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
Tom Skerritt recalled that the dialogue was about 80% improvised. In order to create a different kind of atmosphere, Robert Altman cast some of the parts from improvisational clubs who had no previous movie experience. See more »
Cars on a freeway in the background of the football game. See more »
Some people may think I'm insane for saying this. But this is one of the greatest movies ever made. It was so shockingly different back in 1970 and it influenced war films in the 70s (the "war is insane"-type atmosphere of the film was used by "Apocalypse Now".) The black comedy elements are as original as Dr Strangelove. I have watched this film over ten times and I get astounded each time by it's amazing originality. It's too bad Robert Altman doesn't get as much as recognition as Kubrick or Fellini though I feel he is in the same league. Today the admirable but inferior TV series is more well-known than the movie but I feel the movie is one of the great achievements in film history.
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