6.7/10
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Bitter Victory (1957)

Approved | | Drama, War | March 1958 (USA)
Trailer
2:01 | Trailer
A Commander receives a citation for an attack on General Erwin Rommel's headquarters, which is actually undeserved, as the Commander is unfit for his job. On top of that, unbeknownst to him, his wife is having an affair with one of his officers.

Director:

Nicholas Ray

Writers:

René Hardy (screenplay) (as Rene Hardy), Nicholas Ray (screenplay) | 3 more credits »
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1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Richard Burton ... Captain Leith
Curd Jürgens ... Major Brand
Ruth Roman ... Jane Brand
Raymond Pellegrin ... Mekrane
Anthony Bushell ... General Paterson
Alfred Burke Alfred Burke ... Lt. Colonel Callander
Sean Kelly Sean Kelly ... Lieutenant Barton
Ramón de Larrocha Ramón de Larrocha ... Lieutenant Sanders (as Ramon De Larrocha)
Christopher Lee ... Sergeant Barney
Ronan O'Casey ... Sergeant Dunnigan
Fred Matter Fred Matter ... Oberst Lutze
Raoul Delfosse Raoul Delfosse ... Lieutenant Kassel
Andrew Crawford Andrew Crawford ... Private Roberts
Nigel Green ... Private Wilkins
Harry Landis ... Private Browning
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Storyline

In North Africa during World War II, Major David Brand is assigned to lead a British commando raid into German-held Benghazi to retrieve whatever documents they can lay their hands on at the German headquarters. His number two will be Capt. Jimmy Leith who speaks Arabic fluently and knows Benghazi well. Brand also learns that his beautiful wife Jane and Leith were lovers before the war, creating tension between the two. Brand is untested in battle and freezes at a critical moment, losing the respect of his men. After the raid, the trek back is arduous and takes its toll on the men. It also results in only one of the two senior officers surviving. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Desert Commando Raid They Wiped Off the Record Books! See more »

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Upon seeing this at the Venice Film Festival, Jean-Luc Godard said his iconic statement "Le cinema, c'est Nicholas Ray (The cinema is Nicholas Ray)." See more »

Goofs

Brand whistles at the ruined fort, but the sound of the whistle comes about one second later. See more »

Quotes

Major Brand: Are you trying to goad me into killing you?
Capt. Leith: Perhaps...
Major Brand: Why?
Capt. Leith: Perhaps because... i haven't the courage to do it myself.
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Crazy Credits

End credits are designed to look like they came from a typewriter (although in white on a dark background). There are no upper case letters (capitals) in the credits. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Dreamers (2003) See more »

User Reviews

 
Antonioni remakes Flying Leathernecks...
21 June 2006 | by antcol8See all my reviews

As it were...The 2 films (this one and Flying Leathernecks) have more in common than one would like to believe, given the fact that F.L. is often thought of as not a "real" Ray film. But the rivalry between 2 military men who dance around the same rank (one being generally subservient - not by choice - to the other) is in both cases treated as as much a psychological issue as an issue of military discipline. The difference is that in F.L. the psychological aspect is soft-pedaled (except for a couple of key scenes). I have to admit that there are a couple of ways that I prefer F.L. Obviously, Bitter Victory is a much finer and more fully realized film. But it feels failed to me in some important ways: it seems to aspire to the status of independent artwork (the score, the long scenes of trudging through the desert), and as such it is not totally successful. It doesn't break free of its genre moorings the way Fuller or Sirk or Ophuls (etc.) can and often do. F.L. doesn't pretend to be more than it is: it stays solidly within genre conventions, easy resolution and all. Its lack of aspiration makes it easier to watch, to some degree. There are unforgettable moments in Bitter Victory: the scorpion, the camel bladder, the raid, the dance, the fight in the street (pure Ray). But the whole doesn't convince me, the issues don't move me. Ray often seems poised between Kazanian script and actor - driven film-making on one hand and more personal crazy auteurist cinema on the other. I haven't had that revelation that caused Godard to say "the cinema is Nicholas Ray". I'll keep trying.


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Details

Country:

France | USA

Language:

English | German | Arabic

Release Date:

March 1958 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Bitter Victory See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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