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Murphy's War (1971)

GP | | Drama, War | 14 January 1971 (UK)
A lone survivor from a British naval ship is obsessed with getting revenge on a German U-boat crew that massacred his shipmates in the water.

Director:

Peter Yates

Writers:

Max Catto (novel), Stirling Silliphant (screenplay)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Peter O'Toole ... Murphy
Siân Phillips ... Hayden (as Sian Phillips)
Philippe Noiret ... Brezan
Horst Janson ... Lauchs
John Hallam ... Ellis
Ingo Mogendorf Ingo Mogendorf ... Voght
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Storyline

Murphy is the sole survivor of his crew, that has been massacred by a German U-Boat in the closing days of World War II. He lands on the shore somewhere on the river Orinoco delta and begins to plot his vengeance. He wishes to sink the U-Boat that has floated up by means of any method imaginable to him, and sets about to make the courageous attempt, assisted by Louie, the islands Government Administrator. Written by <arezis@ntplx.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

murphy makes war, not love! See more »

Genres:

Drama | War

Certificate:

GP | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English | German

Release Date:

14 January 1971 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

La guerra de Murphy See more »

Filming Locations:

Puerto Ordaz, Venezuela See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$5,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor) (uncredited)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to am Aug/07 interview in the Mail by Sian, Warren Beatty was offered the role later played by her husband. But he was asking for too much money. See more »

Goofs

When Murphy is taxiing the Amphibian out for the first time, he is an absolute novice and does not know how to take off. In making long taxi runs with the aircraft his cockpit is inundated with spray from the river yet in a closeup of Murphy's face, he is bone dry. See more »

Quotes

Brezan: Man is only truly alive when he confronts death.
Murphy: He can also be truly dead.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The original UK cinema version was cut by the BBFC to remove 2 uses of the word 'fuck' and to edit shots of bloody shootings and dead bodies for an 'A' (PG) certificate. The 12-rated UK DVD release restores the gunshot scenes but also has the swear words blanked out, and an inferior 4:3 transfer. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Flying Doctors: Million-Acre Prison (1986) See more »

Soundtracks

Onward Christian Soldiers
(uncredited)
Music by Arthur Sullivan and lyrics by Sabine Baring-Gould
Sung by Peter O'Toole
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Excellent movie! War ain't over till it's over
20 January 2012 | by CinefanRSee all my reviews

Although I'm not a big fan of war movies, I found this one very good, which comes as no surprise since Peter O'Toole is in it. Here you'll see him in a rather unexpected "macho" role, and he's as convincing as Lawrence, general Tanz or any other characters he's ever played. This is pretty much a one-man-show, and what a show! While his vengeance is of course reminiscent of Ahab's personal vendetta, "Murphy's war" is all about O'Toole's intensity and his unmatched ability to capture madness, pain, obsession, self-absorption.

As I understood, O'Toole did most of the stunts himself, so the horrified look on his face, in the breath taking plane sequence, was actually the real deal. Well, I guess that explains the feel of authenticity. Either way, that must be one of the most memorable moments of the genre.

It was a pleasant surprise to see that Germans actually speak German, which is unusual for that particular era of movie-making. (Remember "Where Eagles Dare", where Richard Burton and Clint Eastwood wanted to pass as Germans officers while speaking in English, or "The Night of the Generals" where French generals where talking to each other in English). It's a detail of no major importance by any means, but it ads to the overall impression of realism.

This drama about the devastating effects of war, with great acting, a most realistic flight sequence and a surprising conclusion that fits perfectly – is not to be missed.

I'm still hoping for a better DVD transfer in Region 2.


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