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How I Won the War


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How I Won the War + The Beatles: Magical Mystery Tour + Yellow Submarine
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Product Details

  • Actors: Michael Crawford, John Lennon, Roy Kinnear
  • Directors: Richard Lester
  • Writers: Charles Wood
  • Producers: Richard Lester
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: MGM
  • DVD Release Date: March 20, 2011
  • Run Time: 111 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004PYERHE
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #44,082 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

John Lennon stars in his first film performance in this hilariously surreal collage of battle footage and one-liners lampooning the absurdity of the war. Michael Crawford also stars. The feature has been remastered for this DVD release with supervision from Richard Lester (Director), and John Victor-Smith (Editor). Now you can bring home John Lennon's only non-Beatles performance in a feature film.

Customer Reviews

In other words, it is not a commercial movie.
Carl Savich
Also, if you're American, the dialogue is so thickly British, it's incomprehensible at times.
Robert Schell
I though the movie was a brilliant farce and is one of the greatest British comedies ever.
M. N. McBain

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

54 of 61 people found the following review helpful By M. N. McBain on July 7, 2002
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Many people watch this movie for the same reason as did I: they were Beatles fans and wanted to see Lennon. I was about 13 when I stayed up until about 5am watching this movie on cable, and, for one thing, being exhausted really adds an element to it, but I think that people who are disappointed in it because they were expecting something different are missing the point. I though the movie was a brilliant farce and is one of the greatest British comedies ever. Keep in mind that British comics have very little compuction about what they do. I thought that Lennon's performance was very natural and irreverent, just as it was in A Hard Days' Night and Help! and I certainly wasn't disappointed in it in the least. Crawford was surprisingly thin, but also gave a great performance. The movie is just meant to be a weird, eye-opening experience and one must approach it from that angle. Granted, it isn't for everyone, but all the people whom I've shown the movie loved it and got a copy for themselves. So, if you're a wee-teensy-bit off-kilter and daring when it comes to movies, watch this one several times, because you catch new stuff everytime (mostly due to the actors speaking so fast). It's one of my favorites.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 30, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
Richard Lester created in "How I Won the War" a film that simply cannot be categorized.
Symbolism abounds in the film, and in alternating instances, its overtness and its subtlety can prove confusing. For this reason, the film needs to be viewed more than once.
The blatant attack on the military mindset is brilliantly executed. In swift strokes he makes a mockery of military officers and warmongers; one scene in particular has two British officers exchanging bubble gum cards of war scenes, with one insisting in a haughty accent "I want school bombing ... I do."
Michael Crawford and John Lennon are joined by an excellent supporting cast, including Victor Spinetti the brilliant (but unfortunately "late") Leo McKern. Crawford plays the role with just the right amount of smarminess, egoism and overt stupidity that it calls for. Lennon and McKern's innocence causes the closing segment to be doubly powerful.
Overall ... a fine film worth seeing, especially for any fans of social commentary.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Peter Bernhardt on September 22, 2008
Format: VHS Tape
"How I Won the War," starring Michael Crawford and John Lennon, was a strange movie that I enjoyed watching over and over again as a teenager, desperately trying to understand exactly what the heck was going on at any given time. Now that I'm older and wiser, I still have no idea! However, this quirky British dark comedy will force you to laugh for reasons you may or may not understand. It's just crazy. One of my goals in life is to become enlightened and understand this movie before I die (which hopefully won't ruin it).
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 16, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
Rented it AGAIN and watched it wearing headphones. I understood every word and loved it. I will now spring for the the big bucks to buy it. This movie is a classic...still Richard Lester madness but that is part of its message. War is madness.I recommend this movie...with headphones.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 13, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
anyone who sees this film will never be able to watch a war movie again without remembering the questions posed by richard lester in this film. lester holds accountable the military traditions of all countries, and in no way spares his own england. this movie is a must see for any serious student of warfare and its part in the human experience....this is a great film!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By J. G. Hastie on February 24, 2005
Format: DVD
All I can say is that when I saw this movie in 1968 I had no idea what to expect and, taken by surprise, we laughed our socks off from beginning to end. I'm tempted to get the DVD but it's a possibility that I'll be disappointed all these years later. Remember that this was before Monty Python, and though that kind of surrealistic comedy had been around since the Goons, this apparently mainstream movie (it wasn't) came as a brilliant and hilarious ambush. I can imagine that many moviegoers would have been completely mystified. I think I was also discovering that I like my humour to be dark, and you don't get much darker than a war comedy. The combination of the surrealism and the black, black comedy was very potent at the time, and made the anti-war message very tellingly. The cast is great - some of Britain's best actors of the day, including a Beckett favourite JacK MacGowran - and Lennon doesn't do a lot but is Lennon and that's enough. It would be very poignant to see his demise in the film post 1980: "I knew this would happen - you knew it too, didn't you?"
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By steve estvanik on March 1, 2009
Format: VHS Tape
Wasn't it St. Anna who said, "those who forget old movies are condemned to have a minor part in the remake"? Obviously the crew who brought us Iraq never saw this film. I've been waiting for years to see this again [having been disappointed by how badly Oh What a Lovely War! was dated] and it was worth the wait. Hard to remember this was before Monty Python, before Ricky Gervais, when Richard Lester just meant a bunch of floppy mops running around London [and Robert Hardy had just a bit part]

And, yes, Mr. Ebert, I do remember Lennon on the cover of Ramparts, but it didn't dilute the films impact then or now. Watch this as an antiwar movie like All Quiet or Strangelove, or watch it as a surreal black comedy - "just put them under the taps,luv "- or just try to absorb it at all levels. It worked then [rememeber, in 1967, the NY Times, among other liberal voices, was just beginning to realize what Vietnam was doing to us. ] and it works now
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Calling Criterion! "How I won the War" needs you!
Skeet9:
Thank you for this and your other posts about this "HIWTW" DVD-R nonsense. I was planning to buy this until I saw your comments (I had somehow overlooked the mention of the DVD-R aspect). I went to Amazon UK to see if perhaps there was a different edition available there. It... Read More
May 26, 2011 by DDB9000 |  See all 3 posts
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