How I Won the War
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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.
Not having read the book on which the darkly comic film was based, I will note that the film stands on its own as a notable feature of the British anti-war film genre, during which an artistic community depict the very war which imperiled them during their earliest years of life as a device to express their objection to U.S. involvment in Vietnam.Inevitably the war depicted in the film, and the time of its release play key factors in the significance of this film, and given that the same destruction of life, families, and property take place in all wars, the film still has much relavance now.
In flashbacks, fantasy sequences, actual footage of World War II campaigns, and via Goodbody's stint in a German P.O.W. camp where he converses with the German officer, Odlebog(Karl Michael Vogler), we learn of his ordeal, and that of the ill-fated unit serving under him, including Gripweed(Beatle John Lennon, who though in reality going against military regulations, manages to keep a bit of his trademark shag hairdo), Clapper(Roy Kinnear)who worries about his wife's (Fanny Carby) infidelity, Juniper(Jack MacGowran), Transom (Lee Montague), and the non-compliant Melancholy Musketeer(Jack Hedley).
The objective of this unit --the 3rd Troop, the 4th Musketeers of a fictional regiment, is to set up an "Advanced Area Cricket Pitch" behind enemy lines in Tunisia. In fact, we catch our first glimpse of most of the principals on a lovely English cricket field before they go into uniform.
Goodbody is under the command of officer Grapple (Michael Hordern).Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I got this as a gift and only saw it later. Only of value as Lennon memorabilia, and he has barely more than a bit part. Otherwise rather dull, slow-paced comedy with few laughs.Published 4 months ago by Vain Saints
I admit I bought this to add to my John Lennon memorabilia. If you pay attention to the dialogue and like Monty Python humor you will enjoy this movie.Published 9 months ago by Pat Engesser
Definitely not enough Lennon to suit my needs but the movie is quite different ( in an odd strange way ). A must have for any true Lennon or Beatle fan.Published 22 months ago by Gizmoe
"How I Won The War" satirizes the idiocy of war and all films of the war genre. Although this film does not have the pointed-impact of "All Quiet On The Western... Read morePublished 23 months ago by Edward J. Moriarty
Pathetic attempt at satire. Incomprehensible dialogue. At total mess of a movie. A few Brits might be able to enjoy it but I think even they would need to be stonedPublished 23 months ago by edstrelow do not buy This app does not open videos on Kindle Fire. The developer is lying and should not be allowed in the store.
How I Won The War is a great addition to any Beatles movie collection. It a good movie because this movie is made after the Beatles last concert in Candlestick Park in San... Read morePublished on April 24, 2013 by Redfox
My brother has been trying to get this movie to play on an American DVD for years. Now he has it and loves it (more so that he's a Lennon fan, not so much that it's a great... Read morePublished on March 5, 2013 by Debra A. Bitting
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|Calling Criterion! "How I won the War" needs you!||
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