M*A*S*H: Season 1, Episode 17

Sometimes You Hear the Bullet (28 Jan. 1973)

TV Episode  -   -  Comedy | Drama | War
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 8.5/10 from 205 users  
Reviews: 1 user

Hawkeye's childhood buddy drops by, and reveals that he is writing a book about his experiences in the infantry - experiences that may hit a little too close to home.



, (developed for television by), 3 more credits »
0Check in

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 10 titles
created 02 Jul 2011
a list of 39 titles
created 01 Oct 2012
a list of 10 titles
created 19 May 2013
a list of 10 titles
created 4 months ago
a list of 137 titles
created 3 months ago

Related Items

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: Sometimes You Hear the Bullet (28 Jan 1973)

Sometimes You Hear the Bullet (28 Jan 1973) on IMDb 8.5/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of M*A*S*H.
« Previous Episode | 17 of 251 Episodes | Next Episode »




Episode cast overview:
Private Walter / Wendell Peterson (as Ronny Howard)
Cpl. Tommy Gillis (as James Callahan)
Lynette Mettey ...
Lt. Nancy Griffin (as Lynnette Mettey)


Hawkeye's childhood buddy drops by, and reveals that he is writing a book about his experiences in the infantry - experiences that may hit a little too close to home.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Comedy | Drama | War





Release Date:

28 January 1973 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


On March 18, 1966 Ronny Howard played (Opie Taylor) from "The Andy Griffith Show" who runs away from Mayberry to join the Marines in "Gomer Pyle: USMC: Opie Joins the Marines." See more »


Hawkeye catches Pvt. Walter trying to hot wire a jeep. Military vehicles like jeeps don't have ignition switches out of military necessity; otherwise, many vehicles would be lost to an advancing enemy if ignition keys couldn't be located. See more »


Henry Blake: Pierce, is there anything I can do to help?
Capt. Benjamin Franklin "Hawkeye" Pierce: It's the first time I cried since I came to this crummy place. I don't understand that.
Henry Blake: Well, Gillis was your friend. I mean, it's only natural that you'd, uh, you know.
Capt. Benjamin Franklin "Hawkeye" Pierce: Henry, I know why I'm crying now. Tommy was my friend, and I watched him die, and I'm crying. I've watched guys die almost every day. Why didn't I ever cry for them?
Henry Blake: Because you're a doctor.
Capt. Benjamin Franklin "Hawkeye" Pierce: The hell does that mean?
Henry Blake: I don't know. If I had the answer, I'd be at the Mayo Clinic. Does ...
See more »


I'm in the Mood for Love
Music by Jimmy McHugh
Played on Margaret's phonograph
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Captain Pierce's Reality Call!!
7 November 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Captain Pierce received a visit from Tommy Gillis in the beginning part of "Sometimes You Hear The Bullet." He visited Captain Pierce and Captain McIntyre in "The Swamp" in reference to his book he wrote as a correspondent. The actual title in his book was "You Never Hear The Bullet" in conversation. Tommy Gillis had a drink in their tent. He also told them about their past associations with one another in their school days. Captain Pierce had told Captain Gillis that he had a foolproof way to be the military draft ... or so it seemed at the onset of the Korean War. Little did Captain Pierce and Captain McIntyre knew that they were called for surgery; moreover, they would actually see Tommy Gillis alive for the last time.

In the second part of the episode, they were in surgery operating on a young kid on the table. Gradually, they found out the unknown soldier was actually a kid named Wendell Peterson. He entered the Army -- using a phony birth certificate. He told Captain Pierce that entered the service to show off his girlfriend back home. The oddity: he gave Captain Pierce two different ages just to enter the Army. He had done so after he had attempted to hot-wire a jeep to kill more Chinese soldiers in battle. After some talk, Captain Pierce had his word on not letting Wendell Peterson be turned over to the Military Police after recovering from his wounds in surgery ... or so it would seem to him.

Captain Pierce would face reality when his buddy arrived on the operating table in surgery. Tommy Gillis would eventually die on the operating table when a bullet hit his aorta. He became unconscious and later die after a brief stint in surgery. Captain Pierce and Lieutenant Colonel Blake would have a discussion about the rules of a war. Rule #1: Young soldiers die -- Rule #2: Doctors could not change Rule #1. Captain Pierce would realize that Wendell Peterson would be turned over to the Military Police and be sent home to his parents; moreover, he would realize that Captain Pierce would not be a pushover to Wendell Peterson's shenanigans. A Brilliant 10!! Recommended For Viewing!!

3 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Characters you would have liked to have seen more crockett_john
Your five favorite episodes? Not including the finale. bemibet-880-233748
On tonight's menu... crockett_john
Would you eat johnny_burnaway
Lessons we all learned from MASH crockett_john
"Comrades in Arms" Parts 1 and 2 crockett_john
Discuss Sometimes You Hear the Bullet (1973) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: