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How I Won the War (1967)

Michael Crawford , John Lennon , Richard Lester  |  NR |  DVD
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)

List Price: $39.98
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How I Won the War + The Beatles: Magical Mystery Tour + Help!
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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: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #138,869 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


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

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
54 of 61 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars missing the point 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
4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, dark satire on the darkest of subjects. October 30, 1999
By A Customer
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
4.0 out of 5 stars Quirky British Dark Comedy 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
5.0 out of 5 stars This is my second review December 16, 1999
By A Customer
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
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
4.0 out of 5 stars IT WAS GREAT AT THE TIME February 24, 2005
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
4.0 out of 5 stars just put them under the taps,luv 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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars British Humor
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 6 months ago by Gizmoe
4.0 out of 5 stars "How I Won The War" is still relevant today.
"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 more
Published 7 months ago by Edward J. Moriarty
1.0 out of 5 stars INCOHERENT
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 stoned
Published 8 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.
5.0 out of 5 stars Beatle Flick Review
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 more
Published 18 months ago by Redfox
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally!!!
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 more
Published 19 months ago by Debra A. Bitting
4.0 out of 5 stars I saw it in a theater
I even bought the book this movie was based on. I was not interested in entertainment values (soul mulch) as in an idea; American GREATNESS IS LARGELY AN EXCUSE FOR STILL MOPPING... Read more
Published 20 months ago by Bruce P. Barten
4.0 out of 5 stars beatle john
how I won the war is a funny movie,with John Lennon[Beatles]and Michael Crawford[frank Spencer]making fun of army life.I don't know ..its not Monty python
Published on April 10, 2012 by Samuel Scullion
1.0 out of 5 stars $35?!?! Really...for a dvd-R and a book of pics?!
Evidently there are still a lot of Beatle fans out there with disposable income (especially now since most of them are Grandpas and Grandmas) to throw 35 bucks at this... Read more
Published on June 23, 2011 by Sandoz
5.0 out of 5 stars HOW I WON THE WAR
This Movie is funny. I seen it on T.V But they don't show it a lot. so anyone like to see a good movie this is the one to get. Read more
Published on June 20, 2011 by Sharon Cortina
3.0 out of 5 stars An interesting anti-war film showing the viewer the absurdity of...
As the Vietnam War was looming and more people around the world continued to protest, Patrick Ryan would write a novel titled "How I Won the War" and it was later received a film... Read more
Published on May 24, 2011 by Dennis A. Amith (kndy)
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Topic From this Discussion
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
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