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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.


Peter Yates


Max Catto (novel), Stirling Silliphant (screenplay)




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


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


murphy makes war, not love! See more »


Drama | War


GP | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


The type of aircraft used, a Grumman J2F Duck amphibian, never served with any British or Commonwealth navies. Equally, the camouflage does not match the markings used: it carries early war British roundels on a (very) late war colour scheme. Understandably, however, there were quite a few surplus J2Fs around in the late 60s, as it had been used by quite a few South American navies for several years after WW2. It would have been impossible to have a more authentic aircraft, such as the Fairey Seafox, which was probably the most common shipboard naval reconnaissance floatplane in the early years of WW2. See more »


(at around 1h 17 mins) There is modern-day traffic on the far right of the screen crossing a high bridge just above the tree-line. See more »


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 »


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


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

User Reviews

Fun to work on.
16 March 2009 | by harryfielderSee all my reviews

MURPHY'S WAR… Peter O'Toole…Director Peter Yates… Central Casting sent Jerry Floyd, Nick (the bubble) and myself down to Portsmouth or Southampton (cant remember which) to play German U Boat crew. We'd be there for a couple of days and stay in a local B/B over night. When we get called onto the set we go below decks on a British submarine that is decked out like a second world war German U Boat. Now it seems in the film the U Boat has run aground on a sand bank on an inlet river in South America and is waiting for the tide to turn so it can re-float. Meanwhile Peter O'Toole is trying to chop a very large tree down and put it across our Sub. (Thus, causing us some discomfort.) (Got the plot so far, he's dropping trees, and I'm in the basement..) A cute make up girl asks me to strip to the waist (and I think, from the shoes up, what no flowers? We've only just met) but she has to put make up on my face and body to make me look tanned as if I was in South America. Bert Batt the 1st A.D. took us all to see the Director Peter Yates (of Bullitt fame) and I was chosen to be the blue eyed German working the controls of the Sub.. After a few different angles the make up girl applies sweat to my hair and face. The camera is stuck an inch from my nose. (Now we are talking about close ups here. My face plastered sixty foot by eighty foot at the Odeon Marble Arch. She could have saved on the sweat, I was sweating for England.) Peter was guiding me through the shots. ''Imagine you can hear a noise above you. Now imagine there's a noise to your left, now to your right. Don't move your head Back too far, we're close on your eyes.'' Then it was ''CUT, see you in the morning Eight O clock.. Thanks Harry that was good''. Well that was good for me too. It took me hours to come down. Me, Jerry and Nick went out on the town and got very drunk. (Well it makes a change)? The next day I'm back at the controls of the Sub and I'm thinking is it to be another starring role. Peter tells us today's the day the Sub gets hit and there could be a drop of water splashing around. First scene control room…I'm standing at the controls and Peter talks me through it. ''Now concentrate on the controls Harry and keep looking about. It seems the tide is coming in and you're going to be all right. Now give a huge sigh of relief. It's very quiet now but suddenly, !!!!! CRASH !!!!. That's the cue for the Prop men to sling big buckets of freezing cold water over me. ''You're panicking now Harry (He's got good eyesight) More water on him and CUT. I spent most of the rest of the day sitting on the Sub deck enjoying the warm sun while the Stuntmen got their share of the water. We shot some other stuff in one of the cabins drinking beers then it was time to head off back to London. Thanks Mr. Yates. (You must remember in the film game that all the shots don't make it to the big screen, a lot end up on the cutting room floor

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English | German

Release Date:

14 January 1971 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Murphy's War See more »

Filming Locations:

Puerto Ordaz, Venezuela See more »


Box Office


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

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Eastmancolor) (uncredited)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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