I, for one, had NOT read the novel before viewing Catch-22, and I absolutely LOVED it! I believe it ranks as one of the best films ever made! It certainly ranks with Carnal Knowledge and the Graduate as the best pieces of work Mike Nichols ever made. Alan Arkin gives by far the best performance of his entire career. The rest of the cast is nearly perfect. It is a long movie, and moves at a very quick clip. Like 2001: A Space Odyssey, it begs to be viewed again and again. I love the close-up photography, which adds to the sense of claustrophobia & combustibility of the "insane war" situation of the characters. There are no panoramic vistas of Italy here. In fact, Italy has probably never looked so ugly in a movie. I love the way the action moves from scene to scene based on the thoughts of the characters, rather then strictly chronologically -- a technique Quentin Tarantino has utilized throughout his more recent career. Unlike most of the rest of you, I love the pacing. I love the hilarious, fast-paced first hour of the film, and then I love the slower, somber, horrific second hour. Later, I read the novel, and while it's certainly true that everything in the novel could not possibly have been used in the movie, I prefer to judge the movie strictly on its own merits. It seems as though most of you prefer to compare the two. I always like to see the movie first. Case in point: I believe I liked the World According To Garp so much because I had never read the novel before -- I had no preconceived notions of what the characters looked like, or how they should behave. Then, when I read the novel, I realized that all the action of the book could not possibly have been used in the film, but the film gave me a good, solid basis from which to begin reading the book. Was the movie is "good as the book?" Of course not. Is it ever? Was To Kill A Mockingbird as good as the book. Again, of course not. But didn't you love the movie anyway. Same with Catch-22. NOT comparing it to the book, but comparing it strictly to every other movie I've ever seen, it ranks as my favorite war movie of all time, my favorite comedy of all time, my favorite film of 1970 (a year full of good movies), and one of my favorites, period. It is a classic. Rent it. Watch it over and over again. It's well worth it!