5.7/10
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31 user 23 critic

How I Won the War (1967)

Approved | | Comedy, War | 23 October 1967 (USA)
An inept British World War II commander leads his troops through 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 movie features Beatle John Lennon and Roy Kinnear as ill-fated enlisted men under the inept command of Lieutenant Ernest Goodbody (Michael Crawford). 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:

How I Won the War 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 intended concept of the movie was that archival black-and-white footage of each battle was to be tinted specific colors. The soldiers who died in that battle continue to accompany the unit silently with their uniforms now the color of the battle in which they died. However, when the final answer print was sent from the principal lab in England to the labs in Los Angeles subcontracted out to make the release prints, the Los Angeles labs assumed that the tinted footage was a mistake, and graded it back to black-and-white without notifying anyone until the whole batch was struck. The version of the movie shown on "Retroplex" from Starz has the battle scenes tinted different colors and the soldiers who die in a battle become that color. See more »

Quotes

Clapper: You married?
Gripweed: No, I play the harmonica.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The South Bank Show: The Making of Sgt. Pepper (1992) See more »

Soundtracks

How I Won The War
Written by Ken Thorne
Performed by John Lennon (as Musketeer Gripweed and The Third Troop)
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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