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Play Dirty


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Product Details

  • Actors: Michael Caine, Nigel Davenport, Nigel Green, Harry Andrews, Patrick Jordan
  • Directors: André De Toth
  • Writers: André De Toth, 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: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000MTFFRM
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #35,043 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Play Dirty" on IMDb

Special Features

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Editorial Reviews

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.

Amazon.com

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

Customer Reviews

Scenes of the desert are so real you feel the heat.
Dr. Robert B. Lynch
Excellent war film that suggests that in World War Two the British Army would also bend the rules of war when it suited them.
Dan Walder
I would not rate the film as a complete waste of time, but don't get your hopes up too much.
givbatam3

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

55 of 55 people found the following review helpful By T O'Brien on February 12, 2007
Format: DVD
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 By Dr. Robert B. Lynch on 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 By John McKinna on April 11, 2008
Format: DVD
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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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Scott Kennedy on December 21, 2007
Format: DVD
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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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By NO NAME on June 14, 2007
Format: DVD
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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