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Play Dirty (2007)

Michael Caine , Nigel Davenport , André De Toth  |  PG |  DVD
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Michael Caine, Nigel Davenport, Nigel Green, Harry Andrews, Patrick Jordan
  • Directors: André De Toth
  • Writers: George Marton, Lotte Colin, Melvyn Bragg
  • Producers: Harry Saltzman
  • Format: Color, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
  • DVD Release Date: April 24, 2007
  • Run Time: 118 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #132,067 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Play Dirty" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

There's no mistaking the 1968 mood of Play Dirty: this cynical war movie could only have been made during the disillusioned Vietnam era, despite its WWII subject. Michael Caine plays a British captain in North Africa, tapped to lead a suicidal mission across the desert to destroy a German fuel depot. He's got a scurvy band of mercenaries to help him (this was a year after The Dirty Dozen, so keep that in mind), although most of the time they seem indifferent to both the job and Caine's survival. Nigel Davenport plays Caine's black-hearted yet lethally competent assistant, possibly the most nihilistic character on the side of the good guys in any war movie. Large patches of the film play without dialogue, including a grueling sequence in which vehicles are winched up the side of a hill, but somehow this adds to the grim, fatalistic atmosphere. The hard edge suits the style of director Andre De Toth, veteran maker of many a B-picture (this was his next-to-last effort). Caine plays it repressed and close to the vest, the better to contrast with Davenport's Mephistophelian soldier of fortune. Oh, and the ending--well, you'll want to stick around for the ending. It was 1968, after all. --Robert Horton

Product Description

Michael Caine, Nigel Davenport, Nigel Green. When a British oil executive gets assigned to an Army post in North Africa to handle port duties, he suddenly finds himself in full military uniform and accompanying a colonel and his men on a dangerous mission behind enemy German lines. 1968/color/117 min/PG/fullscreen.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
55 of 55 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great WWII adventure, even better ending February 12, 2007
Play Dirty is an excellent WWII movie set in Africa that is in the mold of Tobruk and The Rat Patrol. British Colonel Masters is head of a less than elite group of commandos who has come under the wrath of his superiors. With one last chance to save his skin, Masters organizes a raid deep behind German lines to blow up a crucial German fuel depot. But part of the agreement of the mission is that a British officer or engineer with some knowledge on the subject lead Masters' commandos. Cue Captain Douglas, who immediately clashes with his second in command, Capt. Cyril Leech. Along with six convict-commandos (think Dirty Dozen), Douglas and Leech set across the African desert to blow up the fuel depot. They go up against murdering gypsies, horrific conditions, patrolling Germans, each other, and even their commanders back at headquarters. The movie builds slowly, but still entertaining, to a climax that has to be one of the biggest surprise/shocks ever made. You won't be disappointed. As well, plenty of tense, exciting action scenes, beautiful cinematography, and that fantastic ending make for a great WWII adventure.

In a subdued but still very strong performance, Michael Caine plays Capt. Douglas, the unwilling leader of the group of convict commandos trying to blow up the crucial German fuel depot. He clashes with Capt. Cyril Leech(a great part for Nigel Davenport) the possible double agent who may be working for the Germans as well. The tension over command and strategy between Caine and Davenport drives the movie's plot and is what makes the movie all hold together. Nigel Green, Harry Andrews and Patrick Jordan are good in small parts as the different level of commanders who have control over the mission. Green is especially good as Col. Masters.
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35 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Dirty Half Dozen June 23, 2006
Format:VHS Tape
This film was released in 1968. Michael Caine is an oil company executive in civvy street who has been commisioned only to handle fuel deliveries at ports in N. Africa in WWII. If you liked the Dirty Dozen you will love this film. This film is real. The "officers" are great character actors you have seen in many British films. The uniforms, weapons and equipment are correct. Scenes of the desert are so real you feel the heat. The mission is real. The ending is a stunner. This film was made in Panavision, see it in that mode.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Late-60's WWII Film... April 11, 2008
This was always one of my favorites when I was a boy in the 1960s. PLAY DIRTY had the anti-hero grittiness that is so much more realistic--as I found out during my own military service--than the highly stylized war films that came out just after (and glorifying) WWII. There are notable exceptions, of course, that show combat pressure and human faults for what they are: Halls of Montezuma, featuring the late, great Richard Widmark as a stress-crippled Marine officer; Decision Before Dawn, with Oscar Werner and Richard Basehart...and various excellent so-called "B" movies that are really "A"s in in my book such as Hell Is For Heroes and Pork Chop Hill. PLAY DIRTY is a real man show, with cold and hard heroes who aren't really all that likeable, but are essentially human. It's much like Tobruk with Rock Hudson, and the [...] Raid On Rommel with Richard Burton (going thru the motions skillfully for the money), but with a much more sophisticated subtext of antagonism and tension between the main characters. Michael Caine and Nigel Davenport are superb. This is guy-oriented war storytelling at its dark, tough-guy best. The shocking and very sudden ending is right in line with the nihilistic--and all too realistic--Vietnam-era ethos of which this film is a part.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My favorite war movie December 21, 2007
I first came to love this movie as a child, watching it late at night, cropped and in black and white, on an old Zenith. I was curious to see it after 30 years, and finally resorted to getting an import copy from Japan a few months before this re-release. I'm happy to say the movie holds up wonderfully, and seeing it in the proper aspect ratio is real pleasure.

