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How I Won the War (1967)

Approved | | Comedy, War | 23 October 1967 (USA)
Clip
0:47 | Clip
An inept British WWII commander leads his troops to a series of misadventures in North Africa and Europe.

Director:

Richard Lester

Writers:

Patrick Ryan (novel), Charles Wood (screenplay)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Michael Crawford ... Lt. Goodbody
John Lennon ... Gripweed
Roy Kinnear ... Clapper
Lee Montague ... Transom
Jack MacGowran ... Juniper
Michael Hordern ... Grapple
Jack Hedley ... Melancholy Musketeer
Karl Michael Vogler ... Odlebog
Ronald Lacey ... Spool
James Cossins ... Drogue
Ewan Hooper ... Dooley
Alexander Knox ... American General
Robert Hardy ... British General
Sheila Hancock ... Mrs. Clapper's Friend
Charles Dyer ... Happy-Trousered Man
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Storyline

This film features former Beatle John Lennon and Roy Kinnear as ill-fated enlisted men under the inept command of Lieutenant Ernest 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:

If You Think Richard Lester's 'How I Won The War' Is Just Another War Film, Forget It... See more »

Genres:

Comedy | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

MGM

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

23 October 1967 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Cómo gané la guerra See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Petersham Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Recording System)

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The making of the film is central to the plot of delightful Spanish comedy by David Trueba "Vivir es facil con los ojos cerrados/Living is easy with eyes closed", 2013. See more »

Quotes

Grapple: [standing atop a desert fortification] Fourth Muskets, aren't you?
Goodbody: [on the ground] Sir.
Grapple: Been expecting you. I'm your link to Army. Blue, white, and two reds.
Goodbody: I'm green, green, green, sir.
Grapple: Oh ho ho ho, I know you are.
See more »

Connections

Featured in The Beatles Anthology: July '66 to June '67 (1995) See more »

Soundtracks

Colonel Bogey March
(uncredited)
Written by Kenneth Alford, pseudonym of F. J. Ricketts
Whistled during the attack on the oasis and heard as a theme in the desert scenes
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Borderline Unwatchable
17 July 2006 | by LydiaOLydiaSee all my reviews

Take a movie like this. You may have heard somewhere that it was pretty bad. But, being an inquisitive sort, you visit IMDb first anyway. Here, you are greeted with plenty of reviews that tell you that it's not so bad - some even call it a masterpiece and a hidden gem.

Then, you watch it and the cold hard reality hits you - it's just not that good of a movie. The first half an hour seemed to take about four. Yes, there are "innovative" aspects such as tinting people and scenes differently, but ultimately this is cheap and adds little.

There are far better anti-war films of the same period. "How I Won the War" with a big star (Lennon) was made in 1967. Steve McQueen's "The Sand Pebbles" of 1966 is, although a much longer movie, an infinitely better anti-war film that managed to convey all of the same philosophical points as HIWtW (and more) and do it with subtlety, class, and genuine humanity.

The saving grace of HIWtW should have been comedy - absurdist or otherwise. The ingredients were there - war and military life are just asking for the application of ironic and observationalist British wit. Alas, while the characters spend most of the time speaking in that fast British way as if they were saying something as clever as, say, Monty Python or Fawlty Towers, what they actually say is substantially less interesting. Pity.

This film is not particularly worth watching.


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