding officer, Colonel Henry Blake, doesn't care about this behavior as long as it doesn't affect him, and as long as they do their job and do it well, which they do. Their behavior does extremely bother fellow surgeon, Major Frank Burns, and recently arrived head nurse, Major Margaret Houlihan, who obtains the nickname 'Hot Lips' based on information they glean about her through underhanded means. Beyond their battles with Frank and Hot Lips, Hawkeye, Duke and/or Trapper help unit dentist Painless ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

You're not a real M*A*S*H fan until you've seen the original. (1982 re-release) See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sexual content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

| |

Release Date:

March 1970 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

M*A*S*H  »

Box Office

Budget:

$3,500,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$81,600,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (PG)

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Tom Skerritt and Bud Cort also both appeared in "Harold & Maude" in 1971. Bud Cort played the eponymous Harold, while Tom Skerritt, credited as M. Borman, played a Motorcycle Officer. When considering the role of Harold, Bud Cort asked the opinion of director Robert Altman, his mentor. Altman cautioned that rising star Cort might find himself forever typecast. For this reason, Cort turned down the role of Billy Bibbit in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975). Howard Altman directed them in MASH. See more »

Goofs

An announcement is made that Yom Kippur cannot be held on Friday due to extenuating circumstances, but those who wish to observe may do so on Sunday. Yom Kippur never falls on either a Friday or a Sunday; an "alternate" day for the holiday that could actually occur would be Saturday. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Lt. Col. Henry Braymore Blake: Radar.
Cpl. Walter 'Radar' O'Reilly: Yes, sir. I'll get ahold of Major Burns...
Lt. Col. Henry Braymore Blake: I want you to get a hold of Major Burns...
Cpl. Walter 'Radar' O'Reilly: ...Tell him to hold a couple day surgeons over into the night shift.
Lt. Col. Henry Braymore Blake: Tell him we're going to have hold a couple of surgeons over from the day shift out of the night shift.
Cpl. Walter 'Radar' O'Reilly: I'll put in a call to General Hammond in Seoul...
Lt. Col. Henry Braymore Blake: Get General Hammond down there in Seoul, tell him to send us those new surgeons right away.
Cpl. Walter 'Radar' O'Reilly: ...I hope he sends us those two new surgeons. We're sure gonna need'em.
[Leaves]
[...]
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Crazy Credits

The shot of Hot Lips being revealed in the shower was replaced with her exiting the helicopter in network and basic cable showings when Sally Kellerman's name was announced. See more »

Connections

Referenced in A Very Long Engagement (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

Hi-Lili, Hi-Lo
(1953) (uncredited)
Music by Bronislau Kaper
Lyrics by Helen Deutsch
Sung in Japanese over the loudspeaker
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

An enjoyable, episodic comedy but not the classic many claim it to be
8 February 2004 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

And then there was Korea. In an understaffed and overstretched medical camp Lt Col Blake puts an order in for more surgeons. Dispatched to him in a stolen army jeep are Captain's Hawkeye Pierce and Duke Forrest who immediately start chasing the nursing staff and annoying their tent mate Major Burns. When chest cutter Trapper John McIntyre joins them in the camp it starts a working practice that ignores authority and tries to find as much fun as possible in the middle of their bloody war.

I had watched the TV show for a long time before I finally got to watch the movie - I prefer the cynical comedy of the film although I have always loved the more sitcom style approach of the series. Many critics have hailed this as an anti-war film that exposes the brutal effects of war; to some extent I suppose that is true but it is far from being a part of the main narrative - even to call it a theme would be generous! It does have some scenes of blood and gore but it is far from having anything substantial to say about the cruelty of war.

Instead I always find this film to be a very episodic, freewheeling comedy, some bits of which work and some others don't. On the whole it is pretty funny and uses the sort of sporadic dialogue and action to move it forward. At times it is based on imaginative banter between Trapper and Hawkeye and at others it is out and out slapstick such as the chaotic game of American football at the end of the film. The downside of this is that sections of it just don't work - Painless Paul's dilemma is pretty uninspiring at least

  • however, on the whole it is energetic and very funny. Altman's use of


overlapping dialogue and his usual use of overlapping scenes as opposed to a traditional narrative flow is good here but it would have been better if it had been toned down somewhat.

The cast is what really carries the film - the plot is weak and they have no characters other than what they create themselves and, although the dialogue is good, I couldn't help the feeling that the cast did as much as the writers. As such the lead two of Sutherland and Gould stand out as great comedians with great witty touches, their characters are the largest and their lines are the funniest. Skerritt starts out as equal to them but quickly becomes a third wheel despite still giving a good performance. The support cast are all a good mix of characters whether they be played by actors such as Duvall and Kellerman or less well known faces such as Burghoff or Bowen.

Overall, I am still unable to see what those who call this a `brutal anti-war film' see but that doesn't mean I can't enjoy it as a comedy. As such though, it is very episodic and really lacks a solid narrative flow meaning that any 10 minute period could be good or bad. Aside from this lack of substance it is a funny, enjoyable comedy but it doesn't deserve the classic reputation that it has obtained.


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