This has to be one of the most cynical war movies ever made, and those who devalue this movie as a knock-off of The Dirty Dozen overlook the way that movie still romanticizes heroism while Play Dirty will have none of it. From the opening scene of Play Dirty, where an officer's corpse is returned likely shot by the man returning it, there's no sentimentality here, no acts of stunning bravery, just a bunch of schmoes who don't even much like one another trying to stay alive. This movie presents war as a sort of lazy grand incompetence that occasionally awakens to explosion, warfare, murder, and rape. While the supporting cast of outlaws seem very B-movie (like those guys who talk in dub in a Sergio Leone western), Caine and Davenport more than make up for it. The desert photography and scenery is outstanding -- not Lawrence of Arabia pretty but rather the third enemy that threatens to sandblast them right off the screen throughout the film. Some find desert scenes slow; I find them the mesmerizing. And Play Dirty remains my favorite war film of all time. It's the only war movie I know that never lies even once.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Old Classic, Finally on DVD June 14, 2007
This movie by the way, was filmed in Panavision, incorrectly described on Amazon as having a full screen 1:33:1 ratio, when in reality has been released in it's original widescreen 1:85:1 ratio. It's a classic WWII British Long Range Patrol action movie set in the North African Lybian dessert, where the Italian and German Afrika Corp troops are the bad guys. Excellent color with crisp clean restored print. RECOMMEND HIGHLY for serious WWII movie fans!!!!!!!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars a classic of war cinema!
magnificent photography, superb actors,
excellent movie, a must see, great addition to the war movie collector!
Mccain does an outstanding job!
Published 5 months ago by Juan Carlos Pardo Peńa
3.0 out of 5 stars The Oily Dozen
The basic premise of the movie is a bit silly - sending an oil executive off on a covert mission with a team of mercenaries to blow up a cache of fuel oil? Read more
Published 8 months ago by David Gordon
5.0 out of 5 stars Play Dirty cd
Great movie! Saw it years ago and always wanted it for myself! Mr Cane does a wonderful job as usual!
Published 12 months ago by Ronald W. Mayhew
3.0 out of 5 stars Puzzlingly Nihilistic for British World War II Picture
Play Dirty, (1968), 117 minutes. In this African-set British World War II picture, Army Captain Douglas, (Michael Caine), a former British Petroleum executive but an inexperienced... Read more
Published 14 months ago by Stephanie De Pue
5.0 out of 5 stars For my husband
My husband loved this and all things Michael Caine. Could not have made a better choice for him he was thrilled with this
Published 19 months ago by J. A. Meakin
5.0 out of 5 stars Dirty Dozen British Version.
For a long time this movie was hard to find and seldom shown on TV I am glad to see it finally come out on DVD. Great War movie with surprising twists and a unexpected ending.
Published on May 24, 2012 by R. Dye
4.0 out of 5 stars Authentic Desert War Movie
I love history and movies that follow detail actions that defined the hardships of WWII veterans. Play Dirty lives up to all that. Read more
Published on August 22, 2011 by David Lucero
3.0 out of 5 stars Nihilistic, but Entertaining
I came to this film for two reasons. One is that I love desert war and adventure stories like Lawrence of Arabia, Ice Cold in Alex, Sea of Sand, The Desert Rats, the Italian film... Read more
Published on July 21, 2011 by givbatam3
4.0 out of 5 stars grunt level, World War II desert adventure...
Play Dirty (1969) is set in the North African desert during World War II, and follows an ill-fated mission by the British Army. Read more
Published on June 26, 2011 by trebe
1.0 out of 5 stars an edition to be avoided
Great war film but a very disapointing copy: very poor quality of both sound and image. This edition (with no name of film editor on the DVD and whose image on the box does not... Read more
Published on June 24, 2011 by ugolinotrinci
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